Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cloud Study: Iridescence

Posted by: Lynne

The other day when we were having high winds I noticed this beautiful cloud displaying what's known as iridescence. I quickly grabbed the camera and headed out.

Iridescence in clouds is caused by light waves being dispersed as they pass around extremely tiny ice crystals, with the wave lenghts spead out by different amounts. Therefore the sunlight gets separated into alternating fringes of color. (from The Cloud Collector's Handbook) 

But who really cares what all that means? All I know is that it's beautiful.

The cloud hung overhead for quite a long time, shifting colors and intensity.

It finally faded and ended up looking (to me, at least) like a trout rising to take the bait.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Winter So Far

Posted by: Lynne

Haha, right? But seriously folks, it's kind of restricting with as much snow as we have on the ground. We DID however get out Tuesday and took a very quick trip down to an RV dealer in Loveland, only to find that they really didn't have what we were looking for. At least we know that now. 

With all the snow that we have it's hard to go out with the dogs to take a walk. We have to put on snowshoes to go anywhere other than the driveway because otherwise we'd sink up to our hips in snow.

A "going-to-get-the-game-camera" game camera catch!

Hailey can't maneouver anymore in deep snow—her legs get all tangled up trying to lift her feet enough so she sticks mainly to the driveway. Bella plows her way through but it's not easy, and Destin ... well, Destin had no problems but I do worry about him pulling ligaments if he gets in too deep. In places the dogs can walk on top, but inevitably they fall through and have to pull themselves out.

The wonderful plowing job that was done for us to enable us to get the Suburban parked at a "neighbor H's" house at the border has since blown in and is inaccessible by any vehicle except our Ranger. Trips to town are limited due to this because a) it takes a long time: about a half hour to get to H's house, then another 45 minutes into town. b) we don't want to bother H by coming and going all the time and making ourselves unwelcome — he's our lifeline! Considering that the trip to town would normally take us 45 mintues all total, it's wearying.

And, when we do get to town all our time is taken up with things that need to get done and there isn't any time left for just browsing around and taking our time. You don't want to get back as late as we did Tuesday, i.e. as the sun is going down. Well, actually we couldn't see the sun because it was snowing on our way home and it was really hard to see our previous tracks in the road bed and where the deep ruts were where (other) people had gotten stuck and tried to dig out. 

In all honesty, it's not exactly what I had expected, but then again the people who have wintered up here for nine years or so are saying that this is not normal. I am not at the point of Jack Nicholson in The Shining quite yet and it's looking like we will have a break in the weather for at least a week where we don't get any more snow. I don't think it will help the roads any, nor will it help us to get our pussy of a truck out where we could use it instead of the Ranger to go back and forth with, but it will be welcome just the same. Thank goodness for the Ranger!

Hidden Meadows Lane

I keep happy thoughts of how wonderful the wildflower season is going to be when it finally gets here!

We have a new buddy around the cabin, Mr. Red Fox.

He's bold, brazen & beautiful but he's kind of a nuisance. Destin (who has a fabulous nose and tracking sense) likes to follow the fox's trail and wanders off on our walks, right under our noses. One mintue he's with us, the next he's nowhere in sight. Mr. Fox has gotten in our garbage too and strewn stuff throught the forest, which Destin finds. One day he had a cat food can in the meadow and he was having a blast throwing it up in the air and catching it again. Then he had a crumpled-in-half Coke can and had it in his mouth playing it like a castanet. Silly dog, but maddening when he runs off. He is now restrained to leash walks after several long hikes in the deep snow to retrieve him. (By the way, he does come back home, but only when he's ready. I can't bear to leave him that long without knowing where he is.)

We had a visit to the game camera of Big Boy Moose. It only caught his head and front leg this time, but the interesting thing was that it was pretty clear he had shed his paddles — and recently too. Kind of creepy to see where they were! We are hoping, of course, that he shed those big bad boys somewhere in the draw on our property. Next week when we warm up we'll have a paddle hunt mission.

Another side of winter is that it sure would be nice to have a clothes dryer. We thought we could get by without one and we are doing okay, but we were figuring on more sunny days above freezing than what we have had so far. When we got the Suburban out for our day in town a week ago, we had contemplated taking all the stored up dirty laundry into the laundromat, but we just didn't have the time to spare. We ended up with a barely-above-freezing day right after that so I did three or four loads of laundry (including sheets) and was able to hang them on the line, then ended up bringing them in to finalize the dry cycle by the wood stove. I think next year we might install a dryer in the barn. There is room for it and the propane is already right there to hook up to. It would make life just that little bit easier.

Rick and I both have projects going, but that is a topic for another blog post. I think this one has run on long enough.

So, winter continues and if the locals have anything to say about it: the worst is yet to come. Meaning that February through April have been typically the snowiest and stormiest months. We're putting up our dukes for Round 2!

Friday, January 06, 2017

My Head’s in the Clouds

Posted by: Lynne

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

~taken from Both Sides Now, by Joni Mitchell

If you've followed my old blog (a "new" Jersey Girl -- still active) or our new mutual blog you must have noticed that I post a lot of cloud photos. I have always loved and noticed clouds. When I was a little girl I would lay on my back in the grass and make out shapes in the clouds. Didn't you? I am lucky to be living in an area where the clouds are always amazing and ever-changing. I think the winds that we have help a great deal in the formation of so many different kinds of clouds.

For Christmas (and my birthday) Rick gifted me these two books so that I can identify the clouds I see. So cool! I alreadly have names for a few clouds I could not identify before.

Did you know that there is actuallly a Cloud Appreciaton Society? I am proud to say that I am one of their newest members. If you want to investigate further go to http://www.cloudappreciationsocity.org to view the amazing photos that people all around the world have shared, or even upload your own photos to their site. I haven't uploaded any yet but I certainly plan to!

The following clouds were shot coming back from Laramie the day before our latest big storm hit. Such a confused sky!

 

 

 

If you are not already a "cloud-watcher" just cast your eyes to the skies the next time you're out and about and take a look. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Rite of Passage

Posted by: Rick

On the 28th of November, Lynne and I along with the three dogs took a walk to the pond and back. We needed the exercise, and it gave us a chance to "run the trap line" (of game cameras). Bella and Destin know the trail and like to lead. Hailey follows behind to take advantage of our trail-making in front of her.

Just past Serenity Point, I saw Destin lift his leg to pee on a tree! Lynne didn't see it and was a bit skeptical of my claim, I think.

Lifting the leg to pee is a real rite of passage for a male dog. I'm not sure of the exact reasons they do this, but I've always believed there were two reasons. First, as the dog grows and changes physiologically, he is more and more likely to pee on his front feet when using a squat pee. (When I try to pee while lifting my leg I end up peeing on my other foot, so this does not work for people.) The second, and probably more valid reason is so they can mark vertical surfaces with their pee thus marking their territory. (This does not work for me either.)

Destin failed to accomplish this second goal on his first attempt. The pee still ended up on the ground, but close enough to the target tree that it was clearly not a squat pee.

We document everything with the camera.

A day or two later, he lifted his leg to pee on the bale of hay we have in the meadow. Success! He hit a vertical surface. Lynne still did not see this and remained skeptical.

But, on a subsequent walk, she caught him in the act.

Destin, marking his territory.

This is a sign of a maturing dog and the onset of interest in the opposite sex. He is already bugging Hailey and Bella, but they let him know that the bitches run this house. We are likely in for a fun winter.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Looking Back over November 2016

Posted by: Rick

As I write this it is 10° outside and the wind is blowing snow sideways. Winter weather has arrived.

October spoiled us with unusually warm and dry weather. Early November was nice too, but mid-month Mother Nature did a 180 and brought frigid weather and frequent snow. So far, the snow fall has been light. Just a few inches each time. But, it has given us a chance to actually benefit from the summer's hard work. I've even cleared the driveway with the snow blower a couple of times, but think a blade on the Ranger would work better for small snow amounts.

The completed and somewhat filled wood shed.

We finished a few of our projects. I built a rack to hold the canoes and keep them from blowing into the valley. The storage shed got fully insulated (and is heated by the propane fridge keeping it relatively toasty). And, we got the wood shed painted (and filled with wood). We also now have an electric circuit running to the barn. Now, I don't have to start up a generator every time I need electricity  for a few minutes.

We did our provisioning shopping. There is a whole blog post on that topic. Other than meat, which we'll get sometime soon, we have plenty of supplies to rely upon if/when we get snowed in.

Ready for winter!

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  • Sounds like you’re managing well, all things considered! Hopefully the next snowfall won’t be as…

    Posted to: ‘Road Closure and Updates’ by Steve on 02/21/2017

  • Bigsis, it’s just a little tractor! smile It does…

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Lynne on 02/17/2017

  • BTW, I love your jacket.  Looks cute and WARM.

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Bigsis on 02/17/2017

  • Wow, you really can drive a big Cat or whatever you call it.  That really…

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Bigsis on 02/17/2017

  • Glen, I felt right at home up there, you bethcha!

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Lynne on 02/17/2017

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