Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Monday, January 18, 2016

Looking Forward

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?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

La Vie en Rose ... or maybe not

Antelope herd

I am sure by now that you have this idyllic little picture in your head, as we do, of life at the cabin. In the summer fishing and taking long hikes. The dogs romping off-lead. Wildflowers everywhere. In the winter you can see us tucked into our cabin sitting in front of a fire while snowflakes drift lazily past the windows. La Vie en Rose for sure! Well, at least for us it is. I can't speak for the rest of you.

Let's just take off the rose-colored glasses for a moment, shall we? They are several things that interfere with this life of bliss. The worst offender is The Wind. It deserves capitalization and respect. The Wind is both friend and foe. A friend first because it gives us power through our wind generator (seen here). 

The wind is a good source of energy for us. It fills up our little battery-powered home quickly. The one big drawback to the wind generator is the furling process. When the wind blows too hard the generator turns its tail to the wind to save itself (called furling), and when it does it makes the most god-awful noise! It sounds like a helicopter just landed on the roof. It can get very annoying to say the least. I suppose when you hear it all the time you will cease to notice after a while. Kind of like parents with screaming children. 

The wind is not our friend when it blows the snow into huge drifts and makes the roads impassable. Up here you can't really go through the drifts, you have to go over them or around them, hence the need for an all-terrain vehicle like the Polaris we are going to buy that has switchable treads; one for snow and one for normal use.

Out for a walk

The wind is sneaky. You can have a clear blue sky and still get snowed in. How you might ask? Whiteout conditions. Snow that is on the surface and not packed down is lifted up and carried by the wind. It will fill in any and every crevice (such as your newly plowed driveway) in a matter of a few minutes. We know, we've been stuck in those conditions once. 


See that greenish blip in the above photo? That's Larry, one of our neighbors, in his big green John Deere snowplow/snowblower making a path for us to follow in. I can tell you that the snow was filling our tracks in behind us as quickly as we left them. Scary. Of course, we needed to get out because Rick needed to be at work and we couldn't wait it out. In the future we will just stay where we are!

Did I mention that we live seven miles in from a road that is plowed by the state of Wyoming? Many people leave their vehicles at the house of a person who lives on the Wyoming side and drive their all-terrain vehicles to his house, then leave it there and take their normal vehicle into town or to get the mail.

And yes, there are times when we could be snowed in for weeks at a time. You just have to prepare in advance.

If all else fails at least you have snow as a reliable source of keeping your wine cool.

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