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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.

Monday, September 30, 2019

We Must Be Living Right

The crew was laying fiber optic cable to our house today and while we were on the other side of the house we heard a crash and couldn't tell what it was. A large tree on the other side of the house had fallen in the wind and if it was 30 minutes earlier it would have possibly fallen on their equipment. The telephone crew jumped out of their truck, borrowed my chain saw and had that tree cut into firewood length in no time. They will come back later this week and carry it off to use for themselves for fire wood. Talk about blessing...these guys had the tree cut up, limbs tossed aside and piled up in no time - all on their lunch hour. The tree missed hitting the well head by about two feet and about 8' from crushing the jeep. The tree was about 22" in diameter.

Saturday, September 28, 2019


Our Ruby is totally deaf so she sits and watches everything to see if she is included. I have been amazed at how she has acclimated and adjusted to our routine.  Often it is time consuming to get new family members to adjust when they are able to hear but when you can't hear it shows how intelligent she is to figure out what is going on and evaluate if she needs to be involved or not. This senior girl has deeply impressed me with her adjust ability.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Trail Camera

 We are seeing fewer and fewer animals around now. Perhaps a combination of the burn scar surrounding us or the cooler weather.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Trail Camera

Seeing less and less animals on the trail camera so guess they are heading to lower area's.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Cool Morning

Woke up to rather cool temperatures this morning. Six degrees above freezing outside and nice and cool inside too. Sure feels like fall outside.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Just In Time

I picked enough rhubarb for a pie on Friday and on Saturday we had a powerful hail storm. It ruined the remaining rhubarb plants and left the ground littered with aspen leaves and pine needles. Doesn't appear we will have any rhubarb pies again this year.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Just Think

Yesterday we had 996 visitors to our blog site and if just half of those who visited are qualified to adopt a dog and did so then 498 dogs would not be in a shelter today. Because of our age we adopt senior dogs and it is difficult to fully describe the happiness they bring to our home.
I guess the question to be asked is: if I adopted a dog would they be better off with me than in a shelter and could I support a dog?
We just had a friend adopt a dog that was in the shelter for 9 months and what she describes is the pure joy by the dog and how great it is to have a loyal/loving companion.
Just something to think about,,,,,,,,

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Rhubarb Pie

I picked the last of the rhubarb today and it was just enough to make a pie. Now we will have to wait until next summer for another fresh rhubarb pie. Delicious!!!!!!!!

Trail Camera Photos

 I went to check the trail camera and couldn't find it. The elk nose in the photo below had pushed the camera around to the opposite side of the tree it was strapped to.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Fire Weed

 The top photo shows one of three hummingbird feeders that had every port full and the hummers were tanking up for their long trip to Mexico. We had about 40-50 hummingbirds and then the population dwindled down to about 5 and then they were gone too.
This is fire weed that we allow to grow next to the house as the bee's and hummingbirds like to get the pollen and nectar from the flowers. It has finished its blooms and is now spreading seeds on the wind. Most people would cut it down much earlier but as long as the bees and birds are getting use from it we let it grow. Now that they have left it we cut it down (not pull it out) and it will come back next spring again. Much of the seed has already spread on the wind so each year we end up with more for the bees and birds.

Just another sign that we are closing in on winter. I saw a photo yesterday that was taken two years ago where the aspen leaves were various hue's of red and yellow. This year they are just falling off the trees and so far no change of color. I can only suspect that the intense heat from the wildfire last year has disrupted them somewhat. This year they are producing a sticky substance that coats everything under or around them and there are thousands of new trees sprouting up everywhere. Where all this will lead with the aspen trees is a mystery to me.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Early Migration

We are still 3 weeks from the calendar start of fall season. It is not always the date on the calendar but the action of the birds, insects, trees, grass and animals that indicate to us when fall starts. Here in the mountains we notice the grasses are wilting, the hummingbirds are migrating and the song birds have already migrated. We have not heard any song birds or seen robins for a few weeks. We had all three hummingbird feeders full with more waiting for a chance two weeks ago and now we have a total of 4-5 hummingbirds left.

The bears are gorging themselves, the squirrels, chipmunks are doing last minute storing of pine cones and grass seeds and the bees are slowing down from collecting nectar for the nest to see them through the winter. The ants have slowed down in collecting material for their nests and the deer are constantly eating the remaining grasses in preparation of what may be a long winter. The aspen leaves are not changing color this year - they are just falling off the trees still green.

It is not a date on the calendar that tells us when the seasons are changing but these indicators.  At least for us it appears it is going to be a long winter season. How much snow we will get or how cold it will become is still up for determination but it is going to start early. Last winter was a pretty harsh winter and this winter could be worse as it is starting much earlier.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The Trail Camera Comes Through Again

 Fawn feeling its oats...above... Below this doe has been in a scrape and it looks like she may have gotten away from a mountain lion or bobcat.

 Above a herd of elk moving through, and below is what is a magnificent buck still in velvet.
The photo above is another doe that had a narrow escape from a mountain lion. The scratches tell the tale. We will have to be careful as these two does have been hanging around together and both have evidence of an encounter. One yearling was also with them and we haven't seen evidence of that young deer.