For anyone interested here is a link that gives live views of Hurricane Florence approaching land. I hope all those in the area have evacuated as the flooding is going to be very bad...
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Friday, September 7, 2018
We have had some close calls with hunters shooting in our area and I don't plan to be shot at again. We take extra precautions during hunting season and this year we will be more alert for poachers. It is the time of year we are outside more with our dogs and we don't want to be shot by a careless poacher. Therefore to discourage them we only post old trail camera photos so they can't use our blog site to focus their illegal poaching.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Monday, September 3, 2018
Sunday, September 2, 2018
They are predicting an especially cold and snowy winter for our area this year and it appears we are off to an early start with all the signs around us. Our preparation for winter is nearly done so bring it on. We only have the garage left to apply stain too and everything else has been done even with the two week hiatus during the evacuation this summer. We can always use a little more firewood but that will come in free time as available. All the indicators reveal that fall is upon us.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
The fear of a heavy rain brings with it mud slides. The wind picks up the ash and soot and it penetrates everything. It has been dry for several weeks now and the ash and soot have made everything black. Our sidewalk is black, our deck is black, the soot that lands on our vehicles is black, the rhubarb leaves have a black cast to them, everything inside has fine soot on it. No matter how often you dust it still finds its way into the house landing on furniture, carpet, shelves etc...
There is nothing that is not affected by the remains of the wildfire. Day in and day out we are reminded of the trauma. We spend twice as much time dusting but to no avail. We feel it on our teeth, our skin, see it on our clothes and every little breeze that happens we see it as a dark cloud raising up from the ground. The lingering effects from the wildfire has a very long tail and there is no relief in sight.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
One of the problems is that they lose their bowel control. He can be laying on his bed sleeping and out will pop a piece of poop that he is totally unaware of it happening. I let him out often during the night but that does not always work out. Just this morning he came back in at 4:30 A.M. and one slipped out as he was heading back to bed. This can be frustrating and annoying but he can't control it and that is no reason not to clean up after him and let him get the best remaining life possible.
He struggles to get around but his attitude is good and we do not want to send him across that rainbow bridge before the appropriate time especially for an annoyance that he can't help. As long as he is without pain and can ambulate (albeit with effort) we want him to enjoy the remainder of his days. When that ultimate day arrives we want to know that he has had all the life has to offer and that the future for him is absolutely bleak and he has no quality of life left. Until then we will enjoy his personality, loyalty, love and devotion all which have been without flaw and unwavering.
We hope between then and now that he will not have an accident that will speed up his demise. His back legs seem weaker each day and his tumor continues to grow slowly. When we adopted him it was much like a marriage 'for better or worse until death do us part', and he is entitled to at least that. Making that final non reversible decision is not going to be easy and when we must we need to know it is the right thing for him and that we have done all for him and not hold regrets.
This ugly disease is going to claim two of our three dogs and until it does we want to continue to give them the best quality of life possible. Perhaps by writing this it will help someone else who is going through or will go through life with this disease some insight and guidance. My heart goes out to anyone whose dog has or will have this terrible disease as it is so hard to see them degenerate little by little each day. We have tried different so called remedies but none have worked and the disease progresses. Both are very senior dogs and for senior dogs the options are very few.
Friday, August 24, 2018
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Carol is in Alamosa with stool samples for the vet (not a nice part of their job) to see if we can find out what is going on. She is also picking up the supplies the vet recommended to help calm their intestinal systems down. We figure they picked up something while we were evacuated in the form of a bug and we need to stop this cycle.
It is hard to get a good nights sleep because when the dogs move around we get up to let them out not knowing if they are just changing position or need to go out to go to the bathroom. With three elder fur family members and two with disabilities we don't take chances.
Those motel's are handy and convenient that take dogs but they are breeding grounds for various diseases in my opinion. The floors are kept as clean as possible but we could tell there were issues in the carpet and that is where the dogs lay. Hopefully we can get a handle on this problem soon.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
It was just over 21 years ago that we were en-route to our 'new' community with expectations of a friendly, caring and cooperative community that would meet the raw beauty of the environment where we planned to retire. Our expectations included neighbors working together with each other, cooperating together as in going together to facilitate contractors or service providers coming to our area and sharing the travel costs. Living in a remote area we don't have all the providers a larger community would have. For example hiring a chimney sweep would require going to Taos, NM, or Colorado Springs. 2-3 people could use the same service and share the mileage costs making it better for all.
What we found when we got to our 'new' community was quite different from what we anticipated. Divided groups who were not given to cooperate with each other, disputes and infighting for control of the association, backbiting and a more hostile community than we could have imagined. It was so bad that we finally chose to stay by ourselves and not even try to contribute or engage the community. The backbiting, gossip and efforts of some to destroy those who did not agree with them or who they couldn't control made self imposed seclusion a necessity for our survival.
The Spring wildfire raged through our community destroying about half the homes and many will not rebuild or maintain their property. Old power struggles, character assassinations and gossip mongering seems of little consequence now that the community has been torn apart by a wildfire. Dreams have been destroyed, lives have been seriously disrupted, old alliances have been ripped apart and the community is left in shock and disbelief as the number one fear has now come to pass.
As leadership now struggles to put the community back to some semblance of what it once was it seems to me that this could easily be a 'second chance' to have a much better community. Second chances are rare and when opportunity for a second chance appears it should not be wasted.
To start again on having a caring community will require some to put old grudges aside, leave old hurts in the dust and ashes and change their attitude in moving forward. A viable community should be inclusive of ALL members and not a fractured community. It will be up to every member whether they are willing to do this and move forward together or if the same old mistakes will simply be embellished and perpetuated. Egos, grudges, hate and divisiveness will have no room in a new and improved community that will serve all the members and not just a few. People will need to work side by side to have a friendly and cooperate community.
From what I have seen thus far it appears to be status quo as to the same old community. I believe instead of jumping right into trying to restore the community the leadership should instead step back and do some thinking on what the community should be and work toward that as a goal. Members need to do some soul searching and identify where they need to make amends and change their attitudes. That doesn't necessarily mean that everyone has to like each other but what it does mean that they need to 'get along' together and work first of all on making a more caring community and not the hateful one that existed prior to the wildfire.
The landscape is now very ugly but the residents can brighten it up with proper attitudes toward each other and becoming more adult. Those are my observations and that is my opinion. I think the status of the community needs to be addressed first and then the physical restoration. Leadership and members need to take a look at what was a fractured community and what they desire it to be in the future. This point in time is a "second chance to get it right". A second chance is not something to be taken lightly or wasted.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Sunday, August 5, 2018
This wildfire destroyed about half the property in our community. There are 3,364 parcels and half would be 1,682. Not all those are developed and 134 homes were destroyed. Most people can figure out that it will be decades before their property will show any semblance of what it was. Likely unless they are very young they will not see it within their lifetime. Thus far their investment is from $3,500.00 to $7,500.00, and they now have a destroyed piece of property that will not be what they hoped for. They face the prospect of future property taxes and association dues on something that is greatly diminished in value.
So what do they do? Some will pay taxes and dues and hold the property for their grandchildren to enjoy in the future. Others will most likely cut their losses and walk away knowing that they can't recover their investment. Any investment opportunity will definitely be long range. If half those owners walk away the loss of dues and taxes will be impressive, not to consider the costs of either the association or county recovering the land by foreclosure.
This wildfire will impact us all, some directly as it has already done and others indirectly. Mostly people are now deciding whether to rebuild on a devastated piece of property or to cut their losses as best they can. If they rebuild they will be surrounded by this devastation for many years to come. The association and county are obvious losers since they have the same obligations but do not have the same revenue base to pay for the obligations. Roads to maintain, equipment to maintain and fuel, salaries to pay, insurance costs and buildings to maintain.
But what about local businesses and merchants? They will have less customers as those whose homes were destroyed will be relocated which will translate less profit. By the time the community is restored they will have indirect losses. Operating on a low margin of profit can put some businesses out of business with the loss of customer base. Businesses look ahead to growth not backward at less customer base.
So everyone in the community and area is going to be impacted by this wildfire. We can either stay in a depressed state or pull together to build our community back and make it better in the process. One way is to support local business where ever and when ever possible. Another way is to encourage those who lost their property to rebuild. The climate is the same - it is just the landscape that changed. Some of the deed restrictions no longer apply due to the devastation. Make it more desirable to build back and that will depend on the association and the county. Formulating new strict and restrictive rules is counter productive. Relax the rules and help people - don't hinder people because in the long run it will be the association, county and those whose homes were not destroyed that will indirectly pay the price.
It just seems like simple economics to me.....
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Monday, July 30, 2018
People have gone from shock to discouraged and demoralized. As my friend Joe and myself drive around the community to survey road signs that were destroyed we go by these burned down homes. So far less than a handful of people are making any attempt to clean up the debris on their property. Why you might ask...good question.
Because the State and Federal authorities (bureaucrats all) have regulations and rules that prohibit a clean up any way but their way. The tin roofs have to be "washed on site" before they can be moved to a central location. The ashes from what used to be homes has to be wet down, double bagged in 6 mil. bags or enclosed in 6 mill sheets of plastic in a dumpster on all sides. As anyone knows wet ashes are sticky, heavy and will cling to a shovel. They are just plain a mess to deal with. Now add the goggles in the hot of the day with flies, a hazmat suit, rubber boots and gloves and guess how long you can endure this procedure.
Thus far the bureaucrats have not determined how to dispose of the cement from foundations. Based on the above two procedures it is a sure bet it won't be practical.
FEMA finally showed up and they have given us one day to provide them with the name and telephone number of those who lost their homes. Also to advise if they were insured, under insured or not insured. With people now scattered to the four winds it shows how interested they are in helping.
So this is a conundrum as to how to deal with bureaucratic procedures and plan to rebuild. Is it any wonder why people are discouraged and are more than likely going to take the insurance money and walk away. Some already have made their intentions known and done so.
So what happens to the debris on their property in 1-3 years. It stays right there and it should be no surprise that they won't pay HOA dues or property taxes. Where does that leave the HOA and those who remain? Where does that leave the county and its significant loss of revenue? Well the bureaucrats don't much care if the county, HOA or anyone else has to continually suffer as they have their regulations and those rules and regulations identify their self importance. If a community fails or the county suffers that is not their fault. So how do you deal with these myopic bureaucrats? You don't because they are unwavering.
Supposedly this is done to protect us from asbestos. Asbestos was outlawed in the early 70's and the oldest home in our community was built in 1986. So where does this asbestos come from? Not a concern for a bureaucrat, the regulations are clear.
So having read this far you can see the conundrum, except in this case there is no solution and people are continuing to be victimized. It will be the slow death of a community. Paradise lost.
Friday, July 27, 2018
For more years than I can now remember we have had a family of flycatchers nest somewhere on our home. Last year was under the deck, the year before it was on the electrical meter and this year it was next to the door that goes under the house. Her two chicks had just hatched prior to the wildfire.
When we evacuated she was on the nest with her two little guys and I wished her well.
When we got home two weeks later one of the first things I checked was her nest. Two little heads were popped up looking back at me. Then a few days ago I noticed one of the little ones in my garden giving it his all to fly more than a few feet. Each try he made it a little further and finally he fluttered off to his new found freedom.
That mama flycatcher is to be admired as she withstood extreme heat and smoke to stick with those little guys and raise them to be on their own. The heat on the house was intense and the smoke had to be thick and choking but she stuck with it and got those little guys airborne. With the grass fires around the house she must have been terrified at times but through it all she stuck by those little chicks. Another hero if you ask me......