Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A little snow finally.

While winter isn't over around here until the end of April, it's nice to see the mountains blanketed in snow. There isn't much snow anywhere else but the peaks and in the trees. The light for this picture was really amazing, the entire area just seemed to have a glow about it.

Rock and I were hiking a lot, navigating the ice patches on the road until we got out in the open. He enjoyed the mud, I didn't enjoy cleaning him off every few hours. We had a good time, father in-laws dog is staying with us while we are determining what a good course of action will be. He is in a rehabilitation old folks type home right now. It's a nice place and it's safe, we are worried about him being back home and something happening but it's really going to be up to him.

What's it like in the trees?

Whatever snow lands out in the open blows across the valley, but it does like to stick around at home. The last few weeks have been windy, upwards of 120 mph gusts and sustained 60+ mph especially in the city. We had about 20k worth of damage at work from the wind and flying debris and my company car is missing a back window. Fences are broken and sections just missing all over the county but ours is perfect. I remember my first blogger post was about metal fence posts, and those saved us from not only fence work, but they fence kept everyone else's debris out of our yard.

It's a pretty incredible difference in/out of the tree's. I've driven in and had to shovel (especially the occasional drift) in order to get the door open but the valley looked clear like this photo. Even in the tree's the wind can blow hard enough to have dirt collect on the inside window sills of the old non-storm windows.

We really love living here, and while it might not be full time, we are starting to remodel and update a few things in 2017 so when we make the full time move, it's all set. We are even thinking of adding a 2 car garage and turning the attached 1 car garage into a regular home room. Unfortunately, watching how slow construction goes in the valley that might not be something we will do this year. If we can get a concrete pad put down without too much trouble, we will most likely get a tuff-shed type garage so at least we have a shell up fast and can go to work on the insulation and interior finish.
Something like this:

It will give us storage for 2 vehicles and room for the ATV's and other things. We don't need an upper level so perhaps just a nice pitched roof with a loft type area for storage.

Rock is as cute as the bear. I was loading up heading in for work while he tried to pull the ears off 'sir knottingham'. I also had to shovel the foot of snow that had fallen while we were sleeping. It was coming down hard and I'm sure we got close to 18 inches or more over the course of yesterday. In town there was maybe 1/4 inch but honestly it makes my job easier when we don't have to manage with weather. Work is nuts, as usual, and I'm heading to New Orleans next week. Yuck.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Scenery from the last couple of months

I'm often asked if the drive gets tiresome, old, boring. It's 90 miles to work and of course home again, but I've not once ever tired of it. I do get tired of the drivers, that's easy to do, but even in the real short passing zones I'm able to get ahead of the 35's in a 55. I find that I only get up a little earlier than normal, but have everything already laid out for the day to save time.

We love the varied weather in Colorado, 50's and 60's on day, snowing the next and then warm again. It could be -20 with the wind but as long as the sun is shining, it's a perfect day for a run (and even when it's not, but that requires more clothes). Healthier living, cooking and eating has been on the menu for the last few months and that includes not talking about work and spending some time doing absolutely nothing.

5 miles from home on a run, postcard living.

I shovel a lot at the end of the drive, but the snowplow never shows up.

-30 with windchill and I was happy to break out the shovel.

Blurry but still amazingly colorful.

Heading into the valley. The lines are my windshield heater -25 degrees.

A few days later there was nothing left!

A week later I ran after a storm, just the rabbit tracks and I.

Winds from the north west on another run.

Breaking trail on another amazing day.

Rock with 'knottingham bear' and 'douggie the dragon' (and a shark!).

The wind is predictable (and always a headwind).

The moon, having a competition with the sun.

Cooking up some teriyaki sauce (lots of ginger and garlic).

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas eve and we are wrapping presents. Apple and pumpkin pie ingredients sit next to the mixer for an early morning baking sessions. Chocolate sheet cake is also on the to-do list. There is a turkey in the fridge, right in front of the ham and the relatives are supposed to be providing the rest. Father in-law is on a quick downward health spiral and this could be the last Christmas with him so we are making it grand.

I've taken a pretty good break from blogging and social media, I needed to do everything possible at work in order to make it a good year for everyone and just couldn't afford any distractions. It was certainly self preservation, income was looking to be down about 60% at mid year and ended up settling down 10% overall.
The key manager we hired just left this past week and my other half is now managing that department. We don't really see each other but a few hours a week, and that doesn't look to be changing in the near future. Mexico and Italy are on the vacation menu for 2017 and work will take me to New Orleans, Miami Beach, Tampa and Las Vegas.

I've left the MMA, boxing, kick boxing and jiu jitsu behind and am taking up ultra running again. My disability insurance and life insurance don't allow me to compete in any of the combat type sports so back to something I know and love that's possibly kinder to my body. I've already set 3 new personal best times int he last couple of weeks since turning my entire focus to running, somehow this old broken body is still capable of surprising itself.

We are still enjoying our mountain cabin and just picked up new appliances as a holiday present to ourselves. A bathroom remodel might be in the cards next year, along with a couple of other small projects.

I hope everyone is doing well. I'll make my rounds and see what life is like across the country and continent.

Merry Christmas, and all the best in the new year.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

How to ride a goat

When approaching a moat, and it's so chilly you need a coat, be sure you are atop a kick-ass goat!

I didn't actually ride her, but I did visit. This cute girl belongs to my new neighbor who finally arrived from out West. It was nice to finally meet in person after several years of blogging and a few emails. I know I'm going to learn a lot about so many things. I already learned several things about goats (including I should have taken a video of how to put the harness/leash on this girl).
Sometimes the beauty is hard to capture but I try

This storm rolled in hard and fast but didn't leave snow on the peaks.

It's been stormy most of the weekend with several hours of nice weather. We took the sunshine as an opportunity to paint the front door red, from it's yucky white. The garage is getting organized with racking and containers, already making a huge difference when trying to find a tool. Rock and I have about 7 miles of hikes done and I did a nice 4 mile high altitude run. During said run I managed to step in-between two rock and tweaked my ankle a little so I didn't run today.
Rock being sort-of patient while I take a photo

2nd meeting with the Amish neighbors dog, Rock was great.

Exhausted, both of us.
I made my first ever applesauce, didn't realize it would take so long (or use so many apples) but it ended up being tasty. Could have used some more sugar but with honey crisp apples I wanted to play it safe on the sweetness. We canned some and used some on grilled pork chops. We managed to get some more jam canned up (strawberry, blueberry, peach) and unless I run into a great deal, I think the jam season is done after all of this weekends work.
Stacking jams!
We have a lot of jam, probably 75 jars or so. Next canning will be salsa and pickles but that's a few weeks away, we have some other plans for the next couple of weekends. Since we will have a lot of salsa (think jam numbers), we are going to try and figure out different ways to use it in cooking. It wouldn't surprise me if this winter has us sitting on 50 jars of pickles but those seem to vanish faster than anything so nothing to worry about with those.

The wind has hopefully blown the clouds away so I can marvel at the heavens tonight. Amazing.

Friday, August 26, 2016

What season is it?

After a few weeks of really hot weather, it seemed that spring showed up again. Rain, and more rain, and some more. Hail, rain, wind, thunderstorms, rain, hail, etc.
Did I mention snow yet?
Waking up to 42 degree weather is exciting, the mountains still have a dusting of snow on them for almost 2 weeks straight. I slept so well because I had all the windows open and it was certainly chilly inside, I had to be brave when it was time to get out of the shower. We have some warmer weather coming again next week with temperatures back in the 90's. For now we are enjoying the rain, the green scenery and the creeks/streams with 2-3 times the normal volume for August.

It's mouse season. We think they made a nest in the fireplace, they are in for a surprise when we clean everything one more time before we need to light it up. We've eliminated a few in traps but they are small little creatures with light little gentle peanut butter licking tongues.

It's also canning season!
Peach jam or maybe it's witches brew!
I scraped the pot and shoveled it into my mouth... so good.
Colorado peaches were .98 per pound and we snagged 20 pounds of them. That will eventually net us 28-30 pints of jam. Honey crisp apples were in stock at Costco and 1/2 the price I could find anywhere so grabbed 2 dozen and I currently am cooling 7 pints of apple slices in a very light sauce. Blueberries I found at a local supermarket and they actually looked really good so 8 pounds of those are going to be jammed up.
That's a whole lot of action going on inside this weekend. Outside it's going to be dry enough to seal the deck and replace the railing boards. I'm not sure we have enough time but there are 24 hours in a day, why not make the most of them all. We also need to run, eat and hike Rock around.

I made it back to the gym after Las Vegas and several days off. I had some great workouts. I've been getting octagon cage rounds once a week and doing really well. When sparring full on MMA against people 1/2 my age (and younger), it's nice to see improvement. I also got my first Jiu Jitsu belt rank promotion, very unexpected and a pleasant surprise. I've set high expectations for myself.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Back from the land of zombies

I'll admit, I sort of enjoy going to Las Vegas. I've been about 70 times in the last 15 years and I always do have a good time. It's not the "free" drinks, it's not the gambling, the shows, the food... it's watching the zombies walk around. It's a great reminder that most of the population is just horrible at just about everything.
My friend and I had every intention of running each day and the first day our run was amazing. When I say amazing I mean horrible with the temperature landing at 108 so we didn't make it very far. It's been a while since I was in a combat load in serious heat and I forgot how sucky that heat and humidity is. I decided that we would run in the morning but it was 92 degrees at 5am so that didn't work out. Being a complete sucker for punishment I went running in the afternoon by myself and I was just as miserable as the first day. It was only 106 out but I think the humidity was higher so it was another 'why did I do this' moment.

Back home I have cucumbers to pick and I did enjoy my first tomato sandwich. It's been relatively cool around here (compared to Vegas for sure) so it looks like the garden might spend the next two months providing a lot of vegetables. We have a good supply of canning jars but are keeping an eye out for sales, I think about 120 jars is the magic number we are looking for. We are going to can a lot this year.

The valley is really green this year and the water is still flowing at a nice volume. The yard has almost recovered from the painter trampling all over the place and parking on the grass. We mowed a section by the leech field but everything else still looks good 6 weeks after the last mowing. It was nice and cool in the evening when the clouds rolled in but sleep was fitful due to allergies and hay cutting.

We replaced the storm door for better light and airflow. The entire top slides down giving us at least 20% more screen window area. It's nice to have a deadbolt on this door, obviously glass is easy to bust, but one more obstacle doesn't hurt. The replacement took about 90 minutes but that was about 15 minutes of me not following the instructions before I got 'talked to sternly'. In the winter it will let a lot more sun in as well. Weatherstripping is needed in a few spots for a better seal but this is one more project crossed off the list.

I'm sure we added a few more projects but that's life for us. These things take my mind off work and work has been a real shit-show for a few months now. My income is down about 30% and I'm still struggling to keep a good attitude most of the time. Whenever I bring anything up that we need to change/discuss I'm told to wait a few weeks and those weeks have turned into months. It's a good thing I still enjoy what I do, and that we aren't buried in debt because that provides options. I've gotten a few job offers but I'm loyal and the horse is still able to be ridden. These are times when I enjoy watching the sprinklers, more than ever.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Incoming! Lettuce seed!

On the way out of the yard this morning I noticed the lettuce seed pods are opening, very exciting.

I think I planted this lettuce maybe 4 years ago and haven't had to replant since then. I usually save 2 plant tops full of seeds (a few hundred seeds or so) and the rest I let fall on the ground to begin anew. This means we have fresh lettuce in October and again in April. We have seed stored at both houses and will keep adding to the collection.

We are being patient with the garden, the tomato plants aren't enjoying the last couple of weeks of heat so no new growth, and no new red fruit. The few ripe ones we had I didn't get to enjoy on a sandwich because someone picked them and gave them to father in-law. I over acted and dramatized that I was slowly being killed by starvation.

Cucumbers are doing well, minus one plant on each end of the row. We should have an abundance of pickles. I need to visit Ace hardware in town and buy 5+ cases of jars. They always have the best selection and prices for canning supplies. We don't get the fancy jars although sometimes they are tempting as we give a lot of them away as gifts. Twice the price has always stopped us from doing it.
I did run out of jelly (in the fridge) so I conquered a pile of laundry in the basement and got myself some peach jelly that we canned almost 3 years ago. The jelly, salsa and pickle supply is still well stocked and with any luck it's numbers will be doubled by years end. The peanut butter and peach jelly sandwich was amazing and could have only been better if it was cool enough to make bread.