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Thursday, January 14, 2021

Darn Rabbit

This little guy is hunched up in his favorite place with his escape route within a foot away from where he sits. He has gotten a little chunky from feeding on the sunflower seeds the birds drop from the feeder. He drives the dogs crazy as he is only a few feet outside the fenced in area. We only had one rabbit for the longest time but suddenly we have many all hanging around the house. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Snowshoe


 We went snowshoeing down the road today. About 2' of granular snow which made it a good workout. At least next time we go we will have a packed down trail to follow and each time we will then be able to stretch out our distance even more. Wind was gusting pretty strong and so with all the dead burned trees we had to be cautious of falling trees, limbs or chunks of bark. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Misty Morning In The Mountains


 With the temperature hovering around 6 degrees and the humidity at 91% it is cold outside. As the sun comes up through the mist it makes for another beautiful morning. One of the reasons we love the mountains. We can dress for the cold and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Bozwell


 I sure miss this boy. He could read me like a book and he was clearly in charge around the house. When it was time to eat he would come stand in front of me with that stare that only German Shepherd parents know and understand. When I would ask him if it was time to eat he would give me a playful bark and get into the play position even when it was painful for him to do so. 

He would tell me when the others needed to go out to go potty as well as himself. He orientated seven other GSD's into the house and taught them proper house manners. He did not possess a jealous or mean bone in his body and had superior intelligence. It was painful to say goodbye to him but Rx no longer worked for him and he lost his ability to use his back legs. I could not stand to see him suffer just to keep him with us for our selfish purposes. I am still dealing with his loss and I probably will for many years. Rest in Peace my good and faithful friend. I miss you in so many ways but most of all for your abundant love, loyalty and trust....

If there are typing errors it is because it is hard to see the monitor through the tears and I apologize for errors. Life is certainly different these past four months without you by my side. 

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Vaccinations

When I was in the military I served in a special operations group and we could be dispatched anywhere in the world or any country. We therefore got vaccinations very often. I filled out two and one half shot records like the one in the photo. I have read all the concerns over taking this Covid 19 vaccinations and today we went and got our first vaccination and will return for the second one in a month. I have not seen any proof that would cause me to not take this  vaccination especially having taken all the ones before in my life. 

I think not taking something that could possibly keep you from catching this very serious disease is not warranted by any facts. 

 


Monday, January 4, 2021

Raking roof:


 It took three days of intense snow removal to get the snow off the roof but there is still snow beside the house to remove. Moving snow is a lot of work....

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021

Ruby And Her Hedgehog


 Ruby likes to keep her hedgehog close by - even when she takes a nap. While both girls share toys well, this was Ruby's 14th birthday present and she tries to keep it to herself. If Lucy gets it and runs off with it Ruby will follow her until Lucy puts it down and then she makes it hers again. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Lucy & Ruby Resting:



Ruby has her padded corned to rest in but Lucy has her favorite spot in front of the wood stove. That is why we have a fence around the wood stove because Lucy would curl up against it if it were not there. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

2021




 So glad to say goodbye to 2020 I'm leaping early. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Cowboy Breakfast

I was just able to cook our cowboy breakfast on the outside cook stove before the snow started to fall in earnest.  
 My special potatoes with the special seasoning, fried spam, and eggs over easy. Always good when cooked over a wood stove in the outdoors. Yummy........

Elk Photos From Last Fall:

 I just observed a small herd of elk wading through the deep snow two days ago across from our cabin. 




Sunday, December 27, 2020

Low Mileage


 Next time we use our 2002 Jeep Liberty it will turn 90,000 miles. It is still in the pristine condition it was when we bought it all those years ago. We have had it serviced regularly and the oil changed every 3,000 miles. We only average 4,737 miles per year and most of those are between here and Alamosa on the highway. Out Truck only averages 3,300 miles per year and with both 95% of those miles are driving to Alamosa and back or down to the dumpster which is about 18 miles round trip.   

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Squirrel Is A Squirrel

 Squirrels are all the same - right?  There are multiple grey squirrels around our house but we have found they are not all the same. Most are the same and they can locate in the winter snow 80 -90% of the pine cones they hid or buried in the winter. But this little guy is special. He eats the sunflower seeds the birds drop for him. This little guy is a little smarter than the average squirrel. Right off the edge of the deck he has developed a tunnel system under the 2-3' of snow. 

If threatened he could be in the entrance to his tunnel system is a split second. I have seen him pop up in various places in the snow and his tunnel takes him to the base of a large pine tree where he can scamper up and hide. I find his security system to be pretty impressive for a squirrel. 

Squirrels are pretty smart anyway but this little guy has taken safety to a new level. I don't know how but this little guy has the birds working for him by dropping sunflower seeds to him. 

Inversion:

 

Living at 9,800 feet elevation we get to look out our front window and see layers of pink and blue skies, or temperature inversion. Our early mornings and late afternoons show this change of coloration explicitly. 
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We are on the edge of a large valley that is seen from outer space - San Luis Valley - and the daytime sun warms the valley but when it cools off at night the temperatures drop and the warm air rises. Carol went to town yesterday and the temperature in the morning was 34 degrees but when she came to the lower elevation the temperature at the front gate just 8-9 miles away was 5 degrees. 

People who move here often wonder why it is so much warmer at this elevation than it is in the valley. It is because of temperature inversion. After 23+ years here we are still amazed at this phenomena. 

 The pink is the warmer air and the blue is colder air. The warm air rises as the colder air sinks. We have a small A-Frame cabin and we can feel it in the cabin. The lighter warm air raises as the cold air near the peak of the roof sinks but after the heaters and wood stove are going for a while we manage to reach a comfortable equilibrium. We are able to experience this inversion from the small scale in our cabin to the broad spectrum as far as the eye can see. 

When it is super cold in the valley it is therefore warm in the higher elevations. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Brown Tree Creeper


 I observed one of these birds last summer as I was walking around our property checking trees. I would not have even seen it had it not been at eye level and my being right next to it. They blend in so well they are very hard to spot. They are considered rare because they are allusive and very hard to spot since they blend in so well with the tree. The one I observed would have gone unnoticed had I not seen it move. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020


 When I graduated from High School I worked for Nat'l Advertising Co for the summer before I could enter the Air Force. I worked on a crew that put up bill boards the old fashioned way - walking those tall telephone poles up by hand. The crew I was on used to go to a diner in Detroit and I would always order a hamburger and fries and shake. Those were greasy fries and hamburger. OMG how good those hamburgers were. Bad for you but nothing is as good as a greasy diner hamburger and fries. I guess if I had a bucket list that a greasy diner hamburger and fries would be close to the top of my list.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

A New Start


 We are drawing near to 2021 and my prayer for next year is that it will be better than this year. Come on 2021.......

Sunday, December 13, 2020

New Mother Earth News Blog:


 I finally submitted the new blog to Mother Earth News for consideration. I had trouble with the title because the age old clause could cause people who are gender sensitive to raise a problem so I made it gender neutral which takes a little away from the title impact.

Keep an eye out for it to appear soon.

20" Of New Snow

We received another 20" plus of new snow. Seems our weather pattern for this year is a week or so of no snow and then 20-30" of snow. So far year to date we have 105" of snow. That time between snow storms gives us time to clean up the snow and to be ready for the next storm. 

 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

View

Since the wildfire two years ago our view has changed. We now can see Mt. Mestas when the sun hits it first thing in the morning. 
 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Covid Impact On Homestead Life

 This is a blog that I wrote for Mother Earth News but after I finished it I didn't think it was suitable for MEN so I am publishing it here. It is strictly my opinion from our remote homestead. 



  . 

Together We Stand - Divided We Fall: 

Even though our nearest neighbor is almost one mile away we are affected by the limitations of this virus. Some do not take it seriously and flaunt wearing a mask or social distancing. I am not one of those who is willing to take those risks. I take it very seriously and projections now are as many as 500,000 may die from this virus. In a time where it seems everyone is offended by one thing or another, some are offended by mentioning it originated in China and want to change the subject or argue semantics when discussing the Covid 19 virus. Even to the point of how deaths are counted. 

Virtual Holiday Gatherings: 

I can not speak for other states as I don’t believe much of what I read on social media nor do I watch the fearful news that is spewed non stop. I do get regular notices from our Governor's office and even those are alarming. We are warned that if we intend to spend any time with others outside our household that we should quarantine two weeks before the holiday and two weeks after. To avoid family gatherings we are told that we could cook and eat dinner with family on line. Or we could play a game virtually with others on line and these would be safe methods. 

Virus Statistics: 

Statistics tell me this is a serious virus. It is reported that 1 person in every 41 persons in our state are infected with the virus. Therefore, if we have a gathering of 10 people we stand the chance of 1 in 4 being infected with the virus. Also we are presented with the figure that 40% of those who are infected have no symptoms. Many of us have been sheltering in place since March, 2020 already and now we are told to avoid groups and continue to shelter in place and discontinue family gatherings to lessen the spread of this virus. In addition we are told that even when a vaccine is developed we will have to continue to wear masks and social distance well into next year and possibly beyond.  

Entire Citizenry Impacted: 

We are told to put gatherings with our families and friends on hold until this virus can be controlled. That one day, sometime in the future, we will be able to be together with family and friends again. All this raises questions in my mind as to just how effective this new vaccine will be. I have observed that it doesn’t matter how we live - remotely like we do - or in a city or more populous area we are all impacted by this virus. Everything has changed from how we gather as a family to how we shop and work. 

Family Dynamic: 

We are able to stay in touch with family via FaceTime on our cell phones but that is not equal to having a family member present where you can talk and do things together. This virus and the restrictions imposed by those in authority are potentially destructive to the family dynamic and structure. Limitations are imposed on us like having a virtual holiday feast together online. I’m not sure I know what a virtual holiday meal tastes like but I don’t like it already. 

Making Reasonable Suggestions: 

Our leadership tells us not to gather as a family but they go and gather with their families for a holiday feast. What they should be telling us is that if we gather as a family on a holiday that we should be mindful of the virus and take precautions. To gather at a family member’s house that  has ample room to socially distance. Perhaps set up tables in two or more rooms where we are not sitting right next to each other. Possibly serve the meal on trays where we can be suitably apart and safe. To wash our hands more frequently and hold gatherings to a single day and not for extended stays. Hold gatherings out of doors if the weather allows and wear our facemasks. 

Offering Suggestions - Not Restrictions:

Seems to me our leadership doesn’t give us citizens credit for being able to think for ourselves. Also, that some don’t want to live by the same standards they impose on us. There are numerous ways to still keep the family structure without letting those in authority destroy the fabric of our families. Instead of making highly restrictive rules for us to follow they could be offering suggestions or ways to spend holidays together safely. I read that one state even imposed rules if the citizens exceeded the allowed number in a gathering where they would be arrested and fined; requesting  their neighbors to report them. 

If In Doubt - Test:

I don’t believe any citizen wants to infect a family member or others on purpose. That just defies human decency and common sense. If there is any doubt, people can be tested before a family gathering and if infected - but displaying no symptoms - they can self isolate, and others not infected, can take the standard precautions like wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent hand washing. We need to plan ahead and then act responsibly. This virus is deadly but the destruction of our family system is more destructive in my opinion. It doesn’t matter where or how we live, we are all equally impacted by this virus. 


If people would just love, respect and treat each other like we love and treat our pets it would be a more safe and sane world to live in.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Snow

 The weather prognosticators said today was a 20% chance of snow. We woke up to 22" of new snow. Life in the mountains.  




Sunday, November 29, 2020

True Story About Junior

 When we first moved to our cabin 23+ years ago I was out cleaning up limbs around the house so we could get around without tripping. As I gathered them over 2-3 days there was a doe with two very small fawns with her that would follow me around. I would talk to her and apparently she like to be talked to so she followed me around. I would tell her how adorable her fawns were as they ran all around us. 

I would see her later also and would talk to her and her fawns and then she was gone for a couple years. One day I was looking out the back window and I saw this buck standing at the fence looking first at me then at the bird feeder. I went outside and asked him if he wanted some bird seed and I headed down the stairs to get a cup full. I turned around and he was right behind me and so I held the cup out and he ate the seed. I soon realized that he and the other buck with him were the two fawns that hung around when we first moved here. 

He would come around frequently. He had another buck with him and they came together and also loved Fuji apples. He would follow me around or walk by my side. During the rut he would be gone for a couple days and then come back totally tuckered out and lay down just outside the fence. I would walk past him and he would look up and then go right back to sleep. 

I  would rub his nose and he would make mewing sounds and I would pick ice balls off his head and occasionally ticks. We called him Junior. I would tell him to stay close to the house during hunting season and he actually did. When he was about 12 years old he failed to come back the following year. It was two years later that he came back and again I was working outside and he walked right up to me. He was getting old then and I think he came back to tell me goodbye. He had a pretty good sized herd with him and clearly was the buck in charge.  

If anyone else came by to visit he would disappear from sight and when they had gone he would be right back again. Junior and myself shared many good times together and I still find myself watching for his return. He had some pretty distinct markings and antler formation and when I see a young buck with similar markings I always wonder if he may be one of Juniors offspring. 

Having a relationship like I had with Junior is rare and something that won't happen again. He has been gone several years now but I still find myself on occasion looking for Junior. This was a unique relationship because Junior actually adopted me and not the other way around. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wind Sculpture


These are the raised foot prints of a bobcat that was hanging around our house yesterday. We saw him thanks to Lucy alerting us but she scared him out of range for our camera. The other two photos are the 6" of snow we got yesterday that the high winds has sculpted into art. 

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Clarks Nutcracker on suet feeder. 
 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Winter Birds

We feed the birds in the winter when life in a burn scar area makes their food scarce. This year we seem to have more than usual birds. We have Stellar Jays, Grey Jays, Clarks Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadees, Nuthatches, Pigmy Nuthatches, Finches, Juncos and Hairy Woodpeckers with an occasional different species. We usually go through around 120 pounds of sun flower seeds a winter. We also give them suet which the larger birds break apart quickly. We provide unsalted peanuts for the Jays. 
Ju


 

Celebration Time

Yesterday was the final day of big game season and the elk are passing the word that all is safe now and kicking up their heels in celebration. They are safe for one more year and can let down their guard for another year. .