Friday, February 16, 2018
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
Thursday, February 8, 2018
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
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
Friday, February 2, 2018
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, January 15, 2018
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
Saturday, January 13, 2018
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
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
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
If you are a praying person please pray for Echo and his fast recovery...
Saturday, December 23, 2017
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.
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
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.
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Friday, December 8, 2017
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!
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
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
Sunday, December 3, 2017
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
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Friday, November 24, 2017
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....