Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A little snow and the state goes tits up

I played it smart and drove home Sunday, the roads were already sort of disastrous so I figured it was a good choice. Not that I mind being stuck in the cabin but there is something called work and when it's the last day of the month, everyone needs to be present.

It ended up being a good decision, the storm swooped in yesterday with anger and malice. I hung out in my old office watching the display of horrible decision making and vehicle choices as people spun out all over the roads, tried to tackle an icy hill, etc. The only dreadful thing was thinking about how much snow I had to shovel at home.

22:45 rolled in and I had to call it a night and get something to eat. I had a double shot of Calvados brandy from Normady sitting on the counter airing out, something that's a rare treat for me. It made me all warm and fuzzy and I no longer cared about how wet I was. Since my internal temp seems to run in full furnace blast mode I wasn't cold, just wet. My neighbor asked me if it was really t-shirt weather.

Isn't it always t-shirt weather when that's what you have on? An online friend from Europe asked me if I was alive and if I was prepared to be stuck inside for a few days...

Everything is closed today, if you step outside you will die. I'm at work with a few other brave souls and we have about a 50% call in 'snow' already. Lame. It's windy so if you step outside not only will you die but you will get deadly frostbite. If you manage not to die you should stay off the roads or you will really die for sure. I wanted to visit Starbucks this morning but didn't want to die.

Can't wait to text our mountain neighbor and see how much snow we have there (although to be fair they don't live in the tree's and get about half as much). I'm expecting we will shovel a few feet down there. Forecast is wind and sun for the next week so it's going to be messy and fun! Cheers!

About 30 inches, if not more

Note to self: buy a snow roof rake...

We failed to remove the tomato plants last year, now we are growing snow!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Spring to winter again

It's a slow time of year, always hard to get things done on the homestead when you have several feet of snow everywhere. Nothing really exciting to blog about, but as the wether and season changes that will change. Winter in the mountains.

A week+ of nice warm weather did a number on the snow problem but now there is a storm blowing in. It started dumping snow a few hours ago and they expect 1-2 feet here in the mountains. We are debating leaving a little earlier so we don't have to deal with conditions in the morning and traffic. The sun is keeping most of the storm at bay and it's only a few inches so far. I've shoveled once and it was enough to keep the deck snow melting and not accumulating.

Rock and I breaking trail/road
Yesterday the road was dirt and dry. The creeks were running under the ice and the spring pool area had a bit of water in it. I think we've gotten twice as much snow this year as last but it's been warmer overall.
Easy on the eyes.

That was the backyard view last weekend, half of that melted the past week.

We have a list of projects that we are going to start on so we've been sitting around going over them:

Have propane tank installed and plumbed to a new propane kitchen range.
New fridge, large one (ours is only 5 feet tall with freezer included). Need to make sure it's not frost free on the freezer section.
Buy several 'runner' carpets and a few small area rugs. This will spruce up the place and save the old carpet some wear and tear.
Order a new medicine cabinet and bathroom light.
Install a switch so we can run the well pump and cabin on a generator. We have a couple other small things for the electrician to do while he is here working on that.
Replace bathroom sink and redo kitchen sink plumbing
Storage container - still up in the air, depends on how much more long term storage and supplies we decide to pick up. We don't want the place to look jammed up.
Find and install 3 storm windows

It's a bit of money here and there but spaced out of this year it should work out well.  Work continues to be OK, it's nice that we are spending the weekend together because we rarely see each other 6 days out of the week. It's a lot like being single minus the whole being single thing.

We sold the Jeep and Mercedes this past week and picked up an 06 Range Rover for me to use when not in the company car. It's nice to have a full size SUV again, plenty of room for supplies and backpacks. We have another Rover vehicle being shipped in from Kansas to replace the Mercedes. While it was a beautiful car, it was a car and just didn't fit our lifestyle as much as we tried to make it. Once the new one arrives that will be Rover #14 in the last 20 years. It's also nice to have more luxurious vehicles because neither of us are getting younger. I'm almost recovered from screwing my knee up 2 weeks ago, a constant reminder that I should act my age... or not.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Texas paintball and back

Obviously I'm a sucker for punishment and as usual I find more ways to punish myself. This past weekend two friends and I jumped in the car and drove to Texas to play paintball.

Paintball? Yes.

I haven't played in years and just recently have gotten back in the sport. The game in Texas was a 24 hour scenario game with hundreds of players on each team. Back in the day I was on a team that won the European championship two years in a row and some local competitions but I just outgrew the cliques and drama that seemed to follow most good teams.

I'm used to running around and stressing my body but I haven't worn cleats in years. I forgot how much traction you get and how much your body has to adjust to the quick turns, rapid stops, etc. On top of that there was all the usual running, sprinting, low crawling (the night game was great, had to crawl almost 1/2 a mile to wreck an enemy squad), etc.
I gave lessons to people on squad element maneuvers, hasty ambushes, planned ambushes, fire and maneuver, and more. It's all natural to me but in order to be successful the people around you need to know what they are doing (and what you are doing). We were able to hold all the objectives, hold the lines, repel assaults, etc.
We won by several hundred points to the amazement of the other two teams. Our team commander told me that she appreciated my dedication and the quick training lessons given out to the squads before they headed out on missions. I also played a medic for a few hours and had 112 revives under enemy fire, talk about MVP status (had we stayed for the award ceremony anyhow).

One of my friends has only left Colorado to go to San Fran last year when we had a business meeting. Now he has been to a couple more states and wasn't really impressed with New Mexico and only slightly impressed with Texas. I think Texas has the interstate system down really well, we never had traffic issues and everyone was friendly and tried not to impede traffic if they were slow. We based outside of Austin so everything was really green and the weather cooperated nicely and was in the 50's.

One of my friends cleaning his gear after the night game.

My body is almost recovered. I'll give it a few more days before I run and do lower body workouts. As we all know, the older we get the harder and longer the recovery is.

We all had an amazing time, we are debating going next month to Dallas. It was nice to just go have fun for a few days and not care about much else.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

30, 90, 365?

I've been giving another preparedness group a go for a couple of months because we know that there is only so much we can do ourselves. It would be nice to say that we have been giving this group a chance but after one meeting I was on my own because there is only so much that we can put up with and I'm the more patient and forgiving person (not sure how that happened).

As usual, the preparedness level and expertise of the average person in the group is severely lacking. Perhaps lacking is the wrong word but I give credit for trying because everyone has to start somewhere. Recently we talked about the size of a garden and hydroponics set-up that a group of 30 people would need in order to get all of the food the group needed. There were only a few of us that discussed that the numbers were absolutely unrealistic and that's why such things need to be PART of preps, not the only preps.
Who has a warehouse for aquaponics (with natural light, insulation, etc.) and who has a garden that's 1000q feet (or an area that's already prep'd with good soil)?

90 days worth of food for each person is the current minimum... oh no, HELL no. One year should be the minimum basic standard. That much food for one person isn't super expensive although it might not be fun and exciting and it doesn't take up much room at all with buckets. When I first started attending the group meetings most people were saying 30 days of food was good and that they would bring it with them if they had to 'bug out' to a retreat. I was able to help move that up a few months.

What about the people who have a years worth of food but plan on having a group of people 'show up' in an event? Let's say a couple in the group are bringing 10 people to a retreat. In our opinion they should each have a years worth of food (minimum) already pre-staged, they should have some sort of sweat equity in the retreat, they should have supplies besides food already set-up at the retreat.

I suppose we feel people should have some sort of mental and physical investment in a retreat. Even children and elderly can help but nobody seems to want to discuss this but they sure want them to just show up with backpacks and carts and cars full of whatever crap they could stuff in there and pretend it's 30 days worth of food.

That's just food. What about seeds for a garden, hand tools, screws, nails, tape, tarps, thread, oil, vitamins, batteries, portable battery chargers, blankets, pots and pans, soap, medicine, etc? Instead of discussions like this, there is a push to get ham radio licenses and yet nobody can answer my questions of 'why?'. Why do people feel like they need a license for everything instead of just making sure they know how to use it?

The good news is I've met a few serious people and we are hosting them next weekend for lunch. I'm happy to help people out and put some direction out there to keep people on track. They just need to 'want' to be on track and not just in some cool high school clique.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Work, gym, sleep

I feel like I've used that title before but as long as it fits, I suppose I don't care.

In an effort to step up my health and fitness this year I've added more gym time and running. It seems to be about 2.5-3 hours a day, 4 days a week. The other 3 days are 2 runs and one day off.

Work, gym, sleep. I also stretch more than before and my body bitches and complains more than before too! I decided against committing to a 31 mile run this year and will just see how things play out and keep working on balancing all of my activities.

At the cabin I manage plenty of sleep, not so much at the city house. It's amazing how much noise I hear when I'm not in the mountains. Today we hung out at the cabin together, french toast to start the day was perfect. It was an amazing blue sky day with a little breeze to put the temperature around 12 with wind chill. What do I do when it's SO warm out?


Looking home from the gas station

The road up to a fellow bloggers property

Looking back home again
 The sun was on my back the entire run and somebody was kind enough to pick me up an hour later. I didn't make it to the gas station but we wanted to get the local papers and see what horrific crimes and/or tales of right vs. left they were printing.
One paper is right wing and complains about the government and yet applauds law enforcement when they take down a marijuana grow or do anything in favor of what they think is right/correct. The other paper is left wing and complains about guns, the other paper and generally anything not socialist/fair. Both are lame and can't see nor write about what is really happening from a neutral perspective but it's all yesterdays news anyhow (or the last week really). It keeps the basket next to the fireplace stocked and it does provide us with local contractors if we need work done.

Spaghetti and sugar cookies was a hit for lunch and dinner but now it's dark outside.
The woodbox is full, I'm warm and by myself (somebody hates getting up early on a workday) and am patiently awaiting the amazing milky way display soon to unfold. This is how 2016 is supposed to be, and its great so far.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

I always think it's interesting when someone says 'those are good problems to have'. Luckily all problems have a solution, sometimes they just aren't apparent when you are looking.

2015 started off bad and didn't let up often. There were some amazing highlights but looking back in it's totality, we are happy to see 2015 roll into a new year and give us a fresh start. It's all mental but creating a magic 'from this point forward' line really helps.

We don't have huge plans for the coming year, we both just want things to continue to level out. We are hoping to head to Mexico for some scuba diving in the spring. I'm heading to Texas in a few weeks for a little adventure and we will both head down there in February. I know I'll be in Vegas for work stuff a few times and even Texas for work later in the year. The cars will have some mileage added to them this year for sure (since flying ruins an entire day, 12 hours of driving will be much better for the closer trips).

Preparedness will continue but we are going to hold off on doing some extensive work at the cabin until 2017 so we don't use cash reserves and don't have to get a loan. Things will get done but on a smaller scale. We need to do a few things here in the city but they aren't too major (water heater, tear out the bedroom drywall and add new insulation).

So long 2015. You tried to break us but made us stronger (so thanks?).

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chili, because.

We had a nice holiday with Father in-law and some neighbors (of ours) that he invited. We don't dislike said neighbors but the only thing they have in common with FIL is religion. As soon as they showed up he wanted to dance with her. I quickly shot him in the ass with a nerf gun but no damage was done. It's really uncomfortable for everyone because he is trying to get away by being the 'innocent old man' but we really know whats going on and you can tell when others don't feel comfortable. We already had the 'can't date anyone we work with' talk so we are just seeing how things play out.

I continued the nerf war for about 4 hours (it's what happens when we pick out the toys to give a nephew) and then we moved to lego's. Somebody picked up a troop transport and tie fighter but couldn't find the falcon anywhere locally. I always wanted one but he had to settle but it didn't matter they were all dumped in a pile and scooped into a box for another time.

We wanted to spend Christmas in the mountains but the rest of the family didn't. I had to be at work on Saturday so it was for the best. Here is what the drive down looked like on Saturday afternoon:

Some winds but otherwise it was sunny until this spot almost halfway.
As expected because it's December.
Solid ice. The town is around the bend and straight on.
Fresh snow and Rabies the cat is surviving on her own just fine.
X marks the spot that Rock made.
The high yesterday was 20 and it was a little breezy to make it negative 9. I decided that would be a no workout day (3 in a row, somebody help me) and Rock didn't get many hikes because the ice was forming on his paws. We can't do the booties unless we muzzle him so he gets to sit around more in the winter and be bored.

I did run this afternoon, it was about 9 degrees with wind chill but the sky was blue and I felt sloth-full and needed to do something. Long sleeve shirt, running wind-proof jacket, gloves, ear muff thing and shorts. I was super overheated, should have known better but wanted to prevent frostbite in case the wind picked up. My legs are always fine, it's my fingers and ears that get bitchy.

I like my stew and chili very chunky with just enough juice to soak into the crackers. Kidney beans, white beans, ground beef, onion, tomato dices, jalapeƱos (they don't carry Serrano peppers here), cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, tomato paste. It wasn't very spicy so it was more like hamburger stew but we managed to eat 5 bowls.

We saw Star Wars but have to see it again because some parents brought their 2 and 3 year old kids and let them run around and play in the isle. Just like off leash dogs, it's not the dogs fault (or kids in this case) but there really isn't anything you can do because the parents obviously don't care.

I hope your holiday was bright and you got a little more freedom and liberty under the tree! We donated to some great dog organizations and helped 2 friends get their first firearms. The year is coming to a close so it's time for reflection and goal setting. Can't be sure of what the next year will bring but it's going to be wild for sure.