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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Unexpected Change

 When we woke up this morning we had a little over an inch of snow and it was 30 degrees outside. Last year we didn't get snow until mid October so it is several weeks early.
 But the trees across from us are moving closer to full color.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Contrast In Seasons

 Above is a photo of a small spring season early summer wildflower. It is unusual to see them out this time of year. Below are the leaves changing color. The aspen leaves are turning various shades of yellow, red and orange. Spring flowers on the ground and the colors of autumn in full swing. I haven't seen this before.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tree Oddities

As I work around the property I notice some oddities with some of the trees and stumps. Above the tree has grown around another tree that fell against it many years ago. The photo below is the same where many years ago this aspen tree grew right next to the pine tree and at some point was cut down. Now the pine tree is encasing the aspen stump.

This one is unique in that it is the playground of a ground squirrel. As I drive by on the tractor many times a ground squirrel would pop up out of the hole and then duck back in and out the hole in the bottom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Where Have The Elk Gone?

This is a photo from last year of the elk peacefully browsing next to our house. During breakfast this morning the topic was discussed wherein we haven't seen any elk activity where they normally have been for the past number of years.

We have not heard the elk bugling nor have we had any around so far. There are no tracks in the road or other signs of elk. Thus far we haven't even seen a single elk wherein past years they have been abundant due to no legal hunting in our community. Hence the elk see our area as a safe area and normally congregate nearby during hunting season as in the photo above.

I have noted that there have been numerous suspicious vehicles going down our road having every appearance of hunting. Just this morning at 5:55 AM, a vehicle went down our road when it was still dark outside with its headlights off which is suspicious. The dogs alerted me and I could see the outline of the vehicle but there were no visible lights showing.

Last week I had a telephone call from an acquaintance who had driven up to check his lot which is at the other end or the road from us. He advised that when he went to his lot he found a vehicle and camping on it and several hunting rifles and it appeared a group of people were hunting (poaching) from his lot. He wanted to know who to call and I told him to call the sheriff. It appears that poaching or hunting in a prohibited area has gotten worse and the activity has driven the elk and game animals from our area. Many in our community like to observe and photo the elk and they will see less and less like in our case unless the illegal hunting is stopped. We are living somewhat remotely and having problems like this seem inherent to the area.

Each year we have witnessed illegal hunting on our road because there are no roads behind us and the area is private hunting only. This is the first year in 19 years that we not seen the presence of elk by now. This year we have seen multiple vehicles with hunters in hunting garb going down our road. It appears the elk may have been pressured out of our area.

That is my speculation only but it seems odd that we don't have any elk or elk signs thus far. So where have the elk moved to?  Forced out of our area?  Lured to another area? Diminished herd size? All we know is we haven't seen nor heard them yet and we miss them.

Recent Photo Of Deer

 I moved the trail camera to the other end of our property and here is a doe and her fawn.
Here is a photo of a large tree that blew over and hung up in another tree. It will have to come down but I'm going to wait until after winter and see if the snow will bring it down. It is a dangerous tree because if it is cut off at the bottom it will swing down and hit the other tree and then come right back onto the cutter in a micro second. I cut one down like this earlier this year and had two young strapping guys on a rope to pull it away from me. They did not pull hard enough and it came back on me but only a branch grazed me and cut my ear. Trees like this can cause major injury so this one will be cabled and pulled with a come along. Anyone just walking up and cutting this one loose at the base would only make that mistake one time.

Cowboy Breakfast

 What is better on an overcast cool day than cook outside on the old re purposed wood stove. Having breakfast with good friends and good conversation is just a good way to start any day. I was outside at daylight getting a fire going in the wood stove and once hot enough we cooked breakfast on top of it. Eggs, fried spam, special potatoes with just the right seasoning plus OJ and monkey bread with appetizers of fresh carrots grown in my garden and topped off with hot coffee.
Here is the cook resting and waiting for our friends to arrive. If you have never had a meal prepared outdoors it is hard to explain how good it tastes. There is just something about food cooked outdoors on a wood stove that tastes like a meal fit for royalty. Good food, good conversation, good company good laughs and good times. Thanks to Skip and Sue for sharing a special breakfast with us.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Season Change

The aspen trees in front of the house have turned yellow and the ones across the road are turning. A sure sign of Fall Season and snow is not far behind.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Self Sustaining Lifestyle

Check out the newest blog on Mother Earth News at the following link:

Sometimes self sustaining encompasses more than just having a garden or raising livestock. Cooperative sharing is becoming a thing of the past.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sarah's Friend

 This deer is our Sarah's friend.  She comes around in the morning and hangs out until Sarah goes out to go to the bathroom. Then she will come close or up to the fence and the two will be nose to nose sniffing each other. Sometimes she will just browse a few feet from the fence and I can tell the two of them are having some communications.  Earlier this summer Carol would take Sarah for a walk down the road and Sarah's friend would be there waiting for Sarah.
 Here is Sarah's friend waiting outside the window waiting for Sarah and below is a photo of her just outside the fence waiting for Sarah to come out alone. Seeing these two next to their respective sides of the fence is interesting to observe...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fall Colors Peak Map - Colorado

World Journal in Walsenburg shared KOAA 5's map of when to expect the fall colors in Colorado and when they peak.  For our area it appears to be October 1-10.

Monday, September 5, 2016

More Trail Camera Photos

Turkey Flock

When Carol let the dogs out yesterday there was a flock of turkeys just outside the fence heading up the mountain. We have seen them several times over the past couple days.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Another Day - Another Sign Of Fall

It seems each day now we see another sign of fall closing in on us. This aspen leaf was in the back yard and in a few weeks now there will be many leaves on the ground from the aspen trees. There is no denying that fall is clearly on the way and soon the trees will be yellow and the temperatures much cooler.  No color change yet but it won't be long before we start seeing color.

More Trail Camera Photos

There were almost 2,300 photos on the trail camera and we selected a few that we thought were the best ones like the two fawns above. Total cuteness......

Or this young guy wondering what these two things are that are now growing on his head. Where is mom when you need her to explain things like this....

Saturday, September 3, 2016

More Trail Camera Photos

 We have plenty of deer - more deer photos to follow.
 Below is our friend Catherine who did not notice the trail camera as she was taking a photo.

Trail Camera Photos

Friday, September 2, 2016

Fall Has Started

 Oh no, I'm not ready for fall yet but two aspen trees out front have started to change and the remainder won't be very far behind. I would guesstimate that in three weeks we will have good colors providing the hail and weather don't strip the trees first. We have been having enough rain and cool nights to start the change.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Another Homesteading Blogger From Mother Earth News

When I find a highly interesting blog I sometimes share it here for readers to peruse. This is another Mother Earth News blogger who lives in Israel and is homesteading a small plot of land. It is interesting to read about someone homesteading in another country and this is exceptional reading. Here is the link to her blog:,

When you get to the bottom of the article there is a place where you can click on Anna Twitto's  blog site. I found the heading Jewish Life in Israel very informative and enlightening.


Monday, August 29, 2016


 I have not posted any photos or topics lately as when I was carrying the 40' ladder up to the house from the garage I tweaked my back. I was at one end of the very heavy ladder and Carol was on the other end and walking up hill trying to avoid rocks, uneven ground and lifting it up over a ledge I must have moved wrong and now lower back muscle spasms with every move. Hence I have not been out to photo anything to post or do anything other than sit in a recliner waiting for it to recover.
I can now sympathize with back suffers far more than before this happened. When I was 16 years old I fell off the bottom step and fractured a vertebrae in my lower back but that was not as painful as this muscle spasm. I hope to be back to normal soon and will resume posts.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Season Change

The calendar may not say that it is fall yet but other indicators are pretty clear. The thermometer is just one. Our ground squirrels and chipmunks are so fat that their bellies almost drag the ground as they scamper around. The deer and elk are sleek and have added weight. We do not hear the song birds like we did over the summer and the hummingbirds have diminished in numbers drastically.

The cooler temperatures is good for working outside and it only gets up to the high 60's or low 70's during the day. This is good sleeping weather with the windows cracked open just enough to get the evening breeze. It reminds me of times past when I would visit my mother and sleep with the window open. The morning breeze would gently flutter the cotton curtains and the coolness was invigorating in the morning. It seemed to help me sleep well at night on crisp cotton sheets. That first cup of coffee in the morning always tasted better when the weather was cool but not cold.

I had a face book friend from near Boulder share a photo yesterday of some aspen leaves that were changing color already. That means that we here in the southern Sangre de Cristo's are only about 3 weeks away at most. When they have peak color change we are usually right behind them. They are just beginning to have a little change up there. I'm not sure I'm ready for fall yet but it is without doubt the season I love the most. The air is crisp, everything seems to be making last minute preparations for our long winter and it is invigorating. Beyond the pep in your step the smell on the air of hot pine needles is intoxicating. It is a chance to enjoy the outside because you know soon everything will be covered with four feet of snow or more.

Do we have enough firewood? Check. Snow shovels ready and accessible? Check. Winter clothes ready? Check. Snow thrower ready and serviced? Check. Tractor serviced and ready to go..Oops...must do that in the next couple weeks. Exterior of house and garage ready? Check. Supplies on hand? Scheduled next week. I think that is all except for some incidentals to be ready for the snow which surely will follow the fall season. When you live in the mountains you live by seasons and not days. Fall is the last season before winter which just melted off in May and will soon start again.

While we will miss spring and summer this is the time for last minute preparations and also a time to just relax and enjoy the day and season knowing full well that a long winter is ahead of us. I'm only sorry that this blog doesn't have a scratch and sniff component so that readers could enjoy the smell on the air and coolness also.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer In The Mountains

 While other places in the country are sweltering in the heat with triple digit temperatures we are enjoying nice cool weather. In fact only 6 degrees above freezing. The trees pictured have frost on them.
 This weather makes for good sleeping weather as we curl up in the fetal position under the blankets and the dogs are all curled up with their noses in their tails. This is the very reason we cut and have on hand the 9-12 cords of firewood as it won't be long before we need a fire in the wood stove 24/7.
We usually start to build a fire to warm the house up around September some time and stop in late May which is nine months duration. It won't be long now before the leaves start to change on the aspen trees.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Senior Homesteading

Check out the latest blog for Mother Earth News at the following link:

Seems I hurt my back carrying the ladder uphill. It needs to get better as I have a lot of outside work to do and the charity is coming again next week for more dead trees. Can't afford to be gimped up now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Most Despised Job Done

 This is by and far the most despised job I do each year. I climb up a 6 foot step ladder to reach a platform where I then climb another 25 - 26 feet to change out the wind cap. I can clean the chimney from inside the house but the wind cap has to be cleaned too.
Last year Carol suggested we buy a second wind cap so all I would have to do is carry the clean one up and swap it with the dirty one and then come back down. That sounded like a good suggestion to me and going up and down once is better than twice.
The platform where we place the 40' ladder is about 7 feet off the ground so it is up there 32-33 feet and from up there it looks straight down. This angle from the ground doesn't make it look as steep as it really is. I wear a climbing harness that I hook to the top of the ladder so if I were to fall it would only be a few feet. I guess my heart is in pretty good shape as when I get to the top of the ladder I have to turn around and face out to switch out the wind caps. At that point I'm looking at what seems a long way down with nothing in front of me but air..

I'm always real glad when I make a trip up and down safely. This is one job that won't have to be done until again next year. You would think a mid 70's man would have better sense but I had it done one year and the guy was scared out of his wits when he had to turn around up there and I hate putting anyone through that again. I could see his white knuckles on the ladder from the ground. As long as I'm able I'll just keep doing it. When it is no longer safe I'll find someone who lacks fear to do it because it is very scary from up there especially climbing up and down using one hand to hold the wind cap and one hand to hang onto the ladder.