Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spring Snowstorm

Posted by: Rick

Snow covered truck

As you will learn in an upcoming post, we took off in our new RV for a while to escape the transition from Winter to Spring. It seems that Mother Winter simply does not want to loosen her icy grip on the weather this year, and although we've had lots of signs of Spring (the aspens are leafing out, a few wildflowers, game on the roam getting ready to give birth to this year's babies, longer days and warmth in the sun), we still get hit with cold nights, snow showers and cloudy days.

Glad we had not taken the tracks off yet.

Soon after getting back from a trip "down South", the crew that is refubishing the exterior of the cabin showed up. They were able to get the entire outside sand-blasted and hand-sanded, and were ready to start the staining process. But, for a week we'd heard a consistent weather forecast: a "significant" snow event on Thursday and Friday. With as much as 30" of snow predicted, that crew bailed out and went home on Wednesday with a plan to return next week.

Cabin is ready for stain!

Not great working conditions.

Sure enough, the forecasters were right (this time) and it started snowing on Wednesday evening. It continued all day Thursday, and while we got huge accumulations, it was not the kind of snow we expected. We were expecting large lazy flakes coming down on a dark and dreary day accumulating wet, heavy snow. Instead, the layer of clouds was thin. It was relatively bright--so much so that we got some battery charging via the solar panels (which I kept clearing off). And, the flakes were small, but very dense.

Finally, some melting.

We probably got 15" to 16" in Thursday, but it also started melting quickly. On Friday, we got about 20" or so. It did not melt as fast. Altogether, I think we got about 3' of snow, with about 2' of that remaining on the ground when the storm passed.

Both trucks are at the cabin, so "snowed in". But, we still have tracks on the ranger. We even drove it over to check in with our neighbors, but it was very, very difficult to find the road. Everything was covered with a blanket of snow and we could not see the sage bushes or make out the path of the road. And, it was so blindingly white that we could not see for a few minutes after coming inside.

At least the snow makes it easier to see where animals have been walking. Here is the track of a large moose.

And, here is where he came from.

Today, Sunday, we are looking at possible rain showers. It melted a lot yesterday when we had bright sun and some wind. I plowed Wapiti Way to the county road, and it appears that there is much less snow at lower elevations and that if we wanted, we could drive out.

The driveway.

It was pretty tough trying to find the road.

Now comes the mud!

The crew will be back on Tuesday and we have a lot of work to do before we start to get Summer visitors in early June.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Miracles do Happen

Posted by: Rick

If you've followed this blog for long you've seen posts like this one or this one about FedEx's inability to figure out how to deliver packages to us. That makes this photo priceless:

FedEx Freight delivered two palettes of sand (for sand blasting the cabin, more on that later) directly to our driveway on Tuesday! I guess the driver got pretty lost and one of the crew working on the cabin had to go find him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Missing Hailey

Posted by: Rick

Two weeks ago today we lost our beloved Hailey. 

Always smiling.

We had spent the previous few days preparing for our first trip in the new travel trailer. Lynne and I, along with the three dogs and the cat were going to New Mexico to visit my family in the Albuquerque area. We delayed our departure by four days because of weather. So, we were going to hit the road on Thursday.

My feet are cold!

Hailey was as energetic as ever. In fact, on Tuesday we took a walk down to the pond to retrieve the game camera memory cards and she went along. When I got to a place that was off the trail, she crawled under a log, waded through the stream and negotiated through some fallen trees to find me!

Overnight on Wednesday we heard her breathing change. It became somewhat distressed and her color was not good. She just lay on her side and when we pet her she'd wag her tail. We laid on the floor with her for a long time and when she seemed to rally some, we went to bed. When we woke and checked on her, she had just passed.

She loved going on walks.

Hailey was well over 13 years old. That is very, very old for a Bernese Mountain Dog. And, old age finally caught up with her.

We miss her so much. The way she would wake us first thing in the morning by barking, annoying at the time and now much missed. She would cheer on any play between Destin and Bella. She was always ready for a ride into town or a walk. She liked to chase cows when young, and just stared them down from the truck when older. We had lots of nicknames for her: Lurper (because she liked to give lurping kisses); Lurr-Lurr (a take off of Lurper, I guess), The "H" Dog, and especially The Energizer Bunny because she had endless energy. We tease her about having 4 wheel drive on walks because nothing stopped her.

So, mornings are difficult. Feeding time is especially hard as we still have three bowls and that girl did love to eat. We miss her cleaning up the crumbs of dog biscuits that the others just leave behind. Walks are more lonely. As are trips to town. 

We left on our vacation on Thursday one dog short and very sad.

Hailey by the campfire in hunting season.

Lynne says she is not ready to write about Hailey yet. But, I'm sure she will share some of her thoughts soon.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Moose on the Move

Posted by: Rick

We finally got around to swapping memory cards in the game cameras yesterday. A few days ago we captured this video on our oldest camera (that does not have very good video resolution). It is a bull moose walking through the woods. You can see the nubs of his antlers as they start their annual growth.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Springtime

Posted by: Rick

We haven't posted much lately. My excuse is that nothing very newsworthy has happened. It has been kind of boring lately. Still snow on the ground, so we can't start wood gathering. Cold, even freezing at night (it is 22°F as I write this), so we can't really do any decorative planting yet. There has been very little wildlife. For some reason we are not motivated to take long walks.

Blowing snow after one of our Spring storms.

It is a difficult time of the year for us. The weather teases us with Spring. We have had a few bright sunny days in the 60s. I want to get outside and start doing outdoor chores: building a planter box, cleaning up trees that came down in the winter, refurbishing the cabin exterior, sitting by the campfire in the evening, fishing! Then, the next day it snows. We are in that seam between Winter and Summer and the weather just can't make up its mind.

April is typically a very wet month. We get heavy wet snows often. But, the snows melt quickly leaving behind mud and the moisure needed for the wildflowers. I've started a Spring 2017 photo gallery that you should visit occasionally. I'll stick photos of the flora and fauna this Spring in that gallery to document our progress. You can access all our photo galleries using the link on the right-hand side of the web page under "Photo Galleries". Just scroll down a bit to find that link any time.

With the melting snow and the warmer weather we start to get sprigs of grass and the trees start to bud. This brings out some of the wildlife in the area. Over the past couple of weeks we've started to see elk--there was a herd of 10 hanging around for a couple of days--as well as some moose. The mule deer are more prevalent, too. Soon, we'll start to see the babies. While the bears will already have had their cubs, the elk, deer, moose and antelope will drop their babies in late May and June.

The fox, who we see all winter, is still visiting.

We've got the itch to take a trip in the new RV. It is pretty well outfitted now with what we think we'll need. We just need to add clothing and food and we are ready to go. The plan was to take off on 1 May for New Mexico to visit my (Rick's) family in Albuquerque. But, the weather is not looking great. I am writing this on the prior Friday morning and we just got a Winter Weather Warning for overnight and tomorrow with the possibility for lots of snow. We'll see. If it does snow a lot, we'll postpone our trip. If not, we will probaby try to go.

Just sitting there ready to go!

The long days are nice. It starts to get light about 5:30 in the morning with sunrise around 6:00, so the dogs begin to stir and Destin jumps up on the bed repeatedly trying to get us up. Then, once we are up, he goes back to bed. Often with eBay (the cat).

Destin and eBay.

The sun goes down around 8:00, but we have twilight long fter that. This means great conditions for a solar powered house. Even on somewhat cloudy days we have a long enough sun exposure to get a good charge most of the time.

With the longer days and the dream of Spring-like weather, comes the itch to grow something So, I've started some herbs indoors. Lynne got me an herb kit for Christmas and I was excited to get it going. But, nothing ever grew. Even after 3 tries. We'd see a bud or two of something green, then they would die. I finally threw away the soil they had provided and used some old potting soil I had in the barn. That seemed to do the trick and now we have starts on oregano, parsley, cilantro, chives, basil and thyme. I've started some mint, too, but it has not sprouted yet. And, we have rosemary and sage that we bought as more mature plants. Just need some tarragon and we are good to go for the summer...assuming they continue to grow.

 

Herbs.

We've been trying a lot of new recipes too, lately. Anything to break up the "same old thing" day after day. Some have been fantastic. Some, bombs. But, it is fun to try new things. Maybe we'll start posting more foodie stuff on the blog!

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