Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Untitled Late February Post

Posted by: Lynne

Thoughts from Sunday:

There is no title for this entry, no real subject matter, so no title either. For two days we've been basically trapped inside these fours walls due to high wind, blowing snow and frigid temperatures. S'no fun folks. We had about 10 inches of fresh new snow on Thursday and a smidge on Friday. Since then the wind has been blowing pretty much non-stop. Not even the dogs want to to stay outside longer than to do their doggie business. 

However ... I have to admit there is a different feel to the air, even though we've had frigid temps in the single and low double digits. What makes me say that given that I've just said the temps are frigid and the windchill is nil and below? Well, just things. I can't explain it really. Maybe it's the birds. We've started seeing different birds and they are singing when their feathers aren't being blown off their bodies. We now have pine siskins and juncos on a daily basis, and on a walk the other day (before the wind) we saw this little Horned Lark. We had to look him up as we didn't know what it was and it's behavior flying and on the ground was odd. He had Destin intrigued.

Maybe it's that scent of spring way off in the distance. Lord knows there is no scent of spring right now as we are still covered in a foot of snow + around the cabin. It was beginning to feel like all this winteriness was shaking loose just last week. But it's coming, I can feel it. Like I said, it's just a feeling in my bones and in the land around me. Winter just does not seem to have the icy grip it had back in January. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Then again, maybe not.

Does this look like Spring to you? 

The wind is not so bad if the temperatures are not in the single digits and teens. Last week we managed to take several nice long walks with the dogs even though the wind was pretty bad. Here Bella is an example of how hard the wind was blowing. Just look at her hair and the feathers on her legs, all being blown in the opposite direction! But, it was warm and therefore not all that bad to be out in. This is also an example of how much melting had occurred before this last storm. 

But now the roads are closed once again and we can't get through unless we use the Ranger. At least we can get out but it makes trips into town so difficult by adding another 45 mintues to the trip, when just last week we were making the trip into town in 45 mintues total. Rick and our neighbor might be able to clear a path through "the trap" but when we took the Ranger out yesterday on a reconnaissance mission it did not look good. The wind really packs the snow down hard so it won't be easy to blow. Maybe they can move it with the tractor. Don't know. 

We've had a Hairy Woodpecker pecking at our logs outside! From inside the cabin it sounds very strange. We keep chasing him away but he keeps coming back. So far no damage that we can see except some caulking between a couple of logs up close to the roof. Cheeky bird.

Thoughts on Tuesday:

Well....yesterday we had more snow. About six inches or so. Sigh. And to think that just last week we were able to sit out on the porch several times with a nice glass of wine with just a sweater on and the space heater running. It was wonderful!

Our driveway is blown in again too despite the snow fencing that Rick put up last week. It would have drifted worse if not for the fencing, but the wind came from a strange and not normal direction. Rick was not able to blow it out as soon as it fell because of the nasty wind. So it's packed in again and we aren't going to try and move it this time around since the winds are supposed to pick up again over the next few days to about 20 to 30mph. Mother Nature will move the snow for us, but not in any of the places we'd like her to put it. He would just be spinning the snowblower's wheels and wasting gas since it would just fill back in again. After all, our main goal was to get Lex out and he is, safe and sound at H's house. 

At least Destin thinks the new snow is cool.

Rick and I have taken up a new hobby: weaving! We bought a rigid heddle Cricket Loom in town at Cowgirl Yarn and we've both finished a project scarf. Well, Rick has actually made two scarfs to my one. Here are pics of both scarves.

Rick's second scarf.

My scarf.

You can see we went for different patterns. Rick did stripes and I used a variegated yarn and didn't set the loom (warp actually) up for stripes. I want to make another scarf now just for practice as I need to work on getting my selvedges in better shape. It's easy and relaxing to do. There are so many possibilities with different yarns, textures and patterns. Rick wants to try making placemats for the new RV. When Spring finally does arrive we'll probably both take a few weaving classes in town. Cowgirl Yarn is heavily into weaving, lucky for us.

Looking outside right now at the snow covered trees and even deeper snow levels and drifts in places we've never had drifts before, I am now wondering where in the world I ever got the notion that Spring was headed our way.

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.

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