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Friday, July 3, 2015

Goldenrod Crab Spider

I have never seen one of these spiders before but yesterday as I was walking out with some friends I happen to look down and there was this beautiful spider. The bottom photo is mine and the other I borrowed from
Goldenrod Crab spiders are able to change their color over a few days and will bite to protect themselves. They sit in the middle of a flower and wait for an unsuspecting insect to come to the flower and then they jump and grab the insect with those long front legs and bite and immobilize the insect. 
One friend said the bite is poisonous however I have been unable to verify that aspect. I thought it was a unique color and interesting. Sorry my photo is a little blurry but it was watching me closely and kept moving around that blade of grass to hide. 
I'm not a big fan of spiders but thought this one was so colorful and unique it would be nice to share. I had never seen one before.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Little Buck Mule Deer

"Did I just hear that thing go click?"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meditation by Sakoieta'

The majority of people would agree that meditation is very helpful in many areas of life to help make sure we are on a good path to good health and well being in living life. But we need to make sure our meditation time is positive. Worry is also a form of meditation, but it involves meditating and dwelling on the wrong things in life. Instead of being positive it is a negative tool being used against positive movement and growth. It can be a force that moves us into submitting to possibilities that are not positive for us that normally if our minds are clear we would not accept. Our minds are simply not as sharp when our thoughts are filled with worrying about things.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Be sure to check out some of the blogs under the Favorite Blogs list in the right column. The newest addition is from Gypsy....

Colorado State Flower

 Today the first columbine bloomed. It is the state flower and in my opinion a very beautiful and unique flower. When they bloom we have them all over our property.
One of my personal favorites is the violet. It is tiny and nestled down in the weeds and ground debris. You have to look hard to find it in many instances. Colorado has abundant wild flowers. The indian paint brush in now in bloom and it is as radiant this year as I have seen it in years past.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Distorted Vision Life Lesson

Ever wonder how two people can look at the same thing and draw different conclusions?  If I were smarter I might know the answer but all I know is that it happens all the time and sometimes can fracture relationships, cause turmoil and dissension.
When I was living in central Florida many years ago my two sons and a neighbors son were walking over a couple blocks to a 7-11 store to buy a Slurpee. The municipality was installing new storm sewer drains along the road they were walking along. The 6 foot high cement storm drain had been laid for about a half a mile or so. The boys heard cries coming from the storm drain and they went to see what was making the noise. Turned out there were two little boys in the storm drain that were lost and couldn't get out. The two bigger boys each grabbed a leg of the smaller of the three of them and lowered him into the drain to grab the smaller boys. They were lifting the last one out when the mother showed up and commenced yelling at them and cursing them for putting her son  IN the drain. They went ahead and extracted the last child and went on their way. She commenced to call the sheriff and report the incident. The sheriff deputy came out and investigated by talking to the three boys separately and  was getting a logical and same story. That the small children said they entered the drain from near their house and their story coincided with the boys story.

We found out when the deputy came and told us what had REALLY happened and the mother instead of thanking the boys for getting her small children out cursed them out for the wrong reasons. The deputy said even though he told the mother what actually happened and that her own children said they had traveled for several blocks in the storm drain she refused to listen. He didn't know what else to do to convince her if she wouldn't listen to her own children.

I thought the matter had been resolved until the husband came storming our door later that day. I ran him off and called the deputy who went to him and told him what had happened according to his own children. He told the deputy that he was going to shoot my boys and the neighbor boy when they came to the school bus stop. The deputy told me what he said and advised until he actually attempted to shoot the boys there was nothing he could do. I sent the deputy back with the message if that idiot tried anything against my boys there was no where on earth he could hide that I wouldn't find him and he would die a very painful death. The deputy improved on my version and included himself as well.

He never tried to retaliate against the boys and moved from the area shortly after that incident but it shows just how some people can look at something and draw the wrong conclusion and then act on their misconception. I never knew why the mother jumped to the wrong conclusion and could convince her husband when her own children and a deputy were telling her/him what actually happened and it wasn't what she observed. Possibly because she let three little children out of her sight when the open storm drain was right there by her house. This could have proven disastrous but for the fact that the husband was more afraid of the deputy and myself than he was of seeking retribution. He actually should have been deathly afraid of the neighbor who didn't learn of what happened until it was pretty much resolved. He was the type who would have hunted the husband down and he would have disappeared.

 It goes to show however that people see the same thing and draw different conclusion. The life lesson is that when someone in authority and your own children tell you that you are wrong it might be a good idea to listen - question if necessary - but listen first of all before you act. Sadly enough that doesn't happen where people are willing to listen and determine the facts very often.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Lessons From A Cowbird


What could the possible similarities be between the cowbird and human behavior be? The cowbird is referred to as a brood parasite because the mother cowbird will find and watch the nest of another species of bird and when that species is away she will lay her eggs in the nest. Often removing the host birds egg or eggs. If the host recognizes they are not her eggs and removes them the cowbird will come and destroy the hosts nest. Usually the host bird will then hatch the cowbird eggs and the cowbird eggs hatch earlier than most other birds and grow fast and bigger. Hence the cowbird chicks will demand food from the host often at the expense of the host species chicks. 

The similarity: How about people who are 3rd or 4th generation welfare recipients as I found when I worked in Ohio. They don't work, their parents don't work, the grandparents don't work etc. They have learned the more children they can produce for the next generation of welfare recipients the more money they can receive from the government. They expect that it is the duty of others to care for them and raise their children. When things don't go their way they throw a fit, riot and destroy and loot those around them that have worked and prospered. They get free cell phones, food stamps, free or low cost  housing, free medical care, welfare checks on a regular basis heating subsidies and a host of other government benefits. The other species work hard and pay taxes and often go without so these brood parasites can live easy with no effort required on their part.

Some people truly need these benefits but as I would take a walk on my lunch hour in Ohio I found that our office was surrounded by these type of neighborhoods. those who need a hand up to put their lives back together should get these benefits. This is about continuous generations who strictly live off the hard work of others. When you would stop and talk to residents they would be very proud that they were third or forth generation welfare recipients. They would be out sitting on porches or lawn chairs all the time and drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. After walking by their homes frequently they would recognize you as a regular and talk and open up about their life style. They would wonder why we chose to work when everything in life is free. That is one similarity between cowbirds and humans and I'll bet with a little thought more could be recognized. 

Nature Soothes And Restores by Sakoieta'

Being out in the Natural World and listening to the sounds of nature, aligns us with a perfect rhythm that slows down our ever frenzied life paces and allows us to rest. Just being outside even for a few moments can and will change our whole outlook. Don’t have the time you might say? Then make the time. It is worth all the effort and the blessings and gifts received will last for many days that follow.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fibermyosis In Deer

Here is a blog I prepared for Mother Earth News but the system doesn't seem to be working so I have given up and will post it here:

A few days ago we had a deer just outside our back door that looked horrible (see photo). I obtained a few photos of him and readers will see what the problem is from viewing the photo. Since it is a wild animal it is hard to get any closer or have them hold still while you examine them. Thanks to some very good friends who viewed the photo and did some research we have learned that this is fibermyosis. I have found two web sites that go into more detail regarding this disease and they are listed under references. The data states it is non life threatening to deer and occurs infrequently. Up close it looks pretty gross and the deer in the photo had large sacs hanging off it plus a raw wound on near its haunch that was approximately 6-8 inches in diameter and appeared to be raw and bleeding.

None of the reports I have read on fibermyosis actually had very much detailed information on the disease and stated its origin was unknown or possibly caused by insect bites or a virus. The last time I observed it on deer and elk was approximately 6 years ago when our community was spraying 2-4-D Amine 4 to kill Canada thistle. At that time I would see community volunteers spraying meadow areas and sometimes within 2-3 hours following the spraying the deer would be browsing in the same area eating the sprayed weeds. I had speculated at that time that their skin condition may have had something to do with consuming 2-4-D Amine 4, but had no proof the spraying was in any way connected  with fibermyosis lesions and growths on the animals. I just assumed this because I had not seen animals in this condition before they started spraying weeds on our community’s 4000 acres of common land. Furthermore I could not locate any reports that indicated any connection between spraying herbicides and the condition I observed on their bodies. This appears on the deer like warts on humans but appears far more severe with sacs hanging off the animal and open raw sores.

After seeing this deer in this condition I checked to see if any spraying was taking place locally. I found that an adjoining community to the one in which we reside has been spraying noxious weeds with glyphosate or Roundup. Animals wander between our adjoining communities daily and having not seen fibermyosis on deer since the last episode of herbicide spraying I found this to be quite the coincidence and wondered again if there was any possible connection between spraying herbicides and the skin issue on this deer. If any readers have noticed a similar connection or have seen any study regarding the etiology please post in the  comment section that reference study.

It seems to me that spraying noxious weeds presents a conundrum of sorts. The state Department of Agriculture (DOA) mandates the killing of certain noxious weeds and the preferred method is spraying them with a herbicide. If the reports I have read wherein several herbicides are clearly toxic to humans and domestic pets it can only be assumed that they are equally toxic to deer and elk. Whether the herbicides would cause this particular disease in deer and elk has apparently not yet been positively determined. If it takes many years for these studies to surface relating herbicide spraying to human health conditions it may take decades for a wild animal study to determine if the herbicides are connected to fibermyosis or not; Coupled with the fact that wild animals are not willing volunteers or participants in any such study. Also wild animal studies are not funded as well as human studies. It would however be prudent to err on the side and caution and stop spraying herbicides in deer and elk habitat. Since there is presently no scientific study that connects the two it is unlikely that will happen.

The studies I have read on this disease stated that this disease doesn’t seem to bother the animal nor does it affect the meat or internal organs. Hunters can safely eat the meat of these animals that they kill. They don’t think that the disease is transferable to domestic pets or humans but can‘t state absolutely that it won‘t happen. The reports on this ailment seem non-specific as to cause and treatment. I also don’t see how those reports can indicate that an animal isn’t bothered by these sacs hanging off it and open raw wounds. Some of these areas may be like large warts but others would appear troublesome to the animal from what I observed.

I find the fact that the only two times I have observed this condition were the two times herbicide sprays have been used and it may only be totally coincidence or non related. When I looked at this deer it is hard to believe that this condition does not irritate the animal in some manner. There may be absolutely no connection between spraying herbicides and fibermyosis but if on the other hand there is a connection perhaps more care could be exercised to resolve the disease. If per chance we humans are causing this it is my opinion that we should rethink our approach toward killing weeds with herbicide sprays especially in wild animals habitat or where deer and elk browse.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Life Lesson From An Antlion

The lowly antlion which also digs its traps in soft sandy soil can provide a life lesson. It is also known as the doodle bug. It digs a concave cone like trap in the ground and then waits in the bottom for an unsuspecting insect to stumble into the trap and the harder the insect struggles it keeps falling further into the trap. The trap is designed so the grains of sand on the sides give way as it struggles to free itself and when it nears the bottom the antlion grabs it with its pincers and kills and consumes it.

Life lays traps like that for us as we navigate through the challenges we face each day. Wise people are able to avoid most of those traps but some fall victim to them. There are a host of traps we face each day. That drink after work with the guys can easily lead to addiction. That flirtation with the opposite sex can lead to infidelity, or that experimentation with drugs can lead to a downward spiral. Being involved in lies and gossip. Secretly working behind others backs to bring them down so you can look good. Being a tale bearer. Ect...

Carol told me about one of her acquaintances whose husband started smoking marijuana about a year and a half ago. It progressed to cocaine and then to crack cocaine all within about 18 months. She came home from work one day and discovered their bank accounts were cleaned out and her husband was gone. To bad he didn't know about the antlion and how it lays its trap and those who fall in spiral to destruction. Young people see a terrorist web site that glorifies a destructive life and fall victim to well presented lies and can't wait to join up to kill people.

The list now days is endless and there are antlion traps in every direction. People who are self absorbed taking 'selfie' photos of themselves all the time. Going through daily life with their head down texting and staying in touch with people 5 years from now won't even remember them. Teens struggling to be like all their peers. They all need to reflect on the antlion and see what they can learn from its behavior. They walk a hazardous path and the antlion traps are all over where they progress. If they fall into one they can easily be drawn to the bottom where that antlion is waiting to grab them and pull them into its chamber to consume.

Look at the lowly antlion and observe and learn to evade the traps that lie in wait for those tempted to seek a more tantalizing life. Once in the trap getting out is almost impossible. Learn from the antlion.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Judge Judy - Lesson In Justice

We are both watchers of Judge Judy a thirty minute television show where Judge Judy deals out justice her way. We have watched her segment every day from the first time it aired. Over the years we have enjoyed watching her bend the law or go to her own version. Perhaps we like her so much because she is the exact duplicate of a friend of ours (Joyce),  who has now passed away, right down to the no nonsense approach to people. I never knew there could be two people so much alike but she is for certain a dead ringer of Joyce.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from watching her show and you don't have to be a participant. When she determines one party has been wronged she will generally give the party who did the wrong a verbal tongue lashing and life lesson. She can wade through nonsense, lies and distortions to humiliate the strongest personality. She doesn't always follow the law but she always renders justice even when she has to bend it a little. She leaves con people shaking their head or hanging it when they are caught in their own web of deception. She is able to see through their subterfuge with 20/20 vision. She doesn't always rule the way viewers may like but her rulings are just.

After the particular case she has tried and she abruptly dismisses the participants and retires to her chamber they give the participants a few words about how they felt the case went. For the past few years the losers often say: "It is what it is" when they have lost. They look right into the camera and make that senseless statement. I have watched almost every episode and I have yet to hear a loser say the judgement was right because I did do something wrong and Judge Judy held me accountable. Invariably friendships have been broken, relationships broken, families fractured and still the losers won't admit guilt but either defend their case or say 'it is what it is'. All that in spite of the fact that Judge Judy has just given them an excellent lesson in morality and also the law.

Beyond her witticisms like "don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining" people just don't seem to after the fact accept responsibility. If they had done the right thing and accepted responsibility there would be no show but even after they have been told they still don't confess their wrong nor apologize. That seems to me to be a good life lesson that when you wrong someone and are called on it that you fess up and make it right before being forced to. Many of the cases involve coveting someone else's property or trying to take it for their own. I'm sure that Judge Judy is happy that there are so many dishonest and sneaky people in the world as it provides her a steady job. I guess the viewers should be glad too because they get to see her unerring judgement in action and hear morality lessons repeatedly. Apparently repetition doesn't work so well any more since people seem to eagerly avoid responsibility. This gal can cut through lies, cheats and deceivers like a hot knife through butter. If you watch her show see how many morality and life lessons you can pick up on.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Life Lessons

There are different ways to learn and perhaps this was best stated by Will Rogers when he said: "There are three kinds of men. The kind that learns by reading. The kind that learns by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

My wife and I started this blog many years ago with the purpose in mind to to pass on some of the lessons we have learned over the many years of our existence. Our good friend Sakoieta has been instrumental in passing on excellent wisdom and insight for us on this blog and we appreciate his contributions and look forward to future posts of his. We also started this blog for friends and family to keep up with our different lifestyle here in the mountains and the rigors of living as we do. The following blog by Sakoieta points out how as a society we have been deceived to believe we should all be alike and I am in total agreement with him. We share the sameness in many ways but mostly we are all substantially different. This subject has been on my mind lately and he expresses it very accurately and succinctly. 

I have departed or slowly gravitated away from life lesson topics recently due to personal attacks and bias criticism and in some cases outright aggressive and hostile attacks. Hence I have evaded the original intent of this blog and took the easy route by posting photos of animals and our basic life here in the mountains. I plan to return to occasionally posting observations, and life lessons so that others may profit from gains, mistakes, and experiences and possibly it will help them make more informed decisions in their own life. For others they will just have to pee on the fence. If there are personal attacks, undue criticism I always have the delete comment button and will exercise it. 

I will be posting in the future lessons learned from the tarantula wasp, the lion beetle and even Judge Judy as well as others. I still will post blogs on our mountain lifestyle as in the past but they will occasionally be interspersed with life lessons. Therefore if any reader wants to initiate a personal attack I suggest you just go pee on an electric fence because if your criticism, attack is not beneficial to other readers it won't appear in this blog. 

Differences by Sakoieta'

The greatest misunderstanding that has been perpetrated on human beings is that we have to all be alike and view things in life the same way. We are taught this should be necessary to be a part of organizations, cliques, armed forces, groups, political parties, etc. That is like asking people to reject the flowers of the field because they are different or the animals of the forest, or the birds of the air, etc. Life and natural law and the natural world teaches us to appreciate the differences we find in everything. It only shows how far, as human beings, we have wandered away from being part of the natural world and reality of life that lives in this manner.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Abstract Learning by Sakoieta'

In regards to education I have always believed that a good education is important. But with the understanding of becoming educated we also need to allow ourselves to be educated through experiential learning as well. It would be very sad if all we ever learned about trees, plants, animals, etc, came from seeing these in a book. True knowledge is also experienced by being holistically educated, learning to touch, see, smell, hear, taste, etc. This was the way of our peoples’

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Proud Tree Hugger

Check out the latest blog on Mother Earth News about environmentally sound practices in thinning tree and wood lot maintenance at:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Looks like this gal could  use a comb out!

In the dark of night....

Pretty baby!

New Bathroom Color

New revised bathroom!  We have been quite busy refreshing the house. When Carol decides something needs to be done it sometimes happens fast. A drive into Ft. Garland to the Post Commissary and the purchase of one gallon of interior paint, two paint brushes and a roll of masking tape. The living room wall and bathroom now enjoy a new coat of "Midsummer Dusk" Velspar paint and everything is suddenly different looking. The color is very close to southwest adobe color and with the stippling on the walls it does look close to adobe both in color and texture.

Crown molding is a cinch with left over lumber that was milled out last summer. Run it through the thickness planer and cut it however I want it. Put some Sedona Red stain on it and voila we have a nice finished bathroom. I do the crown moldings and Carol does the painting and the team of Bruce and Carol has a new looking house.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

We have an abundance of wild flowers and the first ones this year (except dandelions) are the wild violets. They grow so low to the ground that you have to look carefully to not step on them. Growing season is so short for wildflowers that when we get two warm days in a row they grow super fast and literally pop out over night. I guess the wildflowers know that if they don't produce their beauty when they have a chance that they may be covered in snow before they get the chance... I have always like the demure little violets as they appear so quickly and then they are gone for another year.

Personal Growth by Sakoieta'

We are always in a constant state of refinement and continued growth and sometimes it is very trying but at least we know that the next time we face any of these situations that we will know what to do the next time. Most of us resist change and cry, snort, and try to avoid it as much as possible. But growth and refinement make us stronger when we continue to learn and help us to recognize how weak we are when we just merely react to things rather than responding from having grown through experience.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You Never Know

 When we looked out the back door this morning this is what we saw. One doe bedded down right next to where we cook cowboy breakfast. Two others just grazing on the new green vegetation. We never know what we will see when we go outside. I believe she is still laying there as I write this.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Check out our gold prospecting adventures at the following link:
As they say gold is where you find it and sometimes in obvious places we wouldn't normally think of.
In the photo above is a small red square that depicts a piece of gold that came up in a spring from the ground. Unfortunately we had a hail storm and the hail dislodged the piece shown along with several other pieces.  On the prior clean up of the sluice box we did get a couple little pieces along with flour gold. Sometimes stuff happens and this time it was hail that took the gold down stream...

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Words Of Peace by Sakoieta'

Like a gentle rain our words need to be diplomatically put forth. If we can settle disagreements with gentleness and determination to do so in a manner where each involved has felt and been respected then why not? I remember one of our elders sharing that the greatest strength a person could ever possess is the strength and determination in all things to be gentle. Unfortunately some people like to have fireworks, loud noise, etc when they deal with other people. It takes more of valuable time because then peace and harmony need to be restored before negotiations can begin. It is hard to listen to angry words that burn the ears. It is hard to focus on returning to a peaceful manner yet it is so necessary for successful relations to continue. We have to work just as hard to practice this self discipline of being peace people.


When I saw this sign on Face Book it reminded me of a time when I was in high school and I had gone pheasant hunting with my brother. We were hunting on a farm that my uncle Frank owned. We were going from one corn field to another and we were crossing a pasture that had a single large tree in the center. My brother was quite a ways ahead of me and on the other side of the field was a ditch that spanned about 8' and then a barbed wire fence. As I was about half way through the pasture I heard this snort and looked over and under the tree was a bull throwing large clods of dirt with his hooves and snorting wildly.

It didn't take much to make me take off as fast as I could. At first I thought I had a comfortable lead on the bull but he closed the gap fast and I knew he was close when I heard and felt the ground shake behind me. I managed to get to that ditch first and launched myself to the other side in a single stride and then cleared the fence on the run. The ditch slowed the bull down enough that I barely made it to safety.

When I turned around that bull was tossing clods of dirt with his hooves and I swear his eyes were blood red with anger. From then on I gave that pasture a VERY wide berth. That bull was no one to tempt or mess with.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What Were We Thinking?

Henrietta a hummingbird that we have been watching for several years is perched on the feeder wondering why she ever migrated this year. She is always the first one here and the last to leave but this year she believes she is either way early or way late and totally missed summer.

Four Seasons In One Day In Colorado

 Where but Colorado could you have all four seasons in a single day. Earlier we were out in shirt sleeves playing horseshoes, then cut a few down trees working up a sweat and then we went to hail, snow, more hail and now it is snowing blizzard style.

The temperature dropped from the 50's to current 34 degrees. We are cutting more firewood as we have been using some we cut for next winter. It is looking like we may go straight into next winter. We have been been burning firewood from the end of September to present. Our chances for a garden this year have evaporated.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Trail Camera Photo

"Hey guys whats up?" "I haven't seen you here since last year." The date is not set on this photo and I'll have to fiddle with the trail camera one day to do that but this indicates that our deer are back. We had one lone pregnant elk cow out back too but she apparently was camera shy. She looked like she was about to give birth she was so big. I thought that they stayed with the herd when they gave birth but she was alone. The main herd was about a mile or two away when she was up here.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fog VS Clouds

 We watch the clouds slowly come lower and settle in the mountain meadows and then they start to slowly spread out and move up the mountain to where we are. We can see them coming through the trees and then it gets really dense.  We let our three dogs out to go potty in the top photo and you really have to look to see all three. They are not fond of the clouds either because they can't see very far and don't feel safe.
In the bottom photo it shows our detached garage but it is pretty hard to see in the clouds. Just as suddenly as they lower down and settle in they raise up again and the air is clear. In lower elevations it is usually fog but in the mountains it is just the clouds passing through.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Two Mountain ConsiderationsMos

Check out the latest blog on Mother Earth News at:

When people purchase property in the mountains it is usually when it is accessible in the summer or fall time. Then they are looking for a place to build their home and the beautiful vistas or land. Many do not consider that over the winter that same land had many feet of snow on it and where the run off goes when it melts. Check out the latest blog for some ideas on snow melt. As the photo shows our run off is sheet flow down our driveway. We have so many disappearing springs that they all can not be channeled off the driveway.

Also it is best to visit the mountains prior to a vacation or residence. Altitude sickness can be a real game changer for permanent living or temporary visits. Also a consideration if you plan to spend time at high elevation and it is best to know if you are prone to altitude sickness beforehand.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Over Run With Rodents

We have noticed that our resident raven has been around now for every day. These are highly intelligent birds and this one found the mother lode of chipmunks and ground squirrels at our house. We have chipmunks galore and the ground squirrels are all over the place. We also have owls around as I hear them hooting to each other at night. These birds need to get more on the ball as these rodents are multiplying rapidly. The chipmunks seem to claim the ground around the house and the raven perches on a tree limb in front of the deck to swoop down on one when it gets far enough from a place to duck into.

We need Mr. Raven to step up his game a little as the chipmunks seem to be winning this round.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15th In The Mountains

Yes, that is snow in the middle of May which is not all that uncommon at higher elevations. Notice how the driveway is wet from water sheet flow. As the ground thaws the springs open up and start flowing. We have more than a few springs that run for a few weeks in springtime. We have two that run all year long on the property. Others just bubble up at random places out of the ground. This is a good reason to have a tractor to repair washouts and ruts from the steady flow of water coming out of the mountain. We are about 800' in elevation from the top of the mountain and water runs down hill. Some years it runs so hard that where it comes out of the ground it will shoot up 6-8" high. I have traced the source to way up on the mountain so really there is not much we can do except channel it off where it will do the least damage. We have evolved to pretty good ditch diggers. It only lasts about two weeks and then it will dry up again. We have 7-8 disappearing springs and two full time springs that flow steadily all year.

Water is good and this should give us 30-40 days of wildfire protection. We have been taking advantage of the pleasant breaks in weather to haul our broken branches to the local burn site and remove fuel from our property. We work around the weather when possible. Ah, life in the mountains is just a minor distraction. This also explains why we like to get our firewood in at the end of winter. Like the weather forecaster on television just said: In the springtime in Colorado we can experience all four seasons in a single day.  We love it!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Morning View

 Sunrise is spectacular from our front deck. Good enough to share.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Planting Time

Withing the past week I have planted peas, kale, zucchini, carrots and lettuce. When gardening in the mountains at high elevation (9,750') timing is important. In real estate they say location, location, location... In high elevation we say timing, timing, timing. Sometimes the timing is good, sometimes bad. With the snow melted and everything turning green along with the springs on our property bursting forth it appeared that we were safely within the time frame of planting. So far we have about a half inch of grapple with snow predicted tonight. Grapple is like tiny hail that is small round pieces of frozen snow that is not hail nor snow but something in between.

Timing, timing timing - is vital to having a good garden. Just when you think you have it timed right the weather throws a curve ball your way. This will not damage our garden but it will slow the seeds from germinating. Plants like peas and  spinach are more hardy and this will not slow them down very much. The other seeds will be set back a while but will finally grow.

Aspen Trees

Aspen are prolific trees in our area. They all share a common root system but do transplant by seed too. If I understand the process right the seed is what you see in the photo. They look like a long grey worm that has a brown head and that is where the seed is. When they drop these seeds in the early spring it looks like little grey worms laying all over the ground. Most of the trees we have are sharing a common root system however.

The mother tree will send out suckers from the roots and they pop up as new trees, hence the common root feeds all the trees. They say they only live on average 20 years but a few years ago the wind blew a 20" diameter tree over and it took several other large aspen with it. I counted the rings on the largest tree and it was well into its nineties. We still have several that are still alive that are as big or bigger than the one that blew down.

It is classed a hardwood tree but at the bottom of the hardwood scale. It does not make good furniture even though I have used it in furniture and sometimes done well. Often when I mill it out the surface has a lot of 'fuzz' on it because it is so wet and retains water. It does make good firewood and burns hot and clean. It is important to insure that it has dried fully before any attempt to use it as firewood.

It is called a quaking aspen because during the slightest breeze the leaves shake and 'quake'. We find it an interesting tree and we have an abundance of them so our firewood supply is assured for several years..

Some people confuse the aspen with the birch but they are a totally different species and different trees.

Friday, May 8, 2015


I thought it would be fun to have a set of horseshoes to play a game when we were able or had friends over. Carol bought me a set of horseshoes for Christmas and when the snow melted I commenced to look for a 40' stretch of land that was relatively flat. I looked and looked and did not see a suitable location. Finally I chose an area that was not entirely flat but with a little elbow grease it might work. I raked it as flat as I could and thought we may have a good location. That is until we threw a few horse shoes and found there were rocks just under the surface of the dirt. Those shoes can roll quite a ways down the mountain when they jump off a rock.

Then I commenced to dig the rocks out and some turned out to be sizable. More raking and filling in the holes left by the rocks and we are now ready to go. I ended up with two sizable piles of rocks but our landing zone is now free of rocks. It is not perfectly level but it is level enough to play a game and we don't need to peek out from behind a tree nor stand on a ladder to see the stake.
Things that are easily done in other locations can present a real challenge in the mountains. Most people just go out in their yard and measure off 40', drive two stakes in the ground and begin playing horseshoes. In the mountains you have to start by raking the area as flat as possible and then dig up all the rocks that interfere with a game of horseshoes.

I ended up with two pretty good sized piles of rock but at least the landing zone is more playable. Now we look forward to having some friends over to play a game or two.

The Winged Hunter

We had a big old raven perch in the tree outside our front window. Wondered what he/she was up to and then suddenly it swooped down to the ground out of my sight line. A little later it was back and perched in the same place looking for something. Suddenly it swooped down and it was after a chipmunk which we have in abundance. I think it may have been raised by a raptor as it was thinning our chipmunk and ground squirrel population like a hawk or falcon would. Hope it stays around as we are knee deep in these little rodents. This particular raven is an excellent hunter. It wasn't perched over 30' from the front window so we have an excellent view of this magnificent large bird as it hunted a meal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

From Snow To Rain - Rain Suits

 Thanks for a thought full sister-in-law giving me a rain gauge for Christmas last year I can tell how much rain we receive. It has been lightly raining through out the night and the rain gauge shows that we have 1/2" of rain. This rain will help the seeds I planted earlier germinate and those I planned to plant today will have to wait for the rain to stop or tomorrow. I also planted wild grass seed on a horseshoe court I am making and this should get it going too.

I had to scrounge around for a rain jacket to take the dogs out and pick up dog poop this morning and rain is so infrequent that this is the only one I could find. This one has been used off and on for 40 years and still is as good as when it was new. I got a set of rain gear when I was president of our local BASS fishing club in central Fla. from Cotton Cordell to test. I used it for fishing in the rain and other rain events since and it is clearly going to out live me. I gave Cotton a good report on it then and now I could say it keeps me dry and may just last forever. I heard that Cotton died earlier this year but his Big O lures are awesome and I don't know if his company still manufactures these rain suits but they are an excellent investment. Old Cotton did it right and I highly recommend his rain suits it he still makes them. Clearly a once in a lifetime investment.  Thanks Cotton, - RIP

Monday, May 4, 2015

Profiting From Mistakes by Sakoieta'

It’s often in the darkest of the night when fear grips us and tells us how vulnerable we really are as well as it causes us to question our gifts and worth. We need to recognize this fear comes from things we did that may have been wrong or incorrect. We are different now. We have all made mistakes but there is no reason to carry those mistakes into the future with us. we learned lessons from them and that we can appreciate. We can look at each new day as a gift that we have learned to receive and enjoy it to the best from all the lessons we have learned.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Day - New Beginnings by Sakoieta'

We wake up to each new day as a new person, waking again into life and living. By having been thankful the day before and when the sun went down putting that day to rest as our Elders taught us to do. We wake up to the new day as a new person with more knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and how we are to live in it. We grew in so many ways from our many different experiences from the day before. We can now continue onward with more skills than we had before

Editors note: As you start each new day consider where you are in the overall scheme of things. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Post Snowstorm

 My camera is a good one but not good enough to capture the magic happening in the trees. The sun is going down and is just in the tops of the trees and is melting the snow. As I looked up it was if the entire top of the tree was decked out in sparkling diamonds but the camera lens couldn't quite manage to capture the sparkle.
The snow was melting so fast it was like rain coming down. The camera couldn't pick up the drops of water either but these photos are still pretty with the shaft of sunlight coming down through the trees. The snow bombs are falling with authority as they come off the tree limbs.