Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Walkabout

Posted by: Lynne

I have fallen woefully behind in the blogging department. Back in the day I had my blog a "new" Jersey Girl, which I started mostly for family and friends to read and catch up on our lives there. Turned out that hardly any family members read it, but I had quite a few loyal followers who also were bloggers at the time. Now most of those bloggers have stopped blogging, though a few still carry on. And a "new" Jersey Girl is now defunct, although all the entries remain up and intact if you ever get the notion to read them.

I used to write and write and sometimes quite wittily. Nowadays, hardly ever. What happened to that person that words used to just flow out of? Is she just lying dormant? Will she, can she, make a return?

But, my life is different now. I am not in a new enviornment, but one that is as familiar as the back of my hand. I know when which wildflower should be blooming, and where. I know how steep each and every slope is. How this makes a difference I am not sure, I just know that it is.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to walk up the driveway to check on the cloud situation and see if any of them looked like they might be producing rain for us, which we badly are in need of. Not a chance. They were all beautifully white and puffy and quite happy just to scud around individually instead of ganging up into one big blue-black thunderhead. I stood there for a moment looking up on the hillside for any telltale signs of tall white stalks of flowers which might indicate that the Miner's Candles were blooming.

Before I knew what was happening my legs started to move and I began the steep uphill climb to the top of the hill. The dry grass made crunching noises beneath my feet as I wove my way around sage bushes, avoiding the blooming lupine, loco, and hundreds of Western Paintbrush (the yellow one) now blooming. When I got to the top, unwinded I might add and very proud of myself, I turned around to appreciate the vista in front of me—Bull Mountain still blanketed with green, the Snowy Range peeking over the top of other mountains, the rolling undulations of the high prairie. 

I did spot two Miner's Candles blooming quite a distance from each other, but only those two. 

I had no camera with me and it felt very freeing not to have to worry about capturing those moments with a lens. I have a very firm photo right in my head of what it looked like.

After my languid descent from the top, I came to the head of the driveway and the gate once again. Imagine my surprise when I looked over to my left and saw a Miner's Candle blooming right there, partially hidden from view by tall grasses and sheltered by a large pine. Cheeky little flower! But, if I had seen it before my little walk I probably would not have gone to the top of hill, and that my friends would have been a shame.

Game Camera Catches Elusive Ewok (and Other Critters)

Posted by: Rick

I moved one of our game cameras to look out over the pond a few weeks ago. It successfully got a shot of an illusive Ewok sitting on a log:

Ewok sitting on a log. Photo is cropped and enlarged.

He is a bit harder to see in the original photo. Can you find him?

Okay, okay. It is probably not an Ewok. But, can you identify it? 

That same camera was used as a scratching post by an elk. Poor thing must have a mosquito bite on her butt. The images from the camera, just before this one, were all askew and blurry.

Can't quite reach the itch.

And, here is a very early morning shot of either a coyote or the fox. It is difficult to tell in this light.

Eerie glowing eyes.

I have another camera in the same area focused on a spot where we saw bear scat last year. So far, all it has caught are the typical deer, elk and moose. But, look what it caught over the past several weeks!

A black bear.

A cub, looking for its mommy.

And, finally, the back end of a huge cinnamon colored bear. Wish it had been coming toward me instead of going away.

By the way, the "Ewok" is actually a Great Horned Owl. We struggled with the ID for a while given his ears aren't sticking up as much as we usually see. But, after looking at many online pictures, the owl can have the ears tucked down. And, the markings match perfectly.

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