Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

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.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Tuesday Musings

Posted by: Lynne

Like Rick said in his post, it's disheartening to have had only one showing and no other interest in the house in the month that it's been on the market. We want so badly to be at the cabin that I fear we are losing track of taking every advantage of where we live now. We both feel like we're just marking time here, plodding along day after day. Our bodies are here but our hearts and souls are at the cabin. So, I just told myself to "buck up" and take things as they come. There are much worse places to be than where we are right now. Besides, it's early days for selling the house. Just wait until the pool is open and it looks like a private resort in our backyard. We just have to get them to come!

Our yearly cabin trek is fast upon us! In three weeks we'll be heading west. We decided to go in the Spring this year instead of Fall for several reasons. For one, we just want to go. For the most important one, we need to get busy and kill all the Canadian thistle that is threatening to take over our newly cleared meadow. Since they did manage to get in and burn the slash piles this past winter, the ground is ripe for the thistle to take over. Once it does there is no getting rid of it. Killing thistle is first on our list. We'll also plant a native grassland mix of grasses and wildflowers that we planted way back when the cabin was first built. Sam (above) is posing with posies all picked from around the cabin. I don't expect to see this many flowers in bloom in early June (especially the columbine which bloom later) but I hope the trees are leafing out.

We're not sure what vehicle we'll head out west in -- Big Red or Lex. Big Red certainly knows the way, but Lex is a complete rookie. Lex is smaller than Big Red so I'm not sure that he can hold all the stuff we have accumulated to take with us. I think we'll have to do a trial pack to see if we can fit everyone and everything in. Lex is more luxurious for sure and we are anxious to see how he handles the dirt roads. But if we leave Big Red behind in New Jersey will she pine away? She's made the trek soooo many times.

It will more than likely be another "working" vacation and not all play and jigsaw puzzles. Grant from Laramie Heating will most likely be coming to install our new furnace. Poor Grant! He's always been the one to come and rescue our furnace woes: everything from extracting dead squirrels out of the exhaust pipe more than once, to it just plain not working. A new furnace is definately called for. I know we have more work-like things planned in preparation for moving but right now I can't recall them.

I need to start looking at all the notes we made last year about what have in the way of stocked grocery items and make some lists. We also need to look at measurements we made last year and see if some of our things here are going to work there, such as my favorite pine dresser which I am hoping is going to fit beside the bed now that we've rearranged the bedroom.

Time to start planning for the trek!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring Snow [Updated with Photos]

Posted by: Rick

The official weather station at the "Four Corners" along the Laramie River basin is reporting 52" of snow.

Here is our neighbor's picnic table, so the snow is to the top of it, even after melting some. So, maybe 40" or so?

This will give you a bit of scale:

Thanks to Debra for the photos!

While Spring snow storms are not unusual, these amounts are. If we were there, we'd be snowed-in for sure. (Wishing we were there!)

It will be in the high 70s today in NJ, and we are going to take the convertible out for a drive and lunch having done our morning chores.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Around Sand Creek Park: “Abandoned Homestead”

Posted by: Lynne

This old homestead has always intrigued me. I don't know the history or story behind it, but in its day it must have been quite nice. Today I think only the pack rats live here. It's sad that whoever owns it has let it get into such a state of disrepair. You can see on the right hand side of the cabin the chimney for the outdoor fireplace/barbecue. This old place just begs to be photographed. I've tried several times, but I'm not sure I have gotten it right yet. Rick is really tired of stopping while I shoot photo after photo.  I would love to see inside.

They sure had a great view of Chimney Rock!

I like how the striations in the cliff face are repeated in the logs. At times it almost seems to blend in with its surroundings.

The out buildings are in even worse shape.

I hope it stands for many years to come.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Around Sand Creek Park: “The Border”

Posted by: Lynne

The Colorado/Wyoming border within Sand Creek Park. In this photo you can see a building way in the background against the bluff. That's the old homestead which is coming up next!

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