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Thursday, April 17, 2014

April 17, 2014

down the driveway........

and coming back!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Is Holding You Back by Sakoieta'

All people face limitations of some kind. But how do we define a limitation? Is it something that tells us we absolutely cannot do something and so should never try or is it something we define as a temporary obstacle that can be removed when we put our mind, body, emotions and spirit into looking for other methods to get around this obstacle. Some one will always step in and tell us we are stuck with this thing so we may as well get used to it. I don’t believe that. We need to always test any perceived limitations and keep testing them. Refuse to listen to the voices that keep saying can’t be done and let nothing every daunt your desire to keep trying.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Five Seasons In The Mountains

There are five seasons in the mountains and you can read all about them in the latest blog at:

Our road used to be very usable but the grader came down our road when 14 inches of snow had melted on it and now it is in this condition. The grader scraped off the little road base we had and left us nothing but mud. Normal well maintained roads do not look like this but when you grade them flat, push the road base off the edge, and drive heavy equipment on the softened roads you end up with this.

When we asked to be put on the road base list we were told we were complaining about muddy roads in mud season. That only came after 5 requests that went totally ignored. We were complaining because our road had been destroyed and we were left with mud when we had a previously good road. Some people can't understand without getting out my paper and crayons.

It seems to me it should be a crime to take a perfectly good road and in one careless moment destroy it and then make excuses why it is like this but none attribute it to the actual cause, negligent operation of a piece of road equipment.   

True Freedom by Sakoieta'

Our lives were meant to be free and unencumbered with heavy unnecessary loads for us to carry and cost us a great amount of time money and effort. It was meant for us to be able to live life and enjoy the gifts we bring to this earth and to enjoy our passions that help to enhance our lives, but somewhere people have forgotten that. Many now spend their lives in service of their passions having to pay and pay dearly in time, effort and money because their thinking has been that is how life should be and at times that is what they have been taught. Yet they still maintain they are free?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Labels - By Sakoieta'

Labels have the ability to limit our understanding of who people are. As soon as we are told the label that people fall under we automatically assume we know everything we need to know about them. We need to get beyond the labels and respond to the person if we are ever going to have relationships of value and worth. As well people need to put the labels aside in many cases and refuse to adapt their life to the label and all the wrappings that go with it so that we can get the opportunity to know the real person hiding behind the mask of a label. True friendships and relationships meet on common ground with just the desire of two or more people to be friends and not on the names and labels society would give them. They become, simply put, just good friends despite anything else.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Payback By Sakioeta'

Too many people forget to remember that in life there is constant reciprocity. For everything we receive there is a payback of some kind that must be made. Our methods of paying for these things vary from what is sometimes something that is very emotional and to sometimes what is quite literal. I often see people fight for things that are not worth the effort, time or money and then they let the beautiful moments slip away without a word or even a thought. The thought of failure haunts us and we groan because we cannot beat or shape life into something that had no life in the beginning. We are like the little bird that sees it’s reflection in the window pane and beats their wings against time and again because we try to be competitors and not realists.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunday morning, April 6, 2014/Carol

I stepped out the back door yesterday morning to take these pics. Around 14+ inches of nice wet snow. Hooray!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life Experiences And Lessons - Part Three

Having trained the employees  it was now time to depart. I sort of gathered from my bosses closed door that others in the office were not happy about my departure. My secretaries were having fits of crying and silence and I believe his life was becoming more and more troubled. It probably didn't help matters that a cluster of secretaries followed me to the elevator all crying loudly. Another supervisor had come to our office from a company that he claimed was the best company of any - bar none. He drank himself out of a job there and when I left he called the state manager and told him about me. I was called in for an interview and the next thing I knew I was working for Ohio Casualty.

That one single event changed my life dramatically. I was working with a bunch of highly skilled professionals at OC. It was not dog eat dog like it had previously been but now a team working together in unison. When I was claim manager for Hartford in Gainesville, Fla., Hartford had a motto that “we pay what we owe and not a dime more nor less“. Ohio Casualty was actually doing this, without having it as a motto. Clearly it was the outstanding company Jim described to me. I was sent to Tallahassee and told to run the company there just like it were my own. I had total freedom as well as policy limit authority and the company prospered while I made many N. Florida friends in the process. I was back to doing what I truly loved and that was helping people and treating them just like I would want to be treated if the situation were reversed. It is said that God doesn’t close one door without opening another. That was sure the case as my life took a dramatic turn for the better. No stress like I had left behind. My previous home office supervisor with the company I was fired from fell over dead with a heart attack at his desk. Stress was the norm with that company but OC was more family oriented and laid back.

I came out of this situation a stronger person and Ohio Casualty is the company I ultimately retired from. It is now part of the Liberty Mutual Group of companies and I can say Liberty Mutual made a very good choice. I made good friends in Tallahassee and that is where I met and married Carol. Our friend base was considerable and many of those friends still keep in touch with us. Working for OC freed me up to participate more in our church and other activities. That one episode taught me to rely on the Lord and it set my life on a totally different direction and a much more positive one. It also enabled me to actually achieve my life long dream of retiring in the mountains. I was able to travel around the country in the course of my duties and focus on the more difficult claims. The changes that occurred from that request by several state legislators totally changed my life. Not for the recognition of drafting a new wage law but far different from what I could ever possibly imagined. I have kept that law drafting episode pretty much secret until recently. Several nights ago I dreamt of it in vivid detail and figured maybe I needed to write about it as it may help someone else going through a similar situation. If so whoever you are you may be in for one of the most enjoyable journeys you could imagine.

So the lesson learned is when life knocks you down just get back up and move forward. Take the hand of the Lord and if he turns you in a new direction don’t resist as He has things in store for you that you could never imagine. One single traumatic event  put my life on a course that gained me more than I could ever have hoped or dreamed for.  Prior to that event I had been very confident, driven and self absorbed. That one event totally changed everything for me and set me on a far better path that has left me some fond memories. When I look back on that time period I can see with clarity how my life took a 180 degree change for the good. Perhaps the case could be made to not work for an insecure boss but this boss due to his insecurity did me one huge favor.

There are many more lessons that could be stated here but these are the most important ones in my opinion. Never in my wildest dreams would could I have suspected where that invitation to meet with our legislators  would take me. Strive hard to be the best you can and treat people along the way with respect because you never know when those people will re enter your life to help you out in the future. I’m pretty sure I know who recommended me and I will be forever grateful for their confidence and trust.    

Friday, April 4, 2014

Life Experience Part Two

In part one I wrote about the task we had been handed and being co-chair of a committee charged with that task of drafting a totally new conceptual workers compensation law for Florida. Having put the final law and product behind us and not hearing anything for a very long time we assumed our draft had been archived in the deep recesses of the legislature. Then one day a legislative courier came to our office and asked to see me. The receptionist said she would deliver the package but he insisted he was to give it only to me personally. Our regional managers office was adjacent to reception desk so he over heard the conversation. It is not every day a legislative courier hand delivers anything to you so this was an event. I opened the package and there was a fresh copy of the new workers compensation law. I dug out the one we had submitted and laid them side by side and went through every word and sentence. They had passed our proposed law without a single change or comma. It was exactly the same as we had submitted. I was dumbfounded and notified my committee members but they had also received a copy. We were stunned - exactly as presented and it was an overwhelming vote that passed it.

My boss didn’t say anything for a few days about the courier but finally he couldn't wait any longer. He had his own immediate problems inasmuch as he personally recommended our company buy a small company in Alabama. I had offered to check their claims because that can tell a lot about the stability of a company. He refused and when our home office staff suggested he let me review a sampling of their claims he said he had already checked a good sampling of their claims and they were good..  We bought the company and almost immediately problems were noted. Suddenly several boxes of claims were stacked in my office to review and report to the home office supervisor. I went through them and found what is referred to as stair stepping reserves. A highly dangerous practice which gave the company a completely false financial presentation. When I told our home office personnel what was going on my boss had problems of his own and was not happy with my report which he would rather I not make. When the proper reserves were established the company was a complete loser and Mr. boss was on the hook trying to explain how he could have missed this defect. Stair stepping is illegal in most states.

He then called me into his office and asked why a legislative courier would deliver something to me. I could have lied but that is not my nature so I told him the truth. I told him it was a new workers compensation law that I helped write as co-chair of a special secret legislative committee. He was livid, fired me since he did not feel he could trust me any longer since I had not told him. I didn’t tell him because I was told not to but didn’t trust him either. We kept our work secret even after we finished drafting the law and up until recently. Who would believe us anyway since we had no proof or our secret work? None of us were really looking for recognition anyway, we did the task asked of us and let it go. He did ask me to remain until I could train all the other employees on how to work with the law which I felt strangely obligated to do. He was the type manager who hired the best personnel available and then when they demonstrated their talent and skills he would feel threatened and find a reason to fire them. I was also tired of interviewing highly skilled employees for him and then in a couple years watching them go out the door. Now I was one of them going out the door too.

Now when I think back on it I sometimes wonder if it actually happened.  16 people working in secret for weeks and no record of what we did. Florida now does have a wage loss law that totally changed from the original law and is so different that the old law seems ancient. I can’t even guess how many have benefited from that new law. Every one seemed to like the law but the plaintiff lawyers who tried to make the law fail but the law was to solid and the gravy train slowly ground to a halt. They could still get a fee but the insurance companies had to fail to properly apply the law.  What was even more ironic is that workers compensation was not one of my best areas of expertise. I was more than proficient in WC law but far from an expert. It did give me a chance to rise to a level that I had never known before. I spent a lot of time in research and was thankful to have several very professional lawyers on the committee to make sure we did drafting the law right. .

In part three I will tell of how this  single occurrence changed my life for the better and the lessons I have learned.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

true Life Story - Part One

It was mid 1970's and I was working as a regional claim supervisor for a large national company. I was supervising 5 southern states and had all I could do without more responsibility added each day. I received an invite from several Florida legislators to meet at a downtown hotel in Orlando. When a group of state congress persons invite you to a private meeting you don't say no so I went as scheduled. There were about 16 of us present. We were told that they wanted to change our workers compensation law to a different type of law they had heard about. We had an indemnity type law that had a fixed schedule of compensation depending on the type of injury and they wanted to embrace a new law that only existed in Wisconsin and Kentucky. It was called a wage loss concept law.

They had done some checking and those present were highly recommended by industrial judges and others in the field. They had been flooded from proposals from the AMA,  bar assoc. and insurance industry that did not come close to what they actually wanted. They were inundated with bias proposals and wanted a law that was fair to injured employees, employers and the insurance industry. If we agreed to write this law for them we had to swear to total secrecy and not tell anyone even wives or highly trusted co-workers.  They did not want us influenced by any outside source. They appointed myself and an attorney as co-chairmen of the committee and divided us equally. The task was to go through the law item by item and then the attorney and myself would sit down together and negotiate or agree on the final result. If we couldn't agree it went back to committee for a more favorable drafting.

I assigned each of those on my half the committee to take a section of the law and revise it to the wage loss concept. Since it was new I had to research the concept and educate my committee people. Once done we started on page one of the law and completely rewrote it one section at a time in secret. We started by changing the name of the law from Workman's Compensation Law which it had been from the 30's to Workers Compensation Law to be more inclusive. We cut out all the scheduled payments, changed the medical treatment provisions and cut out attorneys fees unless the insurance company failed to provide a service as prescribed by our new law. We changed the law to a broader based law that provided more uniform benefits to employees on every level. After weeks of hard work by our small group working in secret we hammered out a totally new law with broader benefits, more simple to follow, and what we were asked to do. I had the new law typed up and prepared by Elsie a female lawyer in Daytona Beach, then I personally hand carried it to my legislative contact Fran Carlton. We did not hear back and finally pretty much forgot about it. But that is not the end of the story - only the beginning of something that totally changed the direction of my life. More in part two and the lessons learned in Part three - the final chapter.

This is not a brag, but simply a time in my life that I have not spoken much about until now except for a handful of close friends. In our current culture and work environment the lessons learned may be of value to others and it is time to talk about it. I was a hands on supervisor and went to most all of the hearings and even appeals. Hence I knew several in the industry and they knew me from years of working together.  That played a large role in ending up doing what I did. Florida needed a fair equitable law that would benefit millions of workers and we took on the task - just 16 of us in secret.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April First Sunrise

I'm sure folks are getting tired of my posting sunrises but you will just have to put up with it for a while as I can't help myself. Our sunrises are always so beautiful here in the mountains I will never get used to them and want to share them with others. It is just a wonderful way to get up in the morning and certainly worth getting up for.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Someone Has Trouble With The Truth

 In 17 years our road has always been a good passable dirt road - until this year that is. I ask the association to put us on the list for road base since they have scraped what was on our road off leaving nothing but clay. I could have gotten a better response if I had asked for their first born. After 14 days they did come and drag their blade down the road to even out the ruts and smooth the mud. They said we only had a "little" road base off our road and our road was as good as anyone's road. As I went out this morning while the roads were still frozen I noted that the road committee chairman's road was very nice. As I passed the board chairpersons road it too was nicely groomed. The above photo shows the piles of what used to be our road and with Carol standing at the edge of the photo you can see the road base piled 3' high.
 This is one of those ruts that they "fixed" for us.  The bottom photo shows the result of many ruts where the road becomes a bog when it thaws. Never in 17 years has our road every been as bad as it is now... Something we consider very negligent and sad. What is worse is that those in charge of our association look past the damage and tell us our roads are good compared to theirs.  Yeah....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waste Not - Want Not

 Very little goes to waste at our home. I even save the saw dust from projects for this time of year when the snow melts and leaves soft spots on the ground. I wait until the ground is nice and wet in the late afternoon and spread the sawdust. It soon soaks up the moisture on the ground and stays in place until it is worked into the ground.  Sometimes I save wood chips from mulching limbs and use those but the saw dust seems to bind with the soil better.
The spot on the left was a large rock that I kept hitting when I cleared snow so today when it was loose I pulled it out, filled in the hole with mud then packed on the sawdust. Voila, newel post is fixed for Christmas Vacation fans...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Sign Of Spring

Many years ago we went to a craft show and saw the above triangular glass hanging bauble with a prism inside. We had no idea that when we hung it in our front triangular window that it would be our own springtime indicator. Our home faces NNE and the sun hits it just right in spring and it radiates rainbows all over our living room.
Today is the first day of spring and sure enough there were rainbows on the wall. I couldn't get a photo of them as the flash washed them out of the photo, but our little bauble sure is accurate and has been for many years now hanging where it is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Our View Of Sunrises

 I hope I never get tired of being witness to the spectacular views we see so often from our front window. These simply just take your breath away and they are almost every morning. When we first moved here almost 18 years ago I asked many who had grown up here if they ever got accustom to the beauty of the mountains or the area. The universal answer was it never got old and the awe and beauty is as exciting today as when they first saw it.
These were done with my little Cannon Power Shot camera so imagine how they would look with a more sophisticated camera. If you click on the photo it will enlarge and give you a better view...Enjoy our morning view. Clearly sights to get you out of bed early to see.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A New Day Is Dawning

While our sun rises here in the mountains may appear to be similar they are all quite different.  It is beautiful to witness this most mornings.  So I thought I would share ours in case you don't have one this pretty or if you may have over slept.. Happy St. Patrick's Day to ye...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dirt Roads

 Our road used to be  not only passable but not muddy. That is until the road maintenance operator decided to remove snow with a heavy piece of equipment when the temperature had risen to 45 degrees and the snow had melted and softened the ground. This is the result of compound negligence and having a mission that you were going to complete come hell or high water.

In the past the operator when the roads became soft waited until night to work on them when they froze.  17 winters here and NO one has ever done damage to our roads like this. Have requested they be repaired but the association leadership hasn't replied. Pretty embarrassing to have to reply when this level of ignorance occurs.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Three Day Rule

Letter writing is almost a lost art now days with email, tweet and cell phones with their texting capabilities. Everything is instant and immediate. I still like to get letters and I have a few old friends that I still mail them to. When someone writes you a letter you know that person has taken time from their busy day, thought of you, and put their thoughts down on paper. As I have become older my handwriting has suffered and I now use the computer to compose my letters. What is the sense of sending a letter if the person at the other end can't decipher it. I draft them, then go though them again and sometimes a third or forth time to make sure they are representative of what I want to say.

There are the form letters we all receive from different companies or entities who want to sell us something or get us to vote a certain way. For the most part they are just exploiting the art of letter writing making their letter fit all sizes and shapes. There is nothing personal about getting a letter like this.

But a person who sits down and writes to you personally and articulates their thoughts without the text jargon and tweet limitations and then puts your address on it, affixes a stamp and mails it to you is a special gift when you go to the mail box. That letter is also something that you can set aside and read over and over. I found this out when my good friend Tony passed away. His son wrote me and told me Tony had saved my letters about our lifestyle here in the mountains and when his children came to visit him he would pull one of my letters out to share with his kids. Hand written letters don't wear out.

So what is the three day rule mentioned in the title? Well, when I mustered out of the military after serving two hitches I went to work for Hartford Ins. Company. My first manager - Ed - in Ft. Myers, Fla. had a three day rule on letters. It impressed me as having much merit so I use it to this day. His rule applied to letters that the recipient might find fault with, not fully understand or could be offensive. It actually applies to any letter. Ed would set that letter aside for three days. On the third day he would re-read it and if he still thought it accurate and representative of his thoughts he would send it. If it wasn't exactly the way he wanted it he would re-do it and let it sit for another three days. If he decided it wasn't needed he would just throw it away. I have found that to be a good rule in this age of instant communications. When you send off an email or text it is instantly on its way and you can't get it back. If it is not fully representative or done in haste it is too late as its already gone. The old way of letter writing has its benefits and you could look over your thoughts and product and change it if necessary.

It is always a special treat to get a letter from an old friend and so if you haven't done so lately I suggest you sit down and pen your thoughts to someone you care about or love and set it aside and review it in a day or two and if it is an accurate reflection of your thoughts, address an envelope, stamp it and put it in the mail. The person at the other end will appreciate your taking time to connect with them and maybe an old system will be revised in the process. Maybe you will get a letter back and you will know the happiness of being a recipient of a letter. Maybe old fashioned letter writing is a way to let that special person know you are thinking about them and took time out of your hectic day to communicate with them. There are some things from the past that still have tremendous value and letter writing is one of them.


Sunrise In The Mountains

 Sunrise in time lapse about 3 minutes apart. We have some beautiful sunrises here in the mountains. This is the view from my recliner each morning and worthy to share with readers.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why Do We Hurt Those We Love? - by Sakioeta'

All of us at times have faced or will face hurt, feeling betrayed or dishonored from those we love and care about. The reason those we love have so much more power to hurt us and the reason it seems to hurt so much more coming from them is because we are open to them. When we trust in full confidence we are without the usual protection we keep around us for those we do not know or trust. But unlike some people who keep taking the hurt and excuse it by saying, "but this is my son, or daughter or some other relative doing this and I love them." Never accept words meant to hurt because they are the responsibility of the speaker not the hearer. When you are caught off guard, we need to hold our emotions in silence for a moment and be still so that our words are not words meant to hurt or cause damage either. Time will allow us to deal with things properly and to deal with them as they should be addressed and dealt with.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Where Else???

Where else could you wake up to 11 degrees F. temperature and 7 hours later be sitting on the deck in 50+ degrees?  Colorado would be a good choice. Yesterday we were clearing 14" of fresh snow and today we sit on the deck in shirt sleeves enjoying the grand temperatures.

Clean Fresh Snow

 My small digital camera just doesn't depict the millions of tiny sparkles that the sun reflects off in the new clean snow. Anyone who has ever seen the sun refract off snow flakes knows how breathtaking it is to witness this awesome sight. Sadly my small camera won't pick up this spectacle and detail.
New fresh snow (14") makes everything look so fresh and clean. The tree debris, yellow snow are all gone for a while and freshness replaces it. The tip of the small tree in the fore ground is actually about 8' tall so our snow piles are starting to grow..

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Choose Wisely

We were told that thalidomide was safe but it turned out it was subsequently taken off the market because it was linked to birth defects. Babies were being born deformed and without arms and legs. Then we were told that DDT was safe and it was widely used and they even fogged neighborhoods with it where it would drift into your home and smelled everything up for days. It was later discovered that it was not as safe as indicated and in fact was depleting the bald eagle and peregrine falcon to near extinction. 

Then they said that 2,4,D was safe and it was contained in almost every herbicide and was the major component in 'agent orange' which killed so many of our veterans with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after they survived the shooting war. Current studies have revealed that is has carcinogenic properties and has infiltrated our domestic water system. But they say it is within acceptable quantities - they say. Recent studies reveal it is linked to several forms of cancer and the EPA has now required it be re-registered. People still use it without paying a bit of attention to the directions in super fine print because they would rather kill weeds than protect themselves, other people, their children and animals. 

They said smoking was safe but subsequent studies reveal that it too causes cancer. 

We are being told that fracking is safe with virtually little risk by the same people who have been telling us other products and procedures are safe. They are dumping the chemicals from fracking in our oceans and say it is safe. People are still lighting their drinking water on fire but it is safe. Little is known about what will happen with those hundreds of toxic chemicals that are being pumped into the earth. Or the chemicals being leached or accidentally put in our rivers and streams.

We are being told that genetically modified organisms (GMO's) are safe. Yet they impregnate seeds with Round Up or 2,4.D, and what is know about that is that it has some carcinogenic properties. People ask to be informed on the package if the product has been modified. No they say, its safe so don't worry about it - trust us. Other civilized countries have outright banned GMO's from their country as being unsafe for its citizens. But we are being told it is safe and not to worry. That comes from the same people who told us other products are safe. 

So choose wisely because it seems there is a pattern here of being told things are safe when in fact they are not. Maybe by the time we find out how safe they really are it will be to late. Choose wisely..

Shoes To Tight? Maybe Time To Toss Them. by Sakioeta'

I personally believe in showing respect to everyone as a person, but people’s behaviors are another different matter. The truth is that certain people’s behavior affects us like a tight shoe that rubs our feet in the wrong places. We can try to ignore it until we are able to get to some place away where we can take the shoe off. But as long as we are wearing it the pain continues and eventually even becomes nearly impossible to bear. Hindsight is always 20\20 and we often realize how foolish we were not to handle the problem in a quicker manner. But we were often taught to deal with things like this by grinning and bearing it. To be kind and be nice. But when the shoe pinches and hurts and rubs us the wrong way our patience grows short. It would have been so much wiser to merely step out of the shoes and never wear them again. Some people are like that as well. Some people were never meant to be close friends or acquaintances and these people as well need to be laid aside and just stayed away from.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Respect Others - By Sakioeta'

I remember being told that some of our best characteristics should be to be honest, truthful, just and compassionate to and with other people. So I struggle a bit when I read or hear of how some people find it entertaining to watch someone bring someone down with a degree of innocence. I mean we are all free to pick and choose what we choose to watch and listen to but how many really admire or like to see such an act of treachery. What it must be like to get enjoyment out of manipulating and generally ruining another person’s life for pure enjoyment and entertainment really is beyond my thinking. So who do we trust or rely on? Well we can certainly start with ourselves. By weeding out our past negative emotions and desires where we were tempted to get even, we can become someone who can be trusted. It is a beginning and a responsibility.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Part Two Of Homesteading and Weather

Second part of a blog for Mother Earth News about living in the mountains and dealing with the weather.  Both Ed Essex and myself live in different states and elevations but our weather adjustments are pretty much the same.  Ed and Laurie have a web site where they offer advice and products for the homesteader whether you live in the boonies or a patio homesteader.  You can find their web page at:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pause And Refocus by Sakoieta'

Some times we just need to walk away for a minute and stop listening to the hard luck stories, because as concerned as we are, it is no good if it causes us to enter into a downward spiral in our thinking. Take a rest. Let it all go, because mind, body and spirit all need a quiet place to rejuvenate. If the spirit is in the right place the body can rest more deeply. Taking care of ourselves is a personal responsibility. No one can do it for you because no one else is going to do it for you, because no one can. If there is anything to dwell on that is happy, joyful or rejuvenating then think on these things. Give it the time it needs and see how it works.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weird Weather

Usually this time of year we are struggling with considerable snow. This year in mid February we are enjoying temperatures in the mid to upper 40's F during the day and low to mid 30's at night. Our snow is melting away fast. While this certainly can't last we are taking full advantage of it while we have it. As the above photo depicts the driveway is mostly clear and the road is as well. We have only received 95" of our average 264" of snow so far and time is running out for winter. We are taking advantage of the nice weather by removing dead trees that otherwise would be wildfire hazards. I can't remember in 16 years ever starting to thin trees this early in the year.

The east coast and mid-west have been getting all the snow and weather we usually receive. While I'm sure they would want to give it back we are sure enjoying the weather they usually have. Shirt sleeve weather, grilling outside and pleasant days and nights...Ahhh, right here in the mountains. It most likely won't last but while it does we are taking full advantage of this fine weather. Cutting down dead trees that are a potential wildfire hazard. Trimming limbs up 20' and tackling other outside tasks. We have gone two nights and most of the days without a fire in the wood stove. We have to keep reminding ourselves this is the middle of February and not June. Most years we are sledding down the driveway this time of year. If this keeps up we will have all our outside chores done before Spring.

Search Diligently For Wisdom - by Sakoieta'

There is a reason we need to search and then listen to wisdom and instruction when we find it. If we don’t it will be like the deer who pass silently by on the woodland paths we travel. Listen for the inner voice that will never be the source of anything wrong. We need as well to listen to how we use our words. Words are like seeds that plant a living garden or they can be like seeds that sprout weeds that are invasive. We need to stop when we put ourselves down. No human being is perfect-least of all those who believe they are. We need to give our self credit for what we have done right and even though that may have seemed like a miracle,  we can and will do things that way again. 

Friday, February 14, 2014


I usually leave the philosophical topics to my good friend Sakoieta' as he has far more insight and wisdom than I do. However, here is my attempt at senior understanding. A good example of bonding is the bond I have with Echo our German Shepherd Dog. I was volunteering for a dog rescue and got a call that he was going to be sent to a kill shelter as they couldn't afford to keep him and would our rescue be interested. After an exchange of information and photos, we agreed to accept him. I picked him up to transport him to the rescue three hours away. He was aloof and evasive the first part of the trip and would not look or come near me. After a while he decided I was okay and we shared a snack and made the remainder of the trip on friendly terms. I now realize we were bonding but he knew it long before I did. It was so hard to leave him at the shelter but I did. Since I qualified the applicants I wanted a very good one for him. The ones I sent he would not have a thing to do with. Finally 3 months later when he was destined to go to the next available applicant we agreed to adopt him. We drove up to get him and when he saw us he was excited beyond himself and immediately bonded with Carol and our other three dogs. He is the most loving and caring - attentive boy that I have even known. He had rejected other applicants as he knew we would come for him one day. I knew it to but not as clearly as he did. We needed to be together and the bond we initially formed was a life long bond.

The initial bonding has grown stronger each day and the love he shares with us and our other dogs is incredible to witness as well as our love for him. That brings me to the topic and the wisdom I have gained from Echo and our other rescue dogs over the years. When you reach out to a rescue dog and bond you are receiving far more than you could ever give or expect from the union. The bonding process is really important regardless of the species. Loving someone or something takes something special from within you and takes you outside yourself. Giving love when you don't know if you will receive love in return is risky but guaranteed when you extend that love to a rescue animal. So rescuing a pet is a very special act that tells a lot about a person.

More specifically I have noticed over my lifetime that those people happiest are the ones who can extend love and expect nothing in return. I have noticed many things about doing this and reaching out to another person or pet. Some buy a puppy from a breeder or pet store. Everyone loves a puppy as they are cute. But then when the puppy gets bigger or grows up and is no longer is as cute they no longer care for the dog. Their need initially was for and about themselves and had nothing to do with the welfare of the pet.  I have also observed that those who do not have pets, when they easily could, redirect that love to themselves or something like a possession which is incapable of loving them back. In our community I have noted that those who do not have pets to give their love  or concern to are for the most part unhappy people who substitute the giving and receiving love to causing trouble, bullying or trying to hurt or damage others. Usually those who actually can extend love outside themselves and whom they consider weak. They totally lack understanding why you may love your pets and either use your love to manipulate you or try to harm your pets. Some people are allergic to dogs or cats and can't have pets. This exempts them from my general observations.

Initially I was angry at these mean spirited people but have come to feel rather sorry for them. The only ones they have to love them back is usually themselves. I have also noted that many of these people attend one of our local churches seeking love and are able to talk the talk but do not seem to find what they are looking for and remain unhappy or pretend they are happy. I have also noted that some of these people do not possess the capacity to actually love anyone but themselves and prefer their self love. They are people who only have themselves to give them back the comfort they desire.

I therefore believe that adopting a pet is actually an act that reveals much of your character and capacity for love. Providing of course that you are doing it with the right motives and not self centered ones. I'm sure that some would disagree with these observations but these are my observations and I have found them mostly accurate. When people say that they trust their dogs instincts about other people I consider that a pretty accurate saying. Our dogs have rarely been wrong in their judgement even when Carol or I have been fooled. How you treat your pets and how they relate to you says a lot about a persons character in my opinion.

The above photo was borrowed from face book and depicts the special and unique bond between a girl and her horse. When you bond with another I believe you are required to reach outside yourself and risk potential rejection but still love and let it overcome any deficiency. So who really is the weak one? The self indulgent person or the person who risks and loves beyond themselves?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Collaborative Blog For Mother Earth News

I did a collaborative blog with Ed Essex about how the weather effects our lives in the mountains with Ed and Laurie in Washington state and Carol and myself in Colorado. There are a lot of similarities as can be seen in the above photo depicting Ed moving snow.
Ed and Laurie live remotely and supplement their income through sales on their two web sites. I have checked their site often and find Ed has products at a very reasonable price and high quality. If you can take time to check out his site you may find something that would benefit you and help Ed and Laurie in their small at home business. or
I hope readers find Eds web sites helpful and enjoy this article and probably two more editions...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Success - by Sakoieta'

Success, has always depended on a certain amount of staying power whether we are talking about business or relationships. What may seem to be remarkable ideas on paper or in thought may be colossal failures in practice if we are not committed to staying with what we do and who we are in any area of life. This is why there has to be more to us than just what shows. Whether we are building a house, or a business, a bridge, a life or a family, we have to have something to back up what we are trying to do. Most losses result from investing time, energy, finances and little thought in what looks good or may sound good but has little or no substance, a flash in the pan that dies as suddenly as it began. The strength of anything is to know it and ourselves, to give it strong moral character and to decide there is a principle to be kept that we will stick with and put our power behind without wavering.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Planning Ahead - Wildfire Mitigation

'It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark'.  It pays to plan ahead when you live in the mountains. That especially applies when you are doing wildfire mitigation. We therefore are cutting dead trees down and pruning limbs on live trees higher than we can get in the summer. I cut three trees that had died and were located next to the garage. If they had blown over they could have hit the garage and if we have a wildfire dead standing are powerful tinder so they need to come down now not when we are threatened We don't have them to contend with now and we have 6 dead trees remaining yet. 

It only makes sense to do wildfire mitigation now when it is cool outside and we can take advantage of the snow even though it is a little more difficult doing this on snow shoes. Last year we received 165' of snow or about 100" below our normal. This year we have received 94" to date and have about 90 days of winter left. That means that we will need to receive 2" a day to make our average or suffer two years of below average snowfall. Reduced snowfall equals increased wildfire hazard. 

If we don't do our wildfire mitigation now and end up receiving less than average snow between now and then we could be caught behind trying to catch up. So why not do it now and be as ready as we can? No particular reason I can think of. With our stone exterior, the mist system, trees cut away from the house and trimmed up about 20' high our chance of surviving a wildfire is highly increased in case we are unable to evacuate. When the snow melts we will stack the dead wood where it is not a hazard and mulch the limbs. 

This time of year we have extra time from moving snow so why not take advantage of the great outdoors and do our wildfire mitigation.  It is good to be out in the fresh air and even work up a sweat while working outside in the cool temperatures. It is also good to know that time in the winter that would or could normally go to waste inside is being better utilized outside. Still have two large trees to drop but they should not be a problem and will give me logs for milling when we get time and the weather cooperates.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day Break In The Mountains

 Standing on our deck we have a view of Mt. Mestas in the above photo with the pink morning clouds hanging over it. Then looking to the East we have more pink clouds suspended in the sky.
 Finally to the South we have the twin Spanish Peaks with the sun glowing red through the trees.  Unfortunately it did not come out as pretty as it was to the naked eye. My little Cannon Power Shot adjusts itself so I was unable to capture the entire beauty that we see here each morning as the sun comes up. (My friend Skip will recognize his utility trailer parked at the bottom of the driveway partially covered in snow)
It may be winter but the beauty reigns supreme in the mountains...