Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, January 18, 2016

Looking Forward

Posted by: Lynne

Bella at the top of our driveway (on right) looking towards Bull Mountain at the end of the day.

These days it's all about looking forward. Rick is looking forward to retirement (83 working days left!). We are both looking forward to being home, back in Colorado. Tucked away in our little log cabin on 70 acres of land that we know pretty much by heart. 

It's kind of funny how I thought I was "moving back home" when we moved East. Since I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and lived in Hyde Park (Roosevelt's), I thought it would feel like home. After all, my childhood roots were only a two hours' drive away from our home in New Jersey. At first I embraced it all: the trees that covered everything in sight, the culture, the big city, and yes, even the humidity. It was different, and I guess I must have become weary of Colorado's days upon days of sun. Imagine that! Now I long for the sun, the dry crisp air that allows the Milky Way to shine crystal clear at night. The expansive vistas that the lack of trees affords my eyes.

Colorado = Home. Not New Jersey, and not the East. 

Rick and I lived in so many different places and cultures. And if you think the East coast does not constitiue a different culture you'd be wrong. Living life in Germany, The Netherlands and France has shaped us and formed us just as much as Colorado (and yes, even New Jersey) has but there is only place we now want to be and it is none of those places except for Colorado. (Although I would have loved to have stayed in France at one point in time.)

But it seems I have gotten off the track a bit as I am prone to do. 

One thing I am not looking forward to and that is the move itself. Ugh. Nothing can be worse than packing up your belongings, deciding what goes with us and what gets sold, what goes where -- storage or the cabin. Yesterday we spent a little time going from room to room, saying yay or nay on furniture and assorted things. We were in agreement on most things. Little red dots starting showing up all over the house. Everything with a red dot goes with us. I still have to make another cut in clothes and books, and we have not decided on things in the kitchen yet, but we are getting there.

Looking forward to all of this:

Big sky

 

Katy Coyote and the Magpie

 

Snow Jelly Rolls!

 

Moose naturally!

 

Dining room window wildlife TV

 

And of course, the cabin itself!

 

What's not to look forward to?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Resignation

Posted by: Lynne

Well, it's official. We are taking the house off the market for the winter. We are resigned to staying here until spring arrives. It breaks our hearts, but we give up. We are now late enough into the year that it would compromise our winter at the cabin. We really don't want to make the move too late to have certain things in place (shed, all-terrain vehicle, possible winter mudroom, washer/dryer) and things that would need to be done such as creating a store of firewood and a myriad of other things. We don't want to go into our very first winter there unprepared, especially if it's going to be a snowy one.

We don't seem to have any luck selling anything. We've had Mia (our Miata) up for sale since the beginning of August. We had one taker but he backed out of the deal at the last minute. We think the wifey put her foot down and said no. We've had low-ball offers but don't feel the need to take them up.

So we'll hunker down and ride out the winter. In doing so we will have more money for retirement and the house mortgage will be paid down even more, allowing us to possibly lower the price even more to move it. We'll have more time to pack boxes. More time to think and plan. More time to dream.

Damn.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A Busy Bunch of Beavers

Posted by: Lynne

Our land has always had a beaver pond. When we first bought the property back in 1988 there were active beavers. Something happened, not sure just what, but the beavers abandoned the pond and over the years it has actually started to silt over into more like a boggy meadow on one end. It's been that way a very long time.

We were shocked to hike down there this past trip to find it occupied again -- big time. Our little pond has tripled in size and we can longer reach it easily. The beavers had "beavered" away at tons of aspens. Chewed off stumps were everywhere. We now have a clearing where once stood an aspen forest. 

All that destruction to build this huge hotel of a beaver hut:

And this double dam:

In this photo taken from the beaver hut side of the pond you can see the clearing that's been made by taking out so many trees. It used to be solid aspen trees.

See that tree hanging over the pond on the end? The fourth photo down (above) is that same tree. Someone didn't have their engineering degree yet I guess because it obviously fell the wrong way. A waste of a good tree. A BIG tree.

Here's another example of bad engineering. This tree is almost there. But not quite!

It ended up resting on other trees. Pretty amazing. I am thinking that over the winter either the snow or wind will finally take it down. I bet that beaver was pretty frustrated after all that work!

I am glad we have beavers again but I wish they weren't quite so descrutive! I hope after all this work that they stay awhile and don't abandon it yet again! 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

I Need an Altitude Adjustment

Posted by: Rick

The cabin is 8650 feet above sea level. There are some adjustments that are required at this altitude.

The most obvious when I come here from New Jersey is the inability to breathe. Or, at least breathe comfortably. The air is so thin that I just don't get the oxygen I need in each breath. This leads to quicker breathing accompanied by gasping sounds. My muscles ache from insufficient oxygen, I may feel light-headed. I've known of people to pass out!

It doesn't matter if you are in great physical shape, exercise regularly, get aerobic workouts, or do yoga. You'll feel it.

The good news is that you get used to the high altitude after a while. Your body adjusts. A lot of athletes train at high altitude because it makes them more efficient and gives them more endurance at lower altitudes (at least until they lose their adaptation).

The Rawah Mountains as seen from Sand Creek Pass, around 9500 feet (at the pass)

There are some effects of high altitude that don't go away over time. These are mostly related to the lower atmospheric pressure and thinner air.

I sunburn more easily. The thinner air filters less UV and without protection I will burn.

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