Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Untitled Late February Post

Posted by: Lynne

Thoughts from Sunday:

There is no title for this entry, no real subject matter, so no title either. For two days we've been basically trapped inside these fours walls due to high wind, blowing snow and frigid temperatures. S'no fun folks. We had about 10 inches of fresh new snow on Thursday and a smidge on Friday. Since then the wind has been blowing pretty much non-stop. Not even the dogs want to to stay outside longer than to do their doggie business. 

However ... I have to admit there is a different feel to the air, even though we've had frigid temps in the single and low double digits. What makes me say that given that I've just said the temps are frigid and the windchill is nil and below? Well, just things. I can't explain it really. Maybe it's the birds. We've started seeing different birds and they are singing when their feathers aren't being blown off their bodies. We now have pine siskins and juncos on a daily basis, and on a walk the other day (before the wind) we saw this little Horned Lark. We had to look him up as we didn't know what it was and it's behavior flying and on the ground was odd. He had Destin intrigued.

Maybe it's that scent of spring way off in the distance. Lord knows there is no scent of spring right now as we are still covered in a foot of snow + around the cabin. It was beginning to feel like all this winteriness was shaking loose just last week. But it's coming, I can feel it. Like I said, it's just a feeling in my bones and in the land around me. Winter just does not seem to have the icy grip it had back in January. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Then again, maybe not.

Does this look like Spring to you? 

The wind is not so bad if the temperatures are not in the single digits and teens. Last week we managed to take several nice long walks with the dogs even though the wind was pretty bad. Here Bella is an example of how hard the wind was blowing. Just look at her hair and the feathers on her legs, all being blown in the opposite direction! But, it was warm and therefore not all that bad to be out in. This is also an example of how much melting had occurred before this last storm. 

But now the roads are closed once again and we can't get through unless we use the Ranger. At least we can get out but it makes trips into town so difficult by adding another 45 mintues to the trip, when just last week we were making the trip into town in 45 mintues total. Rick and our neighbor might be able to clear a path through "the trap" but when we took the Ranger out yesterday on a reconnaissance mission it did not look good. The wind really packs the snow down hard so it won't be easy to blow. Maybe they can move it with the tractor. Don't know. 

We've had a Hairy Woodpecker pecking at our logs outside! From inside the cabin it sounds very strange. We keep chasing him away but he keeps coming back. So far no damage that we can see except some caulking between a couple of logs up close to the roof. Cheeky bird.

Thoughts on Tuesday:

Well....yesterday we had more snow. About six inches or so. Sigh. And to think that just last week we were able to sit out on the porch several times with a nice glass of wine with just a sweater on and the space heater running. It was wonderful!

Our driveway is blown in again too despite the snow fencing that Rick put up last week. It would have drifted worse if not for the fencing, but the wind came from a strange and not normal direction. Rick was not able to blow it out as soon as it fell because of the nasty wind. So it's packed in again and we aren't going to try and move it this time around since the winds are supposed to pick up again over the next few days to about 20 to 30mph. Mother Nature will move the snow for us, but not in any of the places we'd like her to put it. He would just be spinning the snowblower's wheels and wasting gas since it would just fill back in again. After all, our main goal was to get Lex out and he is, safe and sound at H's house. 

At least Destin thinks the new snow is cool.

Rick and I have taken up a new hobby: weaving! We bought a rigid heddle Cricket Loom in town at Cowgirl Yarn and we've both finished a project scarf. Well, Rick has actually made two scarfs to my one. Here are pics of both scarves.

Rick's second scarf.

My scarf.

You can see we went for different patterns. Rick did stripes and I used a variegated yarn and didn't set the loom (warp actually) up for stripes. I want to make another scarf now just for practice as I need to work on getting my selvedges in better shape. It's easy and relaxing to do. There are so many possibilities with different yarns, textures and patterns. Rick wants to try making placemats for the new RV. When Spring finally does arrive we'll probably both take a few weaving classes in town. Cowgirl Yarn is heavily into weaving, lucky for us.

Looking outside right now at the snow covered trees and even deeper snow levels and drifts in places we've never had drifts before, I am now wondering where in the world I ever got the notion that Spring was headed our way.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Road Closure and Updates

Posted by: Lynne

Hidden Meadows Lane is still closed and it looks like it will be for a while. Some progress has been made however, because a week ago the post on the right was barely sticking up above the snow. There are two other big reasons why the road will remain impassable for a long time. BIG reasons.

These poor beetle-killed pines have fallen across the road and will need to be removed. The big drift on Avalanche Slope will have to melt first though since we can't get the Ranger down there to do anything about them. No hurry, no one is going to be using the road until June anyway. Maybe some time in May, it just depends. They will make a couple of cords of firewood, at least. Easy pickings too. 

The weather has been rather glorious if I say so myself. It's teasing us with that hint of spring, and the other day along the road to town we even spotted a bluebird! Other birds are on the move too as we've seen Pine Siskins, Juncos, and a White-Breasted Nuthatch (which were a dime a dozen in New Jersey but less seen here). The usual crowd of Steller Jays, Camp Robbers, Magpies and Chickadees are still here and busy.

We took advantage of the melting snow and the nice weather to take several long walks with the dogs. Hailey amazes us at her ability to keep up with us and even get in some runs at the old age of 13. Go Hailey!!

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have Lex in our driveway. Any time we want we can go out and get in him and drive to town —right from our driveway! We were so giddy the other day we loaded up Hailey and Destin and drove to get the mail. (Bella hates riding in the truck, go figure.) We've also made several (pretty much unnecessary) trips into town, just because we could. We took Destin in with us on Saturday and although he had to wait in the truck while we shopped in several places he did go into Ace Hardware to see his buddies that have coo-cooed him since he was a pup. He also got to walk around Laramie a bit and sit with Rick on a bench outside the yarn shop (where I was) and even licked a little baby's face (the parents wanted to introduce their baby to him!). Oh, and he also got to lick Rick's ice cream cone. It was so nice! The sun was shining, it was warm, and just a beautiful day.

On Friday we actually went out to dinner to Wood's Landing. Woohoo, aren't we the jet setters!

It's a good thing we did what we could while we could because this week there is "the potential for a major snowstorm." Bummer. Just when all the piles around the cabin are melting and the roads are clear. It sounds like we could get close to a foot of snow. So, no more last-minute jaunts to get the mail, etc. We will have to trade out trucks at H's house and leave Lex there and pick up the Suburban which we have chains for, and leave the Suburban at the top of the hill at our neighbor's. 

We'll make one more trip in to town before that arrives to get whatever we think we may need for the next week and then we'll be housebound again for a while. Maybe it won't be as bad as predicted, we'll just have to wait and see.

Destin says he doesn't care as he loves the snow!

We'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ironic, Right?

Posted by: Rick

I guess it is pretty ironic that after working so hard to get the Expedition away from the cabin, see this post and this one too, that we recently spent a couple of days getting it back in. As you'll recall, we got past all the different segments of the trip down the hill except a few hundred yards of Hidden Meadows Lane which were plugged with several feet of hard-packed snow and ice. But, a few hours of work with a tractor, and we got that open.

Lynne, who has always wanted to drive heavy equipment, is doing a superb job of clearing the snow.

A pretty good load!

Making a snow fence of snow. These piles should help prevent the driveway from filling up during the next snow and blow.

So, now the Expedition is parked at the cabin site again, and we can go directly from the back door to the truck to check mail or get into town. All sections of the road are open, even those that we usually have to bypass with a route on back roads.

The road is open!

And, the Expedition is now parked at the cabin.

The forecast is for us to get snow and wind starting again next week. So, on Monday or Tuesday, we'll exchange the Expedition for the Suburban, parked at Mr. H's, and we'll park the Suburban at the top of the hill on our neighbor's property.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cloud Study: Iridescence

Posted by: Lynne

The other day when we were having high winds I noticed this beautiful cloud displaying what's known as iridescence. I quickly grabbed the camera and headed out.

Iridescence in clouds is caused by light waves being dispersed as they pass around extremely tiny ice crystals, with the wave lenghts spead out by different amounts. Therefore the sunlight gets separated into alternating fringes of color. (from The Cloud Collector's Handbook) 

But who really cares what all that means? All I know is that it's beautiful.

The cloud hung overhead for quite a long time, shifting colors and intensity.

It finally faded and ended up looking (to me, at least) like a trout rising to take the bait.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: Rick

As a follow-up to my post about trying to get the Expedition out of Sand Creek Park, I am happy to announce success. 

The Expedition (Lex) parked at the top of the hill. The truck is facing south and Laramie is on the horizon to the north.

It has been so warm lately with winds that help melt the snow, I was able to get the truck out of Hidden Meadows Lane yesterday. And, in fact, we were able to successfully get through all segments of the journey "down the hill" and even went into Laramie to do some minor shopping.

The snow levels have gone down 18" or more. Plus, the high winds have blown more of the prairie clear. I was able to position the truck at the top of our driveway (see the last photo in the above referenced post) in a way that I could blast through about 15 feet of snow that was 12 to 15 inches high. I was pointed uphill and in the "wrong" direction, but was able to get onto a part of the hill that was blown dry. Sure, there is a lot of sagebrush, and I had to watch carefully for rocks and other things that I didn't want to drive over, but I was able to pick my way west toward Wapiti Way. Since that road is covered in snow, I just drove straight across it and back onto the sagebrush prairie on the west side of the road. From there I was again able to pick my way north up the hill and through the neighbor's fence that we've taken down. A sharp left at the top of the hill to avoid more snow drifts, and we were clear!

Next week we will exchange the Expedition for the Suburban at Mr. H's, and finally be on our original plan that procrastination defeated.

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    Posted to: ‘Before and After (and In-Between)’ by Carolyn Clarke on 06/25/2017

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