Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, February 20, 2017

Road Closure and Updates

Posted by: Lynne

Hidden Meadows Lane is still closed and it looks like it will be for a while. Some progress has been made however, because a week ago the post on the right was barely sticking up above the snow. There are two other big reasons why the road will remain impassable for a long time. BIG reasons.

These poor beetle-killed pines have fallen across the road and will need to be removed. The big drift on Avalanche Slope will have to melt first though since we can't get the Ranger down there to do anything about them. No hurry, no one is going to be using the road until June anyway. Maybe some time in May, it just depends. They will make a couple of cords of firewood, at least. Easy pickings too. 

The weather has been rather glorious if I say so myself. It's teasing us with that hint of spring, and the other day along the road to town we even spotted a bluebird! Other birds are on the move too as we've seen Pine Siskins, Juncos, and a White-Breasted Nuthatch (which were a dime a dozen in New Jersey but less seen here). The usual crowd of Steller Jays, Camp Robbers, Magpies and Chickadees are still here and busy.

We took advantage of the melting snow and the nice weather to take several long walks with the dogs. Hailey amazes us at her ability to keep up with us and even get in some runs at the old age of 13. Go Hailey!!

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have Lex in our driveway. Any time we want we can go out and get in him and drive to town —right from our driveway! We were so giddy the other day we loaded up Hailey and Destin and drove to get the mail. (Bella hates riding in the truck, go figure.) We've also made several (pretty much unnecessary) trips into town, just because we could. We took Destin in with us on Saturday and although he had to wait in the truck while we shopped in several places he did go into Ace Hardware to see his buddies that have coo-cooed him since he was a pup. He also got to walk around Laramie a bit and sit with Rick on a bench outside the yarn shop (where I was) and even licked a little baby's face (the parents wanted to introduce their baby to him!). Oh, and he also got to lick Rick's ice cream cone. It was so nice! The sun was shining, it was warm, and just a beautiful day.

On Friday we actually went out to dinner to Wood's Landing. Woohoo, aren't we the jet setters!

It's a good thing we did what we could while we could because this week there is "the potential for a major snowstorm." Bummer. Just when all the piles around the cabin are melting and the roads are clear. It sounds like we could get close to a foot of snow. So, no more last-minute jaunts to get the mail, etc. We will have to trade out trucks at H's house and leave Lex there and pick up the Suburban which we have chains for, and leave the Suburban at the top of the hill at our neighbor's. 

We'll make one more trip in to town before that arrives to get whatever we think we may need for the next week and then we'll be housebound again for a while. Maybe it won't be as bad as predicted, we'll just have to wait and see.

Destin says he doesn't care as he loves the snow!

We'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ironic, Right?

Posted by: Rick

I guess it is pretty ironic that after working so hard to get the Expedition away from the cabin, see this post and this one too, that we recently spent a couple of days getting it back in. As you'll recall, we got past all the different segments of the trip down the hill except a few hundred yards of Hidden Meadows Lane which were plugged with several feet of hard-packed snow and ice. But, a few hours of work with a tractor, and we got that open.

Lynne, who has always wanted to drive heavy equipment, is doing a superb job of clearing the snow.

A pretty good load!

Making a snow fence of snow. These piles should help prevent the driveway from filling up during the next snow and blow.

So, now the Expedition is parked at the cabin site again, and we can go directly from the back door to the truck to check mail or get into town. All sections of the road are open, even those that we usually have to bypass with a route on back roads.

The road is open!

And, the Expedition is now parked at the cabin.

The forecast is for us to get snow and wind starting again next week. So, on Monday or Tuesday, we'll exchange the Expedition for the Suburban, parked at Mr. H's, and we'll park the Suburban at the top of the hill on our neighbor's property.

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.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: Rick

As a follow-up to my post about trying to get the Expedition out of Sand Creek Park, I am happy to announce success. 

The Expedition (Lex) parked at the top of the hill. The truck is facing south and Laramie is on the horizon to the north.

It has been so warm lately with winds that help melt the snow, I was able to get the truck out of Hidden Meadows Lane yesterday. And, in fact, we were able to successfully get through all segments of the journey "down the hill" and even went into Laramie to do some minor shopping.

The snow levels have gone down 18" or more. Plus, the high winds have blown more of the prairie clear. I was able to position the truck at the top of our driveway (see the last photo in the above referenced post) in a way that I could blast through about 15 feet of snow that was 12 to 15 inches high. I was pointed uphill and in the "wrong" direction, but was able to get onto a part of the hill that was blown dry. Sure, there is a lot of sagebrush, and I had to watch carefully for rocks and other things that I didn't want to drive over, but I was able to pick my way west toward Wapiti Way. Since that road is covered in snow, I just drove straight across it and back onto the sagebrush prairie on the west side of the road. From there I was again able to pick my way north up the hill and through the neighbor's fence that we've taken down. A sharp left at the top of the hill to avoid more snow drifts, and we were clear!

Next week we will exchange the Expedition for the Suburban at Mr. H's, and finally be on our original plan that procrastination defeated.

Friday, February 10, 2017

News Flash: Mid-January Warm-Up Arrives Mid-Februrary

Posted by: Rick

The past few days have led to a LOT of snow melting. The days have been sunny, the temperatures well above freezing (even overnight), and the wind has blown--hard. Right now, it is 7:30 AM and the temperature is 46°! The winds contribute a lot to the melting, but are starting to get to us. It is just too windy, even on a "warm" day, to go outside and do anything. We can't take a walk in the open, because gusts are upwards of 50 to 60 mph. We can't walk in the sheltered woods for fear of a dead tree coming down. Plus, the melting snow is now we and slushy and even with snowshoes on, we sink a couple of feet into the snow. Can you say "cabin fever"?

It seems the jet stream has dropped down so that it is clipping the mountains at elevations of 8500 feet or more. Estes Park and Berthoud Pass have both registered 100 mph gusts overnight.

It is nice to see the snow levels drop. I cleared the driveway of drifts yesterday and now it is melted all the way down to the dirt in many places. We can see our Adirondack chairs at the camp fire site again. Old frozen dog poop is being slowly revealed. However, with the melting comes mud.

We still don't have the Expedition "out" where we can drive it, but I really don't like taking the Ranger to the Suburban since we end up driving mostly on dirt (mud) roads. There is some snow here and there, but the trip is not much fun without the snow to cushion the ride.

I bought 50' of snow fence the other day. It is laying in rolls at the top of the driveway. Sometime next week (when it is supposed to be warm and sunny but with no wind), I'll string it up in the woods west of the driveway to try to keep it from drifting in there. That would be nice. Although, I must admit that the Husqvarna snow blower with tracks on it does a phenomenal job of clearing the drifts (as long as I have not driven on them with the Ranger).

One other quick note. The other evening, after dark, we took the dogs out for their final opportunity to pee before going to bed. We call it "finals", and the dogs definitely know that word. Anyway, we walked to the top of the driveway and were walking back, admiring the almost-full moon, when I saw something on the small porch at the door. I alerted Lynne and we both saw that it was the fox. It saw us, and luckily the only dog that saw it was Destin who was on lead. It just stood there looking at us. It was not afraid at all as we continued to approach the porch. It even stretched out and pawed at the logs next to the door as if asking to come in! After a bit, it took off. But, not far. It just went onto the snow bank about 50' away and sat there looking at us as we got the dogs back into the cabin. I think we have a pet fox now.

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Recent Comments

  • Sounds like you’re managing well, all things considered! Hopefully the next snowfall won’t be as…

    Posted to: ‘Road Closure and Updates’ by Steve on 02/21/2017

  • Bigsis, it’s just a little tractor! smile It does…

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Lynne on 02/17/2017

  • BTW, I love your jacket.  Looks cute and WARM.

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Bigsis on 02/17/2017

  • Wow, you really can drive a big Cat or whatever you call it.  That really…

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Bigsis on 02/17/2017

  • Glen, I felt right at home up there, you bethcha!

    Posted to: ‘Ironic, Right?’ by Lynne on 02/17/2017

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