Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

The Rufous Hummingbirds Are Here

Posted by: Rick

Every year, in early July, the rufuous hummingbirds make an appearance. They are tiny next to their broadwing cousins. And, they are feisty. They like to guard the feeders, chasing away any competition. It is a wonder anyone gets anything to drink. But, the level of sugar water in the feeders slowly goes down.

This year, Lynne saw the first rufous on 1 July. Now, there are 4 or 5 patrolling our two feeders.

I set up the Phantom LC320S camera and shot this slow-motion footage the other afternoon. This took about 1.36 seconds of "real time" to record, and takes just over 1 minute to play back. The effective time dillution is about 62 times (you are seeing it 62 times slower than it really happened).

Friday, July 01, 2016

Progress Reports, Updates and More Moose

Posted by: Lynne

I have been so bad about blogging! I've been pretty active posting photos and such on Facebook but I have neglected the blog. Somehow it's easier and faster to do the Facebook route, but when I do that the readers of the blog that are not on Facebook miss out on a lot. 

First of all, some progress reports:

We now have HD TV. The third try was the charm to finally get a person out to exchange our old Direct TV dish for the new HD one. That happened about three weeks ago and I'm so happy to have a DVR again where we can record our shows, pause shows and all that other good stuff. Our new TV is wonderful and best of all hardly takes any electricity to run at all which is very important in a battery-powered house.

We now have phone service inside the cabin! woohoo! We finally broke down and bought a signal booster and we now have four bars inside and our phone now rings! Amazing! I know this doesn't sound very exciting to most of you, but to us it's a big deal.

The barn delivery. Sigh. Today was the second scheduled day for the delivery of our barn and they cancelled because they were afraid of the rain that was predicted for us. It was put off from its original delivery date of June 17th because they could not get the barn down our driveway without a certain piece of equipment that they had on order. We had to wait for the "mule" to arrive at their facility and then wait for them to mount the "mule" on a flatbed trailer, or whatever. Maybe the third time will finally be the charm for the barn. We are now scheduled for a Wednesday July 6th delivery. Let's hope the roads in aren't muddy and there is not a big rain event happening. We really need that barn to arrive! 

The lupine is rampant in the meadows and along the roadsides right now. All you can see is a purple haze, it's just gorgeous. Now joining the lupine in bloom are the yellow Alpine Paintbrush and the magenta Loco. I need to get out there and take a photo of our "flower garden." 

The rose bushes are going crazy as well as the columbines. I have never seen so many columbines here before. They are spreading across our newly opened meadow.

And folks, none of these were planted, all the flowers are wild.

Now for the birdhouse updates. You'll remember I said we had a resident house wren. Well, that turned out to be a false alarm. He built the nest, sang his heart out for days and when he couldn't attract anyone to come and live with him, he abandoned the twiggy nest. The minute we put another bird house at the top of the driveway, yet another wren made a twiggy nest and then we saw nothing. We peeked in last week to see an egg but no bird around to hatch it. Next time we looked there were a few pieces of shell in the nest and nothing else, so we dumped the contents. Now there is yet another twiggy wren nest being built.

Success with one bird house, a pair of tree swallows are at home and hopefully raising a family. It's supposed to be a bluebird house, but so far no blue bird takers. At least we have a renter, even if it's not blue. We often see them poking their heads out when we go by.

On the moose front, we have seen so many different moose now. Sometimes we only catch them on the game camera, but we've been lucky enough to see a few in real time, like this cow moose and her young calf at our salt lick. The baby was very curious about our fire pit and we watched it as it sniffed our Adirondack chairs. He/she was so close to the cabin that I shot these two pics from the front porch through the screen. The photo of the two of them was taken from the game camera because I could not get a good shot of them. We've caught them on the game camera one other time -- and at the very same time of the day! I vow to look out now every day at approximately 2:30 p.m.

We also had this big bull moose visit us. In fact, on the morning I saw him I had looked out the windows first thing in the morning to be sure no animals were around in the meadow, opened the door to let Destin out and he just stood there looking at something and not getting off the step. When I looked up I saw this huge moose right there in our driveway! Yikes, he was big! I scooped Destin right up and came inside while the moose trotted off up our driveway. The game camera caught him visiting and he was here most of the night before. Here is a capture from the game camera and also a short video clip of him which you can see at the end of the post.

You can see the time stamp on the photos is 4:39 a.m. and I saw him not long after this at around 5:00 a.m. We've seen at least 8 different moose so far and I had started out naming them like I used to name the bears in our yard back in New Jersey. Now I decided that was not going to work -- too many! Love seeing them.

To finish up, we had our very first Rufous Hummingbird of the season this morning. Bossy pants that he is, he's gorgeous! I need to get a photo of him soon.

Well, I hope you've stuck with me through all this rambling on and tons of photos. If you have, bless your heart. I think that about catches you up for now. I'll try and do a better job of blogging so the posts don't get this long!

OH, BUT WAIT ... I left Destin out of this mix. He's growing like the weeds outside and last weight check was this past Monday when he turned 14 weeks old -- 35.2 lbs of puppy! Here he is:

He's had a growth spurt over the past few days and can't lay under the bed anymore. He has outgrown all his favorite spots to sleep and gets very cranky. He continues to be a joy. His adult coat is starting to come in a bit and he has what looks like a receding hairline on his forehead. Pretty soon he'll have a puppy "fro" going on which is always a funny stage of growth. He's growing up fast.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Baby Moose

Posted by: Rick

We are not sure how we missed this around noon yesterday, but here is a very short clip from the game camera that shows a cow moose and her new baby. I am going to lower the camera, so maybe if this happens again, we'll get a better shot.

Monday, June 13, 2016

OtG Progress Report

Posted by: Lynne

Painted birdhouses that Rick's dad built for us.

When we first arrived we still had snow in the meadow, and for a short time there was an actual little creek running through it. Now the meadow is grassy and green and star arnica is blooming everywhere. Just gorgeous. It remains to be seen if the wildflower seed we planted last year actually came up. We have more seed coming from Pawnee Seed Company — a mix of prairie grasses and wildflowers that we'll spread around the burn pile areas and the area that was excavated for the trenches for the new solar panels.

There is lots of lupine coming up around the house as well as Wyoming paintbrushes, pink plume, larkspur and fireweed. Most of it will probably be blooming later this week. Soon we will be surrounded by flowers of all different colors. Already the meadows are full of brilliant paintbrushes!

The pasque flowers have gone into gossamer seed mode, but still equally as beautiful.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes are also "in bloom" right now. They say the mosquito hatch only lasts three weeks up here, so we shall see. Right now we douse ourselves with repellent before we go outside. We both smell like Lemon Eucalyptus all day, not a totally unpleasant smell. We've found a repellent without DEET that appears to work great. We also have one of these handy little gadgets, the Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance, that uses butane to heat a synthetic form of natural insecticide, forming a 15-foot-wide area of protection. We used it yesterday while out in back potting the herbs we bought. No mosquitoes dared come close!

More...

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Yet Another Moose

Posted by: Lynne

The meadow was a busy place early on Thursday morning. First, three buck deer visited. They hadn't been here very long when they took off, looking over their shoulders as they trotted off. I looked at the other side of the meadow and saw four long brown legs at the other mineral lick. A moose. 

Due to the placement of the mineral lick, which is right behind a pine tree when looking out the dining room window, I couldn't tell which moose it was, only that it appeared to be smaller than either Morley or Hannah but it did have antlers. We waited patienly as he took his fill of minerals, camera at the ready. When he finally came into full view we could see it was indeed a different moose altogether. A very young bull moose. He didn't stay long after that but we're happy he stopped by anyway.

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