Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sure Signs of Spring

Posted by: Rick

It is the first day of Spring, and while we will still likely see lots of snow, there are some sure signs that Spring is arriving.

Other than the tremendous amount of snow melting which Lynne posted about recently, there are other signs:

  • There is now more than 12 hours of official sunlight each day. The batteries are getting a full charge by early afternoon.
  • Instead of snow, we have mud. You can tell it is Spring by the amount of dirt on the entry rug.
  • There is the slightest hint of a green hue in the prairie grasses.
  • Prairie dogs are out of hibernation and active. The hawks and eagles love this!
  • Lots of "new" birds are around: Colorado Mountain Bluebirds, Evening Grosbeaks, Robins, Pine Siskens.
  • The owl is starting his evening ritual of hoo-hoo-hooing.
  • People are starting to venture into the area, driving around to see which roads are open. Landowners are assessing access to their cabins.
  • The heater has not run overnight in almost a week. Overnight temperatures are staying well above freezing. (That can change!) It is warm enough for us to sit on the porch for lunch or for an evening glass of wine.

We are watching for other signs, too. More active wild animals; the first pasque flowers (a wild crocus); buds on the trees promising leaves soon.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Snow Fence Experiment

Posted by: Rick

A couple of weeks ago, I strung some 4' high, 50' long snow fence through the trees on the west side of our driveway.

The hope was that this would capture the snow that was clogging up the driveway whenever the wind blew after a snow storm. You can see the fence and the open driveway in the photo above.

There is a "rule of thumb" for installing snowfence in this part of the country based on the typical wind speeds. It is a pretty easy calculation. The area upwind of the fence is call the "fetch". If you have an "infinite" fetch, in other words there is nothing upwind of the fence to catch and disrupt the blowing snow, then the fence should be set back by 34 times the height of the fence to avoid any snow on the area you want to keep clear. With my 4' high fence, that would be 136'. But, I have trees in the fetch, plus did not have the luxury of putting fence poles exactly where I needed them and had to use existing trees to mount the fence. So, my fence is only about 30' from the road. But, I thought it was worth a try.

The good news is that the fence works. It captures a lot of blowing snow.

Just look at the drift it created on the downwind side! That is snow that would be in the driveway.

However, it is not far enough back from the driveway to keep it clear. I need to install an additional fence further to the upwind side to create a shorter fetch for this fence. And, there are still places where there is no fence because I'd need to put fence poles in the frozen ground to mount it. 

In the photo above, you can see the amount of snow the fence is capturing, but you can also see that the driveway is filled with about 2' of snow again. 

We are just going to leave it this way for now. We don't really need truck access to the cabin. This spot is only a few hundred feet from the cabin. And, we can always use the Ranger to ferry from open roads to the cabin. Later in the Spring when we are unlikely to get bad snows and high winds we'll open the driveway back up again.

This coming summer we'll put posts in the ground and put the snow fence up in the right locations. Still, I think the experiment was successful in that we can see just how well the fence can function if placed appropriately.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Happy Birthday to Lynne!

Posted by: Rick

Before you panic in fear that you forgot Lynne's birthday, you haven't. Her birthday is in late December. Since Christmas and the birthday are close together, they tend to get muddled up and Lynne does not get the birthday attention she deserves. So, I've decided we will also celebrate her birthday on June 28th. Why not?

We were recently introduced to the artwork of Tim Cox. And, one painting in particular reminds us of a favorite song from Dave Stamey, "Come Ride With Me". It is entitled "As Good As It Gets".

I decided to buy a canvas transfer of this painting for Lynne for her June birthday. Luckily, I got the last one they had in stock. And, I arranged to have it shipped to our neighbor's address here in Sand Creek Park. The neighbor was then going to hold it for me until I could get it framed and then give it to Lynne later this year.

A week after I saw the payment transaction come through, the painting had still not been delivered. So, I contacted the artist--well, his wife Suzie, actually--and inquired about the shipment. She assured me that the package had been shipped and was delivered by UPS. The delivery notice said "Left at front door". Hmmm.

While we used to have success with FedEx delivering to our door, UPS does not. They leave packages in a drop box at the Wooden Shoe Ranch across the state line in Wyoming. Further, since we are snowed in no vehicle can get to our cabin. There is no way the package was left at our front door. And, the neighbors had not seen it either.

So, I panicked. I contacted Suzie and told her that there was no way it was delivered to our front door. That I would look into it from my side, but maybe she should start a claim with UPS on her side.

The next day, I heard from our neighbor. The UPS driver, probably Roy, saw that the package was way too big to put in the drop box. (It is a large transfer onto stretched canvas.) So, he delivered it to our neighbor's brother who lives in Laramie. The brother had called to tell them he had a large package for me, but addressed to them. Whew.

A couple of days later, my neighbor called me and told me he was coming home from a few days away and that he had the package for me. Well, I stupidly said out loud on the phone "just take it to your house". This was stupid for two reasons. One is that he called me to arrange for me to pick him up in the tracked vehicle and take him home since the road was closed at the "trap", so I could have talked to him about it then. Also, Lynne overheard me and immediately started drilling me with "what did you mean by 'just take it to your house'? What is he supposed to take to his house?", etc. I was busted.

So, I brought the painting home and gave it to her right away. An early, early birthday present.

Living in a small community has these advantages. If the UPS guy can't deliver to us, he often calls and arranges to meet us on the road. Or, in this case he took the pragmatic choice of leaving it with a relative.

The USPS is equally helpful. We knew we had some oversized packages to be delivered by the Post Office the other day. So, I called the postal delivery guy who had previously given us his phone number. I left him a message, "You won't be able to get those packages scheduled for delivery today into our mailbox, or even the big yellow barrel for overflow mail. So, give us a call when you leave Laramie on the Wooden Shoe delivery route, and we'll meet you at the mailboxes." Turns out, using the tracked vehicle to access our truck at Mr. H's and then driving to the mailboxes takes about the same amount of time as the drive from Laramie to the mailboxes. 

We got a call early in the afternoon. It was not from our regular mail carrier, but the guy who delivers on Mondays only. He told us he was on his way, so we rushed to the Ranger and drove toward town. Sure enough, when we arrived at the mailboxes, he was there and hand-delivered two large packages to us. This kept him from having to return them to the post office. And, it kept us from having to drive into town to retrieve them within a few days. 

Where else in the world do you get that kind of service from UPS and the USPS?

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.

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

“Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to.” – Mark Twain

Search

Calendar of Entries

March 2019
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

  • Thank you for many years of wonderful reading.  I wish you both all the best.…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Alica Humphryson on 03/06/2018

  • Lynne and Rick, I’m sorry to see that your blog is going by the wayside!…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Steve on 02/26/2018

  • I want to thank you two for all your hard work.  I enjoyed reading everything…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Tom on 02/06/2018

  • Marsha, I’m afraid not. We won’t be blogging anymore! We need more privacy!

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Lynne on 02/03/2018

  • Hope to see your adventures return when you get back up to the cabin again…

    Posted to: ‘Off-the-Grid is Now Off-the-Air’ by Marsha Williams on 02/03/2018

On This Day...

Syndicate