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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Angelo for President!

Support Angelo's Campaign and his Favorite Shelter! Go to this link to order a t-shirt...and be sure to check out the video!

A portion of all funds raised will go to Angelo's favorite shelter, Conour Animal Shelter-Upper Rio Grande Animal Society.

You asked for a candidate you can trust! Ewe asked for a candidate ewe could believe in! Angelo can not only herd flocks, he can also herd our country into the future!

Angelo's Dad is Leland Dirk the Author. Angelo co-writes with his dad. He has written several books including: Seven Dogs in Heaven, Angelo's Journey, Rainbow's Edge, 100 Days of Gratitude and Border Collie Haiku.

Connect with Leland Dirks-Author at and check out his books at

Angelo's favorite shelter is Conour Animal Shelter, which is a No Kill Animal Shelter serving Monte Vista, South Fork, Center, Saguache, and Saguache County.

Strong And Self Confident by Sakoieta

I have found many times in my life the best way to be able to help others in an appropriate manner was to first make sure that I was strong and positive in the ways I handle any situations in my own life. Understanding this then gave me the ability to help without enabling or taking some one else’s burden as my own.Several times the people who I helped became angry at this until they eventually realized that by my taking on their burden I was depriving them of their strength and spirit in being able to reason in a manner that, as a good counselor should, had them able to free themselves by using their own knowledge and power to do so.

Monday, July 25, 2016

More Photos

Delightful Children And Sponsors

 We had another group out from LaPuente today and this group was from Denver, CO. A Baptist Church group with youngsters from 6-8th grade. What an absolutely delightful group of young people. To all readers these young people were polite, hard working (very hard working) good humored and just plain fun to be around. These are our future doctors, dentists, business people, and other leaders. Having been around the young people all day I'd say our future is in good hands. It would be nice if we left them a good world to take over.
 These young people hauled around two cords of firewood and I never heard a single complaint, grumble or negative comment. These kids were nothing but a total delight to be around and it was touching when they all waved and said 'goodbye Bruce'.   I was sorry to see them leave and it was emotional to see them leave.  The work they did will go a long way to keeping people warm this winter. Little arms and legs lifting  and flipping logs bigger than they were and they worked so well together.
 This old guy was sad to see them go, they were that good to be around..
Another crew is due tomorrow and then Vince, Jasper and Chelsea will have served their year as volunteers and moving on to start their careers or obtain their advanced degrees. Somehow it just won't be the same without these dedicated people and we will miss them greatly. They will be greatly missed.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dealing With Past Experiences by Sakoieta

Life has always contained lessons to help us better ourselves as Human beings. Many times we don’t understand parts or any of the processes that took place to do that. We have both positive and negative thoughts about experiences of the past. It is and has been important to study these at different times in our lives until we understand the lesson that was contained in the experience and how it was part of our learning. Sometimes this is painful and because it may be too emotional we move away from it. When in reality we really needed to spend time working through that experience and gradually feeling our emotions change to where we can now at least understand how it changed us to become more aware, more vigilant, and stronger in thought, emotions, spirit and also physically.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hot Everywhere

I just watched the weather on the news and it is hot from coast to coast and that includes here in the mountains. Normally it is much cooler in the mountains (especially at 9,800' elevation) but not now. People come to the mountains usually to escape the heat but this year with the temperatures in the mid 80's during the day and not cooling off at night it has remained HOT. Houses in the mountains generally do not have air conditioning because it generally is not needed. Why install air conditioning for maybe a few days out of the year when it would be helpful. It is always cooler here with accompanying favorable breezes. This year that is not the case and the only relief is a oscillating fan. It is still and hot and dry.

Because of the elevation you normally work outside and walk slower. On our property everything is on a 45 degree slope so we walk slow anyway. Factor in the heat and it appears that you are frozen in place when observed by others. This is usually the time of year we do our major chores outside but this year it is too hot to do them. Instead of cutting 1/2 to 1 cord of firewood a day I cut one tree and look for a shady place to cool off. The dogs have no energy and this could easily be referred to as the dog days because they don't want to exert any energy. The deer and wild animals are active at night and bed down during the day. For once when we hear how hot it is in other areas of the country we know first hand because it is hot here too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Flycatcher Update

 Every time I go through the basement door I'm only about 8" from the nest and earlier today as I went down to get something from the basement there was mom in the nest. She and I made the usual eye contact and It was almost like I could read her mind. She was telling me she had finished her job and it was time for her chicks to fly and enjoy their freedom.
She was crowding the chicks out of the nest. Sorry for the blurry quality but I was taking the photos from sunlight to shade where the chicks were. There were three chicks huddled together like they didn't know what to do. As I stood there she would fly up to the nest and then fly away trying to convey to them what they needed to do. If that doesn't work she will stop bringing food to them and they should then get the hint. Kind of reminded me of getting teenagers out of the house. If they get the hint they don't acknowledge it and when they do more often than not they end up returning to the nest.

Tomorrow these guys will all be gone except maybe for one that can't get the courage up to fly away. Last year one sat on the shelf for two days before he/she got hungry enough to fly away. I can't imagine the exhilaration that little bird experienced when it realized it was flying and the freedom associated with flight. Another successful brood this year and it is always something to look forward to when the song birds return...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fly Catchers

We have watched this family of Flycatchers go from building a nest to having 4 tiny eggs to two of those eggs hatching. The little weak globs of baby birds barely able to hold their heads up to now getting ready to fly to their freedom. This family has nested on or under our deck for several years and it has been educational watching them raise their young each year. The mom keeps those eggs covered and warm with her own body and then the tiny babies are also kept warm until they grow feathers. Then the endless pursuit of food to feed them until they are ready to fly and be free.

What I find interesting is the babies or young birds will stay in the nest and be fed until the parents know they are ready to fly off on their own. When that happens the parents stop feeding them and usually after a short while the baby birds will fly out of the nest. Last year it took one bird two days before it was encouraged to leave the nest. When they leave the nest they don't return. The first few hours the mom and dad birds will teach them to catch their own food, and the essentials they need to survive then they are on their own.

Once they are on their own they don't return or try to return to the nest. Their newfound freedom is shown as they flutter around the house plucking insects out of the air. It is not only educational but joyful to see them take flight the first time and gain their coordination and freedom. Our two birds are ready to take flight very soon as the photo depicts. They are fully feathered and almost the size of their parents. When they take flight the parents will be there for them briefly and then they are on their own. Very fun to observe each year.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sugar Craving

 We have three of these feeders out for the hummingbirds and they are draining them with mind boggling speed. These little guys have a real craving for sugar water. Each feeding station is full and there are birds swarming around waiting for a place to feed. So far we have gone through what sugar we had on hand and a 25# bag and are into the second 25# bag. They start feeding when it gets light enough to fly around and until it gets dark.
Carol now spends much of her day cleaning and filling hummingbird feeders. We have mostly Broad- tail hummingbirds but a few Rufus also. When a feeder is empty they will let us know by coming to a window and hovering in front of it until they have our attention. They are not only little gluttons but smart also.

Friday, July 15, 2016


We are getting our firewood in for the winter after this winter. We try to stay ahead by one year as it gives us a jump start on the following year and also gives us a reserve in case of a very hard winter. We like to get our next winter firewood in early and then spend the rest of the summer and fall working on the following winter. We are pretty much there now so it will only take another cord or two of firewood. Exhausting work but well worth the effort.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

High Elevation Gardening

Check our the latest blog on high elevation gardening at:
I'm not saying that gardening at high elevation is any harder than other places to garden but it does present a different set of challenges.  Check out what two of the major ones are at the above link.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Pretty Time Of The Year In The Mountains

 We have a family of wrens raising their young in this bird house. When we lived in Tallahassee, Fla. we had a hurricane go through and it dropped 5 very large oak and pine trees on our house poking holes in the roof. When the hurricane was over I milled out the pine trees into wood and this bird house came from one of those trees. I was hoping to get a photo of one of the wrens going into the house with a bug in its beak but they were just to fast to catch them on camera. We have 9 bird houses up around the house and several of them house birds plus one flycatcher that has a nest on top of the electrical meter. Soon the nesting will be over and I'll be able to drop some large dead aspen trees for the rest of our firewood.
 The wild roses are all over around our property and they not only smell good but they are beautiful to look at. We have many flowers or flowering weeds coming up all around our property. There are columbine coming up in places we have not seen them before. Some people plant flowers and shrubs but ours have their own design and come up all over the property..

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

One of The Most Beautiful Places on Earth

We live in one of the most beautiful areas in the country. I have longed to write about our area for years but have refrained from doing so because it seems that some of the residents in our community can't seem to get along with each other. There are solutions to living with the disagreement that seems to have infected our area and still enjoy the surroundings. A few people who like to constantly stir up problems and generate dissension continue to give our community a bad name. Only because I know people who read this blog and are interested in this area am I writing so they may know that living in this community is not only possible but can be highly rewarding. I have always said that people who live in our area should not confuse friendliness for friendship. Living in a community where some try to keep dissension at the forefront requires carefully evaluating those around you and being extremely careful whom you trust or are willing to let into your safe circle.

Being confused over friends and friendship is not new and almost 350 years B.C. Aristotle was writing about friends and their characteristics.  He concluded that there were three types of friendship. One is based on pleasure in another's company (friendship of pleasure).  Another is based on utility or usefulness in association (friendships of utility) and the last is friendship based on mutual admiration or (friendships of virtue). Those friendships of utility are not real friendships because when the good for one and another ceases the connection is broken and they drift away from that shallow friendship. Those who have friendships of pleasure are only friends as long as that relationship is pleasurable. Both pleasurable and utility only last as long as the parties continue to be alike.

Then there is the perfect friendship which subsists between those who are good and whose similarity consists in their goodness. These type of friendships exist where each of the friends wants the best good for the other. These type friendships are rare and are what should be sought. These are the type of friends who like and admire each other in spite of all their individual flaws. Friends that fall into this category uphold each other in spite of differences and just flat out enjoy each other for who they are.

Most of the friendships in our community are of the former two; utility and  pleasure. When your use is no longer needed or one of the parties are no longer pleasurable, loyalties shift to others. In a fledgling community like ours there are many issues and challenges and that means loyalties tend to be in constant flux. If however you seek a friendship of virtue with others you will find that living in our community has its rewards. One benefit is not associating with negative people and being able to identify them. With all the nature surrounding us and the excellent temperatures it can be a good community to live in.

There are times when you may have to stand your ground with those who want to bring you down to their level but if you have your priorities right they are unable to withstand truth, logic and honesty. In fact, they will hate you for those virtues.

Prospective landowners need to enter the community being aware and realize that friendliness does not equate to friendship. If you mistakenly get in with the wrong people your continued happiness in the community can be fraught with constant fighting over nonsense and trivial issues. Some people prefer to try and destroy others because they are hollow people - lovers of self only. Those are to be avoided once identified.

When we do a Google search of our community there are the propaganda sites within our community and hateful people using a public forum to vent life issues and personality defects. That is not our true area and life can be pleasurable if you but enter carefully and test the water before you jump in fully. I publish topics that I believe people like to read about the good in our area but others for their own reasons publish comments that do not portray a good image of our community. It all depends on what you are willing to put into it and how you view friendship. I see no reason to write again about our community and each person will have to make their own choice having now been forewarned - choose carefully and be happy and enjoy the wonderful natural environment.  

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Safety First

I normally don't wear my hard hat when cutting trees because they are mostly small enough to push over or I have a steel cable and come-along on them.  Thursday a little voice told me to wear my hard hat while cutting trees with the folks from the local charity that was getting firewood on our property.

We had been avoiding a particular tree that had broken off in a windstorm about 8' up from the base with the top of the tree hung up in some other trees but clearly broken off from itself. We finally decided to get it down to keep it from falling on an animal or us so we put a strap on the top broken part and I cut the base off. We figured the guys pulling on the strap could pull it away from where I was cutting. As I cut the base off it tilted and the top half came loose and swung down and then separated from the other trees and fell back right at myself. I jumped out of the way but a large limb on the tree hit me on the hard hat. I only got a cut on my ear because of having the hard hat on.

I don't know if the straps tied together separated or if the guys couldn't hold the weight of the 15-16" in diameter tree but it ended up swinging down and then falling right at me. But for that hard hat I would have received a substantial injury I'm sure. I think I'll wear that hard hat more often when working with trees. Lesson learned....trees are unpredictable and hard hats save serious injuries.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reciprocity by Sakoieta

The one thing I learned in life through experiences of every kind and it has helped shape a way of living and relating to people everywhere is that there is a force in Natural law referred to as Reciprocity. In other words what action that a person, people or nation, put forth is an action that will snowball and eventually return to its source. So if we are sharing good and life creating thoughts, actions and deeds each and every day. that will eventually return to us as well. If we are on this earth to cause damage, hate, destruction, selfishness to people everywhere that to will return to us also in a greater form. So when I read of people trying to put forward good thoughts to all people I am reassured we still have good people in what is seeming to become a very negative world.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wild Flowers Are Blooming

 The wildflowers are blooming and here are some photos of Columbine, Indian Paint Brush and the wild roses are in full bloom around the house as well as violets and numerous other wildflowers or possibly weeds that I don't know the names of.

Putting Dead Trees To Good Use

Above is a photo of Bruce from Estes Park who is a retired professor from Xavier University. He was delightful to talk to and came with a group to harvest firewood for the local charity. You can read all about putting dead trees to good use by going to

If your area doesn't have a program like this it sure is worthy to consider.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Old Time Entertainment

Transistor radio???? Tube radio???? Who would remember such a thing? I do because that was my entertainment when I was a young boy. All us kids knew that we could wrap a thin copper wire around the antenna in the radio and then wrap it around a metal coat hanger and it would improve reception. Sometimes you would have to fiddle with the coat hanger but you could pick up a wide range of stations. I knew for example if I hung the coat hanger out my bedroom window I could pick up the Detroit stations.

Hence I was a Detroit Tiger fan and also a Redwing fan. Any young man worth his salt in those days could tell you who got hits the day after the game and who had what batting average. We heard games done play by play and names like: Al Kaline, Jack Feller, Johnny Groth, Jim Bunning and Harvy Kuenn. You knew their position they played, their batting average, how they fared in their last game and so on. Us guys would spend hours arguing over who should have played, who did play and how they did.

Gordy Howe was a common source of discussion during hockey season. We would pretend to be these guys on ice rinks and ball diamonds.

Today kids have smart phones, endless internet data and a variety of facts at their finger tips. Not so in the old days when you had to remember ERA's and other statistics but homework somehow never made the list. Those who actually did their homework did it listening to a small transistor radio. We would remind each other of game times and opponents. Ahhhh, times were so different then and I wonder with all the modern technology youngsters have available to them now if they really are better off. For one they never almost come to blows or wrestling matches with those who have a different recollection of statistics, or who made what play.

Little Hands Working Together

The charity from town came out today to get more firewood. It is always a surprise when they come because I never know who or how many will show up. Today Jasper and Vince brought a group from Denver. It was a Methodist youth group with 8 children ages 10-12 years old and their two adult chaperones. I had forgotten how it is to be around children this age it has been so long but these were truly great kids and hard workers. They were working in 85 degree heat and work they did. These kids did a job of rolling or carrying logs down and piling limbs for people in the valley that they don't know. Those people who will get this free firewood will have no idea some kids from Denver are the reason they are staying warm next winter.

One of the girls sided up to me and asked me "Do you know why the ghosts got on the elevator?" I said I didn't and she said "to raise their spirits". It was pretty much like that through the day..Kids are great - at least these kids were and they all worked well together. That should be about 7-8 cords of firewood so far this year. The children all worked pretty hard and I noted that when they left they were pretty spent. I told them that it made me feel good to see that they were walking and getting up from the ground just like I do. Same moaning and groaning. These kids came down from Denver to help people they did not know and they sure worked hard - their parents should be very proud of them. Tomorrow they will visit the Great Sand Dunes and I expect that they will be as tired if not more tired climbing the sand dunes. Every step you take in the dunes you go back a step so it is hot, exhausting and will wear even the most hearty person out.

We are glad to donate the firewood to those in need and it has been quite an experience to meet new people from different parts of the State plus work together with them. There are still a lot of good people in the world and thanks to the local charity many of them have come to visit and work with us.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Dead Trees

 Last time the charity was out to haul firewood we overloaded the trailer and it buckled in the middle. It was old and beyond repair so we bought a new trailer to use to haul firewood. Much smaller but also very light and it pivots so it can dump off to the side. The old trailer was so heavy I could barely lift it to hook it up to the tractor.
 The charity is coming out again early this week so I have around 20-25 trees down for them to de-limb and cut up for firewood. This time they will have to haul the logs down to the road to load and I am hoping they will carry the limbs down to the edge of the road where I can load them onto the trailer to haul away. Last time they left the limbs and it will take us a month or more to haul them down to be disposed of.
 Photo above and below are the dead trees that I cut up for them for firewood. We have only scratched the surface on cutting down dead trees.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Turkeys Visit

 Last night when I was feeding the dogs I looked out the window and there was a strung out flock of turkeys just outside.  Again this morning as I was feeding the dogs I looked out to the side of the house as I always do and they were still out there. When I took Sarah out they had vanished. Turkeys are good at doing a vanishing act. They were probably still there but behind a tree or some brush where I couldn't see them..

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fast Change In The Mountains

 Two weeks ago we had several inches of snow. After many false starts toward Spring and Summer we finally got growth and warmer temperatures. Things can happen suddenly here in the mountains.
 Plants start to grow as soon as possible and they grow fast. Our long season is winter and the other three seasons seem to all meld together as one. These are good before and after photos that show how fast we can go from winter to summer...
 The trees still produced leaves after a major hail storm knocked most of the leaves off a week ago.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Providing Free Firewood

So far we have had three groups come from a local non-profit that helps the homeless. This is a photo of Bruce a retired college professor who came down with 8-9 others from Estes Park to work for a few days helping the non-profit meet its needs. This group of people were an absolute delight and fun to work with. Bruce is 80 years old and still does his share to help others.

These are some more of the Estes Park group. Yesterday we had a group with three sixteen girls that were giving their time to help others but carrying firewood. These delightful young ladies were rather slight and were pulling and flipping logs that were as heavy as they were. This group came from Boulder, CO. Today we had a third group that is from the non-profit and again what delightful people to work beside.

So far we have managed 6 cords of firewood and hope to provide at least 20 cords before the end of the summer. More if possible. Last winter we cut and provided about 12, and hopefully this year we can provide more to this very worthy non-profit. Hopefully we will have more groups come and help cut and haul that firewood.  The volunteers all have one thing in common and that is a heart that is bigger than life to help others.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nature's Natural Controls

 We have an ermine that lives in the vicinity of our firewood pile and has been hanging around for the last two years. These guys are excellent hunters and work to keep our ground squirrels and tree squirrels in check.
 Last evening we observed an American Kestrel land on the front deck. These used to be called sparrow hawks. That would explain the feathers on the ground in places as these small falcons will eat other birds.
We have heard owls but they are hard to spot and we rarely see them. They will eat rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels. Our rodent population has dwindled considerably and we have not seen as many as we had previously. I fret because the rodents can devastate our garden if they can get into our garden boxes but it seems when they get numerous the predators move in and keep their balance in check. We had numerous rabbits and chipmunks as well as squirrels and now they are scarce and the one's we do see are always on the move.

Nature has a perfect way to achieve balance and we are now in the controlled balance phase. Soon there will be little for the predators to feed upon and they will move to more fertile areas but right now we are observing nature at its best in keeping balance.

We are concerned over our little hummingbird - Henrietta and also the fly catchers  that have built their nest on top of our electrical box but we will not interfere with nature. We would be saddened if either were claimed by predators but that is simply the cycle of things and nature will have to take its course.