Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Friday, November 11, 2016

Reflections on October 2016

Posted by: Rick

October was a busy month. We "finished" our winter preparations (ha). The month started off with some cold weather and a few snow flurries. But, mid-month the weather pattern changed and it has been warm (in the 50s) during the day with frost at night. We have had little wind, and no moisture. It is dangerously dry.

We had some snow early in the month.

On one hand, it is nice not to be battling snow drifts yet. On the other hand, we really need the moisture.

We got a lot of chores done. We put some acrylic windows into the screened-in porch. They were custom cut to my measurements at a plastics supply place in Fort Collins. While not fully enclosing the porch, they do block the prevailing wind and will keep the porch dry in winter. They, along with a portable propane heater, may allow us to have some porch sittin' time even in winter.

We got the wood shed built and painted. And, filled with a couple of cords of wood. It is just outside our back door, so easy to access. We also have a cart we can use to haul several armloads of wood through the house to the front porch where we keep about a half cord of wood. Altogether, I think we have about 6 cords of cut, split and stacked wood. I was originally planning on 7 to 8 cords, but I think we'll be okay with what we have, especially with a slow start to the cold season.

The wood shed is done, painted, and has about 2 cords of wood in it.

Our old propane fridge is now running in the storage shed, and the shed has been outfitted with additional shelving. It is also now fully insulated (not very pretty, but functional). Since the fridge and freezer give off some heat, I'm hoping that with the insulation in place, the shed will stay above freezing. We'll see.

Tracks are now installed on the Polaris Ranger. It looks like a real beast. It is nice to have them on and ready for snow, but now we can't take occasional drives on the back roads to explore and sight-see. Oh well.

Tracks on the ranger, alongside about 4 cords of wood.

We had a few setbacks this month. One was with our new propane range. We had a guest over one night and I'd made some homemade rolls, and we could not get the oven to light. Very frustrating. I corresponded with the manufacturer and they confessed to a quality problem with the toggle switch that switches between the broiler and the oven. So, they sent a new one by FedEx. A week later we still did not have it. First, it was delayed in Canadian customs (the manufacturer is Canadian). Then , it was bouncing around Wyoming and Colorado in search of our address. I must have spent 3 or 4 hours over 4 days on the phone with FedEx trying to get our mailing address into their database of valid addresses. They use a 3rd party to vet all addresses. And, that 3rd party relies on public records to verify addresses. Well, our mailing address will never show up in those public records which will all focus on the physical/legal address. I finally gave up. Instead, our strategy was to get the phone number of the distribution center in Cheyenne and just call them to alert them to any shipments coming by FedEx.

FedEx is struggling to get shipments to us.

It used to work just fine. FedEx deliveries were brought directly to our doorstep. But, obviously, something changed. Turns out, the FedEx delivery guy just walked off the job one day. (Probably because he saw a package addressed to us and was sick and tired of delivering to our door.) When he left they "lost the recipe" on how to deliver to Sand Creek Park.

We did finally get the toggle switch, and once installed the oven works fine.

We had a bit of a scare also this month with Hailey. One night, she had terrible diarrhea on one of the rugs in the cabin. She was fine the previous afternoon, but got very sick overnight. This persisted for another day and I got very worried. Hailey is approaching 13 years of age in a dog breed that has an 8 year average lifespan. She has all kinds of benign lumps and bumps on her, and I feared she may finally have internal problems, maybe even cancer. Lynne was more confident it was just gastrointestinal problems.

Hailey gave us a scare, but is fine.

Early in the month, Destin had the same problem. We got him fixed with probiotics and now he is doing fine. They tend to get bacteria in their bowels from eating scat from deer, elk, moose, bear and who knows what else. We tried probiotics with Hailey and they did not work.

A vet visit brought the reassurance it was just a bacterial infection in her gut, and treatment with Tylan powder brought relief after the first dose. We now have Tylan powder in stock. We've used it several times over the years to treat bacterial infections in our dogs. With winter coming and emergency travel possibly restricted, we need all the tools we can to deal with these kinds of situations.

Speaking of Destin. He continues to grow. He is probably 82-83 pounds now. He is a good dog except for coming when called. Maybe that is not the right description. He just wants to control when he comes inside, and so he has invented a "fun" game. Fun for him. When we call him to come in, he just sits and stares at us. He won't come. If we approach him, he'll run to another spot and sit down. He never lets us get close enough to grab him. And, often he'll get the zoomies and run around in circles at top speed, just grazing by our outstretched arms. We need to work on that. But, other than that behavior, he is an absolute joy.

Destin, refusing to come inside. 

Now, on to other "games". I'm enjoying football. Lynne, not so much. We have a great TV setup and I really enjoy laying on the couch and watching a weekly Broncos game.

It is hunting season, so we are not seeing much wildlife "game". We get the occasional deer, elk or moose on the game cameras, mostly at night. And, we've seen sign from coyotes and a bobcat. But, we are not seeing the numbers we saw throughout the summer. I don't know how they know, but the game seems to disappear during hunting season. 

Awesome elk caught on the game camera.

A skiff of snow helps us see that we had a coyote visitor one night.

One bit of good news this season is that we have not had the traffic and trespassers we've had in the past. Some strategically placed signs, at the borders of Sand Creek Park as well as on our own land may be helping to reduce the number of trespassing hunters. Still, a neighbor that has a place up the road from us found a poached elk last week.

A game camera looking at a "gate" we created to minimize trespassing catches Bella and Destin in a close finish.

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