Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Clouds: Going and Coming

Posted by: Lynne

I hope you share my fascination with cloud formations because otherwise this will be boring for you!

First photo was taken this morning on our way in to town to pick up the Ranger with its winter tracks. I love the con trail that looks like a zipper, and well, I think the clouds are pretty awesome too. I did not have my camera so I had to resort to using the camera on the iPad instead. No tweaking was done, these are straight off the iPad.

This was on the way home. We are almost home in this photo and the clouds were centered over our property.

The West never disappoints.

Another Winter Prep Project Done!

Posted by: Rick

Today, we completed another winter prep project--the Ranger now has tracks!

Ranger with her Camoplast tracks, ready for snow. Parked next to 4 cords of wood.

A slightly different viewpoint.

So, as you can see, we have lots of wood. That is about 4 cords in the photo and we've got well over two cords in the woodshed. All we really have left for winter prep is a provisioning trip to Sam's Club and the butcher.

It was actually quite an ordeal. The Polaris dealer in Laramie offered to loan me a trailer which will carry the Ranger. So, on Tuesday, we drove into town, got the trailer, drove back home, loaded the Ranger on the trailer (after using the winch to move the T@B into her winter resting place), drove back into town, dropped off the Ranger and the trailer, did some shopping then came home. It took all day long!

Then, today, we reversed those logistics. (We really need a trailer.)

Bringing the Ranger home (we still need a name).

The good news is that now they are mounted and adjusted, I should be able to swap between tires and tracks on my own. Oh, I'll need to buy lots and lots of new tools, of course. But, I can be more self-sufficient.

Here are a couple of photos of the T@B move. Normally, on pavement, Lynne and I can move the T@B with some pushing and pulling. But, on the dirt driveway, it was just too heavy. So, we used the winch on the Ranger to pull the T@B toward her winter parking place, we then used manual labor to turn her and get her lined up. Then, the Expedition backed her into place.

The winch on the Ranger.

Connected to the tongue of the T@B.

The winter parking spot, sheltered from the wind. We'll put the cover back on soon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Destin: 7 Months

Posted by: Lynne

Destin continues to grow ... and grow! When we weighed him a week and a half ago he weighed in at 75 lbs. and I think he's had a growth spurt since then. He's taller than Hailey now, his head and bone are both bigger than hers. He still has a way to go to catch up with behemoth Bella, but heck, he's only 7 months old!

He continues to bring us joy each and every day with either his cuteness or mischief-making. He's getting better about coming in after he's been outside, but we are still working on that. He tends to get the zoomies and then he wants us to catch him. Not a fun game when the goal is to get him in the house. We were making great progress until the snow came into his life. Oh, what fun is that white stuff! Sigh. Otherwise, he's good as gold. Smart smart smart. Maybe too smart. He is well muscled from all the good exercise he gets with uneven ground, logs to jump over, space to run. All the world is his yard.

Trying to get him to hold still for his montly photos at Serenity Point are getting tougher and tougher. Especially those lap photos! At one year I think I will make a collage of all those pics taken month by month to show his growth. Should be interesting!

Plus, with my butt plunked down on this snow covered bench was no picnic, let me tell you.

Who knows what the landscape will look like for month 8!

Holding still was never his strong point.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Strange Couple of Days

Posted by: Lynne

Rain makes itself heard.

It beats a staccato on the roof.

It taps against the windows.

It plunks itself into puddles.

But snow ... ah, snow.

Snow makes no noise. It arrives stealthily in the night, falling ever so softly to the ground, wrapping everything in a soft coccon of white and silence.

When dawn breaks, it's a Winter Wonderland.

~Me

 

And so this is the scene I was greeted with this morning. Each time it snows (this is the third time) it sticks a little more. On Monday it snowed all day long but we only accumulated about an inch. Had it stuck and not melted as it was coming down we would have had about 4 inches of wet snow. On Tuesday morning when I opened the curtains and glanced down I saw that someone had been taking a walk along the upside-down canoe right under our window. We looked up the prints and decided it was indeed a bobcat. Take a look.

Does it creep me out to think a bobcat was right under our window? YES. But I am not afraid, only in awe of this life we are living here.

And this morning our driveway was a trail of these prints, which we think are coyote. Notice that the prints of the cat above are wider and less elongated. You can almost see the claw marks on the below photo which mark it as canine. Also, I am not showing the gait of the animal here, but it was more like a dog walking than a cat. It was just ambling along. Plus, I thought I was awakened by a few sharp barks about an hour before the sun came up.

We had a bit of trouble getting Destin back in the house after his morning romp. He loves the snow, of course even though he looks to be giving me the raspberry, this is probably more a "I don't want to come in Mom" than "I don't like the snow Mom" reaction.

I am assuming that you saw Rick's blog post on our anniversary cook-out dinner just a few days ago? Here is what the same scene looked like this morning:

Brrr! Build that fire back up!

This post was going to be longer and include the past few days' goings-on but it is late in the afternoon now and we have a pot of chili on the stove. We have not been able to use our oven now for over a week due to a faulty switch that switches between the broiler and the oven, so a part has been dispatched from Canada and is on its way. Total bummer. 

It was also going to include my weird experience with Rick's "burning sage for good luck" over the campfire. (also in above link). But I don't have the time or mind for that now. I'm hungry. So you will just have to wait to read about my experience "smoking sage" or rather breathing in sage smoke.

Until then!

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Perfect Evening

Posted by: Rick

Yesterday was windy. We had sustained winds of around 20 mph with gusts up to 26 mph. That is not nearly as bad as it will get this winter, but was enough to put a damper on outdoor activities.

Sunday's Super Moon. Slightly out of context, but a nice photo.

We did take the dogs for a walk along the road in the morning before it got too bad. (We can't walk in the woods when it is windy because of the risk of a dead tree blowing down.) And, I stained some wood trim for an upcoming project on the porch.

But, mostly we read, Lynne worked on a puzzle some, I played some games on the iPad. A nice lazy day.

At around 5:00 the wind suddenly stopped. It became dead still. I took the dogs out for a pee and Destin immediately ran down to the camp fire ring. He was trying to tell me something--maybe it was a good evening to have a camp fire! 

Destin, alert at the sound of coyotes calling.

We had thawed a flank steak for dinner, so it was also a good chance to finally use my camp fire cooking setup. I could hang the grill over the fire for the steak, and we'd also hang a Dutch oven to cook blistered green beans.

Me, with the camp fire cooking setup. The box of wine is essential.

So, I started a nice fire. We dispose of old grease in the fire pit, and so it is pretty easy to get a roaring fire going. I had a big, hot fire in no time, then fed it small logs to build up a bed of coals.

It was chilly outside. I could see my breath. So, the heat of the fire and its crackling sound was comforting.

View of the cabin from the camp fire.

I set up the cooking kit. I filled a 2 gallon bucket with water and put it by the fire (just in case). And, I got a glass of wine. 

The flank steak was actually 1/2 of a flank steak. There is no way Lynne and I can eat a whole steak. I made a quick marinade of some olive oil, soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, some granulated onion, garlic and ginger. Salt and pepper. All that went into a zip bag for about an hour and marinated while the fire burned down to a nice bed of coals.

What can I say?

The bean recipe is a great one, especially for an outdoor fire. I simply stirred green beans with a little oil, salt and pepper, in the hot Dutch oven then let them sizzle. Turning them once in a while, they soon develop brown blisters. I occasionally tossed them in the pot until they were blistered on all sides.

While fire crackled, the beans sizzled, and drops of fat from the meat hissed on the fire, we also heard coyotes calling in the distance. A couple of great horned owls called and responded. Otherwise, the stillness and silence was almost deafening.

Here is a 15 second video of the fire. Turn up your speakers and listen to the crackling of the fire:

;

As we ate our steak and beans the sun set and the hunter's super moon rose. It was HUGE and so bright it hurt our eyes to look directly at it. Stars began to appear and fill the sky. Coyotes sang. Owls hooted. Dogs lay by the fire. It was a perfect evening.

Happy dogs!

We topped it all off with some roasted marshmallows, some whisky, and burned some sage for good fortune. 

We had planned to go to town for dinner tonight to celebrate our anniversary, but decided last night's wonderful meal and experience is celebration enough.

Hailey wanted her photo included.

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    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Alica Humphryson on 03/06/2018

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