Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, July 07, 2017

Jack and Jill Came Up the Hill

Posted by: Rick

We recently had a visitor for a week. More than anything else, she wanted to see some moose. But, we seemed to be in a moose drought. 

My mother had visited a few weeks earlier and we had a Moose-a-paloosa. We saw four moose on three different occasions. After that, nothing.

Jack and Jill

On the last day of the visit, we took a "game drive" in the truck and drove to all the likely spots where we might see a moose. We did see a herd of 25 to 30 elk, but no moose. 

As we were driving along the road toward home past a spot where you can peer into our meadow, I saw a moose! It was there in the meadow at the cabin. We did not need to leave to go see a moose, it came to us. We drove into the driveway and quietly entered the cabin. We then saw there were two moose! A boy and a girl. Yearlings. Probably the twins that we saw with their mother last year. We were able to go into our newly fenced yard and observe them as they made their way to the salt lick, where they stood for a long time completely undisturbed by our presence. After a while they made their way down into the bottom of the valley. (Photo of them is above.)

We decided to name them Jack and Jill.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Game Camera Catches Elusive Ewok (and Other Critters)

Posted by: Rick

I moved one of our game cameras to look out over the pond a few weeks ago. It successfully got a shot of an illusive Ewok sitting on a log:

Ewok sitting on a log. Photo is cropped and enlarged.

He is a bit harder to see in the original photo. Can you find him?

Okay, okay. It is probably not an Ewok. But, can you identify it? 

That same camera was used as a scratching post by an elk. Poor thing must have a mosquito bite on her butt. The images from the camera, just before this one, were all askew and blurry.

Can't quite reach the itch.

And, here is a very early morning shot of either a coyote or the fox. It is difficult to tell in this light.

Eerie glowing eyes.

I have another camera in the same area focused on a spot where we saw bear scat last year. So far, all it has caught are the typical deer, elk and moose. But, look what it caught over the past several weeks!

A black bear.

A cub, looking for its mommy.

And, finally, the back end of a huge cinnamon colored bear. Wish it had been coming toward me instead of going away.

By the way, the "Ewok" is actually a Great Horned Owl. We struggled with the ID for a while given his ears aren't sticking up as much as we usually see. But, after looking at many online pictures, the owl can have the ears tucked down. And, the markings match perfectly.

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!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

April Fools

Posted by: Rick

It has been a while since I posted, so I just sat down to do a "catching up" post. And, I saw that Lynne is working on a post with most of the same info. So, I'll just bring you up to date quickly and she'll fill in the details.

Camel Rock Lost Its Head in High Winds

I usually do an April Fool's Day post to our blogs. In the past, the post was usually about our dogs and was targeted at the Bernese Mountain Dog community.

For example, I once did a post about how much Margaux, one of our female BMDs who is no longer with us, enjoyed our hot tub as long as it was set to 102.5°. And, that any temperature below or above that was not acceptable to her. You'd be amazed at the hostile replies I got telling me that putting our dog in the hot tub was not good for her (or the tub). We have actually never even owned a hot tub.

Another time I posted about how the rug we had in our living room, which was made from spun hair from our nine Bernese Mountain Dogs, always made the house smell like wet dog when we shampooed it. A few months later a BMD breeder visited us and ask to see the rug!

Anyway, this year I took a photo of a famous landmark at Sand Creek Park. The landmark has two names. When viewing it from the north or south, it is known as Chimney Rock. You've probably seen lots of photos of it on this blog. When viewed from the east or west, it is know as Camel Rock (see photo below). I used Affinity Photo on my Mac to edit the photo, moving the camel head down the hill as if it had been lopped off (see above photo). I then posted this to the Sand Creek Park Landowners Facebook page with a few short words about how the wind had blown the head off the famous landmark and that it would now need a new name. (At least when viewed from the east and west.) 

Some people got the joke right away. But, some were fooled I guess. The post was shared a couple of dozen times and viewed about 2200 times (last I checked). 

What Camel Rock Really Looks Like

The death threats are slowing down now, ten days later.

There is a lot more going on. We've had a couple of heavy, wet spring snows. One of about 8" and another with about 12". They seem to come on Tuesdays. Of course, this time of year the snow only lasts a couple of days due to the warm, sunny days and warm winds. We did have to take the Ranger out after the last storm because we had an appointment to pick up the travel trailer. So, we drove the tracked vehicle to our tow truck's location at Mr. H's house near the CO/WY border. When we got back, a logging company had plowed the county road, so we ended up driving 5 miles on dirt and mud instead of snow.

When it is bad outside, we work on our weaving. Lynne will show photos of the "mug rugs" I'm working on for the trailer.

We are not yet seeing wildlife: deer, elk, moose. However, we have seen the fox around lately and we've seen lots of hawks and eagles now that the prairie dogs are out and about.

That's about it for now. We are in that transistion between Winter and Spring, and can hardly wait for full-on Spring. (It is snowing as I write this.) I'll try to do a better job of keeping things up-to-date!

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