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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bozley

Bozley: DOB unknown - December 17, 2018. 12 + years old. 11:45 AM Carol was looking at Bozley and he had his ears laying back and head down. He collapsed in the breakfast room his favorite place. She called to me and said she thought Bozley had a stroke. I went to him immediately and he had a vacant look like he didn't know where he was. 
I called the vet and told them we were on our way in and we lifted him on a towel and got him in our Jeep. He was awake but not using his legs and his breathing was shallow. 
The vet agreed that he had had a stroke and he did not move anything but his eyes. It was obvious that he would not make any recovery. At 12:45 Pm he departed this life to be with Sarah..
He was in bed with me this morning giving me sweet licks and snuggling with his head under the covers. 5 hours later he is gone and we are all devastated. RIP Bozley you were the perfect boy and you are already missed deeply and you will forever be in our hearts and memory. .
Out of all three of our fur family Bozley loved his new boots more than any of them. I'm so glad that he was able to get some use out of them and his back legs did not slip out from under him any more. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Dog Boot Update

 The dogs have worn their boots for a week now and they actually like them. I put them on in the morning and take them off at night. The boots have given them confidence to venture into parts of the back yard they previously avoided. We only put them on their back legs as it was their back legs that would slip out on them and twist their body which aggravated the cauda equina syndrome. They would also occasionally slip in the house and these boots give them gripping ability. We also bought the socks that go on with them and they seem to help put the boots on. They are Ruffwear Grip Trex and we bought them through Amazon. So far they have lived up to their promotion data.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Fresh Snow

 Woke up at 4:00 AM to let the dogs out and had to push the door open due to fresh snow. While we were sleeping 14" of snow occurred. The forecast was for 40% chance with 2-4" possible. Missed this forecast by a country mile....
 So I was out at 4:30 shoveling the back yard for the dogs to be able to go to the bathroom. There was not a single sound outside and it was so quiet and peaceful. Not a bird chirping, door closing, engine running - nothing but total silence. It was wonderful even though it was 8 degrees. I don't think with the current population we have many people that have total silence without some noise. Those who hear the noise probably are used to it so they don't even notice but for a few hours today we had total and complete silence and it was wonderful. Stars tinkling overhead and wonderful silence - not a sound.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Dog Boots

 With almost everything on a 30-45 degree slope the dogs with their smooth pads (house dogs ya know) tend to have their back feet slip out when the snow gets packed down. We bought them boots with rubber grips on the bottom through Amazon and distributed by Ruffwear Grip Trex, all terrain,that should help them keep their footing better. We only bought them for their back feet as they don't need them for their front feet. A set of two are $37.00 each but if they keep their paws from slipping it will be worth in in reduced vet and Rx costs.
Since they also slip on the carpet inside they have kept them from falling or re-injuring themselves so far by providing increased traction.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Animal Tracks

More fresh bobcat tracks in the snow this morning. It appears we either have an over active bobcat  or there are two of them.  Bobcat tracks above.
The bobcats are hanging around because of all the rabbits and squirrels we have. In fact I could see where a rabbit sat next to the driveway and was apparently watching the bobcats down on the road. That kind of bravado will convert it to dinner one day. Rabbit tracks above and squirrel tracks below.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Bobcat


Light snow last evening reveals fresh bobcat tracks coming up our driveway and around our house to the other side. Bobcat tracks are easy to identify as they have small dainty toes and pad. We could fit two bobcat tracks into one coyote track. This is probably our resident bobcat that must have survived the wildfire which makes us happy. The wildfire destroyed everything around our home and I'm sure many animals were cremated because they could not move fast enough to get out of the way. It is nice to see these tracks as the bobcat family that has been around our area for many years somehow survived the ravages of the wild fire. They must have been terrified but thankfully survived.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Porcupine Tracks

We don't always see the animal but with the snow on the ground we see where they have been. By looking at these tracks it appears this was a large porcupine......

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas Past

Do you remember what presents you received last Christmas? I don't but I do remember one I received many years ago from a sweet elderly lady that also happened to be one of our insureds. It was in Tallahassee, Fla. where I was the company representative for our company insurance claims. Her name was Elizabeth Jones and she lived alone but had a maid to assist her with her house work. Elizabeth was in her senior years and she had advanced rheumatoid arthritis which left her hands as depicted in the above photo.

Her maid had slipped and fallen and broke her arm and Elizabeth reported the claim to us under the medical payments portion of her homeowners policy. I would stop by every couple weeks to pick up the medical bills and reimburse the maid for them. I also liked Elizabeth and this gave me an opportunity to stop and talk to her as she was a very sweet lady. She had few if any visitors so it was always good to stop by. The oldest high school in Tallahassee was Leon HS, and Elizabeth was in the very first graduating class of Leon. (Also where our daughter went to HS).

As with most injuries the maid finally healed and was released from her doctor and I stopped by to pay the final bills and it was just before Christmas. After dealing with the bills Elizabeth had her maid get me a small plate of Christmas cookies they had made and a glass of milk. She then invited me into a parlor where she had a baby grand piano.

Elizabeth sat down at the piano and commenced to play me 20 minutes of Christmas carols flawlessly with those deformed fingers while I ate cookies and drank a glass of milk. She hit every key perfectly and the music enveloped me for that 20 minutes. It was with great effort that those fingers - deformed as they were - played that melody.

I may have forgotten what presents I received last Christmas and the one's before that but I will never forget the gift Elizabeth gave me that day. It was a rare, unexpected and personal gift that was given, with great effort, and a very beautiful thing. That gift was given well over 30 years ago and I remember it still and can still see Elizabeth maneuvering those crippled fingers on the keyboard and playing Christmas carols flawlessly. The sound of that baby grand piano resonating in the small room still brings tears to my eyes.

We all should have such beautiful Christmas memories as this... Perhaps the world would be a better place as Elizabeth certainly left her mark on me that day just a few days before Christmas and made my Christmas' brighter with her selfless gift.  A present I will never forget I hope.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Sweet Menories

Carol picked up some shrimp at the grocery store and we had them for dinner tonight. Small and probably from China but good none the less, especially dipped in spicy sauce. Brought back a memory from years ago when two fishing friends and myself went shrimping. I was claim manager for Hartford in Gainesville, Fla. and my buddies called me and told me the shrimp were running in the St. John's River and could I drive over and bring my cast net. I had an elderly lady in Atlantic Beach make the cast net as she made the best cast nets in N. Florida. She wove them all by hand and you had to put in your order and wait for your net. I doubt anyone made a better net than that lady did back then.

After work I changed clothes and left for Jacksonville and met up with my buddies there. We put Jim's boat in near Jones College (now closed) on the St. John's River. Mark had the fish meal and flour for bait and we started to put out bait and markers. I cast from the front of the boat and when we filled up our large cooler we then filled up a wash tub and the bait well with very large shrimp probably averaging 5-6" long. I started to empty them in the boat and and many were jumping over the side. The kids from Jones College lay on the beach watching us as we were close to the beach, When as many were jumping out as were staying in the boat we quit and went back to the launch ramp and divided them up.

I probably had well in excess of 20-30 pounds of  cleaned shrimp. I made the long drive home and got a couple hours sleep and went back to work the next day. Those were excellent tasting shrimp as I recall and I don't recall anyone ever believing just off the beach of Jones College three guys could almost sink the boat by catching so many shrimp.

I ended up giving my cast net to a good friend years later when I had no further use of it. Jack retired as VP of our company to an area where he was able to follow his passion for shrimping. I'm sure he caught many as that net was the best professional net made back then. Shrimp are good but none compare to those jumbo's we got in a few hours that night on the St. John's River next to Jones College. I don't think anyone ever considered shrimping at that location before we killed them that night. 

Fourteen Inches


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Outdoor Breakfast

 A good morning for breakfast cooked out on the cook stove. It was 20 degrees with a wind chill of around 14 degrees. The answer to cooking out on the wood stove is to use small pieces of firewood. You have to feed the stove more often but the wind doesn't blow the flames out. With 2 feet of snow on the ground and 2-3" again last night the conditions were just right to cook outside.
 We had sliced potatoes with my special seasoning that has a little bite to it, fried spam, and eggs over easy. Because it cooks slowly on a wood fired stove everything tastes better than when cooked inside. We eat inside but cook outside and the food just seems to have more flavor. Slow cooked on cast iron cookware the meal just seems to have more flavor. The cook stays warm because the cook stove radiates heat.
The views are all superb as I cook. Looking up our back yard with the trees and hills is peaceful and the silence is overpowering. Toward the end of the cooking some fighter jets did a couple turns around our area probably salivating over the meal below them. If they would have had hover capability I would gladly have provided take out. I know they can see me down here because in the past when they do training exercises over our house I have waved to them and get a wing wag back. Mountain life is good (tough but good) and mornings like today with the blinding blue sky, snow on the ground life is real good.   

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Reminiscing

Yesterday started like any other day and since it was a blinding blue sky and nice weather I decided to head into Alamosa to do some grocery shopping. As I was leaving Walmart I bumped into someone who I had not seen in years and we stood out in front of Walmart catching up on our lives. If that wasn't a totally pleasant surprise my next stop was to get a turn signal lens replaced at Car Care Auto Repair.
Going into Car Care is much like it was going into a barber shop of years ago where folks would sit and talk to each other. The guys that run Car Care are friendly and time passes fast because the employees and customers converse about what ever the topic might be for the day. Yesterday it was about bad knees, climbing ladders and installing rain gutters. How sometimes it is better to pay to have it done than struggling to do it yourself.
What a unexpectedly pleasant trip into town yesterday was. Small town life is good.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Never Ending Ash and Soot

When we got our first snow we mistakenly thought that we would be done with the wildfire ash and soot for a while. We were wrong as when the winter winds blew it blew ash and soot off the dead burned trees and the above photo shows what our snow looks like after a couple days of strong mountain wind.
It reminds me of when I was a child and we would drive down from south central Michigan to Aurora, Illinois which was just west of Chicago. The trip in the winter would take us through Gary, Indiana which had a lot of steel plants, smelting operations, and factories. I used to think the snow that was red, yellow, orange and grey looked pretty cool without realizing what was causing it. Now our snow is grey and black speckled and I miss the pure white snow we used to have. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are on the road traveling - stay safe. We all have so much to be thankful for if we just step back a few moments to reflect on all we have been blessed with. HAPPY THANKSGIVING.....

Sunday, November 18, 2018

NOTICE

When we had to evacuate for two weeks and did not have internet access most of that time I got behind in comments. It has been a real chore trying to catch up because we get a high volume of solicitations, people trying to scam readers, anonymous, and submissions in languages that I have no idea what they are. Many are from the far or mid east. Then there are those which Google identifies as not valid or can't ID the address and they kick them out.

Sorting through all  those comments takes a lot of time and I personally have fallen behind in posting comments. I apologize to followers and readers if your comment hasn't been posted promptly. Finding and posting proper comments is labor intensive and catching up is even more labor intensive. I have posted as many comments as I could tell were proper and not something trying to lure readers into some financial or sex scam. I will try to keep up on comments better in the future and apologize as your comments are always welcome.

Refinishing a Chair

Before I retired the company I worked for wanted more upscale and modern furniture in the office. I was going home one evening and saw two wooden arm chairs and this chair in the dumpster. I checked with the manager who said I could have them as they were just throwing them away. I brought them home with me and over the years I have refinished them one by one. This one is about ready for a coat of stain. Between snow storms and being sidetracked by the last storm for several days due to the 36" of new snow.

I started this chair last year but couldn't get into it until just before the last snow storm. I have sanded and scraped and sanded and scraped. It is just about stripped are ready to refinish. Each one of those layers of paint came off reluctantly but come off they did. These are well made and very solid chairs and comfortable to sit on. Now being stripped down and when refinished they will be a nice addition to our home.

Monday, November 12, 2018

In The Dawn's Early Light

 We woke up to 7 degrees this morning and an additional 21" of snow on top of the 13" I cleared last night. So this storm gave us 34" total of much needed fresh snow. This is going to take a few days to clear away and much shoveling.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Snow, Snow, Snow...

So far 13" and still coming down hard. The weather prognosticators said a total of  8" expected. So far this winter the weather professionals are 0 for 3. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Cowboy Breakfast

With a foot of snow on the ground it is once again safe to cook outdoors so I made cowboy breakfast for my soon to be birthday bride. Tomorrow is her birthday but there is snow in the forecast so I made her breakfast today.
Fried spam, over easy eggs, potatoes with my special seasoning and hot apple cider.  Came out well even though it was 20 degrees outside.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Re-Purpose

Read our new blog for Mother Earth News about re-purpose throw away items. It can be found at:https://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/re-purposing-zbcz1811


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Re-filling our newly made firewood holder

We figure making two trips per week from the woodshed is better than making 21-28 trips and the sled in two trips fills up the newly fashioned firewood holder. Having it a few steps outside the back door makes it much easier to get firewood.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

19" And Still Snowing


...20% of what we got last winter!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Junior

The best way to tell Junior's story is from the very beginning. Right after we moved here full time I was out picking up limbs and a doe came up and I started to talk to her. She had twin fawns in spots and they were playing around for much of the day. A couple years later we noticed a buck (Junior) standing outside the fence looking at us through the window and then at the bird feeder hanging in the back yard.

I went out and he didn't run off or act alarmed so I got an ice cream bucket and went down under the house and put some bird seed in it.  Junior followed me and when I came out he walked right up to me and commenced eating out of the bucket while I held it. Junior officially adopted us that day.

We had a long close relationship with Junior and his friends he would bring to visit that lasted for years. I would rub his nose and scratch his head and he would make small mewing or purring sounds. When my shirt sleeve would get tangled in  his antlers I would tell him to hold still while I got us untangled which he always did. We would spend many days together and I would talk to him and I slowly realized he would understand some of what I was telling him.

During the rut he would go off to court the ladies and come back exhausted. He would stand by the fence like in the photo until I came out and then he would lay down right next to the fence trusting me to look out for him while he slept. I could walk right by him and he would open an eye - see who it was and go immediately back to sleep. We had a level of trust for each other that is rare between a human and wild animal.

There are so many stories about Junior that there wouldn't be room in this blog to tell them all. He stayed around for many years and our trust for each other grew each year. The last time I saw Junior was in his senior years when he brought a rather large herd with him. I walked through the deer and he came to me and we spent a few moments together with the other deer probably wondering what was going on. I don't know what happened to Junior but I miss him terribly. Deer live up to 15 years in the wild and Junior lived all of that.

It is not often that a wild animal will put forth the effort to adopt a human as a friend but he did in my case. We understand that Junior was one of the fawns that hung around those days when I was cleaning up brush. His twin came around for several years but never never developed the intimacy that Junior did. It was a rare friendship that  I am happy to have experienced.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Re-Purpose

The first year we moved here full time we went for a hike out back of our house and found some elk antlers. They have been laying outside on the ground for 21 years and I needed a hand pruner to cut off low limbs as it is hard to use a pole saw on low limbs. When I bought our 12' pole saw I bought two extra blades for it. As I was going through my shop I found one unused blade and thought if I had a handle for it I could make a pruning saw.

Then I remembered the elk antlers and thought one of them would make a good handle. So I fashioned the elk antler into a handle and it is nice and strong and I have a pruner. The blade is a $20.00 Marvin blade that is sharp as a razor and nice and strong. Now it will be much easier to trim low limbs..

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Misty Morning

One of the benefits of getting up early....

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Premiere Intelligence

This is Bozwell, 11 1/2 years old and perhaps the smartest fur family member we have ever had. He will study us and what is happening around him and react accordingly. He has the ability to study, evaluate and act properly on what he has discerned. I used to think that our prior dog Ben (also a German Shepherd) was intelligent but I believe Bozwell's intelligence parallels Ben's.

When we lived in Pennsylvania we were in a small community of 101 close density homes on top of a hill. There was a small strip mall at the bottom of the hill and the Pizza Hut drivers would use an alley to leave and deliver their pizzas. We would have to cross that alley to get home from our walk so I trained Ben his left and his right so he would look both ways on command before we would cross the alley. Even after we moved to the mountains I would tell him to look left or right he would do so.

I also taught him to look at the clock and tell time and when I would tell him I was going to the dentist he would always inspect my teeth when I returned. Bozwell is equally as intelligent as Ben was but he prefers to study us and figure things out for himself. In addition to having canine family with all their normal instincts it is a double reward to have them super intelligent to boot.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Aftermath Of A wildfire

Part two of the "Saga Of A Wildfire", has been published and I invite all readers to check out some aspects of the aftermath that you would not envision. It can be found at: https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/saga-of-a-wildfire-part-2-zbcz1810

Morning Sunrise In The Mountains



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Natural Spring Exit

We have a spring that comes up on our property and runs all year long. This is where the spring exits across the road. It has been so cold that it has frozen where it comes out of the culvert. It forms exquisite patterns where it freezes but the phone camera doesn't pick them up. One year I plan to take some Jello down and put it in the other end of the culvert if I can get down there before it freezes. I think that will make for an interesting photo..

Bear Track And Not The Donuts..

 Living remotely as we do on the side of a mountain (unofficially called bear mountain), we often encounter wild animals. This time of year after a fresh snow we see tracks and find the animals are around us but we never see them. Such was this morning when Carol took the dogs for a walk down the road. She found bear tracks a few hundred yards from the house. Yesterday I went out for a drift fence behind our wood shed and found fresh coyote tracks. 
Often the dogs will sniff the air and sometimes do a warning bark and we know something is around but won't see it. Now with snow on the ground we see tracks and wonder how we missed seeing the animal. Sometimes we get the feeling we are being watched (and are being watched) but don't see any animals. They could be behind a tree watching us or up in a tree watching us or laying on the ground watching us. We have become very used to co-existing with the wild animals.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Next The Snow

First the cold and next the snow. Predictions vary from 8" to 15" depending on which weather prognosticator we listen to. At the beginning of winter we go out in heavy winter clothes and at the end we go out in shirt sleeves. Funny how our systems and tolerance to cold changes over the duration of the season. Same temperature and snow but totally different reactions...

Winter Arrived Today

Pretty cool this morning and a sign that winter is finally here.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Donuts Day

A Rx I take says to take with food so each morning I have a donut and  coffee. We used to buy our donuts at the grocery in Alamosa but they stopped making plain cake donuts. The baker said they were good sellers but the bakery manager decided to discontinue them. So I now make them myself and today I made 37 along with donut holes. DELICIOUS.......nothing like fresh cake donuts or fresh baked bread...

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ash/soot

When ever it rains and the rain water collect on a surface we find soot and ash in the puddle. You don't see it in the air but it is there and the rain washes it down to the ground. No doubt that we are breathing it but we can't tell.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

First Snow

 First snow of the season. A light dusting of snow does improve the view of black trees on the ground. The forecast calls for 1-4" of snow today. It will not last as snow this time of year generally melts off in a day. It is a welcome sight however....

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Christmas Cactus

The internal time clock of our Christmas cactus is off a couple months.  It is blooming early this year and set next to the African violet it is stunning in the sun light. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Spooky

It is currently 31 degrees outside and the clouds have dropped down to ground level in an inversion. This creates a real spooky atmosphere with all the dead trees left standing from the forest fire. It is also very quiet outside and we don't hear even a bird chirping.