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Friday, June 22, 2018

Rhubarb

 Above photo is before - below photo after.....

Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Kubota B Series

We received a new Kubota yesterday and traded in our BX model. The BX seemed to have one problem after another. The Co-op person who tried to hook up the front loader on the BX model advised that it was just a frustrating challenge. Hope this one will serve us better.
Now is a good time to invest in a Kubota tractor as they are offering zero finance charge for up to 5 years.  Also, if you buy two implements Kubota gives you $700.00, off the price.

Hummingbirds By The Flock

Three feeders and all three are loaded with hummingbirds. We have one more hanging out front and it is a busy feeder too. We miss Henrietta but many of these are her offspring so that is good. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 Garden

 Above photo shows the rhubarb plants with raspberry bushes behind and potato bin to the left. There is a peppermint bush behind the lower rhubarb. We have already had two rhubarb pies from the one rhubarb plant and Carol is making the third pie today.
 Above photo is lettuce and bottom photo is spinach. Next trip to town I'll need to get some Miracle Grow fertilizer. Not shown is the Earth Box that is on the deck with carrots.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Smoky Day Today

Our area is still in the red flag warning which it has been now for several weeks. If you follow this blog and own property in or around S. Colorado there is a web site that gives relatively current information on wildfires in the country, and especially Colorado and the western states. We presently have several wildfires in our state and one in N. New Mexico where we think the smoke is coming from. That one is the Ute Park fire and the one's to our west near Durango is the 416 fire, horse park fire, and Burro fires.

We are in the highest  stage of drought - exceptional which is one stage higher than severe drought. Everything is super dry and last night the wind blew hard again and we lost power for roughly 5 hours. We are being super careful not to cause any spark and our area is strictly forbidden from having any flame outside including no smoking. Pretty scary times especially when we have the pungent odor of smoke in the air.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Tree Pollen

We have never seen tree pollen so bad as this year. It comes right through the window screens and covers everything. I walked outside and it is all over my boots. No rain may contribute but I don't know about that and it is only a guess.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wild Violets

 One of the reasons we decided to put the pet cemetery at its present location is due to the proliferation of wild violets.  They just came into bloom and cover 3-4 square yards just next to the cemetery which is situated between these wildflowers and the spring head. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Raven's and Rainbows

 When I looked out the front window this morning there were two ravens perched on a limb going through some raven ritual. Lots of head bobbing and the one would occasionally grab a small branch and try to pull it loose. Not sure what they were doing but it was interesting to watch.
Tonight after a much needed rain storm there was a rainbow out front. It did not come out as vibrant as it was in person and the camera didn't get the full colors but it arc's between the two pine trees if you look carefully.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Super Dry

We are still in the red flag warning with warm days, wind and humidity at single digit. It appears that we will remain in a red flag warning until Sunday morning. Our time is being spent clearing trees, limbs, mowing grass etc. which leaves little time to post here. In spite of all the warnings about no fires outside over the weekend some person had one anyway and then left without putting it fully out. It caught surrounding vegetation on fire and was fortunately found early and extinguished after burning an area.

I'm losing my faith in people who want to do what is dangerous to others and the community and ignore warnings, rules and are not able to handshake with common sense. Over the years I have encountered a few people who openly defy red flag warnings and other rules to protect the community. When confronted they plead ignorance of the danger or manufacture an excuse that seems to get them off the hook. In some cases they just rely on ugly belligerence and threats.

If you refer to them for what they are - idiots or morons -  they sue you and you end up the victim and they prosper from their stupidity. I personally believe we have a deep seated society problem which turns justice on its head. END OF RANT......

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Remember!!!!!

When I was young Memorial Day was called Decoration Day to honor those who have fallen in battle so we could live free and enjoy the good things about our country. There are numerous attacks on our freedoms these days and it may be because our citizens have forgotten what a price was paid for those freedoms. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have given their lives for the freedoms we have today. They gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could live free in a wonderful country.
Memorial Day is not to celebrate BBQ or a day at the beach - just ask any veteran who has lost a friend or buddy in combat. Ask any parent, wife, husband, brother, sister or orphaned child of a military member who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.
These brave men and women gave their life for our country and the flag that represents our wonderful country. Don't disrespect the country, flag or the veteran who gave their all especially on this National day of remembrance or our brave soldiers. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE........


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Beware Of Wildfire

This was posted for our community by our association. We are in a very dangerous time with conditions as dry as they are.

FPLOA Email News and Updates
May 25, 2018
Extreme Fire Danger and Red Flag Warning in Forbes Park for the Memorial Day Weekend
 Our Fire Prevention and Control Program Director just received notification that due to the predicted wind and extremely dry conditions in our area, theComplete Fire Band that is already in effect in Forbes Park and Costilla County has be upgraded to a Red Flag Warning.
 Red Flag Warning means any type of outdoor fire or the outdoor use of any flame or spark producing device or equipment is strictly prohibited.
This warning also means that a fire is extremely likely and all residents and camper in the park should be vigilant when conducting all outdoor activities this weekend and remain alert for any sign of a fire, smoke, or the smell of smoke, and if detected, please call 911 Immediately, and then the Park Manager at 719-379-3000.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Missouri Volunteers

 A combined group from First Christian and the Presbyterian church in Madison Missouri volunteering for LaPuente in Alamosa came today and loaded two trailers of firewood. That will make many people in the San Luis Valley happy this winter when the temperatures dip to -20 degrees. 
 We are fortunate at our age that we can still harvest, split and stack our firewood but many can't and some can't afford the high price of firewood so it is provided free by LaPuente for those in need. It is a good feeling to share what we have an abundance of with those who really are in need. We heat with a wood stove and if we lacked firewood we would be very cold so seeing our wood go to others is a good thing. 
 We will not know who benefits from it personally but knowing someone is benefiting from it is all we need. LaPuente has good programs and worth of donations and volunteerism....



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cauda Equina


A new disease for us as we had never heard of it before. It is awful to say the least. Our 11 y/o boy Bozwell (photo above) had been normal all morning. He climbed the three steps to the downstairs bed two hours before and had been out in the yard acting normal. Ate his lunch and Carol was washing dishes in the kitchen and he laid down to watch her.

I was outside loading the tractor onto the trailer to take to the Kubota Dealer for a power steering hose replacement and Carol came out and said Bozwell wouldn't put any weight on his right back leg. I asked her to call the vet immediately and came right in the house. He did not seem to have any pressure points and when I moved his leg he didn't protest but she took him to the vet within the hour.

The vet took x-rays and checked him and said he had Cauda Equina which is a narrowing of the spinal canal where the bundle of nerves come out. By the time he got home he couldn't use either back leg and was falling every other step. The vet put him on prednisone and a pain Rx and said the swelling should go down in a couple days and we should see improvement. This is day one and we have only seen small improvement but we are hopeful for more tomorrow and the next day. About 50% of dogs recover and we hope he is in the 50% group.

I have never heard of this disease before. He has been resting for 1 1/2 days now and we fashioned a sling out of a large bath towel with a pee hole in it to support his back legs when he goes out for a potty break. (see below) No exercise for at least 6 weeks. This disease affects the nerves that control bowel movement and urination. So far so good!

The photo below shows the sling which is what Carol is holding up. We have used it twice today and so far with success.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mist Systems

 Check out the latest blog for Mother Earth News on practical uses of a misting system. https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/using-a-misting-system-zbcz1805
Very top is misting line run across front of house. Middle is the hose connection and water filter and below is misting head.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Homesteader Tip

We have insect problems here like most areas but our problems are usually ants. I let the dogs out to go potty and right by where they walk were swarming red ants. We don't use toxic sprays except when we have to deal with a spider that we can't handle, otherwise we do keep a can of spider spray on hand. We haven't used 10% of the can over the several years we have had it.

Yesterday I noted red ants on the hummingbird feeder and quickly found out they are ferocious biters. I grabbed the spider spray and sprayed the glob of red ants. As soon as I got the dogs back in the house I ran for the diatomaceous earth also known as DE. It is so fine that it floats in the air and is finer that talcum powder. The ants were all over the ground and I sprinkled it on the area's they were running around on and 30 minutes later they had disappeared.

I took a bucket of water out and washed away the spray I first used as it had done its job and I didn't want traces of it around. DE is microscopic diatoms that individually are so light that they float in the air but are devastating for hard shelled insects. The insect is positively charged and DE is negatively charged and the DE adhere's to the insect. The dead diatom is a hollow sphere that has sharp edges and those sharp edges lacerate the insect and they dehydrate and die.

We bought our DE from Wolf Creek Ranch many years ago. We bought a 6# bag and probably still have half of it left. A little goes a long way and we bought the food grade DE so if it got in animals system that it would not harm them. It can be given to dogs to kill intestinal parasites safely and also can be used in humans but to hard shelled insects like ants it is deadly. I have moved large colonies of ants with it.

We used it in the house one time and it is so light we were vacuuming it up for weeks. It floats through the air and gets into every nook and cranny and takes a long time to remove. Another reason to get the food grade type so if breathed in it is not harmful. When sprinkled around hard shelled insects you can see it attach to them. Within a half hour or a little more they will disappear to get away from it. DE is highly effective against insects.

Care should be exercised to not get it in your eyes as it could irritate them. I have asthma and I avoid breathing it even though non toxic. I don't want to take a chance it could irritate my lungs. If it is windy I use a face mask and eye protection. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

More High Winds

Two more days of high wind and didn't want to be outside as I have heard what sounded like trees falling. This one was hard to ignore however as it blew over and landed not 10 feet from the well. Looks to be around 10-11 inches at the base and uprooted. I moved it to the edge of the driveway and raked and stacked up the limbs. When we are in repeatedly red flag warnings we need to keep the driveway open. If the winds subside tomorrow I'll go do a survey of the rest of the property - otherwise I'll have to wait for it to stop gusting so strongly. Just to dangerous to be outside in high wind like this with trees coming down unexpectedly.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Drought

I know there are some who do not live in Forbes Park full time and only visit but this should interest all owners who have property here. We are located in the bottom center of Colorado where it is 'exceptional drought'. We are not allowed to have any open fire here under penalty of hefty fines and jail time. I have never seen it this severe in the twenty plus years we have lived here. Everyone I have talked to is very concerned over potential wild fire. We did not come anywhere near our average snow fall this year having only received 105" out of our average of 264".

There are signs of a long ago wildfire occurring in our area with occasional pieces of charred trees on the ground. We have been working for years to protect ourselves and our property against the inevitable wildfire. As can be seen by the map about 2/3's of our state is venerable to wildfire. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Happy 11th Birthday Bozwell

Today is Bozwell's 11th birthday and he will celebrate with lemon cupcakes and vanilla yogurt. Happy Birthday special boy.....

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Johns Crazy Socks


We have always thought it interesting to see past president George H.W. Bush in his wheel chair with these wild looking socks. As it turns out there is a story behind the socks he wears. A young man named John who has downs syndrome started a sock business with his dad. Recently he was on television being interviewed and his story told.

Carol and I saw the interview and Carol ordered three pair of socks for us. Here is the thank you card that John sent with the socks and he even put in a small package of Skittles to boot. We normally don't post web sites or promote products but this is for such a good cause that we broke our own rule about advertising on our blog site. The web site is: JohnsCrazySocks.com in case any reader is interested.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Smart Thinking....

 I had planned to donate these trees to the local charity but our association sent out an email requesting trees like this that had blown down be donated to them. They plan to mill the lumber out of the trees to build a firehouse to hold the pumping gear and fire equipment. I called the manager and they came and looked at the large trees we had down and they would like them.
I have owned three personal wood mills in the past 35 years and have milled a ton of lumber myself. I know what trees are desirable and which should be used for firewood. I have four ranging from 26" to 16" that are all straight and excellent trees to mill lumber from. Material is the most costly in building and they have volunteer labor so the cost to build the fire house should be minimal. Smart thinking.....

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Headstones

We purchased three headstones to mark where the ashes of our previous fur family were buried. They deteriorated within 6 months so we decided not to take another chance on buying them and made them ourselves. We have a store in Alamosa that sells pavers and sand and gravel. I went there to see if they had any that would make good headstones and voila they did. I bought 6, three for our deceased fur companions and three for our existing fur family.

I sealed them with clear exterior boat varnish, then stenciled their names on each, picked a photo of them when they were younger and glued it to the stone. Then put 1/4" clear Plexiglas on top sealed with exterior caulk. The irony is that all six of these headstones cost less than one of the purchased ones and are far superior. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Laid Back Sunday

Sunday morning at our home. Two are laid out resting and the third is sprawled out behind my recliner. Nothing like taking a doze in a sun beam.....

Friday, April 20, 2018

Finally Snow

 Six inches of nice wet snow.. Much needed moisture. Total snowfall for the season is now up to 103".

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Life In The Mountains

When living in the mountains things happen. Yesterday during high winds the power went out around 1:30 PM, and has been out until just a few minutes ago. The phones also went out when the batteries that were back up support ran down. We had high winds yesterday that were toppling trees and whipping 20" plus trees around like a blade of grass in the wind.

We have been in a wildfire warning area due to high wind and dryness for the past several days and it goes for the next couple days. No way to receive a reverse 911 call if a wildfire broke out and winds that were unbelievable makes for some tense moments. Carol learned that some people had to evacuate from Alamosa due to a wildfire there. In these conditions it doesn't take much to spark a wildfire so not having power or telephone - cell phone is spotty here in the mountains - was a time for concern.

We had a new box of 8 hour candles made in Germany on hand and we got out the generator this morning to run the refrigerator and charge Carol's cell phone battery.  After running for about an hour the power came back on.  When we have these high winds like we have had for the past several days the power can go off for much longer. Some people to the east of our area were out for several weeks last year when the wind blew power poles over.  We were prepared for the long term but happy it was only out for a day.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

High Wind Warning...

 We have had 50 mph plus wind today and we took a quick check and believe we have 12-15 trees  down. This one just barely missed the Jeep and well head. The warm weather has thawed the ground and the soil is too wet and weak to keep the trees from uprooting.

Mountain Sunrise

This is worth getting up early to see and special enough to share. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Wildfire Decisions

Check out the latest blog on making common sense decisions on wildfire mitigation at: https://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/wildfire-decisions-zbcz1804

Monday, April 9, 2018

Puzzle

 We have had a spring that comes from underground and it runs all year long. We noted this year that it was not emitting more than a drip so I went down to the head of the spring to see what may have happened. The rock in the top photo was into the hole pointed end first. It also had a tree limb with a boll on it next to it seemingly holding the rock in place.
As can be seen in the above photo the spring comes forth from a hole that goes back about a foot and it is about 8" high. Once the rock was removed and the limb the water started to flow freely again. We are totally puzzled by the rock in the spring and cutting off the water flow. We are wondering if an elk may have dislodged it and it fell in there or subsequently got nudged in there by another elk. Either that or someone did it on purpose but for what purpose would be a deeper mystery.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Contemplation


Climate Change:

Some believe in climate change, some don't and just assume the climate has always had its peaks and valleys. Living here remotely as we do we have time to contemplate weighty matters like climate change. While we process firewood we focus on the task at hand but it is routine and hence frees our minds up to contemplate things.
Having given this subject considerable contemplation as a non scientific person I have come down on the side of climate change. Whether it is temporary or more long lasting I do not know but I see it with my own eyes.

Evidence: 

Over the past two years I have noted changes in our weather patterns that are significant. We have consistently had more wind and stronger wind and less snow than I remember in my years here. The east and northeast seems to be getting copious amounts of snow and we who normally average 22' per snow season are barely getting any. The length of our winters used to extend up until the 1st of June but is now over late March or early April.

This winter we only received 95" of snow compared to our usual 264" average. We never received enough to go snow shoeing or to sled down our driveway. I only used the snow thrower on the tractor 3-4 times and the walk behind snow thrower two times. Each successive year I have been noticing a diminished amount of snow.

These conditions are hard to ignore and the weather pattern is clearly changing. More hurricanes, more wildly fluctuating temperature changes, and less moisture coupled with high winds. Whether the sciences call it global warming or climate change it is obvious (at least to me) that change is at hand.

The birds, animals and insects all instinctively seem to know and they adjust. Us humans just seem to roll on and if we suspect or know times are changing we tend to ignore it. The song birds are back early this year and the deer and elk really never left like they usually do through the winter. We are seeing insects earlier than usual and the trees are forming new needles and leaves far earlier than usual.

Time To Be Proactive: 

With the increased volume of wind coupled with warmer temperatures the only logical conclusion is that we may be facing a higher wildfire hazard in some parts of the country. Procrastination in properly maintaining our wood lots increases the risk. We have done so on our property but many have not. We feel more safe with what we have done but others seem to have ignored the risk. It brings to mind the story of Aesop for Children about the ant and the grasshopper. http://read.gov/aesop/052.html

That story seems to still have application today especially with the changes in our climate that are observed by us. Some say within our community that if their investment burns they will not rebuild or come back. That is a sad commentary on society where even a major investment is now disposable. I find that a very sad commentary on society especially when other nations have so little while here our homes and land have become disposable.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Light Winter So Far But.....

 It has been a light winter so far but the markers that we bought for our three deceased fur friends less than one year ago did not hold up as advertised. they are coming apart by de-laminating and cracking. These were advertised to be more lasting but in 8 months they are falling apart. We are disappointed to say the least.
 So far we have only had 95" of snow as compared to our normal or average 264". Below is a photo of the last large patch of snow I could find. Hopefully we will get more snow but so far this year I have only used the snow thrower on the tractor 3 times. I'm thinking of taking it off and putting the front blade on which handles the wet snow much better.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Questionable Track In The Snow

 Anyone have any idea what would leave this type of track in the snow? We have no idea but it appeared within the past 2 hours and goes right under the deck of our garage loft.