a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   living life in the Highlands of New Jersey

Monday, October 13, 2014

It’s All About the GOLD

Our fall here in New Jersey is usually beautiful, filled with every color you can think of. Not this year, though. I guess the trees were starved for moisture and many of them never turned, just curled up their leaves and let them go. We have a little color here and there but nothing like usual.

In Colorado the fall is golden. Pure, spun gold is what the aspens (and the cottonwoods) turn. This year was a spectacular year for them -- wow. I did share some some photos on Facebook, but for those of you who are not on Facebook I wanted to post some here. 

We took a drive one day and a picnic lunch of leftover fried chicken to view the colors. Our trip was on dirt roads (or course, what else?) along the Laramie River Valley.

Aspens don't always have to turn gold. Some turn orange and some get to a glorious shade of orangey-red. I've been told that it has to do with the mineral in the soil. Since aspen within their groves all share the same root system, the results can be magnificent, or they can be mixed.




I love this old cabin/barn and the remains of what were other buildings. I like to think of some crusty old cowboy living here.

Here is Bull Mountain as seen from the road near our property. 

Whether viewed en masse or alone ...

... they are always a beautiful sight.

(I know I've been terrible about blogging and I'm sure some of you have dropped me off your reading list. I am sorry and vow to do a better job of blogging and commenting on your blogs.)

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Last Day

This was the scene around the cabin yesterday afternoon. We had gone into Laramie to do laundry and pick up a few last things for the trip home. As we pointed Big Red in the direction of home we could see there was weather moving in. A big low cloud obscured our normal view from sight. Uh oh, doesn't look like rain to me. Sure enough, half way home we encountered snow and the further we went the more it was snowing harder and harder and sticking. The dirt roads were slick and muddy so we took it slow. We got about 2.5 to 3 inches of wet ploppy snow. It was beautiful coming down -- big flakes.

We've seen almost every kind of weather since we've been here from sunny skies and temps in the 70's and even low 80's, to rain, hail and finally snow. It's almost as if the cabin is testing us and throwing everything at us in the almost three weeks that we've been. Almost as if it's asking us are you sure about this?

Here was the view of Bull Mountain this morning.

Today it's windy and in the upper 40's. Most of the snow is now gone. It's hard to imagine that this time tomorrow we'll be halfway through that big ole state of Nebraska, headed home. Funny word -- home. We've come to think of this as "home." Since we made so many changes to the inside of the cabin this year it's going to be even harder to leave. But, leave we must.

We did a good job of eating up most of the groceries that we purchased and used leftover in inventive ways. I'm proud of us! We usually end up giving our condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo) to a neighbor plus anything else that is still useable and edible. The birds get whatever bread is leftover.

Even though I missed a few entries. like aspen photos and our makeshift gate, I'll publish those once home again. So, this will be my last blog attempt from the cabin. I'll see you back in New Jersey!

She’s Gone Country

She's gone country, look at them boots
She's gone country, back to her roots
She's gone country, a new kind of suit
She's gone country, here she comes

--Alan Jackson

'Nuff said!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Elk Stamp(ede) Of Approval

Bull elk on our adjoining property.

Tuesday morning started out like any other morning. I sat by the table with my mug of coffee and admired the strange light outside. There were dark clouds to the west while the sun was coming up in the east. Kind of ominous looking but beautiful at the same time. The day before we had a rainy day that resulted in nearly 1.25 inches of rain, pretty rare for up here. The wood stove kept us cozy all day while we put the first puzzle together of the visit. 

As I sat there gazing out at our newly cleaned up meadow watching the sun rising higher and higher, I noticed the light was just starting to hit an aspen in the forest, lighting it up like a golden torch. I went to get my camera and when I next looked out I saw two animals that I at first thought were deer and then realized they were elk and let out a big gasp. I excitedly told Rick we had elk in our meadow -- finally!

At first there were only a few, then more kept coming out of the forest. (The forest by the way we named the Ewok Forest because of all the tall straight pines --now of which most are dead. If you are a fan of Star Wars you will understand the name as a great chase scene took place in such a forest.) Within a few minutes the meadow looked like this.

All cow elk and babies. We knew Mr. Bull Elk could not be far off and then we heard him bugle. My excitment went off the charts! Bull, or male elk, only bugle during their rut (mating season) in the fall. We've heard a lot of bugling this year. It's a very odd sound, and if you don't know what it sounds like, listen here. We didn't have long to wait until Mr. Bull made his grand appearance. 

What a beautiful bull! It almost seemed like he was posing for us but I think he was really keeping his eye on us. Just look at the rack of antlers! We later learned that since he has seven points (counting his antler points on one side) his is considered a "royal." And royal he is indeed. Just look at the spread of his antlers.

The little ones were so cute.

Here is what it looked like looking out the dining room window.

They stayed and ate grass, nibbled on baby aspens (darn!) for a good twenty mintues or. Then, they spooked for some reason and took off at a run with even more coming out of the forest to join them. It looked like they had gone out to the main road and were headed (possibly) past our driveway. So, with bathrobe and slippers flapping, I headed down the driveway. I was not sorry I did. This is what I saw.

And here I am standing behind our fence at the beginning of our driveway looking out to our adjoing piece of land to give you some idea how close they were.

Then I finally got the shot you see at the very beginnig of this post. You can see the dusting of snow on the mountains behind him. 

It was a magical, almost unreal experience to see them that close and probably one we might never have the pleasure to experience again. I leave you with his last bugle before they headed out over the hill.

Monday, September 29, 2014

One Hail of a Night

A portent of things to come?

Yesterday was a very strange day weather-wise. We knew to expect rain, but for most of the day all we got were threatening, overcast skies. It finally did rain around 3:30 p.m. and it rained pretty hard. We got a third of an inch of rain.

Then the sun came out.

And we were treated by yet another beautiful rainbow.

It was so nice that we took a walk after dinner. Everthing was sparkly clean.

As we came back up the hill from our walk, we noticed that Bull Mountain was disappearing from view behind a fog bank. Creepy, really.

We came back in and sat out on the porch for a while just listening to the silence. We came inside and started a fire (the first one of the stay) in the big fireplace and prepared to watch a movie. When I turned around to look outside, gray tendrils of fog were making their way through the trees and in seconds we were surrounded in a cloud. I have never seen fog so thick up here before. It stuck around until we went to bed. Heavy, thick, wet fog. Everything was dripping.

At one o'clock in the morning we were rudely awakened with no warning by what sounded like a freight train coming through the cabin. I jolted upright in bed and said to RIck "what the ??" At first we thought it was just really heavy rain. The dogs were freaking out. Hailey was shaking and Bella jumped up on the bed. Rick got up and turned on the outside light to see that it was hailing and big clumps of ice were sliding off the roof. Have you ever heard a downpour of pellet-sized hail on a metal roof? Let me tell you from experience -- it's LOUD! It continued its onslaught for about ten minutes, then the storm let out a big flash of lightning and a big boom of thunder and it let up. A few more blindingly bright (even with curtains closed) flashes of lightning and booming claps of thunder and the storm rolled on to annoy others in its path.

This morning there was still some hail left that had come off the roof.

The weather station said we got just over a quarter of an inch of hail in ten mintues' time.

Weather in the high country is always interesting!


Welcome, I'm Lynne. My blog captures my experiences of living in the way-out suburbs of New Jersey through my words and through my photography. I hope that reading my blog will change your perception of my newly adopted state.

© 2006-2013 'new' Jersey Girl All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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Recent Comments

  • Thanks, Steve and you’re welcome. Actually, it’s a combo trip and part of it was…

    Posted to: ‘It's All About the GOLD’ by Lynne Robinson on 10/16/2014

  • Oh, sorry—a COLORADO autumn, I meant. (I was thinking Wyoming because of the Laramie reference!)

    Posted to: ‘It's All About the GOLD’ by Steve on 10/16/2014

  • Great photos! Thanks so much for bringing me a Wyoming autumn! Didn’t you have a…

    Posted to: ‘It's All About the GOLD’ by Steve on 10/16/2014

  • Debra, thank you! We hope to see you too next time we are there. We’ll…

    Posted to: ‘It's All About the GOLD’ by Lynne Robinson on 10/15/2014

  • Those are lovely photos. It has been a beautiful year since we have had so…

    Posted to: ‘It's All About the GOLD’ by Debra on 10/14/2014

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