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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Worst Winter

This is our 24th winter here and 23 years of full time mountain living. This is by far the worst winter that we have had thus far. The snow is either wet and ends up being pushed in large sheets or it is so cold and windy that it blows right back at you and after you clear it out it drifts right back in again.
The wind has been blowing for two days at 20-30+ MPH and the wind chill is so cold it is not worth it to go out and try to move the snow. The wind comes from several directions so we can't adjust the chute to any one direction. Trees are whipping around and several have been blown over. This is perhaps the worst winter we have experienced here. Hope it is not the new normal. Other area's have gotten 80-94 MPH wind so I guess we are actually pretty fortunate to only have gotten what we have.

This is only just south of us and the wind is blowing so hard we didn't even feel any earth movement and would not have heard it over the wind.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Blowing Snow

 The fresh snow we received yesterday has been blown around due to 15-25 MPH winds. It is single digit outside and the wind chill is around 4 to -2.. The drifting is substantial and just minutes after clearing the driveway yesterday it started snowing and now we have knee deep snow in the driveway.

 Above is a chunk of bark that was off a burned tree. The wind is strong enough to blow chunks of burned bark from 60-70 feet away. The bottom photo is some of the trees that the bark is coming from. The blowing snow stung my  face but pieces of bark does more than sting. There are branches and pieces of bark all over the ground.
 Below is one of the drifts resulting from the road being plowed yesterday. To see the photos better click on them to enlarge.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Afternoon

 What would it be on Thanksgiving if not a time to just chill out. I hardly want to move and the three dogs are all sacked out in different area's of the house. It is 30 degrees outside and snowing and no one feels like even going outside. Holiday music on and a warm wood stove just makes us lazy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Gross Mistake

 Part of the clean up has several contractors in the park grinding up or cutting down burned trees. These are the marks they put on trees to mark property lines. The only problem is that the contractor disregarded the boundary line my neighbor laid out 28 years ago. It was clearly marked and I have checked it and accepted my neighbors work and have agreed all these years. My neighbor has passed away and his son has re-affirmed the property line. The contractor missed the line 75-100' when the boundary line was clearly marked.
I had two of our board of directors come out and see what had happened and was told to paint over the line the contractor marked and they would inform the contractor to use the property line laid out by my neighbor 28 years ago. The irony is that they marked a property across the road from us and even though the corner pin was clearly visible they missed that line by 45'. Those who do not live here as we do may be surprised when they visit their lot next time to find their property line moved.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Welcome Lucy

Carol went to town today to get our thanksgiving dinner and get Bozwell some of his Rx to relieve him of the pain from his cauda equina.  As she drove to the vets office she has to drive past the animal shelter and sitting there in a corner of one of the outside stalls was this girl.  To shorten the story one of the attendants told Carol this girl was being transported to Denver tomorrow so if she was interested she had better be quick. Carol came home with Lucy who is now the newest member of our family. 
The meet and greet went well but Lucy was terrified of Ruby and Bozwell. We let them greet her in their own way by staying their distance and slowly she came around. She has explored the house and checked out everything, had a little food, a couple drinks and now she is taking a nap and has settled in real well. I can tell these three are going to be fast friends. She is a petite girl, 62 lbs, just a few pounds less than Ruby, but now with a home, brother and sister she will probably put on a few pounds. She has been adopted, chipped, got her rabies vaccination at our vet and now is settling in. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Turkey Strut

 When we look out the window we never know what if anything we will see. Last week it was a flock of turkeys strolling down the road.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Adopting Senior Dogs:

In prior blogs I have been at a loss for words about the love you get from adopting older dogs. This is Ruby who is 12-13 years old according to the shelter we adopted her from. She is deaf and has some arthritis problems but I believe this photo is a clear example of what it means to adopt senior dogs. She looks at us many times a day with this look of admiration and love. When she is laying on the bed sleeping she will about every 30 minutes suddenly raise her head and look to make sure we are still here. This photo encapsulates the reason we adopt senior dogs and what they do in return for us.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Toxic Components That Effect Our Pets

 When our children are small we take great measures to child proof our place of residences to keep them safe from chemicals and hazards that can injure them. I see more and more incidents where people are requesting funds to pay for treatment to their pets resulting from cancer. We apply chemical herbicides/pesticides to either kill unwanted weeds or pests.

There are add's from attorneys on television seeking clients who have had certain types of cancer to collect from manufacturers who have put these carcinogenic compounds together that have shown they cause cancer. Our community and many landowners use herbicides that are even more toxic than the one attorneys are advertising for clients for.

When I challenged our association for using a highly toxic herbicide it was necessary to be very familiar with Amine 2- 4-D, to be effective. While it has a half life of only days outside where the sun breaks down its components if tracked inside and transferred to the carpet it remains potent for one year. It can enter our body or that of our pets up to one year. It can be ingested  (licking paws), absorbed through the skin, or inhaled.

What about carpet shampoo which our fur family on all fours walks on, lays and often eat off. Or window cleaners, bleach, kitchen and bathroom cleaners. Many have components that over time are toxic to our pets. Then there are fertilizers, antifreeze, deicers and detergents. We keep our antifreeze under lock where dogs can't get to it. We don't use fertilizers and detergents and soaps are all safe for our canine family.

Most people know chicken bones, grapes, chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts and alcohol are not good for our fur family. It is also good to keep prescriptions away from our pets. Anything you drop on the floor there is a good chance your pet will find it. Heavy metals are toxic to our fur family. Responsible pet owners owe it to their pets to keep them safe from toxic chemicals, heavy metals and items that they may ingest that  could harm them. Rodent poisons will harm our animals. Also if they eat dead rodents that have been poisoned.

Responsible pet owners will provide their pets the same safe environment as they do young children. Consider the use of other pest control measures that are not harmful to your pets. Some hazardous toxins are dangerous immediately and some are cumulatively over a period of time.  Think before making application for the good of your pets. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Rocky The Basset Hound

Several years ago I was contacted by Rocky's dad wondering if he could use some of my comments in the blogs I have done for Mother Earth News magazine about dogs. I told him sure and go ahead. It turned out he used a good portion of them throughout his e book. All proceeds went to a Basset Hound rescue and I was pleased he found so much of what I had written in the past worthy to become a major portion of his book.

I just learned a couple months ago Rocky passed away but his wisdom and his book are still available on Amazon I believe.

Several people have asked me why I don't write a book but by doing this blog and writing for Mother Earth News I really don't need to. We have been featured in Mother Earth News and either two or three books written by other people. I prefer to keep it like that.

Dog's: What Is Not To Love....

Recently someone made an off hand attempted demeaning comment that anyone like myself that favored animals was lacking ability to properly communicate with humans. But take a minute and think about our dogs and why that comment may have been intended to show myself and others as lesser people due to our love of animals - especially dogs.

I've never had a dog stab me in the back or gossip about me. Dogs teach us infinite patience. They don't hold grudges and are quick to forgive. They love you more than they love themselves. They don't complain. They have a sincere desire to please. They live and enjoy the moment. They don't need expensive toys to play. They always want to be with you. In one look they make you feel important. They are 100% loyal. They are protective and will give their life if necessary to keep you from harm. They entertain us and make us laugh. They sense when we are troubled or sad and are by our side to cheer us up. When we come home they are always there to happily greet us. When they do something they do it with all their heart and give 100%.

So my question is: What is not  to like about dogs? I have found very few people that can consistently possess these qualities in my lifetime.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Pack Rats

So far this fall/winter season we have live trapped 8 pack rats. We let them out to continue to live down the road from us. We believe we are seeing so many now because it is getting colder nights and they are looking to find a warm place to live. Plus we are an oasis of live trees and growth in an other wise area of burn scar devastation. I can't imagine a pack rat (wood rat) would find it very comfortable in ash and burned trees.

I don't like to kill them as they are just being true to what they are but what they are is destructive. They can chew the wiring harness under a closed hood of a vehicle over night. They can chew the insulation off electrical wiring in an instant and use it for a nest. They tend to gather small items like nails etc. to hoard in their nests. They can chew through walls and you know they are present because they pee and poop which smells terrible.

We therefore run a relocation service and since they are suckers of peanut butter they go into the live trap and stay for a few hours until they can connect with our relocation service. With their big ears they are cute little guys but smelly and destructive so we put them in an area that they are more suited for. Normally you don't see them except when it gets cold and then they are looking for a warm place to winter. That is when they join our relocation service.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Newest Blog For MEN

Check out the newest blog for Mother Earth News about coping with life at high altitude as a senior. May not be as easy as one would imagine...

Sunday, November 3, 2019

New Behavior

 As I was about to feed the dogs breakfast 4 weeks ago Carol noticed a few elk outside. The more we looked the more there were and they were all around the house. Separate herds just kept coming and hanging around the house. As we began to watch them for the next hour we noticed that there were 9 mature bulls and that 9 herds had actually congregated around the house for as far as we could see.  I have never seen 9 distinct herds combine and hang around so long.

We had to take the photos from inside the house so we wouldn't spook them by going outside which is why the railing is in the pictures.
Other that the two bulls in a pushing match, which didn't seem very serious, all the bulls got along with no competition between them.  There were so many elk that we could not begin to count all of them but there were many. Almost on cue they broke into the smaller herds that they arrived with and each went their separate way and in different directions. They all mingled together and then just as suddenly as they arrived they departed in different directions.
I have waited for a month to make sure they were not coming back and none have nor have we seen any signs of elk around. We know some poachers watch our blog to keep track of the location of the elk which is why I have waited this long to post the photos. We have never seen so many separate herds come together like this and then intermingle - then each go their different directions.

We have not seen any for weeks before this congregation all came together and since they have left we have not seen any sign of a single elk. One group went toward the big lake at the end of our road, two herds went up the mountain in different directions, another went down the mountain, and the others all got into their respective herds and moved off. I would estimate that there were 30-75 in each individual herd. The 9 bulls don't include the younger spikes we saw. We may never see that phenomenon again. We felt privileged to watch for a solid hour.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Winter is coming very early this year. This is the second time we have had negative numbers and so far total accumulation of snow is right at 3'. I posted a couple blogs earlier that indicated the insects, trees and animals were acting like it would be a cold and early winter and sure enough we can always count on them for accuracy..

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Tracks In The Snow

 I like to go out after a snow and look for the tracks that we had no idea were there under normal circumstances. I found where a flock of turkeys passed within 50 yards of the house and a set of bobcat tracks that looked like the bobcat was tracking the turkey. There were rabbit tracks, squirrel tracks and deer tracks.
 There are numerous down trees that have blown over or are leaning against other trees from the wildfire last year. Just to many to count. Then there are trees cut up by LaPuente that they never came back for. Carol hauled most of the limbs down to the ditch but with so many large cut up trees on the ground it is going to prohibit us from snow shoeing this winter. We usually snow shoe on our property but this winter with those many trees cut up and laying all over the place it would be to great a danger for us so we will just have to snowshoe down the road.
 More snow predicted over the next four days so it won't take long for these logs to be covered up and wind drift snow to obscure them.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Winter Has Arrived

Just came in from shoveling 15" of fresh snow off the deck. Still coming down at a pretty good rate. Looks like the weather prognosticators got it right which is starting the snow season off good for them. For me I prefer to start the season a little less severe. They said we could get as much as 18" and they may be close.

Glad I got the tractor tire chains on yesterday because today I'd be hard pressed to get them on with this much snow. I think I'm finally getting smarter and yesterday was a good example. It is very pretty but the 13 degrees plus light wind makes it feel like 6 degrees. Winter has arrived and with a real flair..

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Getting Ready For First Snow Of The Season

The National Weather Service has not changed their forecast but other weather services have us getting 12-15" of snow and as much as 2" per hour from later this afternoon to tomorrow afternoon. We put the final item on today so as to be ready in case they are right. I installed our new $400.00+ snow chains and tried them out. They work thus far as expected and no more bumpy ride with the old ladder chains. These were far easier to put on than the old chains. Snow thrower on the front, blade on the rear and chains on the tires - ready to go.

The weather is suppose to plunge to single digit later tonight but right now it is sunny and a balmy 50 degrees (f).  Since our summers are so short I had no problem remembering where my winter stuff - hats, gloves, hand and foot warmers are stored - and hence I'm ready to go. Tractor is fueled up and now I will relax and enjoy the snow if and when it arrives. I have my driveway markers in so I won't drift to far off the drive when the snow gets deep. Did a last minute check and no tools etc. left laying outside. In 8 more months snow season will end again and then we will rush frantically to prepare for the next one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


The weather forecast calls for snow starting tomorrow after mid night with 5-10" total accumulation.
One of the fact of life living at 9,800' elevation is that the forecast is often wrong for us. We could get 1" to 2' of snow. It will probably start on time if we get snow but the total accumulation is anyone's guess. Usually the weather forecasters are accurate with everything but the total accumulation. We have three weather systems in the house and they often differ.

In any case we are ready should the snow come as predicted. The sub-frame is on the tractor, the snow thrower attached and all that needs to be done before tomorrow night is put on the new $400.00,  tire chains we just bought. These chains go over the lugs of the bars on the tires and hence  give a much less bumpy ride. The bar style chains we used last year gave a pretty rough ride because some of the chain went between the lugs on the tires and some went over the bar therefore giving a really bumpy ride.
So we are ready - bring on the snow.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Winter Temperatures In October

The Farmers Almanac predicts our winter will be colder and snowier.  So far they are spot on with the cold as it has been in the low thirties during the day and cold at night with stiff winds.Should we worry about the snow as on average we get around 260" plus. If it gets snowier than normal then we are going to get a lot of moisture. This coming Wednesday night we are predicted to receive 1-3" which could mean none or 2 feet. We will see.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Power Outages

Typical situations when living in the mountains is having power outages especially when the wind blows - which is most of the time. Today was no exception as the power has been out two separate times with the longest being one and one half hours. Candle light for a while and we are prepared for longer outages.
It is 26 degrees out so if it would stay out we would crank up the generator to keep the refrigerator cold. When you live remote minor inconveniences happen so it is just best to be ready for when they occur.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Ice Sculpture

We have a spring on our lot and the water from it goes under the dirt road and through this culvert. Each fall/winter season we have the most interesting formations as the water flows through the culvert and freezes. This is just the beginning as the water is still flowing.......

Unusual happening

Usually by this time of  year we have had several heavy wet snowfalls that might only be an inch or two....just enough to help the leaves mature and fall off the trees...and temps in the low 30's. However as you can see from the entry below the temperature went down to 7 several days ago and froze the leaves! The color from the leaves is gone now until another fall...........

Friday, October 11, 2019


 Yesterday morning I was outside working in a light sweatshirt but by 8:00 PM we had both ceramic heaters going and a fire in the wood stove. The temperature kept going down until it hit 7 degrees with light snow through the day. Pretty typical since we hardly ever ease into winter. It seems to just suddenly happen.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Trail Camera Photo's

 The above photo is what it looks like when an elk tries to take a selfie with the trail camera.
 These were taken a couple weeks ago and lately we have not heard or seen any activity of deer or elk in our area. It appears they have moved on to greener pastures.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Big tree bonus!

This is the wood from the tree that fell across the driveway a few days ago. Lots of good pine for those who took the time to help out by cutting it up.

Thursday, October 3, 2019


We have had some strong wind lately and one of the gusts blew this wasp nest out of a tree in front of our garage. Sure glad we were not in the vicinity when this hit the ground as I can only imagine all the angry wasps swarming around. When they are upset there is no making peace with them and it is best to just get out of Dodge. 

Autumn In The Mountains

 Top photo reflects 2-3 aspen trees that managed to survive the wildfire. All the other trees were burned and destroyed. The bottom three photos are of trees on our property that are changing color.