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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Back in New Jersey

Not New Jersey

We are home in New Jersey as of Saturday late afternoon. My own house feels strange to me. I am in still in a Colorado state of mind and I'm finding it hard to adjust back to the noises of neighbors mowing their lawns and the annoying small planes that fly over the house on the way to the local airport. 

However, an incident last night reminded me of exactly where I was. We had our first bear of the season. I got up to close the curtains as it was getting dark. Out the window I saw our trash can toppled over and trash strewn in a wide swath across the front yard. Then I saw the big black bear. I stood on the front steps and clapped my hands and yelled at it. It took one last tasty piece of prime trash and retreated into the woods. 

Yep, we're back.

It pretty much either rained or was extremely overcast on our 3-day journey home. It seemed that the entire state of Nebraska was inundated with water. The Platte river was out of its banks and newly formed "lakes" appeared in so many fields. So. much. moisture. It was that way in Colorado too and it was nice to see it so green.

We listened to a very interesting book on the way home called "The Buried Giant." It was fantasy with a mix of King Arthur and The Hobbit, complete with ogres and dragons. It was so well read that the author's descriptive words and wonderful dialogue came to life. The story had a very interesting premise which kept us talking about it long after it was over. The 12 hours of CD time seemed to fly by as Lex's tires ate up the miles. Between that and podcasts of America's Test Kitchen we kept ourselves well entertained.

The pool is open and warmed up. However, it has mostly rain and stormed since we've been home. Rick did take advantage of a quick dip on Sunday, but since that afternoon we've had nothing but rain. I am not sure we even have fireflies since it's rained every night, and if they are here I'm sure they are all drowned. I did catch this little froggie on top of his "kin" upon opening the pool yesterday. Whenever it rains we get frogs in the pool. They are the devil to catch.

Most people ask if it's good to be "home" again. I would have to say, no, not really. I'm sure I will settle back into my normal New Jersey routine before too long, but right now I am not ready. We both become so immersed in cabin life that it's not easy to rewire ourselves. Plus, we kicked off a few things in preparation of living there full time while we there, such as next month we'll have new batteries installed and more solar panels. We found a great shed/small garage/storage barn that is going to be perfect for what we need. A neighbor is going to be clearing and leveling the spot for it this week (depending on the weather). 

Our yard was about to become a virtual garden with the promise of lupine, Wyoming paintbrush, fireweed, pink plume, blue flax and more. We won't see it in bloom. Neither will we see the fruits of our efforts to reseed the slash pile burn areas where we spread seed and native wildflower mix.

We're missing all the animals that come to our brand-new mineral and salt licks.

It takes a while to adjust to having moose, deer and elk visit vs. a bear getting into our garbage.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday This and Thats

We got about 3 inches of snow yesterday. For a while the snow came down fast and furious to the point where I could barely see my neighbor’s house across the street. It was beautiful. But like I said, it’s supposed to warm up (60 degrees on Sunday!) and rain so most of it will wash away and we are in for a slushy not-so-white Christmas. I feel another song  coming on …

I changed the view of the weather cam to point to where I feed the birds. I changed it yesterday so that Rick could see the turkeys too while he was at work. You might see them too! Or you might see the fox visit. For those of you who don’t know, just click on the “Weather” tab at the top of the page and it will take you directly to the cam. It takes a new picture every two minutes or so.

Yesterday I made beef barley soup while it snowed outside. There is something comforting about the smell of browning meat. I put my favorite Christmas album on the iPod (Michael Martin Murphey’s Cowboy Christmas) and danced around the kitchen in-between cooking. At first the dogs didn’t know what to think. What is mommy doing?  What’s wrong with her? But finally Bella joined me and we four-stepped (instead of two-stepped) around the kitchen island. Not that I really know how to do the two-step, but hey, we had fun. Hailey watched us and barked along to the music.

That music takes me back to the few Christmases that we were able to spend at the cabin. One year we were even industrious enough to make our own garland for the tree by popping popcorn and stringing it with cranberries. Here is a photo of one of our cabin Christmases.

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I’ve been watching the Hallmark channel quite a bit. They are playing sappy Christmas movies pretty much non-stop. Some are good and very heart-warming, while others can be downright stupid. But mostly they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and in the spirit of the season. I think it’s a good thing.

I am working on another Lacy Leaf scarf (remember?) but I made a big mistake and I am having a hard time figuring out how to fix it without taking out any more rows. I might just have to take it down to the knitting shop in Wycoff for help. Bummer. It was coming along so well. This time I am making it in gray.

Last night I got up in the middle of the night and the moon was so bright. I looked out the window to see moon shadows of the trees on the newly fallen snow. Magical. Have you ever seen moon shadows?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reflective Thinking

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Autumn Reflections on Monksville Reservoir

Somehow, and we are not quite sure exactly why, the cabin visit this year has changed us. Instead of being glad to be back in our familiar home and surroundings, we instead long to be back at the cabin. This has never happened to me before. I've always been happy to come back to all that New Jersey is. Not this year. It's hard to put into words. The cabin's magic spell spreads like a cloak around us from all the way across the country.

We find ourselves watching a TV program and deciding whether or not it fits into the "cabin grading system." In other words, if we had a limited amount of electricity at the end of the day would we still want to watch it? If the answer is no we delete the Season Pass off the TiVo. I also have no problem switching off the news when they are not saying anything that I want to hear. It's very freeing in a way. I've decided some shows that I used to love to watch have too much yelling and too much conflict for me to continue watching them.

What is it about this remote 70+ acres of land and a battery-powered 1,000 square foot cabin that entices us so? It's not just about the history it has with us. We had history with the Loveland/Ft. Collins area too but neither one of us has any real desire to move back to the front range.

Rick has always seen us living there at some point in time, for some period of time, but I have never had the same vision. But now I do.

Plans of a small mud room addition are being sketched out. I find myself wanting to whip out the measuring tape to see if a beloved piece of furniture will somehow fit into a space in the cabin. I am starting to go through clutter around the house and tossing things in the trash or making piles for Goodwill. It's still several years away but we might as well get started with at least the planning stages. Besides, it's fun to dream and make plans for the future, don't you agree? 

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Monday, October 14, 2013

The Old Shepherd’s Wagon

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I've posted photos of this old abandoned shepherd's wagon before on my blog. It's a  sad reminder of days gone by. It sits on a property that adjoins our land on one side (the land is now for sale). It's a shame that the property owners have not only let their property fall into ruin, but this old relic as well. It's worthy of preservation, but sadly it has now fallen even further into ruin than it was on our last visit. At this point it can't be brought back to its former glory.

I like to think of the cowboy or cowgirl it once housed as they traveled with their flock of sheep or herd of cattle over the high prairie. Think of the stories it could tell!

The roof is caving in and there is now a skylight where there once was none.

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It's wheels no longer turn over the sage-covered hills.

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It has come to rest on this spot overlooking the territory it used to roam, dreaming of days gone by when it lived a useful life.

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I found this blog entry about an old shepherd's wagon which has photos of what a nicely restored one looks like, both inside and out. If you are interested, follow this link.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

We are Officially SNOWED IN!




Yesterday

We are getting a taste of what it would be like to live here at the cabin during the winter months. We are snowed in! Our neighbors called this morning saying they were going to try and see if it was possible to make it out or not and asked if we were planning to leave, and if so, could we all caravan together for safety.

We said well ... we weren’t really planning on trying to leave until Sunday and as yet had made no move to get things packed up. But, if they were going out and not coming back in until Sunday afternoon then there would not be anybody around to help us in an emergency. They said they would call when they got back from their scouting trip.


In the meantime, Rick and I started to gather things and begin our task of packing up just in case they found it was possible to leave. We are a pretty good team when it comes to who does what in the whole process.

We were pretty much packed except for the fridge and Rick was starting the chore of putting on our newly-made shutters on the windows when we got a phone call from the neighbors. Getting out was not possible. They had only gotten just so far, passed a few pickup trucks stuck in a ditch, and found that the main county road we would need to travel from the Wyoming/Colorado state line in to Laramie had not been plowed. Not only was it not plowed, but they had no intention of plowing it until they were certain they could keep the road open because the wind which was drifting it continually. (A very common occurrence up here.)


Hailey says phooey! I didn’t want to go home yet anyway.

So, Rick took down shutters he had already put up, brought in things that were already packed in the truck that might freeze, I unpacked a few things on the inside and we settled in once again. We left the suitcase packed and things are sitting around in bags and boxes, just waiting for the inevitable all-clear call.

There is one slight hitch though. We decided to strap on our x-country skis and ski up to the neighbors to see what condition the road was in to their place and see what drifting had taken place. It’s not a pretty picture. Well, it is a pretty picture if you have no where to go and don’t care if you get out. Here is the road in one direction. The turn on the left that you can see is the road that leads to our driveway. I stood in one position to take both of these photos. The second photo shows the road that goes past our neighbors’ property and you can just make out there gate posts in the distance.





If you can’t tell by looking at the photos, it doesn’t look good. We could maybe get up off the road and go cross-country where there is less snow, but even that poses it’s problems. Here Rick tries out a possible path.





The wind is pretty much relentless today, carving and shaping the fresh snow. I just wish Mother Nature would practice her art only on the hills and not on the roads.


Right now I am thinking that Pioneer Woman has nothin’ on me.

P.S. I should have added that we have enough food for about three more days or so, plus (very important) wine. We are fine except that Rick really does need to get back to work!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad at the cabin 8,650 feet above sea level

About

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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