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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cabin Sweet Cabin

We arrived on Monday around 2:00 p.m. and right off the bat had a problem facing us. Our lovely archway over our driveway fell down over the winter. We knew it was on its last legs (so to speak) because the bottom of one the poles had rotted out because the builder did not coat them with creosote. The year before last our neighbor propped the leaning post up and it lasted two years that way. It had fallen across the driveway and of course was unmovable. Rick put the truck in 4-wheel drive and drove around it "off road."

The next issue facing us was not a pile of welcome from the pack rat as you might have thought, but upon flicking on the light switch we discovered we had no power. Not good. Not good at all. The batteries were dry and apparantly had not had a charge in 66 days. We powered up the little generator to at least be able to turn on a light. Rick went to add water to the batteries only to find he did not have enough distilled water. Off to the neighbor who wasn't home. On the way to another neighbor who might be able to help us, he came across David (the first neighbor) and told him our tale of woe. Soon David and another neighbor showed up with distilled water and a chain saw. The sad result you can see above. It breaks my heart. 

For several hours we did not have enough juice from the generator to power the water pump, so we could not use the toilet and had no water either. We didn't know at that point if the batteries would come up enough and the charge controller did not appear to be working, meaning the generator was powering the batteries but no charge from the solar panels was coming in. Kind of a dire predicament. Rick called the company that takes care of our batteries for us when we are not here and tried to figure out the problem. They couldn't, and they also could not come up until Friday. 

Long story short, we finally got enough to run the water pump, and the batteries starting charging. Whatever the reason, the controller finally reset on Monday night and all is good!! Whew! We still did not have TV or Internet until Tuesday afternoon. It was great to be able to be in touch with our little world again. Tuesday the satellite folks came up and mounted a new dish with better and faster service. Plus, it's cheaper than our old program.

Tuesday morning we had a visitor to the meadow. A cow.

Normally Hailey is our cow dog, but she has been having troubles with one of her rear legs, so we let Bella out instead to see what she would do. At first she barked and ran from the cow. Big Brave Bella. The minute the cow moved she spooked. When I went out to get its photo Bella got braver. They had a little stand-off going on.

Finally the cow turned tail and Bella gave chase! Good girl Bella! She chased him almost completely out of the meadow and then ran back with a big grin on her face. Okay, it wasn't a moose, but it was something.

Today Grant from Laramie Heating came up to fix our non-functioning furnace. Poor Grant. Last time we had him up it was for a smelly squirrel that had gotten stuck in the furnace pipe and died. I guess they still talk about that in the office and have a good laugh on him. We knew we had a problem last year during the last two days of our stay when the furnace pre-blower came on but the furnace didn't light, therefore no heat. It turned out to be an easy fix, so now we can add heat to our list of comforts. Not that we have needed it, it's unseasonably warm.

Tomorrow the chimney sweep comes and on Friday we will go into Laramie for supplies and all the things we forgot to get our our shopping trip on the way in. (Canned dog food, bird seed, other things.) We did not keep a good list last year of what we needed.

As you can probably guess by all the busy doings since we arrived, we have not had a chance to just relax and enjoy and let the cabin weave its spell. But, things must get done and it's hard to leave a place for an entire year with no one really looking after it. We still have the meadow clean-up to tackle and we are not sure when they are going to come.

The aspens are starting to turn and should be peak before we leave. As I type a sweet little rain shower is tapping on the metal roof. 

When I got up last night to use the bathroom, I tweaked the curtains open to see a sliver of moon and Orion in the middle of a cartwheel. It's good to be "home."

Friday, September 05, 2014

Cabin Countdown

YIPPEE!!!! Bella is happy that one week from tomorrow we will be headed westward to the cabin (where this photo was taken last year). It's finally time!

We are making lists and adding to the pile of "things to go" in the spare room. We have begun thinking about which meals do we want? What kind of clothing should we take? And the biggest question of all that is looming over our heads at this point is:

Will the cabin still seem as magical as it did last year when we realized it was where we wanted to be? Or was it just everything surrounding Alex's death? We're about to find out.

I don't really have any doubts and neither does Rick, but you never know. We might get up there and say "what were we thinking?" But the cabin and the surrounding land is part of our souls. It's hard to explain, as I've said before. Just what is it?

Is it the aspen forests in the valley?

The wild, untamableness  of it all?

Or the peace that enfolds us when we are there?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Overnight Visitations

On Sunday we decided to set up the infrared game camera and see if we could catch the bear visiting. We saw him twice within two hours: once while we were grilling our pizza on the deck and again when I almost came face to face with him while going out to toss some food for the birds. Little did we know how busy our front yard would be overnight.

I love that our camera has a time/date/temperature stamp on each photo it takes. That allowed me to put together the multiple visitations of the night in the order of their visit.

First, the fox arrives at 9:14 p.m.

Then a deer shows up at 11:46 p.m.

The fox decides to come back again (see his eyes?) with the deer still there at 12:02 a.m.

Deer decides to leave and fox comes back for the second time at 12:07 a.m.

BIG raccoon! at 12:50 a.m.

Mr. Fox comes back for the third time at 2:31 a.m.

Not to be outdone by the fox, the raccoon comes back a second time at 3:43 a.m.

Likewise the deer for the second time at 4:21 a.m.

And the biggest surprise of the night was Momma bear and three cubs! Where did she come from? We didn't even know she was around. Time: 5:11 a.m.

Time to leave at 5:27 a.m.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Retirement Clarification

There seems to be some confusion about our plans for retirement because both my sis and friend Carolyn have questioned me about it in the past couple of day! Maybe I haven't been clear enough or the thoughts between Rick and me haven't been shared, but I thought I had.

Our plans are to sell our house in New Jersey in 2016 and move to the cabin for the "honeymoon" period of one year. In years past I have not been completely on board with living full-time at the cabin, but last year you all know that both Rick and I had an epiphany of sorts there. Our visit solidified the longing and desire to experience that kind of lifestyle. The cabin is special. Every year it weaves its spell but last year it spun a web so thick it was hard to leave. It will be interesting to see if this year's visit makes us feel the same way. (We are scheduled to leave on September 13th.)

After one year we will see what happens next. We don't have any clear plans except ideas running around rampant in our heads. We had thought at one point that we would buy Rick's parents' house in Las Cruces, New Mexico, but the timing is all wrong since it is for sale now. We don't want to be burdened with expenses of yet another house that we are not even able to live for another couple of years. So, that idea was put aside. Not to say that at some point we might settle down there anyway, but we don't know. At this point that is just one of the ideas and may not come to happen for many years, if at all.

Another idea we have is buying a slightly larger trailer than the L@dyBug and traveling around in the winter months when the cabin is not quite as hospitable. We also would love to take the Alaskan Highway one year with the RV (not in the winter!). In our travels perhaps a place that we visit will entice us to stay.

In any case, the cabin will be home base.

As much as I love New Jersey and many things about the East, I have to say that my heart is still in Colorado. I was so eager to move away and now I'm equally as eager to move back. Why? I can't tell you. Both RIck and I have started to retreat some in our heads. We're also doing things to get the house in the shape we want it to be in before we put it up for sale, such as our latest project of revamping our front porch with its cracked stairs and replacing the sidewalk in front. We are throwing things away, donating to GoodWill, packing up things we know we are not going to need for the next two years but want to go with us. (Most of our things that we plan on keeping will go into storage in Laramie until we decide where we want to be.) Our minds are on moving. It's hard to explain, but it's definitely there. 

We are looking forward to the future — whatever it holds!


Photo: One of my most favorite photos ever: Rick and Alex the Boo at the cabin.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

This One’s For You, Sis!

Last night we took our first after-dark swim. I don't know why we waited so long. It was a muggy evening and the pool temp was perfect. The cicadas have started up their scratchy song—finally. This summer has been such an odd one weather-wise that I wondered if they were not liking all our coolish days and nights. They seem to like it best when it's humid. We saw one huge bat fly over several times. At least we saw one, but I remember those days when we had so many. 

It's nights like this that I will miss when we move back to Colorado in a couple of years. The pool, the cicacadas, the bats, the sheer perfection.


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.

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Recent Comments

  • Thank goodness you were able to get the problems sorted! I’m glad you’re more comfortable…

    Posted to: ‘Cabin Sweet Cabin’ by Steve on 09/18/2014

  • Warm clothes for sure.  Calling for snow tonight along the front range including Fort Collins!

    Posted to: ‘Cabin Countdown’ by Debra on 09/11/2014

  • Steve, I really have no doubt the cabin will weave its spell upon yet again.…

    Posted to: ‘Cabin Countdown’ by Lynne Robinson on 09/06/2014

  • Well, the fact that you’re so excited about going means something, right?! I’m sure if…

    Posted to: ‘Cabin Countdown’ by Steve on 09/06/2014

  • Bigsis, yes it’s a routine we know quite well by now, but sometimes we still…

    Posted to: ‘Cabin Countdown’ by Lynne Robinson on 09/05/2014

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