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Monday, October 14, 2019

Ice Sculpture

We have a spring on our lot and the water from it goes under the dirt road and through this culvert. Each fall/winter season we have the most interesting formations as the water flows through the culvert and freezes. This is just the beginning as the water is still flowing.......

Unusual happening

Usually by this time of  year we have had several heavy wet snowfalls that might only be an inch or two....just enough to help the leaves mature and fall off the trees...and temps in the low 30's. However as you can see from the entry below the temperature went down to 7 several days ago and froze the leaves! The color from the leaves is gone now until another fall...........

Friday, October 11, 2019


 Yesterday morning I was outside working in a light sweatshirt but by 8:00 PM we had both ceramic heaters going and a fire in the wood stove. The temperature kept going down until it hit 7 degrees with light snow through the day. Pretty typical since we hardly ever ease into winter. It seems to just suddenly happen.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Trail Camera Photo's

 The above photo is what it looks like when an elk tries to take a selfie with the trail camera.
 These were taken a couple weeks ago and lately we have not heard or seen any activity of deer or elk in our area. It appears they have moved on to greener pastures.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Big tree bonus!

This is the wood from the tree that fell across the driveway a few days ago. Lots of good pine for those who took the time to help out by cutting it up.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


We have had some strong wind lately and one of the gusts blew this wasp nest out of a tree in front of our garage. Sure glad we were not in the vicinity when this hit the ground as I can only imagine all the angry wasps swarming around. When they are upset there is no making peace with them and it is best to just get out of Dodge. 

Autumn In The Mountains

 Top photo reflects 2-3 aspen trees that managed to survive the wildfire. All the other trees were burned and destroyed. The bottom three photos are of trees on our property that are changing color.

Monday, September 30, 2019

We Must Be Living Right

The crew was laying fiber optic cable to our house today and while we were on the other side of the house we heard a crash and couldn't tell what it was. A large tree on the other side of the house had fallen in the wind and if it was 30 minutes earlier it would have possibly fallen on their equipment. The telephone crew jumped out of their truck, borrowed my chain saw and had that tree cut into firewood length in no time. They will come back later this week and carry it off to use for themselves for fire wood. Talk about blessing...these guys had the tree cut up, limbs tossed aside and piled up in no time - all on their lunch hour. The tree missed hitting the well head by about two feet and about 8' from crushing the jeep. The tree was about 22" in diameter.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Our Ruby is totally deaf so she sits and watches everything to see if she is included. I have been amazed at how she has acclimated and adjusted to our routine.  Often it is time consuming to get new family members to adjust when they are able to hear but when you can't hear it shows how intelligent she is to figure out what is going on and evaluate if she needs to be involved or not. This senior girl has deeply impressed me with her adjust ability.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Trail Camera

 We are seeing fewer and fewer animals around now. Perhaps a combination of the burn scar surrounding us or the cooler weather.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Trail Camera

Seeing less and less animals on the trail camera so guess they are heading to lower area's.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Cool Morning

Woke up to rather cool temperatures this morning. Six degrees above freezing outside and nice and cool inside too. Sure feels like fall outside.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Just In Time

I picked enough rhubarb for a pie on Friday and on Saturday we had a powerful hail storm. It ruined the remaining rhubarb plants and left the ground littered with aspen leaves and pine needles. Doesn't appear we will have any rhubarb pies again this year.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Just Think

Yesterday we had 996 visitors to our blog site and if just half of those who visited are qualified to adopt a dog and did so then 498 dogs would not be in a shelter today. Because of our age we adopt senior dogs and it is difficult to fully describe the happiness they bring to our home.
I guess the question to be asked is: if I adopted a dog would they be better off with me than in a shelter and could I support a dog?
We just had a friend adopt a dog that was in the shelter for 9 months and what she describes is the pure joy by the dog and how great it is to have a loyal/loving companion.
Just something to think about,,,,,,,,

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Rhubarb Pie

I picked the last of the rhubarb today and it was just enough to make a pie. Now we will have to wait until next summer for another fresh rhubarb pie. Delicious!!!!!!!!

Trail Camera Photos

 I went to check the trail camera and couldn't find it. The elk nose in the photo below had pushed the camera around to the opposite side of the tree it was strapped to.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fire Weed

 The top photo shows one of three hummingbird feeders that had every port full and the hummers were tanking up for their long trip to Mexico. We had about 40-50 hummingbirds and then the population dwindled down to about 5 and then they were gone too.
This is fire weed that we allow to grow next to the house as the bee's and hummingbirds like to get the pollen and nectar from the flowers. It has finished its blooms and is now spreading seeds on the wind. Most people would cut it down much earlier but as long as the bees and birds are getting use from it we let it grow. Now that they have left it we cut it down (not pull it out) and it will come back next spring again. Much of the seed has already spread on the wind so each year we end up with more for the bees and birds.

Just another sign that we are closing in on winter. I saw a photo yesterday that was taken two years ago where the aspen leaves were various hue's of red and yellow. This year they are just falling off the trees and so far no change of color. I can only suspect that the intense heat from the wildfire last year has disrupted them somewhat. This year they are producing a sticky substance that coats everything under or around them and there are thousands of new trees sprouting up everywhere. Where all this will lead with the aspen trees is a mystery to me.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Early Migration

We are still 3 weeks from the calendar start of fall season. It is not always the date on the calendar but the action of the birds, insects, trees, grass and animals that indicate to us when fall starts. Here in the mountains we notice the grasses are wilting, the hummingbirds are migrating and the song birds have already migrated. We have not heard any song birds or seen robins for a few weeks. We had all three hummingbird feeders full with more waiting for a chance two weeks ago and now we have a total of 4-5 hummingbirds left.

The bears are gorging themselves, the squirrels, chipmunks are doing last minute storing of pine cones and grass seeds and the bees are slowing down from collecting nectar for the nest to see them through the winter. The ants have slowed down in collecting material for their nests and the deer are constantly eating the remaining grasses in preparation of what may be a long winter. The aspen leaves are not changing color this year - they are just falling off the trees still green.

It is not a date on the calendar that tells us when the seasons are changing but these indicators.  At least for us it appears it is going to be a long winter season. How much snow we will get or how cold it will become is still up for determination but it is going to start early. Last winter was a pretty harsh winter and this winter could be worse as it is starting much earlier.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Trail Camera Comes Through Again

 Fawn feeling its oats...above... Below this doe has been in a scrape and it looks like she may have gotten away from a mountain lion or bobcat.

 Above a herd of elk moving through, and below is what is a magnificent buck still in velvet.
The photo above is another doe that had a narrow escape from a mountain lion. The scratches tell the tale. We will have to be careful as these two does have been hanging around together and both have evidence of an encounter. One yearling was also with them and we haven't seen evidence of that young deer.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Looking Back - A Reflection On A Life Lived Fully

They say hindsight is 20/20, and when you hit the senior stage of life that is very true. Us seniors tend to reflect back on our past and now that we are old the view is 20/20.  I am aware this blog has a diversity of readers and this blog is about living remotely in the mountains. Part of our life here is how our past brought us to this point.

Since I was a youngster I dreamed of living in the mountains in a cabin. I always felt that was how life was to be lived - being part of nature. I also had plans from an early age as to the way I wanted my life to go. As I reflect back I can now see my life took a course of its own. I can remember many times I was tempted to take a course that would not have brought me to this place in life - a place of happiness, contentment and enjoyment. How decisions I didn't think much of at the time were actually course corrections that really weren't my decisions at all but circumstances that forged my direction in life.

I made some poor choices along the way but ultimately they worked out and my life has been in my opinion divinely guided., As it says in Corinthians 12:4-7, There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  I can see looking back that there were several places my life could have changed direction and led me differently. My life really did not deviate from my early childhood dream and brought me to life here in the cabin. It was my gifts, service and work that set my course.

Achieving this stage of happiness could have not been possible without the ideal spouse. It is because of Carol that this is possible and we can live what is now our dream. She and only she has the qualities that made this possible. I could not have done it alone and I can't think of any other person who could have accomplished getting us to this point in life. She has managed our household and myself brilliantly.

Us old folks tend to look back and wonder how things could have been had we taken a different path in life. The more times I focus on my past decisions I can see the ones I chose were the exact right ones for me. Actually they were chosen for me as I said I believe my life has been divinely guided.

I'm aware many readers are not of the same religious persuasion that I am and it is not my intention to make anyone uncomfortable. This is a reflection that represents my life to date and is not intended to offend anyone with different. I realize how very lucky I am to achieve my childhood dream when many others have not and possibly taken a course that makes returning difficult. Left to me I would not have either but as it turns out I can see my choices in life were outside my control many times and it was not just dumb luck.

Us old folks tend to look back and reflect,. If the reader has not done that yet they will some day. My hope is that upon reflection you will find the  true happiness I have found and clearly see how the course of your life was sometimes outside your control. Then you will realize you have a life well lived and how you got to this point. Course corrections in life are sometimes needed to arrive at your true happiness which I wish for all the readers of this blog.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019


I have heard it said how dangerous bears are in the wild but our many encounters over the last 22+ years have not borne that out. Either we have been extremely lucky or there are other factors that come into play. First off I don't want to demean wildlife professionals but our many experiences do not match what they warn about. We don't feed them but we clearly respect them as we encounter them and they equally respect us. We have found they make better neighbors than the majority of humans do.

I could tell story after story where we have interacted with the wild bears that goes against everything that the professionals contend. Had we adhered to their advice I seriously doubt that we would hold the opinion we currently do. It is pretty much the same with mountain lions, our encounters don't line up with what the experts say. The experts it seems want to put fear into us citizens so we will keep well clear of bears. That is very good advice but we have had many unexpected encounters where we were in close before we knew it.

They are especially dangerous they say when a mother is with cubs. We have had several mothers with cubs who used our presence to train the cubs to avoid humans. Our German Shepherd Bozwell and I were used by one mother to train her cubs a few years ago. We stood in place and the mother sat down about 20' away and when the 8-10# cubs would get within a few feet of us she would warn them and they would scamper up a tree. That went on for half an hour and wasn't the only time a similar situation like that occurred.

When we encounter a bear or mountain lion we remain calm but not fearful. I believe wild animals have the ability to sense fear or if you mean them harm. Sometimes when we encounter them suddenly we can get startled but quickly calm ourselves down and ALWAYS show the animal respect. We do not close the distance between us and respect their territory and safe zone. We talk to them in our normal tone saying positive words. They may not understand the words but recognize we are humans and sense we mean them no harm.

Bears eyesight is poor so they may not recognize us right away but their sense of smell is very acute. I have had them (not us) advance toward us to get a good smell and in some cases close up. If they lower their head it indicates that they feel threatened and if they swing it from side to side they feel very threatened. We then take the imitative and slowly back away to give them more space.

Mountain lions tend to coil on the ground when surprised and lay their ears flat and hiss and snarl. We make ourselves look as big as possible and do not make any threatening moves and let them decide what they want to do. Thus far they have always left quickly. Being 8-10' from a 160# mountain lion being defensive can be daunting but it is important to keep calm. Like bears they are curious and often surprised at our sudden presence so given time they usually depart. 

I write this because I have so many friends who are highly fearful over bears or lions. In my opinion I believe encounters don't have to have undesirable results if you just RESPECT the animal and keep calm. High pitched tones, quick movements, trying to take a selfie, throwing something at the animal or breaking into a run would possibly trigger a bad reaction from the animal. Staying calm, keeping your head and being observant and  respectful go a long way to having an encounter you will be able to tell family and friends about. To me the most dangerous bear is one that someone else has been feeding. They get far to close expecting something to eat and these you have to be very wary of because they can get aggressive very quickly.

We do not go looking for encounters but living remotely as we do they happen when we least expect it. I hope these comments will facilitate equally successful encounters for others if they happen.   

Sunday, August 25, 2019


I must admit I never thought much about deafness until we adopted Ruby who is totally deaf. I don't think I'm that much different from other people with hearing because we take it for granted especially if we have it. We hear the term "hearing impaired" but it doesn't really register on us who have no impairment. As humans we realize those hearing impaired have sign language, they are trained to read lips and aided with closed caption on television programs.

When I see Ruby standing looking out the window at the birds, watching chipmunks run around outside I realize she doesn't hear the song of the birds or the chatter of the chipmunks; not even her brother when he barks an alert. She doesn't know her name because she has never heard it due to her deafness. We can't call her, give her praise, or direction as all she sees is our lips moving but not what is being said. Ruby acts differently than other dogs. She will stand in place until we gently nudge her so she knows what we want of her. She will stand back and watch trying to fathom what we want of her.

It is because she seems aloof that I realize she lives in a world of silence. She doesn't hear anything at all - just silence. No whisper of breeze going through the trees, no coyotes yipping, no thunder, no rain on the roof, no name being called, no words of encouragement - nothing just a world of silence. Deafness is workable in humans but in animals there is no remedy. We have made some progress with hand signals but often due to our lack of ability she still doesn't understands and just stays in place until she can figure out what we want. In spite of her deafness she remains one happy girl.

Living with a deaf canine family member has certainly raised our awareness of "impaired" and the challenges in dealing with it. It doesn't seem to bother Ruby at all since she lives in the moment and is used to nothing but silence. The average German Shepherd understands about 165 words but Ruby doesn't even know her name - instead lives in a silent world. Our dogs have always understood more words because we talk to them on a regular basis so they are exposed to more words but Ruby recognizes none.

Dogs understand more than verbal words, they understand body language and gestures (hand signals).
I have always had compassion on the hearing impaired especially since I handled a workers compensation claim on a teacher who taught sign language at the St. Augustine school for the deaf. She fell in her classroom and fractured both wrists resulting in casts from elbows to finger tips. She couldn't teach or communicate. That was my first clue of "impaired" but Ruby being such a happy fur family member really brings a world of silence home to me in a different way.

She doesn't understand her deafness nor does she labor on it. She takes each moment as it happens and enjoys her silent world without objection. Dogs smile and she smiles a lot. Seems to me that is a good example of how we should be too.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

New Knee Brace

Have been struggling with a bum knee for months and finally went to see the orthopedic surgeon today. After discussing my lifestyle and options we decided on a knee brace. The doctor thought this one would be the right one. I walked out of the medical center with far less pain and walking more normally than I have for months.
We decided that any surgical intervention was a last resort.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Early Winter????

I certainly don't want to disparage any weather forecasters but we pay more attention to the environment around us to predict seasons than computer evaluations. We have noticed the past two weeks that toadstools and mushrooms have been appearing a month and a half before normal. The grasses have ceased to grow, leaves falling from aspen trees, ground ivy is changing color, insects like the ants are working overtime to store up food. Even more is that the Rufus hummingbirds have migrated and the black throat and Broadtail Hummingbirds are migrating more each day. The songbirds have migrated over the past several weeks. The bees are working overtime getting the pollen from the remaining flowers.

We totally missed summer this year - probably one day we over slept - and it appears we are going to cruise rapidly right through fall. Nights are slowly getting colder now.  Whether this means we are going to just have colder earlier or snow we don't know. We are working hard to get those summer/fall projects done while we can.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

We Watched This Fawn Grow Up.

Dealing With Deafness In Dogs

 Some how this photo did not get into the Mother Earth News blog but this is one of the reasons we keep our dogs on leash when they are not in the back yard.  Don''t know what a dog will do and it could provoke a bear to attack. 

Check out the latest blog for Mother Earth News about dealing with deafness in our canine fur family at:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Deck Stain

Every few years we treat the deck with wood sealer. This year we decided to use a top quality deck stain to give it a more uniform color.  This is Carol's job as she likes painting and she is doing a very good job at it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Trail Camera Over The Past Two Weeks

We don't know when the photo was taken because the trail camera doesn't have a date and time setting but this was probably taken over a week ago. It was in earlier photos.

Mountain Weather

It has been getting cool at night and I saw a post from a friend in Boulder, CO that from this point on statistics show that from here forward that it will get consistently cooler each night until winter arrives. It has been getting down to 50 - 55 degrees each night which makes for great sleeping conditions. The wind has been 2 - 7 MPH, which is a nice breeze. It gets up to 78-80 degrees during the daytime but with the breeze it is very comfortable.
So far we have all the indicators that we will experience an early winter so we are taking full advantage of the ideal weather now. We are getting late afternoon showers which cool it off nicely and make for great sleeping weather. During the day it is great weather to work or play outside. We try to ignore the fact that soon we will be shoveling snow and just enjoy this great weather we have presently.

Monday, August 5, 2019


This started out several years ago as a single plant and over the years it has grown into more plants. It is liked by both hummingbirds and bees. It grows about 5' tall and is not fragrant but attractive to many bees.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


The baby robins have taken flight and left the nest. We took the nest down this morning and it is composed of grass, twigs, moss and mud. The inside of the nest is smooth and round. These robins constructed a perfect nest and just large enough for the three babies to grow up in. The skill to build this nest took time and experience. We were fortunate enough to see the baby robin's take their first flight under mama's close supervision.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Did You Know???

We have a nest of robin's under our deck where I park the tractor. I therefore see them each day frequently. Now that the babies are getting larger and are crowding themselves out of the nest I see the mom and dad robin working frantically all day long from first dawn to evening bringing them insects to eat. These robins are the hardest working birds I have seen. They are constantly on the hunt for insects around the house.
I wondered what the life span of a robin was and discovered it is 15 months. Perhaps their short lifespan is due to the fact that they work themselves to death trying to feed their young. Fortunately we have abundant insects for them to bring back to the nest.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Senior Dogs

We are limited to 1000 words in our blogs for Mother Earth News so often I don't get to include all the items  I would like to unless I make it a two part blog. When I do that I sometimes have to use filler which makes the blog drag.
One of the benefits of adopting an older dog in addition to all the reasons I put in my Mother Earth News blog is that they go out of their way to please you. Because they generally know they are old and were passed over they are super sensitive to your every move and try so hard to please. Probably for fear of ending up in the shelter again. It is therefore important if any discipline is needed that it be done gently and not roughly or loud and angry.
Also, they will trust you long before you trust them so that aspect needs to be handled carefully. they sometimes have medical needs and those need to be addressed quickly so they are not in discomfort which makes adjustment to their new environment much harder.
These are the things I would have added to the article if I had the room. Give an older dog a chance because you won't be disappointed - they will turn themselves inside out to please you given the chance.