Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, March 24, 2017

Not ALL the Snow is Gone ...

Posted by: Lynne

Yesterday we donned our snowshoes and went to check out the status of the big drift on Avalanche Slope. There was so much snow we could not snowhshoe around the drift safely, so we went through the woods below instead.

In the photo above, there IS a road underneath all that snow, level with the aspen trees sticking out of the snow on the left side. I think it will be awhile before anyone can drive on Hidden Meadows Lane! We've had a lot of melting going on and in places the snow is down by several feet but it hasn't seemed to affect this drift very much.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Looks Like We Made it!

Posted by: Lynne

"X" marks the spot over our land. The cabin is in the trees to the left.

I am being a bit premature here folks, but as Rick's last post indictated, we have made it through our first winter and spring is imminent. We will have a few backsliding moments and snowfalls, which at this time of year can be in feet instead of inches, but it won't last.

I liken getting through winter to a woman's labor to give birth. Now mind you, I've never had a child being that Rick and I chose not have children, but I've had enough friends that have given birth to know something about the subject. At the moment all you can think of is the pain it's causing and in the throes of labor you say I'm never doing this again. But then, finally, your baby arrives and is put into your arms and you forget what you've just been through. Given a little time you will have forgotten all about it and you're ready to do it all over again.

That's about the way I feel regarding this past winter. It wasn't all that bad and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, or shall I say, the actual ground where the snow is completely gone. Spring will be just as sweet and welcome as a newborn baby when it arrives (it won't be long!) and we'll forget about the not-so-fun aspects of the winter we've just gone through. By summer it will be only a fleeting memory.

So, yes of course, we are staying on for the next winter. 

Even though it looks as though we have a snowstorm bearing down on us today and snow on and off next week, I can't really complain too much. Like I said, it won't stay around for long. This past week we've had such glorious weather. It gives one hope for more to come. I've been doing laundry at a frenetic pace (two load per day is a lot for us) and hanging it all out on the line. With the brisk breeze, the sun, and temps above 50 it doesn't take them long to dry. When I bring them in they smell so sweet and fresh. I'm almost caught up with the backlog except for sheets and a duvet cover.

We've sat outside on the porch. We've taken walks after dinner. All things that we could not have done even a few weeks ago. Yesterday I even sat on the front porch to weave. It was a bit chilly but not bad at all.

Here is proof of our progress:

Rick standing on propane tank, March 2nd.

Propane tank March 8th

Propane tank a few days ago. wowza.

Snow fence March 4th

Snow fence a few days ago.

Bench in the aspens March 13th.

Bench in the aspens this morning.

BUT ... now that the snow is gone in places we are left with ugly beaten-down vegetation that hasn't seen the light of day since December! It's not pretty. And what snow that is left is dirty and not very pretty either. It's kind of challenge to walk because there are spots without any snow mixed with some pretty deep drifts that are now slushy and we're not able to walk on top of it anymore. So, snowshoes aren't very useful either unless you want to take them on and off. The dogs can't figure out why they are suddenly sinking in places that before there were able to walk on top of. We tend to stick to the roads on our family jaunts.

All in all, it's a pretty good outlook from here on out, even if we get a big snow (which of course we will, always do).

Bald Eagle on Brubaker Lane

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.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Progress Reports, Updates and More Moose

Posted by: Lynne

I have been so bad about blogging! I've been pretty active posting photos and such on Facebook but I have neglected the blog. Somehow it's easier and faster to do the Facebook route, but when I do that the readers of the blog that are not on Facebook miss out on a lot. 

First of all, some progress reports:

We now have HD TV. The third try was the charm to finally get a person out to exchange our old Direct TV dish for the new HD one. That happened about three weeks ago and I'm so happy to have a DVR again where we can record our shows, pause shows and all that other good stuff. Our new TV is wonderful and best of all hardly takes any electricity to run at all which is very important in a battery-powered house.

We now have phone service inside the cabin! woohoo! We finally broke down and bought a signal booster and we now have four bars inside and our phone now rings! Amazing! I know this doesn't sound very exciting to most of you, but to us it's a big deal.

The barn delivery. Sigh. Today was the second scheduled day for the delivery of our barn and they cancelled because they were afraid of the rain that was predicted for us. It was put off from its original delivery date of June 17th because they could not get the barn down our driveway without a certain piece of equipment that they had on order. We had to wait for the "mule" to arrive at their facility and then wait for them to mount the "mule" on a flatbed trailer, or whatever. Maybe the third time will finally be the charm for the barn. We are now scheduled for a Wednesday July 6th delivery. Let's hope the roads in aren't muddy and there is not a big rain event happening. We really need that barn to arrive! 

The lupine is rampant in the meadows and along the roadsides right now. All you can see is a purple haze, it's just gorgeous. Now joining the lupine in bloom are the yellow Alpine Paintbrush and the magenta Loco. I need to get out there and take a photo of our "flower garden." 

The rose bushes are going crazy as well as the columbines. I have never seen so many columbines here before. They are spreading across our newly opened meadow.

And folks, none of these were planted, all the flowers are wild.

Now for the birdhouse updates. You'll remember I said we had a resident house wren. Well, that turned out to be a false alarm. He built the nest, sang his heart out for days and when he couldn't attract anyone to come and live with him, he abandoned the twiggy nest. The minute we put another bird house at the top of the driveway, yet another wren made a twiggy nest and then we saw nothing. We peeked in last week to see an egg but no bird around to hatch it. Next time we looked there were a few pieces of shell in the nest and nothing else, so we dumped the contents. Now there is yet another twiggy wren nest being built.

Success with one bird house, a pair of tree swallows are at home and hopefully raising a family. It's supposed to be a bluebird house, but so far no blue bird takers. At least we have a renter, even if it's not blue. We often see them poking their heads out when we go by.

On the moose front, we have seen so many different moose now. Sometimes we only catch them on the game camera, but we've been lucky enough to see a few in real time, like this cow moose and her young calf at our salt lick. The baby was very curious about our fire pit and we watched it as it sniffed our Adirondack chairs. He/she was so close to the cabin that I shot these two pics from the front porch through the screen. The photo of the two of them was taken from the game camera because I could not get a good shot of them. We've caught them on the game camera one other time -- and at the very same time of the day! I vow to look out now every day at approximately 2:30 p.m.

We also had this big bull moose visit us. In fact, on the morning I saw him I had looked out the windows first thing in the morning to be sure no animals were around in the meadow, opened the door to let Destin out and he just stood there looking at something and not getting off the step. When I looked up I saw this huge moose right there in our driveway! Yikes, he was big! I scooped Destin right up and came inside while the moose trotted off up our driveway. The game camera caught him visiting and he was here most of the night before. Here is a capture from the game camera and also a short video clip of him which you can see at the end of the post.

You can see the time stamp on the photos is 4:39 a.m. and I saw him not long after this at around 5:00 a.m. We've seen at least 8 different moose so far and I had started out naming them like I used to name the bears in our yard back in New Jersey. Now I decided that was not going to work -- too many! Love seeing them.

To finish up, we had our very first Rufous Hummingbird of the season this morning. Bossy pants that he is, he's gorgeous! I need to get a photo of him soon.

Well, I hope you've stuck with me through all this rambling on and tons of photos. If you have, bless your heart. I think that about catches you up for now. I'll try and do a better job of blogging so the posts don't get this long!

OH, BUT WAIT ... I left Destin out of this mix. He's growing like the weeds outside and last weight check was this past Monday when he turned 14 weeks old -- 35.2 lbs of puppy! Here he is:

He's had a growth spurt over the past few days and can't lay under the bed anymore. He has outgrown all his favorite spots to sleep and gets very cranky. He continues to be a joy. His adult coat is starting to come in a bit and he has what looks like a receding hairline on his forehead. Pretty soon he'll have a puppy "fro" going on which is always a funny stage of growth. He's growing up fast.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fishing Lesson!

Posted by: Lynne

The other day in the driveway I got my very first lesson on fly fishing. All I did was practice casting and I had a little trouble getting the hang of it. This morning dawned bright and beautiful, so after eating a light breakfast and walking the dogs we went down to Bucky Beaver's pond for me to try out my not-so-great new skills on actual water.

We spooked up a herd of six or so antelope but these two got separated from the herd. There have been a bunch of antelope hanging out up here by the cabin which is kind of unusual as they tend to keep a little lower down.

After a few false casts I did manage to get a few that got "beautiful cast" and "nice one" from Rick. I tend to move my wrist and not my whole arm when casting, something that just takes time and practice to get the feel of it. I didn't catch any fish, but I had fun trying. It was so peaceful there with just the birdsong and one bird/duck/grouse that had a strange call that sounded like an Apache hiding in the bushes. Not sure what it was as it never revealed itself to us. 

Right now the wild iris are in bloom. They love the wetter lands close to ponds and streams.

Monument plants are also in bloom. Strange plants; beautiful blooms up close!

All in all I would say it was a successful morning, fish or no fish. As Rick always says, it's about the fishing, not the catching.

Such a pretty spot, don't you agree?

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward

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