Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Slash Piles are Burned

Posted by: Rick

Several years ago, we had about 200 beetle-killed trees cut from our property. Beetle-killed trees are a fire hazard and we wanted to create a defensible space to the west and southwest of the cabin. (The wind almost always blows from that direction, and any wildfire would be highly likely to come from that way.) I'll likely talk more about the pine beetle infestation and the damage it has caused in Colorado forests in a future post.

The logging company we hired to do the job did cut the trees and hauled them away. But, they left a huge mess behind. There were stumps and slash that they refused to clean up. Also, some dead trees that were not cut have subsequently fallen. In short, our "meadow" was pretty ugly.

Last year we found a forest management company in Wyoming--Tiger Tree--whom we hired to clean up the site. They did a great job in trimming all stumps near the ground, cutting up fallen trees, and collecting all the trimmings into piles of "slash". Here is a photo of one of the four slash piles:

These piles are created so they can subsequently be burned. It is legal to burn these at our location subject to some rules. There must be at least 3" of snow on the ground and the wind must be 10 mph or less. And, I had to submit a request for a burn permit (easy to do online). Several agencies have to approve the request. Then, on the day of the burn the sheriff's office must be notified. 

Here is a wider view of the meadow after clean-up. You can see several of the slash piles, ready for ignition. Just need to wait for winter, snow, and no wind (along with access to the property).

We waited several months before everything lined up to make burning possible, but this week the job got done!

And, the result:

(Photo taken by a neighbor.) We'll rake this around and plant native grass and wildflower seeds!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Drive-by Appraisal

Posted by: Rick

In preparation for the upcoming retirement, we recently went through a financial planning exercise. I figured before I quit work and had no further salary coming in, we'd better damn well make sure that we have sufficient savings along with a realistic spending plan to have a good standard of living for the next 30 years. (We do.)

One of the suggestions from the financial planner was to secure a home equity line-of-credit from our bank, secured by the cabin, as a source for emergency funds. You know "just in case". And, she suggested it was best to do this now while I am still employed. (Obviously, we can't secure the line-of-credit with our NJ house, since we will sell it before moving.)

So, I contacted our current bank (which has branches in Fort Collins and Laramie) about such a loan. I went through the whole application process and even spoke at length with a loan officer. We were conditionally approved for the loan. The only condition was that they needed an appraisal for the cabin. They hired a Fort Collins appraiser to do a "drive by" appraisal.

Well, the loan application has now been cancelled and I am invited to reapply when the roads aren't closed by massive amounts of snow along County Road 80C. I guess the appraiser did not want to go through Laramie and then chain-up at the state line.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Our History with Sand Creek Park

Posted by: Rick

For many years, Lynne and I have maintained blogs. Lynne has done a great job in chronicling our time in New Jersey in her "a New Jersey Girl" blog. And, I've blogged occasionally on "Rick's Ramblings". Feel free to explore those blogs, I don't think we will be blogging there very often and will focus on our retirement, our move to the cabin in Colorado, and life "off the grid" in this blog.

However, I do want to draw you attention to a blog post that I did back in September, 2013 about our history with Sand Creek Park. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

“The Meadow”

Posted by: Rick

Want some insights into the local territory and its history? Read The Meadow by James Galvin.

The description from Amazon.com:

In discrete disclosures joined with the intricacy of a spider's web, James Galvin depicts the hundred-year history of a meadow in the arid mountains of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Galvin describes the seasons, the weather, the wildlife, and the few people who do not possess but are themselves possessed by this terrain. In so doing he reveals an experience that is part of our heritage and mythology. For Lyle, Ray, Clara, and App, the struggle to survive on an independent family ranch is a series of blameless failures and unacclaimed successes that illuminate the Western character. The Meadow evokes a sense of place that can be achieved only by someone who knows it intimately.

"The Meadow" is a real place. It is a homestead along County Rd 80C about 10 to 12 miles east of the cabin. This is a real story about real people in a real place. The gate pictured on the book cover stood until a few years ago when it either fell or was torn down. The barn is still there. James Galvin owns property in Sand Creek Park (which you'll hear more about later).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Building a Cabin in the Colorado Mountains

Posted by: Rick

Let's start by looking back at the history of the cabin. I maintained a static web page, starting back in 2000 (when I had a dial-up Internet connection), that detailed the process of building the cabin. Rather than recreate all that here, I'll just provide a link to that original content created over a two year period. It is quite long, maybe even hard to read in a single sitting. But, it will give you the whole story and is a good introduction to what is to follow in this blog. It can also serve as a roadmap for those of you considering the same adventure. Enjoy!

Link to Cabin History

Be sure to come back and comment!

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