In the fall of 2021 we for the first time put up snow fences .... and throughout the winter we had horrific wind storms that blew down a lot of trees. This first picture is where the snow fence WAS.... it was smashed by multiple trees!
Friday, September 30, 2022
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
We live in a pretty amazing place. This morning as I was preparing breakfast for Klaus and Lucy I looked out the window and saw a black bear heading up the mountain. Not before it stopped and checked out in detail the swing. As it moved away there was a lone elk that also came up to check out the swing. All within the space of 5 minutes.
Friday, September 23, 2022
Each year about this time we have problems with packrats - also known as woodrats. I am always looking for better traps and found a good one that has a tunnel they can enter and not come out of. The directions (#6) says remove the dead rat, wash it and reuse. I have no clue why I need to wash the rat or how to reuse it. Never done that before....
Thursday, September 22, 2022
After we moved permanently to Colorado in 1997 we bought a wood mill. Bruce did the milling, I did the hauling of milled wood to the side. With the milled wood we built a garage, a mud room, sheds, decks and a breakfast room, and Bruce built a lot of furniture from the wood. One of our favorite things though was the swing.
We found the perfect two trees at the other end of the 2nd lot…near the spring….and mounted it there.
For many years a few friends and family (and we!) enjoyed sitting on the swing and the peacefulness of that area.
Then came the wildfire in 2018. Most of our property survived as did the swing….
The following year much of the undergrowth had come back!
Then during the spring of 2022 we had fierce winds and the wind blew down many of the trees, including the two that supported the swing.
The swing lives! Recently we found two trees closer to the cabin from which we could hang it….making it more accessible for two old folks. Carol recovered the cushions and gave the swing a new coat of paint…and we are good to go for another season or two.
Colorado has several ghost towns and it is always an interesting time to visit them. I have visited three and the above photo is from Bonanza, Colorado. All three were old mining towns that the pay dirt played out and people left for new places. This is an abandon residence in Bonanza that once was a thriving town. We visited the old cemetery that had very old head stones with some made from wood that has weathered over the years and couldn't be read.
Some towns like Bonanza are being repopulated again and people are fixing up the homes to use as summer residence. Colorado is an interesting place to visit. When we first moved here and was exploring around our home we found the remains of two small cabins that we concluded was either a line cabin or prospecting cabin. Unfortunately the Spring wildfire destroyed any of the remains of the cabins. Yes, Colorado is an interesting place.
Monday, September 19, 2022
I don't get to town much anymore but today I went in with Carol so she could have her throat checked. One visit and her problem was resolved. I watched the younger people in the waiting room all glued to their cell phones and wondered how they would have dealt with pocket transistor radios in my days.
Friday, September 16, 2022
Today was the end of my garden and I harvested 4 potatoes from two plants. This is a new type of carrots for me and I planted them in an earth box. They both came out pretty well and I'm pleased with them. It was a battle to even get them as the critters kept eating off the top of the plants. I had hardware cloth to keep that from happening but as soon as a part of the plant got through the hardware cloth they would eat the tops of the plants. To garden in the mountains you have to be versatile to say the least.
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Recently I had a birthday and one of my gifts was from my loving wife Carol. I love to prospect for gold but since I had those blood clots in my leg it has been hard to get to my favorite spots. Carol bought me a bag of concentrate to pan out at my leisure. In the third table spoon of dirt I came across this piece of gold.
Prospecting is a fun hobby and this helps me keep my panning techniques up to date and not get rusty.
Saturday, September 10, 2022
Can't clean it when it is use for sure. If this weather keeps up It may be quite some time before we can shut it down long enough to clean.
Sunday, September 4, 2022
Everyone if they are honest will admit to having that 'one special gift' they received for either a birthday or Christmas, a young person coming of age or some other special occasion. In the photo above is a hand that is crimpled from disabling arthritis. This plays right into one of my special gifts almost 40 years ago.
To understand how the gift came my way - first it is important to set the stage. I had been propelled up the insurance business from a young adjuster to a branch supervisor, to claim manager, to regional supervisor of four southern states. Along the way I was missing what I enjoyed best about my chosen profession, that being meeting and working with our insureds when they faced some crisis.
I did something unheard of and that was to toss all those impressive jobs away and I went back to being a field adjuster. Something not done in those days if you wanted to maintain employment. It was a poor career decision. My qualifications made it hard to refuse me so I went back to where I started in the profession. That is how I met Elizabeth Jones.
Elizabeth was elderly and had to have help to maintain her home. She had a maid that slipped on a step and broke her arm. Elizabeth reported the accident to us and I handled the medical bill for her maid. Over the weeks where i stopped to pick up the bills I came to know both Elizabeth and her maid which is why I went back to being an adjuster my real love.
There came a day just before Christmas when I paid the last of the medical bills and as I was getting ready to leave Elizbeth asked her maid to get a plate full of cookies and glass of milk and took me into her parlor where she had a baby grand piano. Her fingers were twisted in all directions and obviously very painful. Elizabeth sat down at her piano and played several Christmas songs while I ate cookies and drank milk with her twisted and painful fingers. She played flawlessly and I realized I was getting a very special gift.
That was a gift that I will never forget. It is still as clear to me today as it was those 40 years ago. I think of it often and it still brings happy tears to my eyes.
Friday, September 2, 2022
Mark Twain (Samuel Clements) used to have trouble finding time to be alone. He therefore used to take his fishing pole and head to the river. Since it was considered bad manners to disturb anyone when they were fishing he found time alone to think and reflect. He didn't like to mess with fish so he never put a hook on the end of his line. He would just sit on the bank with his line in the water and have some peace and quiet.
Klaus keeps us entertained as he does here where he lays down and uses his fluffy purple ball as a pillow. That doesn't have anything to do with early winter but we thought it was cute.
Carol has been saying we will have an early winter this year and the sights and sounds of nature seem to agree with here prediction. The elk are bugling and collecting their harems early. The birds have already migrated and the insects are working hard to store what they need for winter. The leaves have not turned but are falling off the trees and the ground cover is turning brown and in some cases red and yellow.
If you are attuned to the changes in nature you can get an idea of what lies ahead. While fall or autumn does not start until the 23rd of September, the natural things seem to indicate otherwise. The robin's and hummingbirds have migrated two weeks ago or longer and birds, animals and insects seem to have a built in instinct for when to make a change. Looks like either a long fall time or early winter.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
I think of her today as if her prior life wasn't bad enough she suddenly went blind in both eyes. We rushed her in to the vet who turned down the lights in the room to look into her eyes and she reported that both retinas had fully detached and were floating free in her eyes. (Sudden Acquired Retina Detachment Syndrome). SARDS
The vet consulted a specialist and was told they would never reattach again and she would be blind the remainder of her life. If her underlying fears were not enough - to suddenly go totally blind they were amplified by this sudden blindness.
She had been chasing a chipmunk in the back yard earlier that day and suddenly she couldn't see. They thought it was due to high blood pressure. We started training her how to navigate without sight but she would have panic attacks so we were always by her side to keep her from getting hurt.
I did a blog about her condition and a lady wrote me and said her dog had the same thing and she gave her bilberry and her sight was restored in a limited capacity. I left immediately for the 50 mile drive to town and bought her a bottle of bilberry. I gave her one a day for 2 1/2 weeks.
We had been praying for restoration of sight along with many other people and sure enough one day we thought she could actually see. We took her right in to the vet again and tests revealed she could see again and her retina's had reattached. Our vet called the specialist to confirm her findings and was told he had neve known of a dog whose sight was restored with this condition. We all concluded it was a miracle. There was no other explanation.
So on this day - the day her sight left her - I think of Sarah and what a brave girl she became and how we helped her deal with it. We put scent on corners where she could possibly get hurt and bubble wrap on anything she might bump up against. We used a short leash when we took her outside and she was making great strides when her sight was suddenly restored.
When the chips were down Sarah sure did step up to the challenge and showed her true courage. I sure miss that girl as she was an inspiration to all who knew her.
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Not everything grows at high elevation (9,800') but raspberry's do grow. How great it is to go out and pick a handful of raspberry's and the more I pick the more seem to replace them. It is also rewarding to bring some into the house and share with Carol.
Not everything grows however. - I'm still waiting for my zucchini to have a blossom. I planted 15 seeds and only one managed to grow and I've been nursing that plant along for 3 months. Carrots grow so slow that I only get miniatures each year but they are sure tasty and unlike the ones that come from the market. Same with beets. They grow but don't mature as soon as they normally should. I pulled one to check on it a few days ago and it was only about the size of a golf ball.
Lettuce and spinach grow very well and we have already harvested this years crop. Rhubarb grows quite well and we have had several rhubarb/strawberry pies from our two plants. I have yet to check my potatoes but they generally do fairly well. My current and gooseberry bushes did not show any fruit this year. My mint always does well. Growing at high elevation is always a challenge.
Monday, August 22, 2022
Sunday, August 21, 2022
10 degrees above freezing. The forecast predicts the next 10 days nighttime temps will be in the 40's. Time to get the winter clothes back out. Seems like I just put them away. Time to put the flannel sheets back on the bed.... It is not only cold but humid so that makes it even more cold.
Saturday, August 20, 2022
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
This is not anywhere normal. This is why it has taken us so long to get our firewood in this summer, we are burning it so often. Usually this time of year we sleep with the window's open and the fan blowing. Not this year...what a weird year this has been.
Before everyone gets upset - I am not talking people but professionals who treat people. We just naturally want to trust our doctors. We need to be discerning about our treatment and ask questions if there is any doubt. I have three personal examples where I naively followed a doctors advice and shouldn't have.
One, when I was the claim manager of an office in Gainesville, FL, I had these headaches and went to my doctor who referred me to a specialist. The specialist listened to my problem and concluded (no tests) that it was a small vein in my head that was contracted so I needed Rx to relax it. Sounded reasonable to me at the time and I took the Rx and the next day I woke up in the hospital. I had no idea how I got there or what had happened. Turns out that Rx was the cause and I was told it should never have been prescribed to me. My secretary diagnosed my sinus problem and told me what to get and it worked and my problem went away. Turns out that Rx was highly dangerous and any doctor should have known better.
Two: my urine had a red tinge to it and I went to be checked out. The doctor concluded I was dehydrated and my organs were being dissolved and I needed to be hospitalized and given fluids (again no tests). As I waited to be admitted Carol and I were talking and we decided that it could be the fact that we had been eating beet greens and beets. I grew some beets and they all ripened at the same time so we were eating them in quantity so as not to waste them. I walked out of the hospital and stopped gorging on beets and beet greens and the problem went away.
Three: I went to a recommended urologist who decided (without any tests) my problem. She preformed biopsies to verify her guess which was okay. She then took three times the number of biopsies as normal to confirm here opinion. They were negative! She then gave me an Rx that nearly crippled me. When I researched it I found out that one of the side effects was joint problems and I could hardly walk. Then 6 months later without ever consulting me she scheduled me for more biopsies and I decided that was enough and never went back. Other doctors told me the urologist was extreme.
I have other examples but I am more cautious now and do not accept treatment that is suspicious without question. I have found out that not all doctors are equal in professionalism. My advice is if your gut tells you something is questionable - ask questions and if the answers don't sound right or if you don't get answers get another opinion. From hard earned experience that is what I do.
Monday, August 15, 2022
Today we have been here full time for 25 years. Over the years we have discovered there are certain tasks that we need to do in preparation for the next winter. Getting an adequate amount of firewood is essential but other tasks are equally essential. We have our doctor and dentists visits as when the snow does arrive it can be risky making the 100 mile round trip to town and back. The roads drift in quickly and can make going and coming home a challenge.
Then there are tasks like painting and staining exterior surfaces due to weather, wear and tear Servicing the tractor and implements so they will be ready when needed. Service snow throwers and chainsaws. Spreading road base on the driveway to keeping it from eroding away. And this year working on cutting and hauling to the burn site all the trees that blew down last winter. There are dozens more tasks that are required and can only be done in the non snow months.
I read somewhere recently that a person was getting ready for winter as they get a whopping 100" of snow each winter. I had to laugh as we get on average 265" and we deal with it for roughly 8 months. Getting 100" would be a really nice winter for us.
Today Carol is headed into town to get the Jeep serviced and that will be one more item off the list. We still need to get Klaus and Lucy in for their shots and check ups. I need to clean the chimney and wood stove (dirty job) so it will be ready for next winter. We already have our firewood in which is roughly 9-10 cords of split and stacked fuel for next winter.
I have the tractor to service where the oil is changed and the hydraulic oil is drained and replaced. I also go over the tractor checking for any loose bolts, lubricating the grease fittings and in generally just give it a complete check.
So life here in the mountains sometimes seems non stop work and preparation. It is a hard lifestyle - especially when we live like we do. Not everyone heats with a woodstove but then we love the radiant heat. It is a more simple life but does require more work. I recall when we lived in the city and had central air and heat that it seemed the furnace blew cold air even though the room temperature was comfortable. Wood stove heat is not fake but real heat.
Hard work even when you are in your 70's and 80's has its own reward and to boot it keeps us fit and healthy. I'm afraid city life for me would result in a much shorter life span. The fumes, pesticides people and cities spray, the noise and light pollution, the treated water that comes from your tap all in my opinion are unhealthy.
We have fresh clean mountain air, pure water that comes from our well and more than ample physical work that keeps us healthy. It may be a hard life but it is a satisfying life and I for one enjoy it.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Here is a link that is seldom reported on in Colorado. You will have to copy and paste it into your browser as I couldn't copy the link properly into this format. It is about people who have to live in their cars in Colorado as even with jobs they can't afford suitable housing. I personally find this alarming. I consider it well worth the read. It reminds me of many years ago when the rich and affluent started to move into Aspen and drove the prices up where the locals could no longer afford the homes they had lived in for so many years. Business owners had to move out of the city where prices were less but then had to commute to their businesses.
Friday, August 5, 2022
My mother used to have a saying that went: "What your head doesn't do your feet will have to." All these years have passed and I find it still applies. In Colorado when registering a motor vehicle you are given a registration sticker and month it is due or expires sticker. Last year when I registered our van and put the plates on I ended up putting the back plate (the one with the stickers) on the front and the back plate on the front.
This year when I got the renewal sticker - without thinking I put the registration sticker on the back plate. The month sticker stays on the plate from year to year. When I stepped back to admire my work I noted the month sticker was not on the plate. I went around to the front and sure enough there it was. These stickers do not come off so I couldn't swap the plates. I called the counter clerk to see what to do and was advised I could get a replacement for 20 cents.
So the next day I headed out to the county seat for my 20 cent sticker. So my bungle ended up taking two hours and three gallons of gas for a 20 cent sticker. "what your head doesn't do your feet or in this case your van will have to." So $15.00 in gas and 20 cents later I'm now legal. I think I'm getting a headache.....
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Sunday, July 31, 2022
Friday, July 29, 2022
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
This is the time of year that we get our 'Must do's" done. As such I haven't been on our blog site much lately. We finally got our firewood in for next winter last week. We have been working on getting our tractor implements and log splitter into the new shed where they will be dry and safe. Nothing is easy in the mountains as the shed floor is a foot from the ground level. I had to build up the area in front of the shed and then use my auto ramps to get the implements into the shed. I have them on dolly's so they can be moved around and not try to drag 300# implements around.
I have ordered some road base to build a ramp to the door which will be zto load and unload implements but it currently is not available so I'm waiting. Our afternoon rains have slowed progress. There are still things that needed to be done before the cold sets in but we can only take them one at a time. Medical appointments have been done and soon I will be off Xarelto and that will be good.
Getting those necessary tasks done is very important when you live as we do with the firewood being chief . Hopefully I will be able to spend more time on this blog now. Between repairing washouts from the rain, getting firewood in, implements protected, weeds mowed down to eliminate potential wildfire hazards and hundreds of other small tasks I van take a deep breath and spend more fun time.
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Unlike the recent Texas school shooting where those who should have protected the children went the other way. Seems to me we could learn something from the tiny ant.
Monday, July 18, 2022
With our nearest neighbor almost a mile down the road and none the other way for several miles we live remotely in an oasis of green that the wildfire of 2018, did not burn. There is one house on the next road down from us but we rarely see any activity there. Behind us is a green belt.
Therefore we have a lot of wildlife and feathered friends concentrated in our small area. From our first year here we have had Fly Catchers nest on the house - but mostly under the deck. That gives us a chance to see them from the building of the nest to when the eggs are hatched and finally as the tiny birds take their first flight. The baby birds seem to instinctively know that they are not to make a peep so they won't give away their nest and be exposed to predators. We have seen this from year to year and the pattern is always the same.
I have noticed when the parents feel the baby birds are ready to fly they stop feeding them. From the time those little eggs hatch until they can take wing and fly the parents work diligently day after day to keep them fed. Then comes the day they need to go out on their own and be the next generation of Fly Catchers that they were intended to be.
It is like the parents tell them - "the food is abundant out there, it is time for you to be free to get it on your own". The little guys then leave the nest and start their journey. I have noticed the parents will be in the vicinity to make sure they are safe and then when they have established themselves they are on their own and the parents have done their job. Next year the cycle goes on and the new birds are the parents. Nature is interesting and very efficient.
Sunday, July 17, 2022
This appeared on my Facebook page and it reminded me of when I was a criminal investigator and one of my duties was also liaison with civilian police agencies. One of my agencies used to like to visit our office and - shoot the breeze - and on one of his visits he asked me if we had any old sets of landing lights we could spare. I asked him what he wanted with a set of landing lights and he said he wanted to mount one on his patrol car.
I checked with our maintenance people and they said they had some that they were going to dispose of and I got one for John. Now John was a huge muscular man with a timid and compassionate heart. I have known him to pull over a drunk driver and put them in his patrol vehicle and drive them home instead of arresting them. He was strong like a bull and once went hunting with the Sheriff and they each shot a mule deer. John handed his rifle to the sheriff and put a mule deer on each shoulder and carried them both out of the woods.
A few weeks later John came into my office to return the landing lights. I thought he had them mounted on his patrol vehicle to illuminate an accident scene but he had a real pet peeve and that was for drivers who refused to dim their lights for on coming cars. His first use was on such a vehicle and that vehicle driver was totally blinded when John turned the landing lights on and severed off the road into a ditch. John went back and got the guy out of the ditch and back on the road and took the lights off his patrol vehicle due to the hazard it caused.
This cartoon reminded me of Big John a compassionate deputy who was quick to give a motorist a break. If you were obstinate however John was tough to deal with. One motorist refused to get out of his vehicle when John pulled him over and grabbed the steering wheel tightly refusing to exit the vehicle. John took hold of the driver and physically pulled him from the car and arrested him for failure to comply. The guy had such a tight grip on the wheel it bent as John pulled him out of the car. John then placed him in the back of his patrol car. It was pretty foolish to get nasty with Big John.
Friday, July 15, 2022
Life in the mountains for all intents and purposes would seem ideal. In many ways it is but in others it has its problems. The air is a little fresher, the water from our well is like no other and there is always plenty of hard work to keep fit. This time of year there are mosquitos, horse flies, black flies and a host of other insects that can be a real nuisance. Factor in the ants, stink bugs, and a host of other insects that can make you miserable while working outside. Life in the mountains is sometimes an aggravation in a beautiful setting.
Our sunrises and sunsets are nothing less than spectacular as the last two posts and this post prove. Growing a garden at high elevation is full of mine fields. We have to grow our vegetables in raised boxes that are completely surrounded with hardware cloth to keep the critters out. They also have to be strong as we have seen a bear on top of one so they have to hold up. They also require daily watering but this year has been unusual in that we have had almost daily rain.
Our weather is totally unpredictable: This winter we had almost continuous high wind that blew down over 50 trees that we are slowly working our way through presently. The rain is welcome for sure as it saves watering the garden every day. The thunder sends the dogs looking for a hiding spot in the house which are few. The wild flowers however, are as beautiful as we have seen.
Everything is so green and growing very well. It is providing good browse for the deer, elk and bears which most of their diet is various grasses. It has taken us much longer to get our firewood in for next winter due to the heat and rain but we are almost there. We are slowly getting our medical checkup's done and unless it gets super cold this year we should get all the required tasks done so we will be ready for the 265" of average snow this winter. Equipment has been serviced so it will be ready to deal with winter.
It may be a tough life but it is our paradise.
Friday, July 8, 2022
Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Sunday, July 3, 2022
Tomorrow we celebrate our independence from tyranny so please remember those from the founders of our great country to those serving now that freedom does not come free - others paid and are paying for it. We Americans should rejoice and be happy that in spite of all its present problems our country is still the best place to live and be Americans.
Saturday, July 2, 2022
Our new shed was delivered yesterday. Previously I had kept the implements for our tractor along the edge of the driveway but they could be seen from the road. I noticed several weeks back two suspicious men stopped and checking them out. One guy was actually hanging out the vehicle window to get a better vantage point. We had last summer some break-in's and theft in our community. I decided it would be better if the implements were not visible so we ordered this shed.
We also used to park our utility trailer at the end of the driveway but I saw some men checking it over one day so we moved it to the other side of the house. Anyone interested now would have to go right past the front of the house and the dogs would alert me. Our property is posted so they run a huge risk to trespass. It is sad that we have to go to this extent to protect our property but times have changed from what they used to be.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
I don't know if others have noted this but I have. I went in to pick up our mail Saturday and was talking to a friend at the grocery store which is next to the post office. We were discussing the sad state of our country. I told him I had little hope for the long haul of our country as I have noted that our citizens have been divided. We are divided by race, gender, religion, political party, and so many other issues. It seems that people can no longer agree on anything without upsetting others.
I remember how our country came together for a short period after 9/11, but then went back to our divisions. If we had a similar occurrence now I don't see people coming together any longer. We have been so divided and are so polarized we can not see our fellow citizens as equals. We have ceased to be Americans and have become so self centered based on our agendas or manipulation that we lack togetherness.
We are afraid to even express our minds for fear of hurting someone's feelings. Some won't even listen to those who may think differently or have opposing views. We are so divided that we simply can't come together on anything. We have ceased being a unified people who call themselves Americans and we are issue orientated. It seems to me being as divided as we are we have lost our American ideals and values and are rapidly ceasing to be people. I do not see our country surviving as we are destroying ourselves.