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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Checking Burned Trees

Carol and I strapped on the snowshoes today to check on the burned area on our property and to see if we could (later) drop some of the burned trees horizontally to keep the ash from flowing down hill when all this snow melts.

The going was rough as much of the snow was wind blown and fine granular which did not even support us even with snowshoes. We also would break through and one leg would drop down about 2' into the snow. We did discover that the area we were concerned about was not at risk for a mud slide and there were plenty of live trees to stop any mud flow.

I would estimate that we have snow accumulation now on the ground of approximately 4' or deeper in some areas. We have a total according to my measure of 164" so far and a prediction of more snow in the next week. This snow is much different that the snow we are used to in the past as it is a very fine granular and even with snowshoes  very hard to walk in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spring Wildfire

Located a photo taken from a tower aimed at our house and area. When I see this the fact our home was virtually unscathed is even more of a miracle.... 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Senior Sledding

 Conditions perfect for sledding.  We decided to give our bob sleds a try on the hard packed driveway and road. Top photo is heading down and the next photo is zipping past Carol with the camera.
 Below is Carol starting out and the next one is her zooming down the driveway.  We have had these sleds since we moved out here 21+ years ago and have sure gotten a lot of use out of them. We tried sledding at different places but found our driveway was by far the best. We can reach speeds of 20-25 MPH and you would think at our ages we would have outgrown the kid in us - but nope, we love to sled down our icy driveway into the road and then down it as far as we can go.
 We have several inches of hard packed snow on the driveway with a coat of ice on top. Hard to steer but fun for a couple of old timers. No road traffic so the way is clear and we take full advantage of it.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Shrimp Fried Rice

When I was in Alamosa last week grocery shopping I picked up some chicken fried rice which we had for dinner today. It reminded me of the best shrimp fried rice I had ever had. It was a restaurant on Front Street in Jacksonville, Fla.  Back then Front St. was not a place to go as it was a pretty rough area of Jacksonville. Now it is the river walk and has been redone - modern with unique shops, a stadium, high class restaurants and full of friendly atmosphere.

The Chinese restaurant was right next to a pool hall and upstairs in an old dilapidated building.  I'm sure it was family owned and operated as the best way to get your order is point to it on the menu. English was not the spoken language in this restaurant except by the customers.

I worked in down town Jacksonville and all I needed to do for lunch was get on the elevator and go up to the top of our building which had a revolving floor that was a restaurant from which we could look out upon the entire city of Jacksonville. We passed on the lavish restaurant and took our chances down on Front St. to get some outstanding Chinese food instead.

It was in a rough area that you only went into at your own risk but the food in that restaurant was second to none I've ever had and the shrimp fried rice was truly outstanding. Well worth the risk of venturing into a dangerous neighborhood for. I have tried it in several other oriental restaurants over the years but none like that place on Front St.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Colorado Mountains

Taken on the way home from shopping in Alamosa today...Why we love Colorado....

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Feeding The Birds

We put out about 120 pounds of sun flower seed for the birds each year. A block of suet is scoffed down each day. With the wildfire and all the destroyed trees it is hard for the birds to find food in the winter. We have a variety of birds and they can sure go through a lot of food.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Winter Weather Advisory

Posted early as we are under a weather winter advisory where wind gusts are expected up to 70 MPH.  That means power outages likely today.
 We went down to check on where a snow mobile had came down the road and it appeared to have turned over where the road crew pushes the snow up, They stop plowing at our house since we are now the only ones on the road - the rest burned in the wildfire - and noticed how much soot and ask are in the snow. Below the tracks from yesterday are already filled with soot and ash.
 The snow mobile apparently tried to jump the end of the pushed up pile and either bogged down or turned over. We were inside and didn't hear a thing. The snow was mixed with copious amounts of gas and it could be smelled from several feet away. It appears the driver did not know they were going along the ditch next to the road where the snow  is soft and just past the pile of snow on the road they may not have seen the dirt road plowed until they went over the top of the pile. Most likely going to fast and they wiped out at the edge of the road. We were inside and never heard a thing outside and hope they were not injured.
Snow machines can be used on un-plowed roads but when you see a pile of snow pushed up 8' high you should realize that the road has been plowed on the other side. Going to fast, not paying attention and you are in trouble. There must have been 2-3 gallons of gas that leaked out and hopefully it will dissipate before snow melt occurs. I'm actually surprised that we didn't hear anything and when the dogs barked they were looking in the other direction. Also looks from the tracks that someone came and picked the snowmobile up from the plowed end of the road. Again, hope no one was injured in the accident. 
Sunrise this morning...

Monday, January 28, 2019

Finally A Break In The Wind....

 Life in the mountains - especially in the winter - requires patience and perseverance. This morning the wind had laid down but it was fog or a cloud that enveloped the area. The temperature was 19 degrees and without wind it was a good time to cook outside on the old steel stove. 
 With the cloud drifting in the visibility was very limited but I only had to see as far as the cook stove so I got the stove going and cooked breakfast outside. See photo below. I was mostly blocked by large piles of snow anyway so the snow diverted the wind away from the fire and myself.
 We had potatoes with my special seasoning which gives them a little bite, over easy eggs, fried spam, and a glass of V-8 juice. It was worth waiting for and slow cooked outside on the old cook stove added the element of "delicious".
I may be able to do one more breakfast outside but then I will need to do some serious shoveling to get to the wood pile I use in the stove.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

No Cowboy Breakfast

 I spent two days shoveling when able the outdoor cook stove out so we could have cowboy breakfast. I have watched the weather forecasts diligently for a day with less wind. Today it was suppose to be slight breeze's and sunny so I planned to cook outside this morning. When I went out the wind was blowing snow and it was gusting to 20 MPH which is not good to cook out in.
 I only was able to shovel to the cook stove and it would take another two days to shovel to the wood pile where the firewood is. The wood pile is under a 5' drift of hard packed snow and I had enough scrap lumber in the basement to cook out at least once. With the snow pelting me I decided to not cook today and continue to wait for a more suitable. day.
Carol asked Alexa what the wind forecast was for today and was told it would be gentle breezes 3.5 MPH. It is hard to get an accurate forecast in the mountains and even harder in the winter to cook breakfast outside. I'll continue to watch for a calm day - which we have not had for weeks. I figure we will have one more breakfast cooked outside before spring arrives.

I don't want to use the firewood we have stored for the inside wood stove as we are going through it fast. The wood shed was completely full and there is only 1 1/2 rows left before we get into our reserve firewood. It has been so cold this winter so far that we are using much more than usual.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wind Sculpting

 Snow and wind sculpture the snow to some interesting forms. The top two photos are where we had wind sculpture the snow. While the wind is brutal to use the snow thrower in - it does create some interesting images with the snow.
 The bottom photo is where the heavy snow is breaking off limbs from healthy trees. With this much snow already on the ground when we get the really heavy early spring snow I expect to see more limbs on the ground. We have had gusts of wind to 50 MPH so far and the bad winds are yet to come.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

New Light Fixtures

We are replacing our light fixtures with new ones and we have two waiting at the post office to pick up but the 8" of fresh snow coupled with the wind gusts of 25-30 MPH is keeping us from getting out. We have been having high wind for seeks and we have to wait for a break in the weather to be able to get into town for supplies.
The snow blows and drifts very quickly and if we get out we may not be able to get home. Our road crew is doing a fantastic job but they can't be everywhere at the same time and with the non stop wind can't possibly keep up with the drifting. This wind has gone on for weeks and we have to wait for a break in the weather to get out or risk not getting back home. With the temperature in single digit the wind chill is dangerous.
This is just one aspect of life being different here in the mountains versus city or suburban life. We are used to dealing with it and ignore conditions could be very dangerous so we don't take the risk. That is why we get our mail delivered to town as they will hold it as long as needed for us to pick it up. The boxes at the gate only hold so much and if we can't get to it they hold the excess at the Post Office anyway.
We have two light fixtures yet to install and it may take a while to get them up... Many things to do first - like clear the snow from the driveway and make sure the roads are open. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Winter Photos

 Light and shadows on wind blown snow...
 Ice cycles....
 Wind drifted snow...
 Shadows on fresh wind driven snow....
Back yard with 6+ foot piles of snow and paths for dogs to use to go potty....

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Trimming Tire Chains

The tighteners for the tractor tire chains is pretty much one size fits all. The chains that pull the tightener taunt are longer than needed as is the inner chain that holds the actual tire chains on. I need to get the tractor out so I can cut the excess chain off. The new bolt cutter I just bought handles the smaller tightener chains just fine but I'll see how it handles the heavier chain.

Waiting for the tractor to warm up with the block heater and then will move it into the open where I can get at the chains without laying on the cold hard ground.

Losing Our Fur Family

There is nothing easy about losing a family fur member. The grief and pain over saying goodbye to them is extremely hard. Even harder is making that decision for them when they cross that 'Rainbow bridge'. Once that decision is made and carried out there is no coming back. They are gone forever. It is important that it be made with their interest foremost. We don't want them to suffer and when their quality of life is no longer there and they can no longer function it is time.

We just lost Bozley in the photo above to a major stroke. When it happened we rushed him immediately to the vet and when we arrived he was so weak he couldn't move anything but his eyes. It was clear to us and his doctor he was not going to recover from this sudden stroke. Our Sarah had at 14.5 years congestive heart failure. Several medications were given to her to prolong her life and keep her comfortable but at the end she grew weak and lost interest in eating, drinking or moving. She was not in pain but there was nothing left for her and it was time to let her go. She clearly was ready.

There is always that nagging question could we have done one more thing that might have helped but sometimes even when faced with the obvious it is hard to let go. That is when we have to say what is best for our beloved fur family member and not be so selfish that we keep them that extra few moments because it so hard to say goodbye that final time. They won't be coming back and the decision is ours to make for them and it has to be the right one.

I tend to tell them goodbye by telling them how good they are, have been, and how much I love them and it is my hope and faith that I will see them again. That I don't want to see them suffer any more and this will relieve their suffering. Finding that appropriate time without guilt is important and I consider them and not my own selfish desires to keep them around longer. It never gets any easier and as we face two more future goodbyes it is none the less hard even leading up to that time. Our vet has told us that one day Echo won't be able to get up due to his disease and then it will be time. We do not look forward to that time arriving because each day he seems to get a little more unstable and weaker.

They tend to let us know when they can't go on if we just take the time to pay attention to their desires. This is the one decision that when arrived at is non-reversible so we have to be very careful when we make it for them. They have been there unfailing in loyalty and love for us and in the end we need to be there for them decide for them and not just ourselves. It is painful but they let us know if the time is right or not and they are ready to die.

RIP Clarence, Ben, Gypsy, Sarah and Bozley - all magnificent family members who remain in our memory and heart for as long as we live.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Snow Infringing On Width Of Roads

 Top photo is the main road and bottom photo is our road down to one lane now. The road crew is having difficulty dealing with all the snow and equipment can only push it so far off the road. I'm having problems at the house so I can only assume they are working hard on the drifts and accumulation. They are doing a good job keeping the roads open so we residents can get in and out.
These photo's were taken yesterday on my way back from town to pick up mail. I had the cruise control set at 65 mph, which is the speed limit and cars and trucks were passing me at 80+ mph. I was concerned that maybe the state was being evacuated as everyone was sure in a big hurry to get some where.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Where To Put The Snow.

Up at the crack of dawn to shovel out the back yard. We have 15" of snow so far and still counting. It is too much for two disabled dogs to cope with so we had to shovel an area out for them to go potty. The top photo is the snow about to cover our windows. When it is raked off the roof it will cover our windows.

The weather people predicted up to 8" and it was supposed to stop three hours ago. The storms have come this year about one week apart and each storm dumps about 14-15" each time. We are at the point that we have run out of places to put new snow. The above photo reflects our 6' 4" fence in the back yard - the piles are higher than the fence and we can only throw the shovels full so high. They just roll back down and we shovel 2-3 times the same snow. Our heavy snow months are ahead of us still.

Since we have lived here 21+ years we have had high snow piles but never like this where there is no place for new snow. Just getting the dogs a place where they can go potty is a dual effort. Next shovel off the deck and then plug in the tractor and do the driveway. We are not really into our snow season yet compared to past years and we are wondering what to do with the new snow the next 3-4 months.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Clean Again

Above is the dirty snow that has soot all over it and below is the snow that is falling as I write this. Clean snow again for a couple days is refreshing. Same area for both shots.

The chickadees don't mind the snow and this one came into the feeder as I was getting the above photo. We have nuthatches, chickadees, stellar jays and Clark nutcrackers who are going through a brick of suet every two days. Our entertainment....

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bozley's Remains Are Home

 Bozley who passed away 12/17/18, is back home to be will be put to rest when the ground thaws in a few months. His final resting place will be next to his sister Sarah, in the pet cemetery situated in a very beautiful spot on our property. We already have his headstone but now there is about 3' of snow on the area as other area's on our property.
Emotions are still a little raw over his passing but he was unique in many ways from other dogs. I will write more on him later when I don't have to fear dehydration. Needless to say he is very deeply missed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Dirty Snow

 After four days of strong wind this is what our snow looks like. The wildfire has produced dead pine needles, ash, and soot that turns our snow grey and littered with little pieces of ash and needles. A unfavorable side product of a wildfire. Hopefully one day we will have clean snow again.

What Are The Odds?

Last year just as the NCAA National Championship game started the power went out. We only watched the first few minutes of the game and then the power went out and when the electricity came back on we hurriedly turned the TV back on just in time to see the post game celebration.

This year we settled in to watch the game with the same two opponents and the first quarter was exciting with three touchdowns in the first four and one half minutes. At the end of the  first quarter the game really had our interest as an exciting game. The score was 21 - 16, and "you gotta be kidding me", the power went out again.

We were suddenly in total blackness and stunned. What are the odds that this would happen two years at the same time. When the power came back on at 2:00 AM we found out Clemson had won but we missed 3/4's of the game. What are the odds this would happen two years in a row at almost the same time? ..... Pretty rare I think...

Friday, January 4, 2019


What do old people do on a nice winter day?  We get out the sleds and sled down the driveway. Actually can get up to about 15-20 MPH and we have the snow pushed off the road to stop us. Great fun and those little sleds can go pretty fast. Note the 3' of snow on the left side of the driveway. That is about what has accumulated on the ground so far this winter. Pretty hard to get around unless you have snow shoes. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Winter In The Mountains

 Weather predictions were pretty accurate as the temperature dropped to -5 degrees (f) and we ended up with 12" of snow over night.  It is still snowing so we will get more accumulation today. Cold start to the new year..
Happy New Year to all our blog readers.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Experience and Expectation

One year ago this time we looked forward to expectation and hopes for a good year. Now we do the same for the next year with no idea what really lies ahead. As we look back on our experiences from this past year we clearly see hardship and gain. Hardship in having experienced the third worst wildfire in Colorado history, the loss of our beloved Bozley to a stroke, the struggles of our two remaining dogs Bozwell and Echo with cauda equinus a lower spine stenosis. The gain is two stronger people and expectation for a better year to come.

Unpleasant occurrences experienced for sure but once the trauma passed we believe we came out stronger people. Difficult circumstances was not the dominating or controlling factor but simply a hurdle to move past and learn from. We did get our firewood in for this winter safely and even managed to donate several cords to LaPuente to distribute to those unable to obtain their own firewood to keep warm. There were many people and organizations like the Red Cross and Church for Christ that stepped forward and helped us move through the wildfire. There were so many friends and family that were there for us that it humbled us greatly. We live a pretty self sufficient lifestyle and to have so many come forward for us is truly humbling and we will forever be grateful.

We had strong wind throughout the year and it broke trees off but none really did any damage to our home or structure and their removal opened up the forest for new and stronger growth. The wildfire burned a few trees but for the most part our homestead is green and intact. We feel blessed to still have our home and land virtually untouched. Our view is certainly different but the new openness gives us better views. Our home was the only one on our road to survive for which we are grateful but we feel sadness for the 134 land owners that lost their homes.

We/I had one very nice surprise when our daughter came for a few days visit. It was so good to have here here and to do things together like we used to when she was a young girl.


We have no idea what the next year will bring but we know from what we have survived so far that we will deal with it in the same manner that we dealt with this past year thanks to so many supporting us. We will face the new year with hope and good expectations and if bad things happen face them with the same resolve that got us through the past ones. God blessed us greatly this past year and He will bless and be with us this coming year if it is His will for us.

We wish all readers a healthy, happy, prosperous 2019 and may any problems encountered end up to be your strengths.  Everyone from time to time has difficulties and we hope for peace and tranquility for friends, family and readers but if difficulties do come your way our hope is that you have the same uplifting support we had this past year. Friends, family and strangers all came forward to assist, support and encourage us to move on.  A hearty heartfelt thank you to all those who helped us through difficult times.

Happy 2019..... and may your new year be filled with peace, joy and happiness.