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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Fight Or Flight

Last night when I let the dogs out at dusk to go potty and there was a coyote behind the shed (about 30 yards) and Bozley either sniffed or saw it and barked as he charged the fence. The coyote was up to the challenge and gave a series of VERY loud yips in return and all three dogs immediately headed for the back door. All three German Shepherd Dogs out weigh the coyote by 40-50 pounds but the coyotes shrill yelps and barks clearly intimidated them. "Get out of the way dad, we want in". 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Latest Stage On New Garden Box

I decided that instead of waiting for spring to arrive and the snow to melt revealing the hardware cloth that used to be part of the deteriorating garden boxes that I would go to Big R in Alamosa and buy some new hardware cloth. The new garden box that replaces the two that rotted away now has new 1/2" hardware cloth.

The young girl that was the clerk thought I should go to a place where they sold fabric as she had never heard of hardware cloth. Fortunately another employee did and showed me where it was kept. I bought enough to do the sides and used the old hardware cloth for the bottom. This box will replace two old boxes so I still have to make two hinged tops so access can be from both ends.

Mostly what we grow now in the garden boxes are lettuce and spinach so we will plant one at each end. I plant carrots and herbs in my earth boxes which we keep on the deck with hardware cloth over the boxes to keep the squirrels and chipmunks out of them. Rodents can do a lot of damage to a garden in a short amount of time.

I will make and install the two lids as soon as the snow melts off them. Photo's to follow. Then I have a unique idea for the placement of the box that will fit the theme of our house plus providing good sunlight and access. Hopefully it will be in an area that the rodents can't figure out how to get into. Last year a chipmunk got into a box and we have no clue how they did it. No opening and no opportunity to get in but still one did and couldn't find their way out again. 

More to follow on the construction of a garden box.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

More On Echo

Echo seems to go from one medical situation to another. Today we took him into the vet again but this time for a sebaceous cyst that became infected. He was scheduled to have it surgically removed next Wednesday but yesterday it became swollen and red and developed a lump. I called the vet and he said to bring him in first thing this morning. His cyst broke over night and the vet cleaned it up, helped drain it and put him on antibiotics. After the antibiotics take effect over the next 10 days we will evaluate whether he will need surgery or not. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Echo Solution???

I have been waking up in the morning aching all over due to having the memory foam mattress on the floor. Echo has slept with me ever since he was adopted. We went in our camper and when we adopted him he slept on the king sized bed with myself and Gypsy and Bozwell slept with Carol on the Queen size bed. We tried to keep him out of our bed once and he looked like a beaten dog and totally rejected. We didn't try that again he looked so dejected.

When he slipped the disc in his back he was prohibited from jumping as that would re injure his back and could cause permanent damage. Therefore I put the 12" memory foam mattress on the floor so he only had one step to go to get in bed with me. Once you sink in memory foam it only compresses so far and it was painful to sleep on the floor - not to mention it is hard to get up during the night or in the morning.

Carol saw what she thought was a solution when she found a 4" solid foam mattress on Walmart.com site. Unfolded it makes into a four inch firm mattress and when folded it makes into a low sofa. We thought it would be a good stepping place for Echo so he would not jump up or down and injure himself before he is fully healed. We bought a full size and twin size for the end of the bed and side. Today we gave it a try, having brought the bed frame up and set the bed upon it again.

As can be seen after a few trial attempts it only took him once to figure out how to go up the steps to the bed and go down the same way. We tried all three dogs who mastered it with ease. Did I mention German Shepherds are highly intelligent. As can be seen in the photo above he is up on the bed with confidence now. During the day we can fold it up and slide it under the bed frame with no problem.

Maybe now we can all get a good nights sleep and wake up pain free and rested. It has been seven weeks since he injured himself and hopefully this will work for him and he can get up and down into bed safely. His back legs are still weak so jumping would be difficult for him but we don't want him to forget and try it and end up with a worse injury.

Incidentally he has his thunder coat on as he developed a sebaceous cyst on his side and he kept licking it to where it was getting raw. The thunder coat covers the cyst and we apply wound spray that has healed it but he has an appointment for next week to have it and a few others removed surgically.   

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Garden Box

The garden box is getting a liberal coat of sealer. It will have to rest here until some of the snow melts as the hardware cloth is stored at a place where it is covered with snow now and we will have to wait for the snow to melt. All that is needed is to staple the hardware screen and re-purpose the tops off the old garden box to the new box. More snow is expected tomorrow night and Tuesday so it is going to be difficult to retrieve the 1/2" mesh screen. 

Bird - Human Comparisons

My recent post about Henrietta and also the posts about Chickadee's and nuthatches reveal the good qualities of birds. As with any species there are also birds of lessor qualities like the cowbird. Consider that the cowbird during nesting time will look for a nest, wait until the host leaves for a few minutes and then will lay its egg in the nest and let the host bird hatch it. The cowbird will take out one of the host birds eggs to replace it with her own.
The unsuspecting host then raises the chick along with its own. Sometimes the cowbird chick because it is larger will force the host birds chick out of the nest to make more room for itself.
Now consider human society as it exists today and see if any comparisons can be made between the cowbird characteristics and human characteristics.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Phase Two Of Garden Box

 This is the next step in making the garden box. The bottom box frame is together and the angle iron's and hardware cloth is on. Next I made the upright posts and cross members and they are glued with water proof glue onto the bottom box.
Next the cross pieces will be attached with deck screws and glued. Then the hardware cloth will be stapled around the inside of the frame then the two lid's will be made and hinged at each end so they can be independently opened from the middle. A good coat of sealer and it will be ready for the dirt and seeds.

Henrietta The Broad-Tail Hummingbird.

Here is the latest blog for Mother Earth News magazine about a special broad-tail hummingbird named (by us) Henrietta.
https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/the-saga-of-henrietta-zbcz1802

Friday, February 2, 2018

New Garden Box

Today was the day to start my new garden box. At the end of each growing season I empty the garden boxes of growing soil and pile it in an out of the way place, then move the garden boxes to a location where they will not get damaged during the winter. Left in place they could get damaged by the heavy snow or run into by the snow thrower or tractor. Last year when I emptied the boxes I noted that two of the three were starting to deteriorate and wouldn't keep the critters out with the next use.

This is the bottom of the box which will be put together soon. Since the bottom of the box holds moisture from the soil in which the plants grow I put a liberal coat of Thompson's Wood Sealer on them. By doing it now it will soak into the wood and be fully dry come planting season. I plan to use "L" brackets on the corners to hold the pieces together. For the first two years I will not plant any seeds close to the treated wood.

Next will be to staple 1/2" hardware cloth on the bottom to keep any rodents from burrowing under the box and getting in to the tender plants. Then install the posts in each corner and brace those and cover all four sides with more hardware cloth. Then make the top or use  the old box's top and it will be done. Add hinges and wait for the growing season to begin. It will be placed out of the way outside to allow the sealer to diminish.

I will photo the box as I progress so anyone interested can see how it is made. Here in the mountains if you want to grow vegetables outside you need something like this to keep all the squirrels, chipmunks, pack rats, mice and voles out.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Pests

So far this winter we have put out 180 lbs of sunflower seed for the birds. We need to pick up another 40 lbs this week and by winter end we will probably have fed the birds 300-350 lbs of sunflower seed. We like to target the chickadees and nuthatch but the finches steal most of it and force the target birds away. We have taken the feeders in but the finches still come back in a day or two after we put them out. they come in a flock by the hundreds.

The chickadees are friendly little birds along with the nuthatches and they take one seed and fly off to crack it open eat the contents and then fly back for just one seed. They will perch inches from me when I fill the feeders and when I am out working and they run out of seed they come get me. They are polite, patient and friendly little birds.

Then there are the finches. They crap all over the deck, sunflower seed container, feeders and anything else. They are aggressive and nasty tempered birds. We spend half our day chasing them off but they are  persistent. I have found the best way to get rid of them is put out partially full feeders and let them gorge themselves until they are empty - then they fly off in search of more food and when I'm certain they are gone to refill the feeders for the more courteous birds.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Hopefully Final Echo Update

Echo is making slow but steady progress albeit in very small increments. When I met with his vet to discuss him and his progress a week ago it was her opinion that being around 70% improved at one month is exceptional. She said it may be another two months before he is fully (?) recovered. We are to keep doing what we are doing to keep him from any re injury or aggravation. If we can do that he should recover and be normal.

He goes from day to day. He will be doing very good one day and the next day his back legs will be a little wobbly. His vet was encouraged with his progress so far and anticipates a good recovery. The hardwood floors that were exposed are all covered with throw rugs to keep him from slipping again. We keep him from jumping which is something she said he should not do under any circumstances. He was never a jumper anyway so he makes our job easier.

From the first day we adopted him he has slept with me. We stayed in a pop-up camper trailer and he slept with me. After all these years it would be impossible to get him to do otherwise so we put the mattress on the floor so he doesn't have to jump to get in bed with me. A little rough for this old body but good for him. Amazing what we do for our fur family....

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

When You Heat With A Wood Stove

When you heat with a wood stove and the temperature drops at night to low single digit coupled with a wind chill that is well below zero keeping the stove going is important. When conditions stay cold for several nights it is necessary to keep feeding the wood stove so it doesn't get too cold in the house. We have found an air mattress is a quick solution for those conditions. By sleeping on the air mattress close to the stove when the fire gets low and it cools off we are able to get up and put more wood on the stove throughout the night.

This only happens a few times a year and the wood stove radiant heat is worth it. Our old stove had a much larger firebox and would stay warmer longer but it was over sized by the wood stove folks we had install it and bought it from. That meant if we burned it at its efficient zone we would have to have the windows and doors open to neutralize the intense heat it produced. The store that we bought it from and who recommended it sold us a stove that was much too large and it burned at its low range even when the house was comfortable.

Burning a stove at its low range tends to soot and creosote up the chimney and generate a fire hazard as well as make the stove even more inefficient. We gave our old stove away and bought this one which is the right size to burn efficiently for our cabin. The result is it only burns for about 5-6 hours before we have to re-stoke the fire.

For most of the winter we get it nice and warm inside and load the firebox before we retire and then let it burn out over the night. It is generally around 60 degrees in the morning and often still has coals to start another fire. It is only when it gets really cold that we need to feed it during the night.

If you heat with a wood stove it is very important to get a stove that is sized right for the area you need to heat. Not too big and not too small. The store that specialized in selling wood stoves did not sell us a stove that was the right size and it was a constant problem. When it comes to wood stoves getting the right size is important. We now have a stove that is the right size but it does require more tending especially at night.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Finally!!!!!

Finally we are receiving some much needed snow. So far about 12" but the final total is anyone's guess at this point. It is still coming down in those big moisture laden flakes. Since it is snowing outside and the temperature is a steady 20 degrees we decided to make cake donuts inside.
We ended up with 27 donuts (6 on the counter and not in photo) and 27 donut holes. Both Carol and I including our three dogs have sampled them and they are super delicious.


So far we have a foot of new snow which is very much needed for the moisture. Yesterday the ground was bare which is unusual for us. Twenty degrees outside and the snow is still coming down so we decided to stay inside and make donuts. Carol mixes up the dough and I take it from there. Nothing like home made cake donuts to satisfy ones craving.....We will deal with the snow when it stops snowing - probably tomorrow.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Echo Update

For those who wanted an Echo update he is still slowly recovering from his slipped disc. He is about 70 - 80% his old normal self and seems to be making small improvements each day. His back legs only give out on him a couple times a day and he does well on walks and around the house. He has adapted and compensated for his back leg weakness.

We have kept him from jumping and getting to excited which is not easy for 3 1/2 weeks now. I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow to get an idea of how long full recovery is going to take so he can have his normal life back. We also want to develop a plan to keep him from having this happen again. Unless he does something that to re-injure himself he is mostly now recovered and what recovery hasn't returned he has learned to compensate for. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dazzling Sight

 I was out shoveling snow away from the house that I can't get with the snow removal equipment and when I looked up I saw the most intriguing sight. The weeds were covered with frost and light snow and I knew I needed to get a photo to share. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Frosty Day

 When nature performs her artistry it is always perfect. It has been 21 degrees (F) here today and it has not warmed up much. It was 16 degrees when I woke up this morning but the temperature stopped rising after dawn and has been 21 since. It is also cloudy and there is a light frost in the air. 
 The moisture in the air is sticking to the trees and the intricate art work is beautiful. I spent a few hours outside cooking cowboy breakfast on the wood stove and this was happening while I was out at the picnic area so I got to watch this develop.  It is not often I get to be outside and watch this occur and it is interesting to see develop. 
The aspen trees look like intricate art work and the pine trees close up their needles and then they too are frosted over. It is suppose to go down to 5-6 tonight so we will make sure our firewood box is full as we will need to keep feeding logs into the wood stove overnight. It is cold outside and the chickadees are all fluffed up to keep warm and I am keeping plenty of sunflower seeds out there for them to help stay warm.
I for one have never become complacent in seeing the trees frosted like this and enjoy it more and more each time it happens. Enough to share on our blog.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Gluttens

These are what we think are rosy breasted finches and they are becoming a pest. First one will show up at the feeder and then when they leave  hundreds come back and swarm the feeders. They can drain the feeder in a matter of a few minutes and the other birds are chased or forced off and don't get any feed. When they swarm in the sky will literally be full of them and we chase them off but they come right back. They fight each other over the few ports on the feeder. They simply take over the feeders and the other birds are shut out. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Who Says Men Can't Multi Task?

Every 4-6 weeks we need to drag our generator out to run it for a few minutes to keep everything lubricated and in working order. We are having nice weather (at least for us) with temperatures hovering around freezing. Today was one of those days when the sky was blue, the wind blowing around 10-20 mph, and a good day to run the generator.

I figured if I am going to run the generator I might as well put it to use so I strung about 125' of extension cord to the firewood pile and plugged in the electric chain saw and cut up a pile of fire wood that had been cut and stacked at double length. Now we have a pile of firewood cut to length and all it needs is splitting and stacking.

That is what I call multi tasking - running the generator at the prescribed time and also cutting up a nice pile of firewood. Two jobs done at once.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Mother Earth News Blog

Watch for a new blog on Mother Earth News about our life with our dog family members and what we have learned over the years.

The blog is now live and to read it go to: https://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/life-with-canines-zbcz1801

Monday, January 8, 2018

Tree Migration

 Recently I read an article that said trees that are normally on the east coast are slowly migrating west. So far this year we have 48" of combined snow and compared to last year when we had 67", we are slowly falling behind our normal snow pack.
Up until yesterday the ground was bare and only a patch of snow was visible in a few places. We received 3" of fresh snow which has mostly blown away or compacted. When I woke up this morning the temperatures are normally the coldest but it was 33 degrees outside.
The northeast and northern states and all the way down south are in frigid to cold temperatures and here in the mountains where the temperature is suppose to be cold it is just pleasant and windy with balmy 30's.
Very little snow thus far but without question it will come; but I can see the merit to that article that trees are migrating west. Our climate is most certainly changing but whether due to conditions caused by man or nature is beyond me so others can argue the merits of that aspect. I will just enjoy these seasonable conditions while they exist, knowing full well we will get plenty of snow later. 

I am thinking I should get ahead of the curve on this climate change and plant a few palm trees before the price goes up on those trees. Maybe a few dogwood and red bud trees too. Once they migrate to our area the price of those trees will be more expensive so maybe I should get out front of the migration while I can. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Small Homes

Small homes have many benefits as described in the latest blog for Mother Earth News and it can be found at: https://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/small-home-virtues-zbcz1801

After living in a small home for over 20 years we have found it practical, comfortable, and not nearly as difficult as anticipated and in fact it has been very pleasant.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Echo Update

For those who have been following Echo's progress we are happy to report he is on all four legs now but his back legs are still weak. He is progressing normally but wobbly at times. It has been one week today and we are pleased with his progress and chance for a full or almost full recovery.

He is also adapting as when he goes whiz he normally lifts his leg to do so and now he just barely lifts it and leans against the tree. He has also learned that if he can't get up the two steps into the house that if he stands and rests a minute or two and tries again he can then make it up the stairs. It looks like he is now headed in the right direction for recovery.

Crazy Weather

What is going on with our weather. Here in the mountains it is very nice weather and other parts of the country it is single digit and snowing. In the last 16 days we have had 6" of snow and presently the ground is dry and mostly bare. Did I put my summer clothes away to soon??? Probably not as we know we will get snow and cold weather here but the question remains when?? For us this is very different.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Echo Update

Today hopefully is a positive turning point with Echo. He actually walked on all fours to get into the back yard to relive himself and walked back in. Those back legs are still a little unsteady but he is making improvements and we hope he has no setbacks.
I believe I now know how he hurt himself.  A few days before his legs went out totally on him he was going out into the back yard and his rear feet slipped out from under him on the paver's that make up the sidewalk. He bounded right back up and did not appear injured but that must have done it and it took 2-3 days to manifest itself.
We are still trying to keep him resting as much as possible but his recovery is noticeably improving. I don't think he is out of the woods just yet however. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Echo Update

Echo is making progress but not as fast as we expected. The day of his occurrence he couldn't get his back feet to work at all and would drag himself with his front feet. Then the next day he was able to take 2-3 unsteady steps. Yesterday he could take 4-5 shaky steps and today he is taking up to 6-7 steps that are very unsteady. His progress is very slow but he can get outside to relieve himself and poop but he leans against the fence to do that.
He is adapting and adjusting and making very slow improvement but enough to give us hope. The vet said this is going to take a long time and his progress is slow and steady but moving in the right direction.  Now we need for him to rest as much as possible and to not aggravate the condition. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Holidays

 What every you celebrate may this be a joyous time for you. We started our Christmas day with Echo yelping and crying at 3:00 AM. I had just brought them in from going potty in the back and he was normal and very suddenly his back legs would not work for him. He turns one foot under and they are out of control. We are currently waiting for a call back from the vet so we can meet her at the clinic.
Echo has had numerous problems in the past but this is the worst. I talked to the vet earlier who advised she had two other emergencies to handle and she would call us to meet her when she was done with those. So we are sitting here waiting for her call to get him seen. He is not in pain and we gave him a pain pill and muscle relaxer already which the vet said is the right thing to do. She wants to see him to rule out anything other than a slipped disc however. Echo is very confused that his back legs don't work. He has feeling in them as I tested him for that, which is good. All indications are a slipped disc but we will wait for the vet to confirm or tell us what else it is.

If you are a praying person please pray for Echo and his fast recovery...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Grunting And Groaning

 When the oven went out on our Caloric propane gas range we tried to have it fixed but low and behold the parts couldn't be found for our 20 y/o range. So Carol went to Sears and purchased a replacement Hot Point gas stove. That is it in the photo above (wrapped in my old army blanket) attached to a hand truck in our living room. When Sears delivered it we didn't have room for it in our small cabin and needed an installer to convert it from natural gas to propane and hook it up. We had Sears put it in the basement for us until we could line up installation. When it comes to gas appliances I don't trust myself and gas is nothing to fool with so we contacted a gas supplier in Alamosa to install it for us. We first went to the Co-op that we have used for over 20 years but they were reluctant to do the installation even though we have bought our propane from them for a very long time and they did install the first stove. . So we set up an account with another propane supplier because they have an installer.

We may like the new propane supplier better anyway as we can get a firm delivery date for propane refills. When we would call the Co-op, it could be a few days up to a few weeks and we never knew when they would deliver. Not knowing when the delivery date could be can be difficult especially if it is snow season and we have to keep the driveway, the path to the propane tank, and propane tank kept accessible.
So now with the installation happening next Tuesday we needed to get the large stove up to the first floor where it could be installed. The installer requires we provide all the parts (another 100 mile round trip) so I went to Ace Hardware in Alamosa for the parts required as required by the owners manual. So today we grunted and groaned as we pulled and pushed the heavy appliance up the steps (photo above), and we finally got it safely into the house. It will sit in the corner of our living room until next Tuesday. when the installer comes. Then we will take the old one out and roll the new one in place for installation.

Nothing seems easy when you live as we do but with considerable effort and slow and meticulous muscle power we managed to get it up to the living area. While we believe in Co-ops using the one we have been members of for so long just was not practical. They charge $75.00 per hour from the time they depart until they get back plus mileage fees. Since we are 1 1/2 hours one way that was going to be costly especially if they work slowly and it takes a couple hours to get the job done. Besides they acted like they were doing us a favor if they would install it.

We had already paid Sears $805,00 and Ace Hardware $65.00, for installation parts, and if we paid another $400 -450.00, for installation that would be one very expensive stove. We are now hoping that the installation goes well and the installer doesn't mess up our gas line connections trying to install the stove. They are a corporation so if they do mess it up we will have something to pursue. We hope it goes smoothly and we finally have a workable stove again.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Wood Stove Warmth


Last night the temperature dropped to 7 degrees and we received 6" of fresh snow to wake up to this morning. Carol got up at 2:00 AM to put fresh firewood in the stove and I got up at 5:30 and kept the fire burning. When it gets down to single digit at night we need to keep feeding the stove to keep the temperature consistent and not to allow it to get cold in the house. Our stove will burn for 6 hours before the coals go out and we have to start all over again from scratch.

We get our exercise each day hiking out to the wood shed to haul firewood into the house. We have a canvas log carrier that Carol made and between those trips and hauling out the ashes from the burnt firewood we get plenty of exercise. The below photo shows how we start each day and when it is going to get cold (like last night) we bring in another load or two of firewood. Our exercise comes from going up hill to the shed and trying to maintain our footing coming back.



Even though it was very cold outside it remained in the mid 60's inside so we were all comfortable. It is funny how our bodies adapt to the getting up during the night to feed the wood stove and  we are able to then go back to bed and fall right back to sleep. Then wake up in the morning rested and like we had uninterrupted sleep all through the night.

Or how we are so used to the sounds made when feeding the wood stove that we don't even wake up when it is the other person keeping the fire burning. But when we hear a dog throwing up in the night we bolt out of bed and run fully awake to try to get them outside before they throw up in the house.

Both scenarios are totally different and our reaction is equally different. Seems to me that if the alarm clock manufacturers could duplicate the sound of a dog throwing up they wouldn't need the snooze feature on their clocks. After getting up with the dog it is not as easy to go back to bed and go right to sleep - probably because as fast as we react we rarely get to them in time. After cleaning up dog throw-up, it is actually quite hard to go right back to sleep and most of the time I just stay up. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

You Never Know

Here it is one week before Christmas and low and behold we look out the window and a herd of elk are passing on down the mountain.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fresh Snow In The Mountains

 We woke up this morning to fresh snow. Total about 5 1/2" which brings the total snow fall so far this snow season to 35". We are lucky that the temperature went down to 16 degrees because this snow is very light and easy to handle. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Then And Now

 The above photo was taken on November 29th and the bottom photo was taken on December 9th.
What a difference a few days makes. All due to low temperatures at night. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Number Nine

I recently posted 8 things that have gone wrong in the past 6 months and advising we were looking forward to 2018 for a new start. Well 2017 is not over yet and this is number nine. Our Caloric propane gas stove has stopped working. The pilot light is on but the oven burners are not lighting. A repairman from the co-op will charge $75. to make a service call and then if he doesn't have the parts it will be another call and another $75. not including labor if it can even be repaired. New ranges are less than $500.00, so getting repairs could be a trap.

The stove is an old one that has served us well for over 20 years. Carol called Sears and they can have one delivered for less than $500.00, next week. I guess it is time for a new stove. Now to go turn off the gas supply to this one so we don't have any loud surprises.

We are clearly at the point where neither of us will say I wonder what can go wrong now!

We Never Know

 Two days ago Carol was feeding the dogs and called me to see two turkeys walking down the mountain right outside our breakfast nook window.
Then yesterday I looked out the front window and there was a bobcat walking down the road. I did not get a picture of him so this is a borrowed photo from Google images but he looked exactly like this.
Then three days ago we had a herd of six deer that hung around the house all day. When we go outside or look outside we just do not know what we will see. No wonder when we let the dogs out into the fenced back yard the first thing they do is stick their noses up in the air. Add that to the coyotes out in front of the house last weekend at 2:20 AM singing and howling it just shows life here in the mountains is never boring....

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I consider Alamosa a small town - especially when compared to the cities or mega cities where I have lived in the past. The population is approximately 9,500. and it has a friendly small town ambiance. Today I went into the tire store we have been dealing with for 20+ years. We needed snow tires for our truck and I called the owner yesterday and told him my need and he had the tires this morning to install on our truck.

The waiting room is large, clean and friendly. A gentlemen came in and said hello to me and we struck up a conversation. Since we were about the same age we discussed the culture today and when we grew up. We discussed our military time and hunting and the valley and how it has changed. Next thing I knew our truck was ready to go and I had made a good acquaintance and enjoyed pleasant conversation.

To me this is small town friendliness and most everywhere you go in town it is the same. People look at each other, smile at each other, strangers talk to each other and life goes on at the leisurely pace of a small town. We have dealt with this same tire store over the years - even though other places might be cheaper, because of the friendliness of the people who work there and they have never once given us bad advice or tires that were not just right for our need.

I don't say this doesn't happen in some bigger cities but here it happens all the time and just makes life more pleasurable. Alamosa has growing pains and will get bigger but for now I'll just enjoy it as it is..   

Monday, December 4, 2017

Another First

In the twenty years we have lived here this is another first for us. Carol put an aspen log on the fire this morning and we noted it burned green. I looked up what on the element chart burns green and it is barium. This tree must have grown over a barium deposit and absorbed some of the barium. I don't believe it is dangerous but it sure makes the flames in the wood stove unique and pretty.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Serenade At Night

Coyote tracks in the fresh snow. They were not there yesterday but came from a 2:18 A.M. serenade this morning. The dogs woke up suddenly as did I when we heard the coyotes yelping and howling in front of the house. An almost full moon serenade in the middle of the night almost on our door step. I finally got up and turned on the front light and spoiled their song to us. When the front lights came on they stopped and left. What they lacked in harmony they gained in volume. At first I thought they may be in the living room it was that close and loud.
From the tracks it appears that they milled around out front until I must have turned on the flood lights. Just another stop on their journey to sing us a song. It also verifies that in the mountains there is no status quo as incidents like this just 'happen' and then are gone again.
If our dear old girl Gypsy was still alive she would have howled back as she was an excellent howler. As it was our three males just looked at each other like what the heck is going on. It was nice that we were one of their stops to receive a serenade regardless of the time.

Friday, December 1, 2017

View From Front Window

This was taken a few moments ago. The Christmas lights in the window reflecting off the glass and the moon in the background with the outline of the trees in the background. There are also snowflake stickers on the front window. This just seemed like an interesting photo...

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ice

We have a spring that originates on our property and it runs about 100 yards down to the road where it then empties into a ditch and runs to the culvert in the photo and empties out to sheet flow on down the mountain. Where it empties out of the culvert it creates an ice sculptor each year that is different due to continuous flow. This year it is beautiful....

Friday, November 24, 2017

Life Can Be Difficult

Sometimes life and its difficulties can come at you fast like being a hurdler jumping endless hurdles. Other times life can be like taking a nice pleasurably float trip down a river. The last six months has been a hurdle experience for me. Certainly not complaining or even whining but simply reporting this to encourage others that the light at the end of the tunnel is not always an oncoming train. Especially if you don't have to tackle problems all at one time and take them as they come.

The first 6 months of this year started out like a leisurely float trip down a gentle river. Then it all changed with a tick bite that turned out to be a tick with Lyme disease. After a few weeks of strong antibiotics and a subsequent blood test I was declared free of Lyme disease. Hurdle one cleared!

Then our beloved Sarah got sick and on July 29th went across that rainbow bridge to be in a place where she can run free and frolic in beautiful fields of grass. There is no pain like the passing of a loved canine companion but we pulled through that ordeal. Hurdle two cleared!!!

Then we received notice that the company I retired from had decided to no longer cover us retired employees under the group medical/dental plan. Panic!! When we finally got the phase out package we found it was actually quite fair and we are now on our own with that coverage. Hurdle  three cleared!!!

Then I was cutting down an aspen tree and due to a freak accident where another tree caught the falling tree and shot it back at me like a spear. It hit a tree behind me and rolled off its limbs and right at me. It caught me across the side and lower back which sent me to the emergency room and with a large area, very sore and bruised and colorful area on my low back. No bones broken, and I made a pretty normal recovery. Hurdle four cleared!!!!

Then Carol on her way into town had a flat tire in the middle of no where. Our insurance company provides towing coverage free so we called them. As it turns out it takes about two hours to get a tow truck and the coverage only covers up to 15 miles. We were 45 miles from our tire store so our part of the tow was $120.00 and two new tires brought the incident to $500.00, total and it took two trips into town over two days to complete the job.  Hurdle five cleared!!!!

Then more recently the back blade for the tractor broke and could not be repaired. A 75 mile trip one way to get a new blade and $440.00, later and we had a new blade. The blade is essential for removal of winter snow. Two weeks and almost $1,000. later we are back in business again. That much money out of a paltry retirement income is a big blow to us. Hurdle six cleared!!!!

Then yesterday while tidying up a stack of firewood I managed to step on a rusty nail that went through my boot into my foot. My tetanus vaccination is current so all I need to do is wait for the swelling to go down where I can get my boot on again and the pain to subside. Using Epsom salts soaks and antibiotic ointment and expect to recover in a few days. Hurdle seven cleared!!!!!

While recovering from the nail in the foot episode it finally dawned on us that we had also been ripped off when  we bought our new truck several years ago. When I hooked up the trailer the trucks tires kept sliding on the minimal snow. I realized that our truck with its 'off road' package did not have tires suited for snow and mud. I realized this after it slid sideways and the trailer connection hit the bumper and cut a 4" gash in the bumper.

We also noted last year that the battery didn't hold a charge and when we had it replaced discovered it was not a factory installed battery but a knock off. We were suspicious when we took the Jeep into the same dealer for air bag replacement and the factory re-call said it would take a minimum of 2-4 hours. They had the Jeep in for less than 15 minutes and as with other recalls said they were highly proficient and could do it faster than expected. Crooks, but we are moving on and cleared hurdle eight!!!

What is scary for us is that we still have some of 2017 left and we don't know how many more hurdles are waiting for us.... Come on 2018 - we are ready for a fresh start....