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Thursday, March 22, 2018

No Snow

 So far this winter we only have 89" of snow so we are well below our average of 264". There are some slight chances of snow over the next few days but as the photo' depict we have a lot of bare ground. It got up to 60 degrees today so there was a lot of melting. If this keeps up it will be high wildfire risk until next winter.
 I guess if 264" per snow season is average that also could mean that next winter we could 439" to keep the average. We have a chance of snow over the next few days but it seems each time the prediction is for snow it ends up with a few flakes that melt in a few minutes. I believe I have only used the snow thrower 2-3 times this snow season. We really need snow because when the little we have melts it will be super dry.

Wall Rainbow

Here is a sample of the rainbow that appears on our walls. We only had about 6-8 this morning but in a few weeks we will have many floating all over the room. None yesterday as it was clouds and no sun

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Happy First Day Of Spring

We bought this leaded and cut glass prism at a craft show in Tallahassee, Fla.  probably 35 years ago not knowing it would be an accurate predictor of spring. I checked it yesterday as the sun was coming up and it was not reflecting any rainbows on the wall. Today (first day of spring) it cast two rainbows on the wall. It has been hanging in our front window since we moved here 20 + years ago. We subsequently noticed that on the first day of spring it would cast rainbows on the ceiling. This will continue through the summer and as we go deeper into spring/summer the rainbows will become more until there are so many it is magical.

The sun is just at the right place or the earth rotation is just right on the first day of spring that the small prism inside the do-dad, reflects rainbows on the walls and ceiling. We have been following it for years now and on the first day of spring it does its thing. We had no idea it would do this when we hung it up but like they say down south - even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Pro-Active Wildfire Protection Part 4

This is the last part of the four part series on wildfire protection and being pro-active. We have covered some techniques we have used at our house which we hope will make us safer in case of a wildfire, common sense clearing around your home and two web sites that are chock full of helpful tips of improving your survival if you are caught outside. It has been discussed that each community is unique and different and presents its own set of hazards. Each household in also unique with its challenges.

If you are in a community threatened by a wildfire and fortunate enough to evacuate what happens then. Chances are you will be kept out of the post fire area for several days or possibly even weeks. Who is watching your house should it survive while you are kept away until authorities feel it is safe for you to return? In a highly populated area it could be the National Guard or if a sizable police force that could keep looters out of the area.

In a less populated area like ours which has a very small presence of police probably no one is watching your house. Even if they wanted to it is doubtful that they have the resources or manpower to keep looters out. We have signs up that say "see something - say something". I have over the years called and never hear back from our law enforcement or even gotten an acknowledgement in most cases. In our area if our house survived it is likely it will be empty when we return due to looting.

In the past I was concerned with break-ins and went and met with the sheriff. I was told that the sheriff did not want to send deputies out unless it was a major felony. I was also told he suspected the break-in's were being perpetrated by residents within the community in which I agreed. We have a new sheriff now but I have not noticed any change in response. If not people inside our community it could just as likely be those outside our community who would come in following a wildfire uninhibited. In a community like ours looting could be just as serious as the wildfire or you could return home to find squatters in your home.

Being pro-active also means after the fact also. Often you are given only a few moments to evacuate and when you come home if your house is still standing but your contents are all gone what have you gained? Having a security system that will work during power outages may help identify those who are light fingered with other peoples property. You are generally told to leave your house unlocked so firefighters can make sure no one is inside. You might want to close your blinds and lock your doors just to make it harder for looters.

I would suggest that post wildfire looting would be prevalent in a community like ours and something to consider in your individual wildfire plan. Having good photos of contents would also be very handy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Pro-Active Wildfire Protection - Part 3

Not every community is like our community where we have one way in and one way out and is in the mountains. We are also surrounded by National Forest and other wooded communities and wildfire can come from any direction. Wind changes direction in the  mountains and while gusting from one direction it can come from another direction instantly. All these add to the complications of protecting yourself from being a victim in a wildfire. I recall many years ago a fast moving wildfire in the San Luis valley sped toward the Great Sand Dunes National Park. The visitors and campers as the fire closed in on them ran  away from the oncoming fire in panic and the park rangers had some difficulty in getting them out on the sand dunes which wouldn't burn. Everyone was safe but in their panic they ran the wrong way fleeing into the trees. That is consistent with #4 in the link:, which is get to an area devoid of fuel if possible. Also #1, of that link is stay calm.

In case you are cut off and can't evacuate your home needs to be made as safe as it can be. We cut trees where there is distance between them, out 30-50' from the house and trim limbs 14-18' from the ground. We keep the weeds and grass mowed away from the house and store our firewood 70+ feet from the house. In addition our roof is metal, we have stone fascia on the exterior and a misting system for the only exposed wood which is our deck. Putting a sprinkler on the deck would drain the well in short order but a misting system would run for days if needed.

It is everyone's responsibility to protect their own home or property and procrastinating doing so will probably be to late. Getting a wildfire experts opinion is also a good idea. Our community doesn't have any area's where the fuel has been removed - like our many meadows, but we do have several lakes that could be utilized in an emergency. The area around our community center would be a good place to hunker down if the grasses were mowed, which they are not.

We believe our home would be relatively safe but many homes in our area are log homes that have a flammable coating of exterior sealer on them and trees close to the structure. Our house has been rated by two wildfire experts as being better than excellent for wildfire. In short they believe it would survive a wildfire and they had no suggestions to make it more safe. We are required to keep our propane tank hidden from sight and many use what is known as a coyote fence made of wood to hide theirs which is fuel. Ours is enclosed in a solid stone and mortar enclosure with a metal roof over it. There is no guarantee in a wildfire but we have taken all the needed steps to protect our home and property as best we can. Our survival plan has also been reviewed by experts and turned out to be identical to the survival plan they teach their firefighters.

All communities are different and individual situations within the community are different but taking steps outlined as in the link: and other on line links will help make your home safer in case of wildfire emergency. Wildfires are unpredictable and planning ahead to protect your home/property and yourself by formulating a plan and then carrying it out is vital to survival. A fast moving wildfire could cut you off and then is not the time to start with preventive measures.

The next and last segment is what happens if you evacuate and are kept from returning to your home for several days or weeks. Hopefully what we have done and had verified by experts on wildfire mitigation will help others to stay safer in case of wildfire. There are no guarantees of survival in a wildfire but taking proper measures ahead of time just may help improve your odds of surviving.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pro-Active Wildfire Protection - Part 2

Colorado is a semi-arid state hence we always have a wildfire possibility. Wildfires kill approximately 339,000 people each year so the better informed we are the greater our chances of not being one of those statistics. One of the best sites I have found on how to survive a wildfire is: It covers staying safe if you are on foot, in a car or in a  building. Most people die from smoke inhalation as opposed to burning to death.

Not everyone is like us with a bottleneck for entrance and exit and may have multiple escape routes. Firefighters and equipment would be coming in our area using the same access that we would be using trying to exit. Our association hence has a plan that we use two routes to evacuate that take us over extremely perilous and rough trails. To be caught on either would be deadly and you would have to survive in a car or on foot. It depends on someone else meeting us at a gate to lead us out which just adds one more chance for failure.

When you develop a plan that other people are to follow if anything in that plan goes array then you are stuck with the result. If by chance people are severely injured or die the probability for mega lawsuits are excellent and the chance of prevailing is slim. It is better to not have a plan than have one that will possibly fail and draw lawsuits. Wildfires often move very fast and people panic and coupled with all the other risks there is a high chance any plan will deteriorate rapidly. Sometimes it is best to let people know what will likely be happening and let them formulate their own plan.

When the smoke is so thick that you can't hardly see the road or when embers are falling on your vehicle people are prone to make mistakes and if there are others behind you they could be victims of your panic. Staying calm is essential for clear thinking. Every man for themselves could present serious problems so having a viable plan plus a back up plan and sticking to it might just save your life and the lives of those you love.

The above link is excellent to inform on how to improve your chances of survival and is informative so people can design their own plan. When developing a plan to save yourself in a wildfire is not a 'one size fits all' as each situation can be vastly different. Being armed with all the information available and developing a plan that suits you is a reasonable alternative as opposed to depending on others to do it for you. For example if you are semi disabled and waiting for some to pick you up may not work because that person may be cut off from your location leaving you stranded.

Another excellent site for valuable information is: By reading these two sites it should help people develop their own plan. The best plan is obviously to evacuate but if you are stopped by some moron who tells you the best route is unavailable to you and bars you from taking your planned route you have to go a different direction and could be in serious trouble by being cut off or trapped in your vehicle or fleeing on foot.

The next two parts will be about how we made our home as wildfire proof as possible and what happens when you are not allowed to return to your home post evacuation.

Having a workable plan and also a backup plan in case the first plan doesn't work is important. To not have a plan could be to your peril. Discuss your plan with your family and friends and evaluate for possible weakness and be flexible enough to change if necessary. We have lived here in potential wildfire country for over twenty years and early on established a plan for us and we have revised it several times during that time.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Pro-Active Wildfire Protection

When we bought our property here the HUD report indicated we averaged 264" per year in snowfall. Various other reports by landowners indicate otherwise. We have had over 325" some years and far less other years. This year we have received 87" so far and last year which was a very slight winter we had 107" at this time of year. Each year we seem to be declining in volume of snow. In the twenty years we have lived here that makes the risk of wildfire exponentially greater in these dryer years.

We have had numerous red flag warnings throughout the winter which in the past has been rare. Most wildfires are caused by human error but lightning can start one easily. Our community is if memory serves me well, about 15 miles long and about 6 miles wide. There is one access road into the community with two gates. There is a locked gated four wheel drive road leading through the National Forest on one side and another rough dirt road that leads through private property and to a gate into the next community.

When faced with a wildfire people tend to panic and react radically. People visit our community in the Spring, Summer and Fall from different parts of the country. The come in large motor homes, and cars as small as sub-compacts. Both ill suited for two rut dirt roads. If one gets stuck or can't get through then all the vehicles behind it are also stuck. When evacuating and time is precious being stuck out in the open when a wildfire can throw embers up to one mile away is highly hazardous if you ask me.

It is essential that people know how to deal with forest fires if cut off or caught out in the open. Survival could be dependent on knowing what to do if caught under these circumstances. Even with a viable evacuation route with changes in wind direction or blowing embers a good evacuation route could suddenly be cut off. I am not an expert on wildfire survival but because of where we live I have done considerable study on how we would survive a wildfire. Whether it is being caught in the open or protecting your home and property I will report on some common sense methods that hopefully will improve on a persons chance to survive.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Visitors From Holy Cross University

 While the East Coast is getting hammered with one Nor'easter after another our weather has been really ideal and out of the norm for Colorado. It was 45 degrees, calm, and very little snow on the ground. I had an email from LaPuente that if they could get some more firewood as their supply was running very low.
 I told them that our roads were virtually dry and we were not expecting any more snow until next Monday. They quickly got a work crew together and came with Holy Cross (Massachusetts) students. They worked very hard and left with a  16' trailer and box trailer full of very usable firewood.
 This will give them a little breathing space and maybe stretch their firewood out to the end of the winter. It appeared that the students were all enjoying gathering firewood and if our weather holds hopefully they can make another trip.
It takes more caution when there is snow on the ground but the students were told what to expect regarding their footing and they all were very cautious and carried off about 3 cords of firewood with no incidents. Actually I think they were happy to be in the mountains in nice weather and not back East where the snow just keeps coming. Delightful young people and they benefited those in the valley that are unable to get their own firewood or can't afford to purchase it. Firewood in the valley is pretty costly.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

High Winds

We have been in a red flag warning for four days and the wind continues to howl outside at 25-35 mph. with gusts up to 50 mph. Looking for more gentle days but none in the long range forecast. So far according to my count we have had 87" of snow this winter when we usually have over 150" by now. No snow and high wind equals wildfire hazard.

One good thing about all these weeks of high wind is that the weak trees and dead trees have blown over which is less for me to have to cut down. The trees left standing are tested and true for strength and have withstood much this winter.

When it comes to wildfire we have now had two wildfire experts tell us that our home is the most likely to survive a wildfire should one occur. Knowing that and having reviewed the evacuation plan established by our landowner association we believe we would stand the best chance of survival by hunkering down. We believe the association evacuation plan has far too many risks associated with it and with one road in and out of our community we would be at greater risk trying to get out than by staying on site.

We are hoping for a weather pattern like last year when we picked up all our snow in March, April and May coupled with rain every few days through the summer.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Rodent Proof Garden Boxes

Check out the latest blog for Mother Earth News about how I make my garden boxes rodent proof. It can be found on the home page for MEN under DYI.  Here is the link:

I either had to come up with a simple easy to make garden box that protected our vegetables or dig a moat around the veggies and then lay down a mine field. Until I started to use these boxes the rodents would decimate our garden. Now we get most if not all of what we grow.


When Echo injured his back in a slip and fall he couldn't get onto the bed with me and so we had taken the mattress off and put it onto the floor where he could get onto the bed at night safely. I was getting pretty sore from that so Carol came up with the idea of getting this bed that folded up or made into a couch to put next to the bed serving as steps. It works wonderfully. Echo still has his back legs swing around as he walks but he is in no pain and seems to have adjusted well to his new disability. No wheel chair for this boy yet but he does have to go back to the vet to have more sebaceous cysts removed soon.

Monday, February 26, 2018


 We have been having wind that ranges from 25 mph to 55-60 mph and it drifts and sculptures the snow into interesting patterns. Here are three photos that show how the snow is drifted and beautiful.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Final Product On Garden Box

Finally got the garden box finished and ready for the spring planting. This will be the garden box that we plant spinach and lettuce in when the weather allows.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fight Or Flight

Last night when I let the dogs out at dusk to go potty and there was a coyote behind the shed (about 30 yards) and Bozley either sniffed or saw it and barked as he charged the fence. The coyote was up to the challenge and gave a series of VERY loud yips in return and all three dogs immediately headed for the back door. All three German Shepherd Dogs out weigh the coyote by 40-50 pounds but the coyotes shrill yelps and barks clearly intimidated them. "Get out of the way dad, we want in". 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Latest Stage On New Garden Box

I decided that instead of waiting for spring to arrive and the snow to melt revealing the hardware cloth that used to be part of the deteriorating garden boxes that I would go to Big R in Alamosa and buy some new hardware cloth. The new garden box that replaces the two that rotted away now has new 1/2" hardware cloth.

The young girl that was the clerk thought I should go to a place where they sold fabric as she had never heard of hardware cloth. Fortunately another employee did and showed me where it was kept. I bought enough to do the sides and used the old hardware cloth for the bottom. This box will replace two old boxes so I still have to make two hinged tops so access can be from both ends.

Mostly what we grow now in the garden boxes are lettuce and spinach so we will plant one at each end. I plant carrots and herbs in my earth boxes which we keep on the deck with hardware cloth over the boxes to keep the squirrels and chipmunks out of them. Rodents can do a lot of damage to a garden in a short amount of time.

I will make and install the two lids as soon as the snow melts off them. Photo's to follow. Then I have a unique idea for the placement of the box that will fit the theme of our house plus providing good sunlight and access. Hopefully it will be in an area that the rodents can't figure out how to get into. Last year a chipmunk got into a box and we have no clue how they did it. No opening and no opportunity to get in but still one did and couldn't find their way out again. 

More to follow on the construction of a garden box.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

More On Echo

Echo seems to go from one medical situation to another. Today we took him into the vet again but this time for a sebaceous cyst that became infected. He was scheduled to have it surgically removed next Wednesday but yesterday it became swollen and red and developed a lump. I called the vet and he said to bring him in first thing this morning. His cyst broke over night and the vet cleaned it up, helped drain it and put him on antibiotics. After the antibiotics take effect over the next 10 days we will evaluate whether he will need surgery or not. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Echo Solution???

I have been waking up in the morning aching all over due to having the memory foam mattress on the floor. Echo has slept with me ever since he was adopted. We went in our camper and when we adopted him he slept on the king sized bed with myself and Gypsy and Bozwell slept with Carol on the Queen size bed. We tried to keep him out of our bed once and he looked like a beaten dog and totally rejected. We didn't try that again he looked so dejected.

When he slipped the disc in his back he was prohibited from jumping as that would re injure his back and could cause permanent damage. Therefore I put the 12" memory foam mattress on the floor so he only had one step to go to get in bed with me. Once you sink in memory foam it only compresses so far and it was painful to sleep on the floor - not to mention it is hard to get up during the night or in the morning.

Carol saw what she thought was a solution when she found a 4" solid foam mattress on site. Unfolded it makes into a four inch firm mattress and when folded it makes into a low sofa. We thought it would be a good stepping place for Echo so he would not jump up or down and injure himself before he is fully healed. We bought a full size and twin size for the end of the bed and side. Today we gave it a try, having brought the bed frame up and set the bed upon it again.

As can be seen after a few trial attempts it only took him once to figure out how to go up the steps to the bed and go down the same way. We tried all three dogs who mastered it with ease. Did I mention German Shepherds are highly intelligent. As can be seen in the photo above he is up on the bed with confidence now. During the day we can fold it up and slide it under the bed frame with no problem.

Maybe now we can all get a good nights sleep and wake up pain free and rested. It has been seven weeks since he injured himself and hopefully this will work for him and he can get up and down into bed safely. His back legs are still weak so jumping would be difficult for him but we don't want him to forget and try it and end up with a worse injury.

Incidentally he has his thunder coat on as he developed a sebaceous cyst on his side and he kept licking it to where it was getting raw. The thunder coat covers the cyst and we apply wound spray that has healed it but he has an appointment for next week to have it and a few others removed surgically.   

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Garden Box

The garden box is getting a liberal coat of sealer. It will have to rest here until some of the snow melts as the hardware cloth is stored at a place where it is covered with snow now and we will have to wait for the snow to melt. All that is needed is to staple the hardware screen and re-purpose the tops off the old garden box to the new box. More snow is expected tomorrow night and Tuesday so it is going to be difficult to retrieve the 1/2" mesh screen. 

Bird - Human Comparisons

My recent post about Henrietta and also the posts about Chickadee's and nuthatches reveal the good qualities of birds. As with any species there are also birds of lessor qualities like the cowbird. Consider that the cowbird during nesting time will look for a nest, wait until the host leaves for a few minutes and then will lay its egg in the nest and let the host bird hatch it. The cowbird will take out one of the host birds eggs to replace it with her own.
The unsuspecting host then raises the chick along with its own. Sometimes the cowbird chick because it is larger will force the host birds chick out of the nest to make more room for itself.
Now consider human society as it exists today and see if any comparisons can be made between the cowbird characteristics and human characteristics.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Phase Two Of Garden Box

 This is the next step in making the garden box. The bottom box frame is together and the angle iron's and hardware cloth is on. Next I made the upright posts and cross members and they are glued with water proof glue onto the bottom box.
Next the cross pieces will be attached with deck screws and glued. Then the hardware cloth will be stapled around the inside of the frame then the two lid's will be made and hinged at each end so they can be independently opened from the middle. A good coat of sealer and it will be ready for the dirt and seeds.

Henrietta The Broad-Tail Hummingbird.

Here is the latest blog for Mother Earth News magazine about a special broad-tail hummingbird named (by us) Henrietta.

Friday, February 2, 2018

New Garden Box

Today was the day to start my new garden box. At the end of each growing season I empty the garden boxes of growing soil and pile it in an out of the way place, then move the garden boxes to a location where they will not get damaged during the winter. Left in place they could get damaged by the heavy snow or run into by the snow thrower or tractor. Last year when I emptied the boxes I noted that two of the three were starting to deteriorate and wouldn't keep the critters out with the next use.

This is the bottom of the box which will be put together soon. Since the bottom of the box holds moisture from the soil in which the plants grow I put a liberal coat of Thompson's Wood Sealer on them. By doing it now it will soak into the wood and be fully dry come planting season. I plan to use "L" brackets on the corners to hold the pieces together. For the first two years I will not plant any seeds close to the treated wood.

Next will be to staple 1/2" hardware cloth on the bottom to keep any rodents from burrowing under the box and getting in to the tender plants. Then install the posts in each corner and brace those and cover all four sides with more hardware cloth. Then make the top or use  the old box's top and it will be done. Add hinges and wait for the growing season to begin. It will be placed out of the way outside to allow the sealer to diminish.

I will photo the box as I progress so anyone interested can see how it is made. Here in the mountains if you want to grow vegetables outside you need something like this to keep all the squirrels, chipmunks, pack rats, mice and voles out.

Monday, January 29, 2018


So far this winter we have put out 180 lbs of sunflower seed for the birds. We need to pick up another 40 lbs this week and by winter end we will probably have fed the birds 300-350 lbs of sunflower seed. We like to target the chickadees and nuthatch but the finches steal most of it and force the target birds away. We have taken the feeders in but the finches still come back in a day or two after we put them out. they come in a flock by the hundreds.

The chickadees are friendly little birds along with the nuthatches and they take one seed and fly off to crack it open eat the contents and then fly back for just one seed. They will perch inches from me when I fill the feeders and when I am out working and they run out of seed they come get me. They are polite, patient and friendly little birds.

Then there are the finches. They crap all over the deck, sunflower seed container, feeders and anything else. They are aggressive and nasty tempered birds. We spend half our day chasing them off but they are  persistent. I have found the best way to get rid of them is put out partially full feeders and let them gorge themselves until they are empty - then they fly off in search of more food and when I'm certain they are gone to refill the feeders for the more courteous birds.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Hopefully Final Echo Update

Echo is making slow but steady progress albeit in very small increments. When I met with his vet to discuss him and his progress a week ago it was her opinion that being around 70% improved at one month is exceptional. She said it may be another two months before he is fully (?) recovered. We are to keep doing what we are doing to keep him from any re injury or aggravation. If we can do that he should recover and be normal.

He goes from day to day. He will be doing very good one day and the next day his back legs will be a little wobbly. His vet was encouraged with his progress so far and anticipates a good recovery. The hardwood floors that were exposed are all covered with throw rugs to keep him from slipping again. We keep him from jumping which is something she said he should not do under any circumstances. He was never a jumper anyway so he makes our job easier.

From the first day we adopted him he has slept with me. We stayed in a pop-up camper trailer and he slept with me. After all these years it would be impossible to get him to do otherwise so we put the mattress on the floor so he doesn't have to jump to get in bed with me. A little rough for this old body but good for him. Amazing what we do for our fur family....

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

When You Heat With A Wood Stove

When you heat with a wood stove and the temperature drops at night to low single digit coupled with a wind chill that is well below zero keeping the stove going is important. When conditions stay cold for several nights it is necessary to keep feeding the wood stove so it doesn't get too cold in the house. We have found an air mattress is a quick solution for those conditions. By sleeping on the air mattress close to the stove when the fire gets low and it cools off we are able to get up and put more wood on the stove throughout the night.

This only happens a few times a year and the wood stove radiant heat is worth it. Our old stove had a much larger firebox and would stay warmer longer but it was over sized by the wood stove folks we had install it and bought it from. That meant if we burned it at its efficient zone we would have to have the windows and doors open to neutralize the intense heat it produced. The store that we bought it from and who recommended it sold us a stove that was much too large and it burned at its low range even when the house was comfortable.

Burning a stove at its low range tends to soot and creosote up the chimney and generate a fire hazard as well as make the stove even more inefficient. We gave our old stove away and bought this one which is the right size to burn efficiently for our cabin. The result is it only burns for about 5-6 hours before we have to re-stoke the fire.

For most of the winter we get it nice and warm inside and load the firebox before we retire and then let it burn out over the night. It is generally around 60 degrees in the morning and often still has coals to start another fire. It is only when it gets really cold that we need to feed it during the night.

If you heat with a wood stove it is very important to get a stove that is sized right for the area you need to heat. Not too big and not too small. The store that specialized in selling wood stoves did not sell us a stove that was the right size and it was a constant problem. When it comes to wood stoves getting the right size is important. We now have a stove that is the right size but it does require more tending especially at night.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Finally we are receiving some much needed snow. So far about 12" but the final total is anyone's guess at this point. It is still coming down in those big moisture laden flakes. Since it is snowing outside and the temperature is a steady 20 degrees we decided to make cake donuts inside.
We ended up with 27 donuts (6 on the counter and not in photo) and 27 donut holes. Both Carol and I including our three dogs have sampled them and they are super delicious.

So far we have a foot of new snow which is very much needed for the moisture. Yesterday the ground was bare which is unusual for us. Twenty degrees outside and the snow is still coming down so we decided to stay inside and make donuts. Carol mixes up the dough and I take it from there. Nothing like home made cake donuts to satisfy ones craving.....We will deal with the snow when it stops snowing - probably tomorrow.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Echo Update

For those who wanted an Echo update he is still slowly recovering from his slipped disc. He is about 70 - 80% his old normal self and seems to be making small improvements each day. His back legs only give out on him a couple times a day and he does well on walks and around the house. He has adapted and compensated for his back leg weakness.

We have kept him from jumping and getting to excited which is not easy for 3 1/2 weeks now. I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow to get an idea of how long full recovery is going to take so he can have his normal life back. We also want to develop a plan to keep him from having this happen again. Unless he does something that to re-injure himself he is mostly now recovered and what recovery hasn't returned he has learned to compensate for. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dazzling Sight

 I was out shoveling snow away from the house that I can't get with the snow removal equipment and when I looked up I saw the most intriguing sight. The weeds were covered with frost and light snow and I knew I needed to get a photo to share. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Frosty Day

 When nature performs her artistry it is always perfect. It has been 21 degrees (F) here today and it has not warmed up much. It was 16 degrees when I woke up this morning but the temperature stopped rising after dawn and has been 21 since. It is also cloudy and there is a light frost in the air. 
 The moisture in the air is sticking to the trees and the intricate art work is beautiful. I spent a few hours outside cooking cowboy breakfast on the wood stove and this was happening while I was out at the picnic area so I got to watch this develop.  It is not often I get to be outside and watch this occur and it is interesting to see develop. 
The aspen trees look like intricate art work and the pine trees close up their needles and then they too are frosted over. It is suppose to go down to 5-6 tonight so we will make sure our firewood box is full as we will need to keep feeding logs into the wood stove overnight. It is cold outside and the chickadees are all fluffed up to keep warm and I am keeping plenty of sunflower seeds out there for them to help stay warm.
I for one have never become complacent in seeing the trees frosted like this and enjoy it more and more each time it happens. Enough to share on our blog.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


These are what we think are rosy breasted finches and they are becoming a pest. First one will show up at the feeder and then when they leave  hundreds come back and swarm the feeders. They can drain the feeder in a matter of a few minutes and the other birds are chased or forced off and don't get any feed. When they swarm in the sky will literally be full of them and we chase them off but they come right back. They fight each other over the few ports on the feeder. They simply take over the feeders and the other birds are shut out. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who Says Men Can't Multi Task?

Every 4-6 weeks we need to drag our generator out to run it for a few minutes to keep everything lubricated and in working order. We are having nice weather (at least for us) with temperatures hovering around freezing. Today was one of those days when the sky was blue, the wind blowing around 10-20 mph, and a good day to run the generator.

I figured if I am going to run the generator I might as well put it to use so I strung about 125' of extension cord to the firewood pile and plugged in the electric chain saw and cut up a pile of fire wood that had been cut and stacked at double length. Now we have a pile of firewood cut to length and all it needs is splitting and stacking.

That is what I call multi tasking - running the generator at the prescribed time and also cutting up a nice pile of firewood. Two jobs done at once.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Mother Earth News Blog

Watch for a new blog on Mother Earth News about our life with our dog family members and what we have learned over the years.

The blog is now live and to read it go to:

Monday, January 8, 2018

Tree Migration

 Recently I read an article that said trees that are normally on the east coast are slowly migrating west. So far this year we have 48" of combined snow and compared to last year when we had 67", we are slowly falling behind our normal snow pack.
Up until yesterday the ground was bare and only a patch of snow was visible in a few places. We received 3" of fresh snow which has mostly blown away or compacted. When I woke up this morning the temperatures are normally the coldest but it was 33 degrees outside.
The northeast and northern states and all the way down south are in frigid to cold temperatures and here in the mountains where the temperature is suppose to be cold it is just pleasant and windy with balmy 30's.
Very little snow thus far but without question it will come; but I can see the merit to that article that trees are migrating west. Our climate is most certainly changing but whether due to conditions caused by man or nature is beyond me so others can argue the merits of that aspect. I will just enjoy these seasonable conditions while they exist, knowing full well we will get plenty of snow later. 

I am thinking I should get ahead of the curve on this climate change and plant a few palm trees before the price goes up on those trees. Maybe a few dogwood and red bud trees too. Once they migrate to our area the price of those trees will be more expensive so maybe I should get out front of the migration while I can. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Small Homes

Small homes have many benefits as described in the latest blog for Mother Earth News and it can be found at:

After living in a small home for over 20 years we have found it practical, comfortable, and not nearly as difficult as anticipated and in fact it has been very pleasant.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Echo Update

For those who have been following Echo's progress we are happy to report he is on all four legs now but his back legs are still weak. He is progressing normally but wobbly at times. It has been one week today and we are pleased with his progress and chance for a full or almost full recovery.

He is also adapting as when he goes whiz he normally lifts his leg to do so and now he just barely lifts it and leans against the tree. He has also learned that if he can't get up the two steps into the house that if he stands and rests a minute or two and tries again he can then make it up the stairs. It looks like he is now headed in the right direction for recovery.

Crazy Weather

What is going on with our weather. Here in the mountains it is very nice weather and other parts of the country it is single digit and snowing. In the last 16 days we have had 6" of snow and presently the ground is dry and mostly bare. Did I put my summer clothes away to soon??? Probably not as we know we will get snow and cold weather here but the question remains when?? For us this is very different.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Echo Update

Today hopefully is a positive turning point with Echo. He actually walked on all fours to get into the back yard to relive himself and walked back in. Those back legs are still a little unsteady but he is making improvements and we hope he has no setbacks.
I believe I now know how he hurt himself.  A few days before his legs went out totally on him he was going out into the back yard and his rear feet slipped out from under him on the paver's that make up the sidewalk. He bounded right back up and did not appear injured but that must have done it and it took 2-3 days to manifest itself.
We are still trying to keep him resting as much as possible but his recovery is noticeably improving. I don't think he is out of the woods just yet however.