Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A year later

We've had our cabin for a few days over a year so it was fun to be down there this past weekend and really enjoy it. There are times I think we haven't done anything to it but looking over the pictures reminds me of how much it's changed.
Of course I had to run the lawnmower, keeping the jungle at bay helps keep the bug population down and when the mosquitoes are like amazon drones.... well every bit helps.
The clover blew around but much of it still grew and is filling in bare spots

There is a spring here, with a few small damns. We tripled the water holding pools.

It was a beautiful weekend to be in the hills.
We have a lot of plans for the next year, right now we are holding onto our money. We could easily pour a lot into a new bathroom, deck, windows, carpet, etc. but unlike most people we know or work with, we don't like debt. We have a good amount of emergency supplies and are diligently continuing our stockpiling. There are only so many good storage spaces but we are steadily filling everything up.

Father in-law isn't doing good unfortunately and we aren't sure if he has simply called it quits or not. He is on 10 medications, doesn't eat much of anything at all, is always off balance and can't remember a lot of things. He needs to be on oxygen all the time but the hose bothers his hearing aids. So not only is he not listening, he takes his hearing aids out and can't listen. After dealing with the entire ordeal with mother in-law, it seems like it's been a year of shit but we are continuing to be strong and patient. It's hard, it's very taxing on our relationship and I understand how these health issues in parents can take a toll on marriages.
That being said, we are all booked and paid up for our 20th anniversary to Rome in August. We also might head to Paris and Normandy in September. If everyone is ok at that time.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A much needed break

Life appears to be getting back to normal (our normal) finally. We hired a key manager at work and I hired an assistant. Both are working out great and the timing was perfect since 4 days after they both were hired we left for the island of Nevis in the West Indies.
It was time for R&R

This was our beach, I swam each day for about 2 miles, ocean swimming is so relaxing and I don't have to worry about turning every 50 feet.

I decided to get a new BCD for this trip, my old one works great but it's from a time when I was running a lot and didn't have as much mass. It worked out great and my allergies only bothered me a little. It was really nice to get some diving done. 

From our dive boat looking towards the island of St. Kitts.

One of the hiking/running trails we explored, looking at monkeys play in the trees.

The golf course one of the trails wraps around

From the dive boat looking back at Nevis. The volcano is rarely clear of clouds, this was probably the best picture out of the 2 weeks. It's thick rain forest and jungle with a lot of moisture. One of the dives had us at 100 feet checking out thermal vents (or hot springs as they called them).

Monkeys didn't care about us and most of the time didn't even get out of the way.

It's nice to be home, even if we are really busy with work this month. The schedule opens up in July and we are really excited to get some cabin and home projects done. It's been raining for weeks but even that looks to be clearing out starting today. the entire state is green and lush but the garden is stalled out a little due to the lack of sun.
We have been keeping up with the yard at the cabin and the clover is filling in holes and attracting a lot of wildlife. We usually have deer in the woods and even bedding down in the front yard plus there are always bunnies hopping around. We are still the only people in the area keeping their property in good shape. If we didn't keep the mowing up, the grass would be 3-4 feet tall right now.

We got out on the ATV's for a few hours and had to clear a lot of tree's out of the way, drive under a few leaning tree's and even make log bridges over some of the massive tree's that had fallen down. Next time we go out I'll strap the chainsaw down on the back rack so we can get the trail cleared out better. Being able to legally ride on the county roads is great, after a 4 hour ATV ride it's nice to be home in 20 minutes instead of backtracking.

The mountains at the cabin look amazing as always. 

I might attempt a summit on Saturday but haven't committed just yet. Rock needs some hiking and can't manage the summit attempts so I might spend time walking him around and getting some small projects handled. No matter what, it's nice to be back home and having our schedules getting back to normal. We are both still running and hitting the gym and Rock is holding down the fort (and me).

Monday, May 25, 2015

6 hours of sunshine!

It's been an unusually rainy spring, only a few days without rain in the last 30+ days. This past week was no different and we are hoping the garden seeds will survive. Cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, tomatoes, bush beans, lettuce, onions, asparagus...

Here is some food from my last trip

Similar for sure! I actually rarely eat breakfast but when I'm on a trip somewhere I make it a habit so I have the energy levels for the whole day.

Work is still kicking me in the ass. I'm in the process of hiring an assistant but until then it's overload and non-stop action. This coming weekend I'm heading to the cabin to do a few projects and get it ready for the summer. Once the 20th of June rolls around my workload levels out so we will be enjoying a lot of cabin and ATV time.

The gym has been kind to me and the running is actually improving again. It's honestly miserable and painful but I'm just pushing through it. Once I start riding my bike my ankles and hips should get a little more flexible. Sometimes age and abuse catches up with me faster than I would prefer.

It's memorial day and I'm going to get an ice cream bar.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Airport downtime update

I decided not to look and see how long it's been since I updated the blog.... it might be depressing. I've had the best of intentions on getting a post done, but either haven't had the time, energy or both.

Life is treating us well and keeping us busy. This morning I'm in Indiana waiting to get on a plane to head back home for a few days. I always get to the airport hours ahead of time, an old habit of being on the no fly list. The extra time let's me catch up on things that are actually important, like this blog and reading what's going on in with the blogs I follow.

The garden is planted finally, it seemed like the rain and snow wouldn't let up but I took a risk and got everything planted lest weekend. Since then it's been raining a lot but the snow and frost line hasn't made it too far down the mountains. So far it's been a wet year, but there hasn't been flooding. The water in the city neighborhood was very high, just a few inches form cresting the banks. I checked on my friends house and family while he was away and besides the kids being stuck inside everything was great. Since they took care of our house in the flooding 2 years ago, I always look for chances to help out.

The cabin is great, when we get the chance to head down. My new duties at work have grown (as expected) and I'm looking to hire an administrative assistant really soon. I discussed it yesterday and while part of me feels bad for asking for help, letting something important slip through the cracks isn't acceptable.

At the cabin we planted 18 apple tree's and 12 pounds of clover. The spring was damned up and just needs some finishing rock work to make it look great. The spot we chose for the damn might have had 100 gallons of held water, now it's closer to 500 if not more. Luckily we have the ATV's and a trailer so we can haul rocks wherever we need.
The ATV's are now legal to drive on the county roads, making it so much easier to access the 100 mile rainbow trail system. There are sections that take 2 hours, due to being so damn rough and bumpy, that we can now bypass quickly. It might actually bring more tourism to the area, for us it's just a real convenience.
Apple tree's

The spring damns mid design

The yard is nice and green, the clover is filling in fast

This weekend is work, next weekend is cabin time.

We will then be in the West Indies for 8 days for a much needed scuba diving trip. We started making plans to visit Seattle friends and attend a conference, that might have just gotten scrubbed by an unexpected work meeting landing right in the middle of the expected time away.
Rome has been booked and paid up for August, 10 days for our 20th anniversary. We decided to pay the extra for business class so we can lay flat and sleep on the way over, preventing jet lag and wasting a day.

Working out is still going great. Running, weights, cross fit, boxing, etc. The balance I've achieved with all of that, and my eating, has been working for months and I'm really enjoying it. Can't wait to hike the 14ers at the cabin and see how much of an improvement over last summer I have made.

In closing, enjoy Rock!

Friday, April 24, 2015

or how I didn't go to Florida

Unfortunately a new hire at work had to be placed on leave and I decided to stay in town to make sure there weren't any issues. The boss is busy taking care of his mother, who isn't doing very well at all so a lot of new responsibilities have fallen onto me.
The more I learn, the more valuable I am (here and if we ever have to relocate).

I was looking forward to sleep, swimming in the Gulf, laying on the beach, visiting old friends and working out with one of my favorite youtube personalities. All plans only last until initial contact... something like that.
That's the second trip I had planned this year that ended up going nowhere. More to come I'm sure.

I had some antonovka rootstock arrive for the cabin, hoping to get that planted next weekend. The in-law side of the family are heading out of town this weekend and I need to stay and get some things done. We are looking forward to planting both gardens, the apple trees and making sure everything is ready for summer. Planting is a few more weeks away but everything is graphed and plotted out. It won't ever look nice and neat like this picture, but we get a lot of food.

I suppose everything is just normal. Work, working out, running, etc. Added some boxing and kickboxing into my routine. I'm trying to become more agile and less of a meathead but I don't want to lose strength and/or power. It's physically taxing and mentally demanding but I enjoy being all in, all the time.

Still prepping; physically, mentally and with things... Having a good stockpile means we don't alway shave to buy things unless it's to replace what we used. We aren't using much since we have gone to relatively low carb eating. Costco will get a visit soon, the canned roast beef is really good, packed with protein and very low sodium (for canned meat that's amazing).

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tax week!

The last week was very productive at the homesteads, projects galore and accomplishments noted.

Some friends were in town so we went to the cabin and dropped 20 pounds of clover seed around the property. I'm sure half of it blew away but I'm hoping it's going to look beautiful with the white, red and crimson clover. 
It's almost time to rake the pinecones up, damn things will roll an ankle fast. One of our big focus items this spring is getting the spring and creek beds cleaned up. We want to damn them up to create more waterfalls and a larger area for Rock to splash around in. I'm hoping to get some of that done this weekend but there might be a couple feet of snow on Thursday.

Heading out to Tampa on Sunday for work. I have a lot of friends in Florida, mostly in the Tampa area, it will be fun to visit. Usually I'm in Orlando and stay at a friends house (he does have a pool) but things got moved around. I found a beach side hotel to lounge at while I'm not at seminars and such. I always include leisure time.

Work around the city house was done, we are 90% complete with spring readiness and can't wait to get the plants into the garden. Rock is enjoying the war weather, it's great for chasing squirrels and barking at neighbors.

I've always been a fan of a flat tax. If we have to pay taxes (threat of violence, point of a gun), it should actually be fair. Not the fair tax but a simple X percent by everyone, no change for income levels. Call me selfish but I work for my money, not for anyone else's money and I shouldn't have my money going to childcare credits, people getting three times back the amount they paid in, etc. I'm not even against welfare but the current system is broken beyond repair... so I suppose I'm against it.

I managed to eek out a meager $45 balance due for taxes, but that's on top of the over $55,000 they took over the course of last year. I think we will end up paying right at $100k total for the both of us. I always have to tell myself that we make a great living and if we didn't make it, they wouldn't take so much. It doesn't make it sting less.

West Indies, Settle, Tampa, Vegas, Indianapolis and Rome are on the traveling agenda this year. Lot's of in state trips for work, my summer is jammed with things that I need to do for work. I just want to go climb mountains, plant things and build things.

The life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The end is near! (of the weekend)

April is probably just a taste of what the year has in store for us. Setting records in all departments at work so we are both crazy busy. We are staying on course, and did make it to the cabin this weekend again. There were no plans, nothing that was to be done, we just wanted a weekend of whatever we felt like.

The plan of no plan worked very well (we even got things done!). We drove up the mountain to have dinner at a restaurant we had talked about bringing mother in-law to. Father in-law was with us again and we had a good dinner. They always have the same menu but I prefer that, no surprises and I always know what I want.
The drive back was beautiful, as it always seems to be. I can't think of a bad scenic shot from the cabin area. The above photo was looking east, the below photo looking west.

None of us stayed up much after dark, doe clouds rolled in and ruined what was apparently a beautiful night sky. I needed sleep, so no complaints.

We did a lot of hiking and running, the off road trails are half open and fun to run with the mud, snow and rock. I prefer the trails, someone else doesn't so I was a a sag wagon on Saturday afternoon.
6+ miles from the cabin awaiting a sweaty wind blown runner
The hay makes great bedding!
We grilled up pork chops with applesauce and had a salad. I decided to make some cookies, an old amish recipe our neighbor gave me, that I tweaked some. They were voted best cookies ever.

I'm currently making more, there was 1 cookie left for my after run snack today.

1 C. Butter, 1 C. Veg Oil, 1 C. Sugar, 1 tsp. soda, 1 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 tsp. salt, 1tbs. vanilla, 2 eggs, 4 C. flour, 1.5 C. chocolate chips. Roll into balls, roll in powdered sugar, back @ 350 until the bottom edges start to brown. Here at high altitude it was around 18 minutes (my cookies were big too, no time for baby cookies).

I have all of the seed ordered for the garden at both homes, and I ordered about 12 pounds of clover seed (various colors) so we can get the cabin greener. The water is flowing in all of the creeks again so next weekend we will seed the property. We are going to bring a set of waders down so we can build some dams in the creek and spring. The rushing and splashing water can be heard from inside the cabin but we want it louder for those windy nights.

It was windy for most of the weekend. Running made us deaf on one side from the rushing wind but we stuck with it. I'm in a leaning out phase right now, 4+ gym sessions per week of 90+ minutes plus a MMA training workout:
1000 Meter Row
1 Mile treadmill run
45 minutes of heavy weight training
30 minutes cross-fit type workouts focusing on core and agility

Broke some new records on weights in the last 2 weeks:
Calf raises 285
Seated shoulder press 245
Seated rows 285
Incline Hammer Strength 340
Bench Press 285 (no spots)
Dumbbell presses 115 each hand (no spots)

Honestly it's a really hard balance to lean out, get stronger and add cardio. I'm exhausted all the time and 8pm usually has me in bed. I'm training with a real UFC fighter so we do things with tires because they are unwieldy and cause your balance to improve.

Time for some bbq pork chops, broccoli, cauliflower and 1 cookie. Rationing crap....  I hope everyone had a great last few weeks, and a good Easter.