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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Senior Fur Family

There are special challenges with our fur family members as they become senior. Our Sarah is no exception and has congestive heart failure and arthritis. Getting a balance of Rx for the both of those is an ongoing challenge. We had her arthritis in check and then she started coughing more so we needed to help her get rid of the fluid in her lungs. 
She was prescribed Furosmide as she can't tolerate Lasix. I gave her one Wednesday when I came back from town and one Thursday. We noted Thursday that her limbs were very weak and we thought her arthritis was flaring up. Until I searched the web for side effects.
She had become so weak with just two days of Furosmide that she couldn't get up to drink or go outside to relieve herself. When we realized that muscle weakness was a side effect of this drug we took her off it completely. It stopped her coughing but she was so weak she could not walk or get up the two steps to get water. We carried her water and food to her and now must look for alternative treatment.
Happily today she is returning to normal and could go out and actually took a walk. Prayer has been answered and she is one tough girl. The struggle goes on but she is pretty much restored to her normal self. She went from barely being able to move to her more normal behavior. It is just like a roller coaster with senior fur family members. Up to the heights one day and down in the cellar the next. Sarah is somewhere between 14-15 and like most seniors has her good and bad days. It is good to see the happiness back in her eyes today. Tomorrow will bring what tomorrow will bring. Going through her senior time is very much like an emotional roller coaster ride, but one in which we want the best for her and to give her end of years quality of life. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mysteriously Absent

 For many years we have had several Western Tanagers nest and hang around our house and this is the first year we have not seen them. The Flycatchers have their nest in the usual place and when I go to get my tractor out I can see little heads just above the rim of the nest but no Western Tanagers this year at all. We have not seen the pine siskins, finches or juncos either this summer. The later birds all eat thistle and the association has a big thistle spraying project going on which is killing the native as well as invasive thistle.  Remove the food source and the birds will move on to where there is more ample feed.
For as many years as I can recall we have had bat families roost in the bat box under the eve of our house situated high up. This is the first year we have not seen any bats. With all the agriculture hazards and old mine collapses the bats may be in peril too. In past years the bats have kept our mosquito population at almost zero. This year we have ample mosquitoes for many bats if they would only show up.

I believe the absence of certain species of birds and bats is not coincidence but I'm not sure what the cause is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Hard Work

 We have been working almost every day on hauling brush, cutting trees that were blown down last winter. This is the biggest and last tree that we need to deal with. We still have a couple loads of limbs to haul to the burn site and we will have caught up to where we were at last year.
Above is a photo taken years ago and we are wondering why we have not seen any bears this year and only one last year. It could be because in the summer residents in our area drive up and down our road looking for them which drives them to other areas. We have not even found one pile of bear skat this year. In years past they were regular visitors and would eat the wild grass right up next to the house. Not so much now. Sad...

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Hail and Fireweed

Rare storm yesterday with 1" of rain and hail in 30 minutes. Had several washouts that required repair but we get a storm or two like this every year so we are used to dealing with it. A little back blade with the tractor and its back to normal again. We needed the rain but because it came down so fast and hard much of it was sheet flow and it moved on down the mountain.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Contributing Firewood

Another load of firewood for LaPuente (the bridge) to come load up next Thursday. The trip is already scheduled. This will be the fourth load of firewood this year. Hope to provide more throughout the year. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Wild Flowers Blooming

 Above is Indian Paint Brush that is now blooming.
 Columbine are coming out all over the area. I used to think that the rose was my favorite flower and it still may be but the columbine comes in a close second. These are unique and beautiful...
Lupine is everywhere I look and is beautiful..

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tick Bite - Lyme Disease???

After hauling brush a week ago I noticed this on my arm and after taking a shower following mucking out our creek this morning I took a shower to get the mud off me. This time when I noticed it on my arm a bell went off and I looked up tick bites with lyme disease. Sure enough it is a match but I must have scratched the tick off almost after the initial bite through the sleeve of my shirt. Looks like I'll be making a doctors appointment early next week...Haven't heard of lyme disease ticks in our part of the country but this says otherwise....but, I'll let the doctor make the diagnosis.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Good Memories

When we woke up this morning it was a cool 46 degrees outside with a slight breeze blowing into the house which triggered one of my favorite memories. I was visiting my mom and the bed was right near a window and I woke up and heard the birds singing outside the window and a cool breeze was blowing in the window with a fresh scent. Laying in the crisp sheets which had been line dried made it hard to get up that long ago morning. It seems that some of the best memories don't cost a thing but linger in our memory for a very long time. The cool breeze coming into the house this morning made it seem I had gone back 50 years in time to that morning again. Ahh, memories that are always at the back of our mind and just need a little tug to make them real all over again.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fresh Fish

I went fishing with my friend Skip this morning and we caught a nice mess of fish each. While walking along Wagon Creek road I met these two ladies from Tennessee and Florida and it turned out they are readers of this blog. Hope you enjoy your stay and don't forget to order one of Gerald's chickens at Old Fort Market (379-3482) when you read this. Yummm.....

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Mystery Plant - Carol




When we hiked to the top of the mountain behind our house a few Sunday's ago we saw a plant that we did not recognize nor could we identify. Today as I was walking the dogs down the trail behind our house what to my wondering eyes should appear...but that same plant and it was in bloom! Now it is identifiable....Pinedrops...(Giant Bird's Nest) Pterospora andromedea

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sarah's Friend

 This is the third year that this doe has come around on a regular basis to visit Sarah. She will come up to within two or three feet on the other side of the fence and they will sniff each other. This has become a regular ritual and she is content with either myself or Carol being out there too. These photos were taken after all four dogs went out for their morning potty break and the doe did not leave.
We let the dogs out one at a time and they do not bark or charge the fence but follow Sarah's lead in just going about their business and the deer is as calm as can be. She does not come to the fence to sniff the other dogs - just Sarah whom she clearly trusts. This behavior says a lot about animals and how they interact with each other.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Dealing With Senior Dogs

Our dogs are all senior with the oldest (Sarah above) being 13 years old and the youngest being 7 years old. The other two are both 10 years old. With becoming senior comes predictable ailments. When we go into a physician we can usually describe what is causing us problems but our dogs are not able to do that so we must be very observant to see they are treated properly. Recently and suddenly Sarah did not want to climb the two stairs leading into the house. It took some sleuthing work but we finally figured out that she may have been stepped on at night.

She sometimes likes to sleep on the bed in front of the couch that Bozwell is on. We concluded that she was sleeping there when either he or Echo got down and stepped on her. It could also be a combination of arthritis and injury. When we figured it out we contacted our veterinarian who suggested we give her arthritis medication and also give her a Rimadyl 100 mg. per day. The transformation was almost immediate and remarkable. She was back to her old self and eating well again. We believe she had both injury and arthritis and now she is on Duralactin and Cosequin DS as recommended. She now hops up on the couch and bed without any hesitation. She is also on Enalapril 10 mg, two times a day for her congestive heart failure.

Bozwell also has arthritis and the Duralactin/Cosequin DS (double strength), plus wild Alaska salmon oil capsules and oregano once daily, The salmon oil and oregano are for skin health and a stronger immune system. Carol tells me that when I prepare their meals three times a day that I look like a chemist with all the ingredients for each dog individually. In addition to kibble they get chunky beef and gravy. We were told Bozley was a poor eater when we adopted him but he gets his special combination also and it turns out he is a wonderful eater.

In summary our dogs are unable to speak regarding what ails them but close observation will generally give a clue. They need to be able to live out their senior years in healthy and happy lifestyle. These treatments give them the desired pain free mobility they need to have that life.

Wild Flowers Have Started

 Indian Paint Brush above, columbine below.

 Wild rose above, yellow flowers below.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dirty Job

One more job to cross off my summer to do list. Cleaning the wood stove and chimney.  Our Jotul stove is either 5 or 6 years old and it was also time for service. The gaskets in the top, front door were getting very compressed where they would allow air to leak in and harm the efficiency of the stove. So all gaskets were replaced and the inside of the stove was vacuumed out wire brushed and cleaned for every speck of soot and creosote. Over the years it must have been moved slightly so we also leveled it up.

We ran a chimney brush up the chimney and managed to get it cleaned without making a mess. Checked the chimney wind cap and it didn't look bad enough to climb up there to swap it with a clean one so left that for next year. Total cleaning time was just three hours plus which included a power outage of 2 hours sandwiched in the middle of the project. The power never goes out at a convenient time and this time went out with soot all over the hearth. No way were we ready to clean the chimney with the power out so we had to wait so we could catch the creosote and soot with the shop vac.

We are ready now for another winter and have our firewood already done and dried out  enough to get us through the winter. As I look through my summer job list I'm already down to just a couple more tasks and the list will be complete. Cleaning the wood stove and chimney are never one of our favorite jobs and to have that done is refreshing for us. The stove will go almost continuously for 8 months so our window is narrow to get it cleaned.

It always worries me when we are able to get our job list done early like this. Not sure what may come our way but we will deal with it if it happens.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Always Check Outside

We always look around before we let the dogs out and this is why. Doe was standing outside the gate watching us inside the house. You never know what they will do if suddenly startled.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Antlion

 The antlion stays hidden most of its life but you know it is there because of the funnels it makes (see top photo). Insects (especially ants) walk along the edge of the funnel and fall into the trap and slowly end up in the bottom where the antlion is waiting for a meal. The funnel or trap is so constructed that as the insect tries to get out its momentum keeps pulling it to the bottom.
In many ways people are like this today. They appear to be nice and friendly but create funnels for the unsuspecting person to fall into. They have personal agendas that do not include you except as a source to feed their ego or build them up while tearing you down. We trusting and unsuspecting people go along and soon find ourselves sliding down the tunnel to someone else's advantage.

Sadly politics today comes to mind. People who are smooth talkers who lure others into their trap of deceit and hate seem to lure trusting people who aren't aware into the trap.

The recent shooting of a congressman at a baseball field comes immediately to mind. The shooter bought into the hate spewed by others who should be above vilifying their opponent. Now some democratic leaders are actually promoting hunting your opponent as an option. Not all people are able to sort out the right from wrong and I see no difference in the terrorists radicalizing unsuspecting or susceptible people and politicians and news media doing the very same. It seems to me that we are no stronger than our weakest link and we should be protecting our weak links and not taking advantage of them for politics sake.

Before anyone feels that this is criticism of one party it is not - both parties contribute to the condition. Anytime anyone from either party alters or skews the facts to fit their agenda instead of for the good of the whole they are players in the antlion feeding effort. Party has no part in the wrong committed as right and wrong are the major components.

Those who spew hate, separation and vengeance need to have their forum restricted but then the owners and managers of these venues are looking for ratings and not integrity. After all ratings and favorable  polls represent $$$$$ to them. In no way is this intended to justify what the ball park shooter did - he made his decision and acted upon it and paid the price which is justified.

We need to be able to disagree with each other civilly without feeling the need to eliminate all opposition. This is simply a rant against what our society has evolved to and a longing for the times when integrity and honesty of reporting was prevalent.

We need to identify and recognize the antlion in our lives and not participate in it just to be at the bottom of the funnel for easy food. I'm not sure how we can go back once we have reached such a stage in civilization that lends itself to the individual and self indulgences. To me seeing where we are headed as a society is darn scary.   Just my opinion.  

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Spring Flowers

 The flowers are starting to bloom and it is clearly springtime in the Rockies. Above is a monk's hood plant with more flowers than I have seen before coming from one plant. I found it when I was pulling one of our winter damaged stumps out of the ground today. Below are yellow daisy type flowers that blanket the ground.
 Below are wild violets that are everywhere this year. Next we will have Indian paint brush, columbine and wild roses. It is a good time of year if you live in the mountains.

Senior Living Adjustment

Check out the latest blog for Mother Earth News about having to adjust as we age - especially in how we do tasks like recently climbing to the top of the mountain. It can be found at:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/senior-living-in-the-mountains-zbcz1706

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Nasty Job

 Hauling limbs to the burn pile location provided by our association is one of the nasty jobs we don't like to do each year. These limbs are brittle, catch on your clothing and twist and turn as you toss them down to the ditch and scratch you in exposed places. We loaded three piles this morning and tomorrow or the next day will load two very large piles and they will be done. The rest we have piled along the tractor trail and driveway and will run them through the mulcher.
 The wild iris are in full bloom in the high mountain meadows now. They make the trip to the burn site very pretty.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trial Run

Here is the story: I went in two weeks ago to the grocery in Alamosa where we buy our cake donuts and was told by the baker he was instructed not to make any more. He said they were good sellers and often when I have gone in for them they are sold out. I wrote the grocery and some nincompoop wrote me back as Mrs. which is ridiculous. How many Bruce's do you know that are female.

They said they will report my request to the store in question which is a good way of saying - buzz off customer. So I decided to make my own. I watched my mom do it a bunch of times years ago and it didn't seem hard so I downloaded a recipe on the internet and did it myself. I made some mistakes but they taste good so I'll improve on the next batch and so forth.

I take Rx that says to take it with food and since I get up early it seemed to me cake donuts were the ideal food to take my Rx with. I guess I could eat a couple scoops of ice cream but cake donuts won the debate with myself. I found making them wasn't as hard as I thought and when I implement the corrections next time they will be uniform in size and just as tasty. Goodbye national food store chain, I'll make them myself. Just the way us Mrs. Bruce's are I guess - stubborn.....

Borrowing And Lending

This is a famous phrase said by Polonius in Act-I, Scene-III of William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. Polonius counsels his son Laertes before he embarks on his visit to Paris. He says, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be;  For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

Some of these old axioms never seem to lose their substance. In the twenty years we have lived here I have loaned tools, books, ladders, animal traps and assorted other things. In every instance except one the item lent was not returned or the person who borrowed the item was no longer a friend. In that one instance the item loaned was very slow coming back  and I ended up going to get it at a neutral location myself. It was so rusted from being outside during that time it was worthless and had to be thrown away. Not once has anyone ever offered to make such a transaction right. I guess they figure if I'm stupid enough to loan the item they if it is destroyed it is my fault and I deserve what I get. 

I recently was asked to loan an item to a friend and again was willing but fate or good fortune interceded and someone else loaned the item first. I was greatly relieved as I still had the friend in the end even though I think in this case it would have been perfectly alright. That did get me to thinking of the many times I had loaned items and lost both the item and the friend.  

Like most I find it hard to say no and when it has happened so many times over and over that the item is gone forever along with the friendship then I find Shakespeare to be absolutely spot on. Somethings withstand the tests of time if we are willing to pay attention to them. Now I usually just give the item in anticipation of never seeing it again. 

I just pulled out a favorite book to re-read again having lost the first two to people I told of the book and who borrowed it and kept it. In hindsight I'm sure when they borrowed it they never intended to return it. I have found that giving things away is better than a loan of them as at least I still have the friendship at the end. 'Neither a borrower nor lender be'.




Sunday, June 11, 2017

A 4 1/2 Hour Sunday Hike

 We decided to hike to the top of the mountain we live on. Walk out the back door and hike straight to the top. It was a 4 1/2 hour hike round trip and very strenuous. Probably as hard as they come as we had dense pine stands, multiple dead falls very steep rocky ground and pine cones that roll under your feet as well as rocks. The last several hundred yards were about 70 degrees which is close to straight up. Many places we had to crawl on all fours. Above is Carol standing on the very top of the mountain. There a a marker at her feet that mark the high point of the mountain. We came out at the exact spot that we aimed for which is a den in the rocks that bears must use in the winter. We came out right at our back yard but going down is as dangerous as going up as if you fall there is nothing short of bone crunching that can stop you.
 The above photo shows that there is still snow on the top of the mountain. This drift is about 8' deep I'd guess (+or-).
This is the view from the top of the mountain of the community we live in with the Spanish Peaks in the background. 
Another view looking toward LaVeta with a lake in the forefront. This is a strenuous hike for someone on the downhill side of mid 70's, but it was worth it to struggle up the mountain to once again see the speculator views. It was a good day for it with the temperature at 70 degrees, slight breeze and slightly overcast. Lots of aches and pains but those will go away and the views and memory of taking a picnic to the top of the mountain with my wife will last and last.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Where there is "will" there is a way! - Carol


During this time of year we have frequent and unexpected thunder storms....they are all of a sudden upon us so using a mild sedative or Thunder Coat on the dogs is not feasible. Bozwell could care less, Bozley shakes all over, Sarah has gotten somewhat used to them...and then there is Echo. Especially during the night when we are all sound asleep he goes nuts; pacing, running around AND trying to get up the spiral staircase. If he would go up and stay, it would be one thing....but not so. Wants to go up and down, up and down. Those of you who have been following this blog know that we put up a gate to prevent this....but what he tries to do now is enter the "back" way.

We had put duct tape from one upright to the next one and he broke through it so this is our solution now. The box from Amazon had three mattress covers in it...and the fan is the newest addition with "the chair" facing a weird direction.

Whatever works!!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Squirrel Mistake

Never a dull moment at our house. Sometimes bad decisions are made and this morning that was the case. Not by us but by a ground squirrel. Carol had ordered a mattress topper for our beds and it was a big box that we had just retrieved from the Post Office 22 miles away. 
The box was large and hard to carry so when we got it home Carol had to hold the storm door open for me to fit it into the house. As I was bringing it in I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye and knew there was either a ground squirrel or chipmunk that found its way into the house.
I looked around with the flashlight but did not see it. Carol found it in the front window.
Okay, the bad decision was on the squirrels part. Our house is small and we have four German Shepherd Dogs. There was no way to get it out of the house and the squirrel had made a fatal mistake. It made a break for the back of the house and that is when four dogs saw it. No need to describe the result but it didn't fare well for the squirrel. Four large dogs with a bite strength of 750 pounds per square inch and weighing around 80-100 pounds each, nothing was going to stand in the way of the dogs. Reminiscent of the squirrel episode in the movie 'Christmas Vacation'.
 If there was a good part to all this, it was the squirrel liked to sit outside the door and taunt the dogs; when they were let out it could safely escape. It has been doing this for weeks now and when they saw it and it was inside it was an ah-ha moment for the dogs. Some mistakes can be recovered from but this was not one of those type mistakes. No second chance here and adios squirrel.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Whew - Big Tree


 In the strong wind storm we had a few weeks back in addition to estimated 50 trees that had blown over, probably another 30 were either hung up in other trees or leaning like this one was. Unfortunately it was raising up the ground at the roots and leaning over the trail we use to walk to the other end of the property.
It was leaning so far and the dirt was so loose around the base that there was a 6" gap that I could stick my arm down into. Every time we walked past the tree we would be very nervous and watch the tree carefully. Today was the day to deal with it so we took a come-along down and pulled it down. There wasn't much dirt holding it up so after we got it down we had to cut it up so we could use the path. 

Those logs were heavy and hard to move but it posed a very present danger to us. If it didn't fall on us or the dogs it could fall on a deer or elk. When the wind was blowing it would move the dirt at the base and we noted each day that the gap between the tree and the dirt was getting wider.

Right down the hill from this one is an even larger one that is horizontally on the ground. The limbs on that tree are up to 8" in diameter and it is broken off at the base. I'll be several days cutting up that one.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tranquility

While I was preparing the dogs breakfast this morning I looked out the window to the side of the house and there were several deer bedded down not over 40 yards from the house. It takes quite a while to get the dogs breakfast ready as two require Rx and arthritis medication. Also I mix soft canned food and kibble together. With Sarah's congestive heart failure she doesn't have much of an appetite so her meals are drawn out somewhat.

We received 1/4" of rain last night so I took the tractor down to the end of the lot to make sure we didn't lose more trees and stopped at the swing for a moments reflection. As I sat on the swing the deer were browsing on the lush greenery not 50' from me. The deer and most other animals feel safe here and they looked up saw who it was and then went back to eating again. These are not unusual incidents and it reminds me of how much we love it here. Living with the animals is a very unique experience and honor - especially when they accept you as no threat and show trust.

Faster Lady

Carol went to put the flag out this morning and the hummingbirds swooped and swarmed her, letting her know they were out of sugar water. When she filled the feeder and went out to hang it up they couldn't wait and were lighting on it before she could hang it up. Birds and animals are simply amazing.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What shall we do today? - Carol


Yesterday Bruce and I brought all of this wood up from the other end of our property. It is the result of the wind blowing down 2 standing but dead aspen trees. Bruce has cut the trees into 3 foot lengths. Over the next few days he will cut them in 1/2 and then we will split them and stack them for use this winter in our wood stove.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017