Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Oh Deer!

Posted by: Lynne

Rick seems to have taken over posting blogs lately. I guess must be lazy, or maybe it's just that I blogged for ten long years in New Jersy on the now defunct "new" Jersey Girl blog. It's nice to sit back and have him take over that duty.

To start off this post I am using a photo of our bench in the little grove of aspens next to the house covered in our first snow from Friday morning. It wasn't much, just a skiff really, and was gone before you could blink your eyes. We went from wearing gloves and layers of clothing to just a t-shirt yesterday as temps were in the high 60's/low 70's with a bright blue sky. Colorado, ya gotta love it! This is not unusual for this time of year, as you can see in this past post. Three years ago, if you remember, we got snowed in while on vacation here. So, like I said, normal!

But, I am digressing as usual when I actually sit down at the computer and get started. Words just dump out of my brain sometimes. The REAL reason for this post is Bucky. A very beautiful 4-point buck mule deer that decided to visit us around dinnertime the other night.

He was right outside our bedroom window munching away when I saw him. So close to the cabin too! Here he is as seen and taken right from our window. (Solar panels in background, sorry, but they keep us in electricity. The other strange looking object in the photo is our aluminum canoe upside down.) And, normally this area is covered in sage and other native plants but it still has not recovered from being dug up when the solar panels went in earlier this year.

He was not bothered by us taking photos or talking just a few feet away from him inside the house. We knew he could hear us because he kept picking up his lovely head and looking right at us. Not bothered by us at all, he stayed for a good hour. (Love his "eyebrow" facial markings.)

Other animals around us have not fared as well I'm sorry to say. We are down by two more pack rats who choose to go into a trap other than the live one. And, we are down by two rabbits which makes me very sad. One was found not in the trap, but a little way away from it, just lying there (not alive). We don't really know what happened to him as he was unharmed in any other way. The trap was tripped. A heart attack? The other bunny made me even more upset. Bella is a bad bad girl. On one of our walks to the top of our driveway she saw something scurry into the woods. We were thinking squirrel and so was Bella because she was looking up in the trees. She persisted in her search for the animal while we continued our walk. We heard a commotion behind us and Bella came bursting out of the woods with a rabbit in her mouth. She had it by the neck and it did not make it. Too sad. How she managed to catch a rabbit we can't fathom. But she did, and she seemed to want us to be proud of her. Now if that had been a packrat ... whole different story.

Bucky was back the next morning. I went to let Destin outside for a pee break and just ilke he did with Big Boy Moose, he just stared straight ahead and refused to get off the porch. Bucky was in the driveway and not too worried, although he did bound off a little distance, stopped and turned around for another look and when Destin started barking his "big boy bark" and Bucky decided to take off.

He'd obviously been hanging around that same morning unnoticed by us at the salt lick because the game camera captured this video of him. He is welcome in our "yard" anytime.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

One Less Pack Rat

Posted by: Rick

We caught a pack rat in the live trap on Thursday night. That's one down, not sure how many to go. They are too cagey to get caught in the kill traps. I baited them with apple slices and some rolled up aluminum foil. They just steal the apples, trip the trap, take the foil to decorate their nests, and go on their merry way. For some reason, I seem to have better luck with the live trap (also baited with an apple slice and foil).

The dogs went crazy when they saw the pack rat in the trap. Barking, growling, pawing, and the showing of teeth was in order.

Now, if I were to release the rat from the live trap, somewhere like this seems to be a nice place:

This is along Sand Creek at the base of Chimney Rock (aka Camel Rock) on the Wyoming side of the border. I could just walk the trap down by the creek and release the rat. It would be a nice place for him, and far away from the cabin.

But, I'd probably get caught. I would not have the required permit to release an animal into the wild. And, on top of that I'd also probably be guilty of transporting said animal across state lines. I could spend the rest of my life in jail.

It would be a nice place to release the rat, though.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Transition Time

Posted by: Rick

When we lived in NJ, this is about the time of year we'd spend two weeks at the cabin. Either September or June. Both are transition times. June is transitioning from Winter into Spring. September, from Summer to Fall and even to wintery weather.

The weather is changing. Days are shorter. Nights are much cooler. We woke to a pretty hard frost this morning and below freezing temperatures. Lynne even built a fire in the wood stove to knock back the chill in the cabin.

The aspen leaves are starting to change. Within a few days we'll be at peak season for aspen. We always like to take a drive or two and see the awesome beauty.

The aspens are just starting to change along our driveway.

The wildlife is transitioning. All the hummingbirds are gone now. In fact, most birds are gone with only some jays and towhees still around. The winter birds have not yet arrived.

Green-tailed towhee at the bird feeder.

And, it is the start of hunting season so the deer, elk and moose have gone to ground. It is musket and bow season now, but starting in October and for almost two months, we will have rifle hunting season. That means trespassers most likely. And, the dogs will need to wear their blaze orange vests and we'll wear our blaze orange jackets when out walking. We don't want to be mistaken for a bear or deer, moose or elk while on a family walk.

99% of hunters are mature, careful, and conscientious people. But, we do get the crazies who can be quite scary.

Hunting is allowed in Sand Creek Park, but only by a landowner on his/her own property (or guests of landowners on their property). Still, we've got landowners that wander onto others' property, and general hunters who can't read that will be trespassing on private land. It is just one of those things we learn to live with.

One big sign of the seasonal changes is the presence of pack rats. If you've followed this blog for a while, you know I hate pack rats. Well, we've got one. He somehow got into the shed the other day and tore it up some. We've also seen signs one has been in the Ranger. And, we'd swear we saw one running across the driveway the other day. So, it is time to start the annual pack rat e-rat-ication process.

And, we are making progress in our transition to winter living. The new appliances are installed and working; the propane generator is working (although not set up for automatic starting yet); we are up to about 4 to 5 cords of cut, split and stacked wood. I think I've given up on the idea of building a wood shed this fall. Instead, we'll just stack wood where the shed would be and cover it with tarps. The wood shed will be a nice project for next summer.

Nifty new appliances!


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