Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Dad!

In celebration of what would have been my Dad's 69th birthday, I'm going to eat cake at some point today. If the weather holds, I'll make one... and if not I'll just get a small one at the store and pretend it's not full of who-knows-what. So far the weather is cool, so I'll make a treat tonight but I don't know about frosting and all that sugar.

My goal was to have the cabin and have it all ready by today. I was weeks ahead of that plan, and it was nice to spend the night there and wake up on his birthday. All of the projects I've done and will do, are things I learned from him.I should have learned more, but I was a kid and didn't find it so awesome at the time. Most kids back then actually learned from parents, today it's almost nonexistent. I'm so thankful for everything I did learn, including my sarcastic nature and smart mouth!

This photo was from our last motorcycle trip in the White Mountains of N.H. I left a couple of weeks later for basic training. We had a lot of trips, all were very memorable. I don't remember why we stopped here, I think we needed a part for his bike.
 In an old throwback photo, I'm not even in it! I'm not sure if I wasn't on this trip, I would have been at most 1.5 years old I think. My older brother is right next to my Dad, looking sad for some reason. The other 2 kids were step kids, and that marriage ended shortly after this photo when my Dad came home in between jobs and told step mother to not beat us for playing in the junkyard. She said if he didn't like it he could take his kids and leave... so we did, the next day.
This is my Dad, his brother and his brothers wife. This photo is very classic, the lady always seemed spacey, Uncle Andy always chewed his nails when he was nervous and my Dad ALWAYS used that hand gesture. It's also a great photo to remind me of how I grew up. The chicken coop, the outhouse, the gun range behind them.... and of course my Dad's coffee. I don't know how many thousands of cups of coffee I made him but I never balked when he asked. We had 5 gallon buckets for water and I would scoop a small pan of water and heat it up for his instant coffee. I've forgotten how much sugar he liked.. the little things go first.

We spent this weekend at the cabin and now have the ATV's stored there. 71 miles on an ATV (50 the first day) just about ruined me for a few days. My allergies decided to kick in h are Yesterday so I went for a run to try and clear my system. The run was fast but really hard, all the rain washed the trail/road away so it took about 25% more effort than usual and overall it destroyed me. I'm not kind on my body most days.

 This is 'cutback hill' and on Saturday I'm going to climb it. While that's not special, you can see the ridge on t he left side of the photo that goes to the top of a 14,000' peak. That's what I'm hoping to do, take the ridge line all the way up.
 This is looking down towards the cabin from the ridge, it's not going to be easy and it's  heavy bush waking work.
 Another shop of the density in the forest, and in this area it's not too bad.
Eventually the ridge will hit the trail, part of a 100 mile system. I'll be on the trail for exactly this amount and then back into the woods. The trail gives an idea of why 70 miles on ATV's is rough on the body, and this section isn't really rocky or rough. The nice thing about the ridge line is, hopefully, it won't be too bad as it's high and thinned out naturally.

The following are some water pictures I took. In between each mountain are lakes filled from the snow melt and of course they run down into the cabin area. None of these are the creeks that run next to the cabin, I forgot to take a picture of that one.
 This creek runs North West of the cabin about 200 feet. Looking South West for this picture.
 Looking 'downhill' towards the cabin area.
 This creek is about 3 miles away from the cabin, an area known as Horn Creek. There is a religious retreat and seminary located there. We looked at a house in the area but it was infested with woodpeckers (and usually bugs in that case).
One of the many small water crossings. We thought about having lunch here but didn't want to have all of our blood sucked out, the downside of moisture is bugs.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The thunder rolls!

BOOM! 2:20 this morning the storm decided to interrupt my beauty sleep. I need a lot of it, but wasn't successful this weekend. The cabin got a lot of rain on Saturday night, about 10 hours of a nice light rain. Last night the storm was amazing to watch, strikes all around the area and close to the homestead.
After I closed all of the windows and soaked up some excess water I just had to get some sleep. Closing the windows meant it wasn't going to get into the upper 40's inside, but it was that or have a lot of wet stuff as the wind was pretty relentless. I managed to doze off in between flashes and booms and was the portrait of sunshine and happiness when I awoke at 5:40.

The drive to work isn't bad, 90 minutes and it's the amount of time I'm awake before I would leave from the city house to arrive on time. I don't have a set time, and that's good, I encountered some high water and had to backtrack a bit.
Water was up to almost the top of the tires
Turned around and headed back toward the higher ground
I managed two great runs, and some good family time. It was the annual Bluegrass Festival, the town was overrun with about 5,000+ people so we decided to listen to bluegrass at the cabin instead of mingle and pay $45 a person. The running is going well again, I've dropped a lot of weight and changed my diet to a lot more fruits and cut out about 90% of the processed foods. I wasn't really eating bad, but I wasn't focused on trying to lose weight and now its amazing how bad it seems in hindsight.
I love running downhill but my quads aren't appreciative today. That means they won't appreciate tonights planned downhill fun.
We did some yard and flower bed beautification, cleaned out the garage and removed the cinder block burn 'pit'. It's all coming together nicely and is allowing for some relaxation in between projects.

Here are some more photo's from this weekend. I'm heading down on Wednesday with a few hundred pounds of food/supplies and then we will both be back on Friday for ATV weekend excitement.
Rock checking for the horses and his country girlfriend Lorie the Aussie.

Have to check the stovepipe cap, seems to be a small issue

1/2 way point between the two houses, surrounded by prisons but nice view of Pikes Peak

West of the cabin, looking South East

End of the 'road'. I'm going to hike up there soon and check it out

I think this was looking towards the cabin from west to South East.

Random scenery shot this morning

More scenery from the weekend, close to the cabin

Rock in a 5 minute stare down with a local
Rock did great in his third meeting with the Amish aussie, her name is Lorie. She is starved for attention and is an outside free to wander dog. They took a walk together (Rock on leash of course), shared some water and sniffs, and acted like old friends. This is a big leap forward for a dog who is very dog and human selective and takes a few meetings to even stop growling and barking at friends.

I forgot my fruit salad at the cabin, so it's an early lunch for me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving all of this 'stuff'

The rain came in last night after a day of clouds and cooler temperatures. The house was cooling off nicely, the rain was an added bonus that I wasn't expecting. I usually water the garden and yard two times a day, the rain just saves me money and gives everything better nutrients. Everything is nice and green, including the super tall lettuce. I've figured about 600+ seeds for harvest from t his seeding along.

While it was raining and during commercials from some Alaska series I have on DVR, I started moving supplies into the dining room. Tonight I'm taking a car load of stuff down to the cabin; buckets, cans, boxes, ammo, etc. I'm going to try and bring a load down twice a week until 70% of our current inventory is there. Then we will restock here at home so it's about a 65/35 ration of supplies at the cabin vs. home.
One thing that's nice about the cabin is when I need some ingredient or item, I plan on being able to source it from supplies. It's a 20 minute drive to town and I don't want to continually drive to town when we need something.
Brown sugar

Our favorite pancake mix
Being able to make a meal from food storage isn't just a valuable skill, it's usually less expensive and just damn handy. The pancake mix, butter, cooking spray, maple syrup were all from food storage. Even the tea for the tea kettle was storage. We are trying hard to live a simpler lifestyle while at the cabin, it's a lot more peaceful for sure. The next time I have a super month at work we will swap out the electric stove for propane, one large tank for cooking only should last a couple of years.
Flour, yeast, honey, butter, noodles, sauce, mustard, brown sugar, spices, meat, etc. are all the ingredients to make a great meal. Since I was alone for a few days that bowl of goulash lasted me 3 lunches and 2 dinners. The sad part of this meal was cutting the bread into small pieces, I finally got my dental implant started and I look forward to biting the crap out of a sandwich in September when it's all completed. I think the hardest part of the meals is waiting to reconstitute ingredients.

Here are a couple of shots of the view while out hiking only 1/4 mile from the cabin:
East of the cabin, looking North

East of the cabin, looking South East I think.

East of the cabin looking South, less than 1 mile to Nat. Forest.
You will notice there aren't any tree's and that's the lay of the land. We are in a large section of tree's, mainly hardwoods, and all thanks to the creek's. In the first picture you can see a few tree's, middle left, anything after that is farm/ranch land and it's cleared out.

I'm looking forward to the next few weekends at the cabin, getting more projects done and even a few relaxation days will be nice. Having a lot of supplies there will also be handy, luckily we've pretty much always bought 2 of everything (or more).
One last photo, the auction we went to. I ended up being on the front page of the local paper, I guess I just happen to be at the right place when they took a picture. Finally in the paper for something other than work or the crime blotter....
I jest.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Another week down.

It's July, and the time flying by just fits right in with the style that my life has always been. One day it's spring, the next I'm starting to harvest in the garden. It's not a bad thing, and its much better than being bored.
The lettuce in the background should be going to seed in the next week. I'll harvest a couple of plants and let the rest fall down, might be able to get 2 seedings before winter.
The yard is colorful, this rose bush will have about 100 roses by the end of the week. All of the rose bushes we have purchased and planted never seem to do really well. This particular bush was a transplant and has tripled in size this year.
The garden has beans, zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes that will need to be harvested this weekend. The hose running up the middle is my semi-permanent irrigation system. I have 2 hoses that feed 2 sprinklers each, covering the garden and the entire yard. I don't like the look of the hose but I don't want to bury it. I've got a lot of space in the garden and am going to drop another row of beans in next to the hose this week. The weeds aren't being very invasive this week, but I see a few small tree's that have popped up and need pulling.

I spent Friday night at the cabin with a friend, I had to go there to get the satellite internet hooked up. It's going to be part of my home office tax write off so it should help with taxes. I got a few curtains up to help keep the sun out and keep the place cool during the day, a few more curtains will be done this coming weekend. After the internet was hooked up my friend and I went for a hike, with the plan being to see the lakes that feed the creeks. We were short on time and ended up turning around about 3/4 mile from the lakes. It wasn't wasted time and the workout was great. The trail spends about 50% of the time following the creek and ends at the lakes. From the lakes you can hit a few 14,000 foot summits but that's an additional 5 hours round trip for the easiest summit.
The Crestone Needle (right) and Peak (left)

3 Marmot rock

Crestone Peak

Mount Humboldt (false summit)

This is a route up (real rock climbing gear needed) to the Needle
I had to work on Sunday so we left Saturday afternoon and the other half took the in-laws down for Saturday night and Sunday. They really enjoyed the relaxation time (they just finally finished moving into their new house) and were happy to get away.
There is a bluegrass festival this coming weekend so we will all be there again. I plan on getting more work done while everyone else is listening to the music in town. This works well for me, I tend to get more done when nobody is around:
The old trash burn cinder block structure needs to get removed so I can have firewood delivered. The curtains need to be finished, the garage needs to be emptied of a few things and cleaned (with a leaf blower), a path to the creek needs to be bushwhacked for water hauling, the wood shed needs some roof support beams installed, etc. Never ending, but it's good quality sweat equity work.

In closing, when you are a begging dog you often get what you want. That includes great hiking, creek swimming, bike barking and exhaustion.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Introducing 'The Cabin'

Since we can't come up with a name, it's just going to be called 'The Cabin' for now. We haven't put much thought into what we want to call it, it's been a long few weeks and June was just too busy to concentrate.
After being gone for almost 3 weeks out of the last 4, it's nice to be back into rhythm, but after 3 hours of email this morning all I could do was laugh at the silliness of it all.

I was at the cabin for 3 days on my own, from dawn to dusk I worked my ass off. The previous owners preferred everything to be natural, and while that's nice, I wanted it looking a little different.

First thing to do was to clean the inside and that took an entire day to get it done so I felt it was clean. Once it was clean I had boxes to unpack, and it was dark out so I went to bed. When I say went to bed, I mean I layer on a sleeping mat and didn't get any sleep.

The next few days were spent outside cutting the weeds down and raking (20+ bags of pine needles and pine cones). I did chop and drop unless it was around the pine cone area, that had to be cleaned up. 2 days of dawn to dusk yard work like that beat me down hard. That meant 2 more nights of not much sleep as the furniture was not in yet and my body didn't appreciate the hard floor with a thin sleeping mat.

We were finally together and working on Thursday evening until we left yesterday. There is no TV and no internet at the cabin. The cell phone reception is spotty at best and for hours on end my phone was simply a camera. I'm debating adding internet but really don't care about it for now. If I need to work from there I'll do it and set up a home office for taxes, but otherwise I don't want it.

I'll try and catch up with everyone, and everything over the next few days. Here are the photo's, sorry about the bright/dark but it was sunny or everything was closed down to keep the heat out. We have a lot to do, but now we get to relax some as well.
Living room area


Kitchen and fireplace

more living room and the dining room

Guest bedroom

Master Bedroom
 Exterior shots. Take care everyone!!!