Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Making Lists and Checking Them Twice

Posted by: Lynne

"Don't Fence Me In"

One week from today we'll be on the road west, somewhere in Ohio. I'm starting to make lists upon lists. Lists of things to take. Lists of things we need to buy and take with us. Lists of things I need to do to the house to get ready to leave it for three weeks in case someone comes to look at it. Stop the mail. Buy paint so Ray the Painter can paint our outside walkways while we're gone. Leave a check for the cleaning ladies and the plant watering lady. Don't forget the cowboy hat! And so it goes ...

I don't know what kind of weather we'll find up there since they've had lots of variety in the snow and rain categories. But we'll take whatever it gives us and enjoy each day. 

Our new furnace was hopefully installed this week so that is one less thing we'll have to deal with when we get there. We'll be planting our grass seed that instead of being delivered to our neighbors up there, is now making its way from Cheyenne, Wyoming to our address here in New Jersey. The FedX guy could not find the address for the life of him. The seed will be well traveled.

Here is a look at the mess our meadow was in after having it logged back in 2010.

Here is how it looked last year after having it cleaned up.

The slash piles you see have been burned over the winter and are no longer there. Here is where the grass and wildflower mix will be planted.

We have plenty of other things going on while we are there such as a refurbished propane generator to replace our tiny little gasoline one. Much better than lugging fuel cans full of gas from town, this will be hooked directly in to our propane tank for the cabin.

And of course, there are jigsaw puzzles to be done, books to be read, walks to be taken. Hopefully we'll see some moose while we're there since this is "baby" time for them.

And maybe a herd or two of elk.

We're counting the days!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How Fast Does a Pine Tree Grow?

Posted by: Lynne

This little pine tree in our "front yard" started itself as a seedling. We've been keeping track of its growth.

Here is the first pic we took in 2010:

I thought we had taken once per year but I can't for the life of me find one from either 2011 0r 2012.

 

Here is 2013:

And last year, 2014:

It's coming along nicely!

NOTE: for clarification, Rick is 6"2" to give you an idea of scale.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Grass Seed and FedEx Delivery

Posted by: Rick

Well, it starts.

We know we are going to have lots of issues with our address. Our legal address is not serviced by the Post Office, so we have to get mail some other way. I'll go into that later.

However, I am told by my neighbors that FedEx will do deliveries right to the cabin (assuming the roads are open). And, UPS is supposed to do the same, but usually leaves packages at a drop box at the Wooden Shoe Ranch in Wyoming, about 7 miles away. Our neighbor recently filed a complain with UPS that their driver was taking the short cut of using the drop box rather than make the drive. (Not sure I blame him or her, but their service is supposed to be to the residence.)

I ordered some grass seed by phone the other day, and paid for FedEx delivery to my neighbor's address, which I am assured they use for home deliveries all the time. I just got a call from FedEx in Cheyenne and the conversation when something like this:

"We have a package for you, to be delivered to 100 Hidden Meadows Ln, Laramie, Wyoming." (I'm substituting our cabin address for the neighbor's address to keep it private.)

Me: "Okay, good."

"However, we can't find that address or any driver that knows anything about it. It appears that the actual location is in Colorado!"

Me: "That's right. But, that is the address my neighbor uses for home delivery with FedEx. And, I'm pretty sure they have had success."

"Hmmm. Never heard of that. Delivering to a house in Colorado with a Wyoming address. Can you call your neighbor or have him call me to try to figure this out?"

And, so it goes. I'll email the neighbor. Meantime, the (very friendly) FedEx guy was going to try to see if deliveries came out of Fort Collins, Colorado instead of Wyoming.

The good news is that we don't need the grass seed for a couple of weeks and we will likely have time to sort it out. The bad news is that this is probably foreshadowing a lot of hassles coming in the future.

A footnote on the grass seed. We plan to seed the areas where the slash piles were burned. I bought 3 pounds of Dry Native Mountain Mix and 1/2 pound of Rocky Mountain Wildflower seeds from Pawnee Buttes Seed located in Greeley, Colorado. I recommend them highly.

Note: Please read the comments for the whole story.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Feeding Time

Posted by: Lynne

With only two weeks to go before we leave for the cabin (yikes!) my mind is already there. My head is whirling around trying to take that in. So much to do before then!

I thought it might be fun to post what feeding time used to look like. I have to wonder just what were we thinking with such a crew of dogs and cats?!

(from back: Millie, Bode, Bart, Sailor, Daisy, Alex, Indy & Heidi)

(Left to right: Vincent Van Goatee, eBay, Two Shoes & baby Sam)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Property Taxes

Posted by: Rick

One of the reasons we can't retire in New Jersey is the property taxes. Our house here is roughly equal to what we had in Ft Collins, CO before we moved. And, the property taxes are about four times as much. On a fixed income in retirement? Just not possible.

So, I was pretty disappointed to get the Larimer County assessment of our property values at the cabin this year. Our taxes up there will go up by about $400 per year, or about 25% assuming the mill levy stays the same. 

We are very remote and there are no "comps" to use for valuation. So, I think they value our property in comparison to sales in Red Feather Lakes. Okay, our legal address is Red Feather Lakes, but we are miles and miles away over a mountain ridge. There is no comparison. They have paved roads. Year around access. Electricity. A post office! We have none of that.

I've protested, of course. But, don't expect any relief. A neighbor protested several years ago, going all the way to a hearing in Denver. The local assessor did not show up, but called in and testified by phone. She insisted that the use of solar panels for electicity was a "homeowner's choice" and that the last time she was in Sand Creek Park she saw power poles. Also, that every time she'd gone up there the roads had been open. That is just crazy. There are no power poles for miles and miles. And, if she'd come up in the winter, she'd see that the roads are all closed and not maintained.

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