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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Homeowner Associations:


When I was young and in the military I was stationed at MacDill AFB near Tampa, Fla. I bought a home in a community that was an HOA and the main feature for the community was a very nice swimming pool. Our home backed up to the pool and one day a couple of the Board of Directors came to me and said that one of the directors of the association had resigned and would I fill the position. I told them that I was in a special operations unit and didn't have much free time but I would do what I could for the neighborhood. 

It wasn't until after I had agreed to serve that I discovered the board had frittered away the association funds and was almost broke. To compensate they put me in charge of the pool and reduced the hours of operation. It was required that a lifeguard had to be on duty for members to use the pool. The lifeguard came to me and said they couldn't work any more unless they were paid. I started to look into the finances and found there was little records and that pool suppliers had not been paid either. 

There was no way to track down records as they were kept by the other board members and I found the association was out of funds. The other board members would not return my calls or advise who even had the financial records. I had no option but to close the pool down until we could afford again to keep it going. When that happened the members refused to pay dues. Most in the community were young professionals with children and like myself were attracted to the community because of the swimming pool.

As I tried to reconstruct the demise of the association it was easy to see how it went down. Those entrusted with the funds either ended up with them themselves or spent association money on frivolous non essential things that did not benefit the association. I was a witness of seeing a  HOA meet its death. The pool area soon was overgrown and unusable. Some of the members (including myself) tried to get the members to reopen the pool but none were any longer interested. It was a very sad thing to witness. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Loader Now On:


Each year it is a challenge to put the front end loader on. The hydraulic lines have to be bled to take some of the pressure off in order to attach the four lines to the loader. Regardless of how much I take the pressure off the hydraulic system when I take the loader off it always seems to still have to much pressure to connect the lines.  Attaching the loader isn't a big deal if I follow the directions precisely. 

Now with the loader attached I can also use the quick attach feature to use the front blade or the grappler or the bucket as shown in the It may take a while to even find the grappler as it is still buried in deep snow. I don't think I will store it there again. I can now work with the bucket in the morning before the sun thaws the ground to where it is soft. Hope to remove some deep snow that is in the way so we can move more easily around the property. 

 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Spring


 With the snow thrower safely tucked away now we can attach the front end loader to the tractor and get some serious snow removal done. We have had several nice days with the temperatures reaching into the 60's where we have been able to chop up some ice and experience some melting. 

At 9,800' elevation we must take advantage of these nice days as the high winds has dried the roads out and we need to get things done like get Jeep repairs that we have been waiting to safely accomplish. Like replace the windshield that has a crack from a stone hitting it. Getting groceries  and restocking, and getting dental and medical tests that we have put off due to prior snow drifting and muddy roads that are slippery where we slide around. 

Once I get the front loader with the bucket on the tractor I can remove snow a scoop at a time and not a shovel full at a time. Life in the mountains and hopefully this great weather we have been having will last a little longer. It has been so nice and pleasant out that we have been able to sit outside on the deck in lawn chairs. There is much to be done but it will be done one task at a time. 


Monday, April 5, 2021

Risk Taking:

We took the snow thrower off the tractor. It is not an implement that attaches quickly as the sub frame has to be installed first. The risk is that we won't get another serious snow or I will not be able to use the tractor to clear the snow. 

We will be able to clear the snow with the walk behind providing it is not over 24" deep. Otherwise we will just have to wait for it to melt. I think it is far enough into spring that we should not get those hard snows. I can now connect the front loader and can accomplish more with it than the snow thrower. So actually it is just a calculated risk..

The snow thrower is now stored away just waiting for a time to service it before next winter. 


 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Worst Winter Ever:

The top photo is the picnic area fence - a little over 4' high and only a corner of it is sticking out. The cook stove is right behind it and the only part showing is the chimney about half way up. The bottom photo is where the grappler was stored for winter and there is no part of it showing. It is about 3 1/2' high and it is totally buried. I took these photos over a 6' snow drift that I had to stretch to get them. 

This is by far the worst winter we have experienced in 23 winters. It was a cold winter and the snow did not compact down like in past winters. The sun usually comes out long enough to compact the snow down but this year the cold, increased cloudy days, and WIND really drifted some deep drifts. I have a general idea where the grappler is stored under a black tarp but right now I could spend days shoveling to the area. 

Plus we have had 268" of snow this winter and coupled with the wind it has blown a lot of snow up the mountain to deposit it at our homestead. We have some piles of snow and drifts 6-10' high. It is all life in the mountains but the distance between snow storms and the volume of snow has been crippling. 

We hope that we don't have more winters like this. The fact that some people are having their burned trees turned into mulch there is nothing to keep the snow from coming all the way to our property now. Two parts of our road that we use to get out have collapsed or washed away. One a large tree uprooted and took about 6' of the road  with it.  We have to be super careful we don't fall or slide into one of those places. 

We have a good forecast for temperatures up into the 60's for the next few days which will melt some of the snow. It still freezes at night so we have more ice that we have experienced before. Because of the ice there is little we can do outside as walking is a real hazard. If I get the front end loader on the tractor to scoop up the ice there is no where I can put it with all the accumulated snow. I think the word now is patience, as all we can do is wait until it is safe to work outside. Worse winter ever!!!!! 


 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

I bought some MA MADE MARMALADE to make orange marmalade. Guess where my canning jars are? In the garage loft! Maybe I will buy some new jars!




Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Elk Photos From Last Fall:

Soon the elk will be returning. Right now there is 4 feet of snow on the ground but it will hopefully melt soon and we will see the wildlife return. 


 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Snow Removal

 This is a 8 foot high pile of snow that has accumulated as it comes off our roof. It is time we started to remove it as it is covering our garden area. It took the two of us two hours to clear just a 4' path so the steps weren't so narrow... Many more hours to go....




Thursday, March 25, 2021

Lots Of Work

 

We spent most of yesterday shoveling which enabled Carol to get the snow thrower out and open the driveway. Our driveway is 100 yards long so she walked a good distance this morning. Some of the snow is to high to even get with the snow thrower. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


 

Major Storm

 This is going to be one of those storms to remember. The bulk of the storm is still 30-50 miles south of us and heading our way. Already we have 25" with drifts to 6' and we are just on the leading edge of the storm. We have been shoveling the back yard so the dogs can have a place to go potty since 4:00 AM, and all we managed is a narrow path in 2 1/2 hours. This could end up one of those 5-6' storms and snow is forecast today, tomorrow and Friday. We will be many days clearing access around our house. These storms that come up from the south are murder... Glad we don't get them every year. Right now it is far more snow than any of the snow throwers will handle so we will wait for the sun to compact it. We will probably lose electricity so will get this posted while we still have it. The wind will probably knock a tree over on the feed lines at some point - hopefully later than sooner.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Blog for Mother Earth News:



https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/the-beauty-of-snow-zbcz2103 

Link to my latest blog on Mother Earth News regarding snow which is something we have in abundance and are very familiar with. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Drying Clothes.


 I have written in past blogs the many virtues of a wood stove. Here is one of the benefits of a wood stove and that is a clothes dryer. Hang a wet pair of jeans and flannel shirt up around the wood stove and they are dry in no a few hours. Just like line drying outside and the drying process adds moisture to the house. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Bozwell


 We adopted Bozwell on this day in 2008 when he was 19 months old. He came to us all the way from Ohio. He passed away last September at an old age of 13 years old. During his lifetime he welcomed 5 other German Shepherds into our home and mentored them. He taught them the rules, helped house break them so they went potty outside, was a true friend to them. Words do not describe how much I miss him and his sense of humor. He was the most gentle, loving and compassionate  fur family member we have had.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Snow...

We had 20" of new snow Sunday and Monday morning and just got that cleared yesterday. As we finished it started snowing again and we had another 18" which we will be several days clearing. The forecast is for 4 clear days and then 5 days of snow. Not unusual for this time of year. 
Highway 160 is closed from Walsenburg to Ft. Garland so the road crew can't get to our area to start work on our roads. Top photo is our back yard which has snow piles higher than the 6" fence. Bottom photo is of Carol with the snow thrower.


 

Last year this time we had 180" of total snow accumulation. This year we have had 233" to date. Good moisture for summer. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Adopting Senior Dogs

These are photos of Ruby our 14 y/o female German Shepherd. We adopted her 1 1/2 years ago and she has watched Lucy play with the toys but she didn't seem to know how to play with the toys. Yesterday she played with a squeaky ball for the first time. Sometimes it takes infinite patience when adopting a senior dog.  It is infrequently that you learn about the dogs past. We have observed Ruby carefully and it is apparent she had a less than favorable past. She craves attention and we are only too happy to provide that attention. She has finally become comfortable with being petted and yesterday she played with a ball for the first time. 

 We believe she was previously an outdoor dog who only got attention infrequently. She quickly picked up on going outside when she needed to go potty. She is deaf and has incontinency which is controlled with Rx and she has severe arthritis. Seeing her take the initiative to actually play with a ball and other toys puts joy in my heart to  see her have fun. That is one of the many rewards seeing a senior dog have fun and learning something new.  

Being able to provide her with a home where she is loved, cared for and able to feel safe coupled with the ability to learn and play is indescribable.  We consider it a privilege to spoil her rotten and give her the safety and security in her senior years she truly deserves. 

I would highly recommend adopting a senior canine because when they are like Ruby they give you more than you can give them. I can't express the joy I felt when Ruby started to play with toys. Words just can't describe the feeling I got. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Winter In Colorado


Yesterday we received 20" of new snow with 20+MPH wind. We cleared it today and tomorrow we have 20" of new snow forecast. It looks like we are going to finish strong this snow season. 

We welcome the moisture the snow provides. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Interesting perspective........


 

Snow Photos

The above is a 6' fence and the standing snow is up to within 1' of the top. 

 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Early Spring???


Actually saw a chipmunk today so it may be an early spring with the chipmunks coming out. I tossed him a few peanuts which which he seemed very grateful for. I also suggested he may want to go back to his nest as there is a pretty big storm brewing. 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Mountain Sunrise


 Getting up early in the morning to watch the sunrise has its own rewards. The camera unfortunately did not capture the true awe and magnitude of the sunrise but it is still very pretty. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

New Snow Thrower:

 Because the snow and hard packed drift snow on our driveway has made it impossible for us to get the tractor up and down the driveway we lost our best piece of equipment to clear snow. The tractor would just bog down and dig into the hard pack until it would not move forward or backward. The hard packed snow is 8-9" deep. The only way wo could clear the driveway is with our snow thrower which was designed for lighter snow. We bought a new heavy duty snow thrower as we needed to be able to get in and out of our driveway.  

The new snow thrower finally came and I picked it up yesterday at Tractor Supply. They loaded it for me and I got it home safely. We had to get it out of the back of the truck safely and I made a ramp and we used a come-a-long to slowly lower it down. It is now safely tucked away under the house and an adjustment as to the height off the ground and gas is all it needs. 
The folks at Tractor Supply are really great to deal with. More snow due to come next week so we will get a chance to try it out. Got it safely off the truck and on the ground without a hitch or scratch. This machine throws the snow 45' so that is what we need. The other Craftsman only throws it 20' and the banks are so high the snow just comes back down making the driveway more narrow. We have found that the walk behind clears the driveway as fast as the tractor does. 


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Radiant Heat


 We heat with a wood stove because we value the radiant heat. Not only does it keep us warm but also functions as a clothes dryer. We hang wet clothes around the stove and they are dry in quick order. When we come in from clearing snow and our coats are wet we hang them up around the stove and they dry very fast. It also keeps the humidity level up in the house. Wood stoves are great....

Friday, February 26, 2021

Warmth

 

Wood burning stoves radiate warm heat and our two girls both like the radiant heat as can be seen in the above photo. I used to like laying by the stove myself as it relaxes and provides good heat. Now it is hard to find a place to stretch out as both girls love the same radiant heat that I do. It is hard to stay awake when basking in that wonderful heat. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

hard packed snow at the end of our driveway

Here is what Bruce wrote and posted with these pictures on Facebook:

3 1/2 hours chopping through 3' of very hard packed snow so our driveway would be open. It is so dense that the snow thrower goes over it instead of into it. If we attempted to drive the Jeep through it the Jeep would do the same as the snow thrower and roll over. We chopped 40-50 lb. loose and dumped it down the hill. It is frustrating to have a $25,000.00, tractor that won't move it and just digs in and gets stuck sitting idle unable to be used.
This is drifting snow mixed with ash and so hard we can walk on, or drive on it. The people that were not within the area of the wild fire don't realize how fortunate they are. Mix snow and ash together and you virtually have concrete. We are both spent for the rest of the day. The only way to get rid of it is to use a steel shovel to chip it loose. Not fun at all. When is winter over anyway???????

In addition to that we also trimmed up the backyard and I/Carol used the snow thrower on the driveway and "apron" to the garage. We should both sleep very well tonight!! More snow is forecast for tomorrow.



 

Careers

I am curious whether our careers choose us or if we choose them. I know in my case I chose the career but it came from two instances when I was in my teens that made me decide on a career path. 

The first one involved my dad. His boss asked him to drop off the daily receipts which he agreed to do. As he was driving around the block looking for a parking place a woman stepped out between two cars in the middle of the block and walked into his rear fender not hard enough to even leave a mark in the dust on the fender. She sued my dad for a large sum of money and played the injury up with fake neck collar etc. My dad reported it to his car insurance company and they declined as he was doing work for his company and that is commercial and not allowed under a private passenger policy. 

He then reported it to his bosses insurance company who also declined as his car wasn't added to their policy. His boss refused to cooperate and he ended up with a $5,000.00 settlement for which he had to take out a mortgage on our home to pay. This seemed grossly unfair to me and he died from cancer a few months later. 

The next situation was when I was 16 years old. I was driving home from visiting my grandma and as I crossed a street another driver was showing off for his friends and laid rubber 20-30 feet long. He lost control and ran into me just as I passed the intersection. He was insured with All Farm and I met with his adjuster who told me his insured was at fault but that I was just a kid with a paper route and if I wanted my car fixed to fix it myself....they would not pay a dime. He said I could sue them but they had plenty of money and I couldn't afford the expense of a law suit. 

They were right of course I couldn't afford to sue and they would do just like he said and drain my savings. That made up my mind right there sitting across from his desk that I had a career path and I would make sure no one else was bullied and intimidated like I had been. I served two hitches in the USAF, and got out and went to work for a large insurance company. I was an adjuster, initially promoted field supervisor, claim manager, home office claim supervisor, regional supervisor, and retired as a senior claim supervisor. I made sure no one was treated like I was or my dad. I handled thousands of claims and supervised thousands more. Not one of those insureds or claimants can say they were not treated fairly and with respect. I made sure my adjusters performed to that standard also.

Incidentally, I was All  Farm's worst enemy. I held their feet to the fire and made sure they didn't do to any of our insureds what they did to me. That one adjuster really cost them considerably in the long run. One of their insureds backed into our vehicle a few years ago and they still bully and try to get out of paying. I could have sued them but I had had enough of that when I was pursuing my career so I did not.  I figured they took enough grief from me during my working days and let them off the hook but this time I was not bullied and the damage was slight and not worth my time to pursue. Same obnoxious attitude by their adjuster those many years later. I'm surprised they are still in business and one of their regional managers was a good friend of mine when I was working. We had lots of enjoyable times together.

So what was your experience - did your career pick you or did you pick it???

Friday, February 19, 2021

Lucy


 Lucy is just a little over two years old and as can be seen in the photo she is spoiled rotten. Actually we have spoiled all our canine family over the years. Lucy is however the most spoiled of all. The only way to describe Lucy is that she is like a delicate flower. She wilts at the word 'no' which we do not use but very rarely. She is perhaps the most well behaved fur family member we have ever had the privilege to have in our family. She is also a home body who prefers to be with us in the house than outside. She does not really care for the cold weather we have been having. 

Lucy is also a very good communicator and loves to play with us and her toys. She is just a loving gentle girl who we love to spoil. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Didn't See That Coming..

 Have you ever encountered one of those situations where you said "I didn't see that coming". Today was one of those situations..

Never saw it coming. Yesterday we received 9" of fresh snow so I went to clear it with the tractor/snow thrower. Ended up stuck in the middle of the driveway.
It has been super windy the past several weeks and the snow drifts into the driveway. The drifts are not a problem but the ash from the wildfire blowing soot and ash off the burned trees are the problem. The ash covers the snow and the sun then turns the drifts into hard packed snow and ice. As I discovered it is 6-8" thick and even with the gripper chains the weight of the tractor bogs down and the rear wheels dig a trench that I can't get out of.
Had to pull the tractor out with the Jeep. I tried to chop up the ice/hard packed snow but the steel shovel just bounces off of it. We had to use the walk behind snow thrower to do the driveway. Looks like we will have to do the drive the rest of the winter with the walk behind as the tractor just won't do the

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Old Man Winter Flexes His Muscles:

I did a double take when I checked the temperature this morning until I saw the 18 degrees was negative -18. Still snowing so I don't know what the total accumulation will be. Winter in the mountains. 

 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021