Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, May 22, 2020

A Memorial Day Warning

Posted by: Rick

First, let me say there is nothing quite as satisfying as sitting by a camp fire, eating 'smores and sipping peanut butter whiskey. Those flavors blend nicely and with the smoke in the air, it is heaven. That is what we did last night. Today, we did laundry to get rid of the smokey smell in our clothes.

I was born in Colorado, but don't remember much of my childhood. So, leaving those years out, I've been in Colorado for memorial day for 25 of the past 40 years (or so). And, in every single one of those years, we have crappy Memorial Day weather. Usually, some combination of cold temperatures, rain and/or snow, and wind. So, let that be a warning to those of you who are choosing to adventure out this weekend, getting away from the comforts of home or distance yourself in nature. Winter has not yet let go, if history repeats.

We've got some flower photos to catch you up on. And, we are considering a "bird" post and maybe even a "food" post. But, that is for a rainy day.

For now, we just wish you a very happy Memorial Day.

Monday, April 20, 2020

More Monday Musings

Posted by: Rick

It is Monday again. If you've been reading this blog, you know what the normal routine is, so I won't go into that again. No, this Monday I want to share some thoughts about how people are reacting to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, a quick summary of the past week. We went shopping once. That is now an average of going out for shopping about every 9-10 days. Pretty good, I think. And, we did take the dogs for a walk somewhere other than the neighborhood. That was yesterday, and it was crazy! A trail along the Poudre river that is usually very sparsely used was crowded with bikers, dog walkers, kids on bikes, skates and skateboards! It was not fun nor easy to walk the dogs, so we gave up after a while. We've been eating well out of the freezer and pantry. And, I've tried a couple of new bread making techniques, which have had mixed success.

From being out a few times over the past few weeks, from listening to the news from a variety of sources, and from reading some interesting social media posts, I've come to the conclusion that there is an interesting spectrum of people and their behaviors. There are compliers, deniers, and haters.

And, there is a spectrum within these categories, probably at a much finer level than I've thought about.

For example, there are the compliers that believe the science and the credible people who represent and communicate the science. They willingly comply with CDC guidelines and governmental orders. These also tend to be the people who are most compassionate, helping others out as much as possible and being optimistic and respectful in their communications.

I think there is another set of compliers that I'd call the skeptical compliers. They have a healthy skepticism of what they hear and read and take the time to really try and understand the truth. They interpret guidelines and orders in a pragmatic way and adapt them to their own situation. Still, for the most part they comply. A certain amount of skepticism is healthy and needed in our society, as long as it does not decay into less productive levels of behavior. These folks are also compassionate and helpful. They are open-minded and engage in healthy conversation and debate.

Next, we move into the deniers. I think there are a couple of kinds of deniers, too. There are the respectful deniers who, while they don't necessarily believe in the science and don't feel a need to comply with guidelines and orders, they are respectful to the compliers that do. And, they may even concede on a few points like social distancing. These are the people who are protesting the government's orders to close non-essential businesses, but doing it 6 feet from other protesters while wearing a mask. This is a quiet group of people who mostly express their beliefs through their actions.

A bit further along the spectrum are the outright deniers. These people do not trust nor believe in the science and scientists. They are the people who express their disdain through both actions and words. Because of their lack of understanding of the science, they don't really understand the implications of the pandemic and often compare it to the seasonal flu. They are highly independent, valuing their individual liberties over the good of the community. They seem to be willing to get sick, even die, rather than give in to restrictive guidelines and orders, not understand the implications on others as they overwhelm the health care system and put others at risk.

Another nudge further along the spectrum and we find the haters. These are the people who take their denial to the conspiracy theory level. They have no respect for or compassion towards others. They are mean-spirited and hateful in their communications and actions with others. These are the people who spit on produce in the grocery store. That attack people on social media. Who spout unsupported propoganda. That burn down G5 cell towers. That believe the whole pandemic is a far left-wing conspiracy to take down Donald Trump because the left failed at his impeachment conviction. Come on? Really?

Me? I'm somewhere between a complier and a skeptical complier. I sometimes think maybe we've gone a bit too far with the restrictions in place. On the other hand, I'd rather give up some liberties than put myself and others at risk. I'm willing to trust the science and believe that the restrictions are making a difference and that it would be far, far worse without them in place. But, I'm not going to wear a mask walking the dogs outdoors.

I guess we will never really know how well the current restrictions worked. You can't prove a negative. So, there is no way to know how bad it could have been. Only how bad it was. And, if it is not as bad as originally feared and modelled (which drove the restrictions and mitigated the worst case scenarios), that will feed the deniers and haters who will say "told you so" even though they did not contribute to the success.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air

Posted by: Rick

“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

Monday, June 05, 2017

We’re Retired!

Posted by: Rick

Note: I originally wrote this post on the 19th of May. I failed to publish it then. So, here it is better late than never.

It has been just over one year since I retired and we moved back to Colorado to live full-time in our off-the-grid log cabin. You've followed our journey if you've been reading this blog for a year or more. If not, you can catch up using the archives.

Only now, after a year, has it begun to "sink in" what it means to be retired.

Sure, I did not have to follow my typical early morning routine of showering, dressing for work, grabbing a bit of breakfast and driving the 40 minutes to the office; work behind a desk all day dealing with problems, mostly; then repeating the commute to get home to dinner, some TV and off to bed.

We still get up early, the dogs won't allow any sleeping-in. But, after that, the day's agenda is not set. But, on our recent RV trip to NM we learned to apply retirement on a grander scale.

We hooked up to the well-provisioned travel trailer on a Thursday morning and drove it as far as Colorado City, about 20 miles south of Pueblo, Colorado where we spent our first night in the trailer. All went well. The Ford Expedition with its 3.4L EcoBoost engine pulled the 6000 pound trailer just fine, even over passes. We arrived midafternoon and hooked up. I dewinterized the trailer, and we had our typical "first night out" dinner of "trailer spaghetti" (cooked ground beef stirred with jarred spaghetti sauce over some cooked pasta).

The next morning we made our way to Bernalillo, New Mexico where we stayed in a great KOA campground somewhat convenient to my family in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. Our plan was to spend 4 nights and three days there, then reverse our route and come home. We had a great visit with family and got a chance to see the petroglyphs (that used to be way out in the country but are now surrounded by housing developments!). We ate great food at the Kaktus Brewery and The Range, both in Bernalillo. Mom took us out for some great BBQ at Rudy's in Albuquerque.

Balloons launching on a cool Saturday morning as seen from Mom's balcony.

 

A sampling of the petroglyphs you can see at the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque.

As it came closer to time to leave, we had an idea. It started with "we're retired!". So, we don't have to get home on any particular schedule. We could stay in Albuquerque longer. Or.....we could go to Moab and see the parks there! So, that is what we did.

On Tuesday, we drove to the nice little town of Cortez, Colorado, just outside Mesa Verde National Park. We'd visited Mesa Verde before, and visiting national parks with dogs is difficult if you have to leave the vehicle to see the sights. So, we did not spend time there. We did make our way to Moab on Wednesday where we spent two nights, visiting Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches as well as Canyonlands National Parks. The nice thing about these parks (we only visited Island in the Sky in Canyonlands) is that you can see much of what there is to see from the truck or with short stops at scenic pull-outs. 

A view of the Colorado River at Canyonlands.

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands.

After two nights in Moab, we made our way to Craig, Colorado at perhaps the most beautiful time of the year. Then, on home on Friday, a full three days later than the original plan.

Now, the trip was nice. But, this blog post is really not about the trip as much as it is about our sudden realization that we don't have any schedule or agenda or "place to be" (most of the time) and are free to do what we want on a whim. That is a tremendously liberating feeling and we want to experience it some more!

Back to the trip. We drove about 1800 miles, 1500 with the trailer. We had only one problem with the trailer--a drawer broke. The truck towed fine, even over high mountain passes and handled well in the wind and in traffic. We only got about 10 mpg when pulling the trailer, so that is a bit disappointing. I was hoping for 12 to 14 mpg. The trailer is now tucked back in its storage location, re-winterized, and awaiting our next adventure which will likely come in July.

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!

About

Follow our adventures living in an off-the-grid cabin in remote Colorado. Kind of like reality TV on a blog!

Introduction to Off the Grid

Follow us on Twitter and be notified of new content:

If you’re new to this site please visit the archives to catch up.

Membership

Login  |  Register

Share

Quote of the Day

“Never ask a man what computer he uses. If it’s a Mac, he’ll tell you. If it’s not, why embarrass him?” – Tom Clancy

Search

Calendar of Entries

August 2020
S M T W T F S
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Archives

Photo Galleries

Recent Comments

  • YIKES! That’s a lotta snow for June. I wonder if the bent trees will right…

    Posted to: ‘I've Been Lazy’ by Steve on 06/29/2020

  • Steve! Nice to hear from you! I still read you, but I just can’t comment.…

    Posted to: ‘Webcam Photos’ by Lynne on 05/28/2020

  • Coincidentally, I just came across a post on another blog that mentions hawkweed—and in this…

    Posted to: ‘Wildflowers Galore’ by Steve on 05/26/2020

  • Your cat’s ear (or whatever it is) looks almost exactly like our hawkweed, AKA fox-and-cubs,…

    Posted to: ‘Wildflowers Galore’ by Steve on 05/26/2020

  • I’m glad your owl is still around! We hear one every once in a while,…

    Posted to: ‘Who Doesn't Give a Hoot’ by Steve on 05/26/2020

On This Day...

  • Nothing today

Syndicate