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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.


Monday, March 26, 2018

Materials On Hand

We needed a level area for the garden box and as I looked around there was none to be found without moving some dirt. Living on the side of the mountain there is no shortage of rocks so I gathered a bunch of rock and stacked them solidly and set the garden box onto the rocks. The garden box is now far enough back that vehicles won't hit it and it is close enough to the house where animals won't bother it and it is convenient for watering and harvesting. It is nice and level so when we water the vegetables the water won't pool or run off.

Might as well put all those rocks to a good use. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Taking Advantage

We have been taking advantage of the nice weather to start getting our firewood in for next winter. So far we have cut, split and stacked about 2 1/2 -3 cords of firewood. If the weather prognosticators are right we should be getting some snow tomorrow night through Tuesday morning. It is getting up to 50-60 degrees during the day so it will melt pretty fast.

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: https://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Wildfire, 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: https://www.ready.gov/wildfires 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: https://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Wildfire. 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: https://www.ready.gov/wildfires. 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:https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/rodent-proof-raised-garden-box-zbcz1803

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.

Innovation

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

Snow

 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.