Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The positives of negative

I've never been one to really care about the outside temperature, but when you are in a relationship there is the other half of your life to take into consideration. I'm the only one who doesn't care if it's cold outside (or wet, hot, etc.) when it's time to go outdoors. Since it's winter, I layer and head on out to do whatever activity is needed/desired. I just can't sit still unless I'm reading a book and even then it feels as if I'm "burning daylight".
We woke up on Sunday together and watched the snow falling outside the window. Rock was leaping all over the place as I put my boots on and we headed out. While the snow was a fresh 2 inches at the cabin, it didn't accumulate anywhere else. Outside of the protection of the tree's, the wind does get nasty and blow everything somewhere else (Kansas?). With wind chill it was around -10 but Rock and I didn't care.
We did finally remember to test out our two way radio's to figure out distances from mobile areas to base camp. Rock and I went out a mile in each direction and had no problems with the elevation or tree's interfering with communication. Cell phone reception is spotty at best so we now have a way of communicating. I always try to have a means of communication with me at all times, even if it's just my search and rescue call for help GPS.
Pumpkin brownie's were cooked up (10 minute cook time is awesome) so we would have a semi healthy sweet snack. I'm not really into sweets anymore for some reason, just another change in my body I suppose. It would be fantastic to have the allergies vanish but that's asking a lot. We had blueberry muffins on Sunday and pancakes on Saturday. Traditions after all, must be upheld. We aren't getting to spend a lot of time together, Mother-in-law isn't doing so well. We sent her back to the emergency room yesterday via. ambulance. She has a UTI and it's causing her to revert to very childish behavior due to a high bacteria count that is apparently somewhat common. The good news is the brain lesions aren't bigger and one is even smaller. Holding out hope as always.

Few more photo's from some hikes. It was colder and the wind wasn't friendly, probably -15 or lower and honestly only bothersome when I turned around heading back home. I put in 10+ miles of hiking and even got a great run done on Saturday. The run was in shorts and a tank top as usual, 56 degrees so I was taking advantage of every ray of sunshine. I really need a day of doing nothing, perhaps Thanksgiving will be that day but I doubt it, perhaps I'll save my rest days for Cancun in January.

Apparently there is rioting and such going on. I don't watch TV or read the news so I'm clueless, Instead of rioting and burning stuff down last night I went to the gym. I maxed out the seated shoulder press machine finally. I enjoy the seated machine as it helps isolate my shoulders and keeps my back from being arched.

Enjoy the week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Let's start with pictures from the last week at the cabin. It was "warm" this week. It's going to hit almost 50 today, I'm heading down tomorrow again with a friends family so they can check out "base camp" for some epic adventures to follow this year. These pictures are from various times of the days, unfortunately there was no awesome sky color with the sunsets, but that's a product of having clear skies.

Stepping out of my comfort zone a little, I signed up for a rock, paper, scissors tournament hosted by a local non-profit. I was late, my workout ran overtime but I showed up and lost, and lost again. I was placed into the losers bracket for a chance at redemption and after many threats, shouts and even throwing a chair around I took third place overall. Much fun was had by all and I won a haircut and shave for a prize. Score, I am looking ragged. I think I played a total of 12 times and even knocked a lady out of the competition who had initially beaten me (and was talking shit anytime I was playing).
Rock is missing his cabin time hikes so there has been extra love given, and received.
Finally found some good .308 magazine pouches. These are for a SCAR-H but they were a perfect fit. Now I wish I had opted for the 6 magazine configuration instead of the 4. Just glad I finally decided try and find some pouches, a plastic grocery bag just isn't tact-cool nor efficient.
Busy season at work trying to get everything finalized for this year and set up for next. Working on getting hundreds of gift cards for employee's for the holiday party and making sure bonuses are turned in and paid on time. Not sure if I'll be getting a bonus but we will replace the carpet at the cabin if so. I never expect it so there isn't disappointment if one isn't received.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Do you sleep in?

I slept in this morning since I was alone this weekend. I suppose that's what it would be called. 05:30 I was staring out the bedroom door trying to get the fire going with mental powers. That obviously didn't work so I just pulled the comforter up and lay around thinking what fun projects I would do today. I actually let myself lay around until 07:30 when the sun started to lift over the trees. It was -1 degree outside.

Yesterday I went for a run in shorts and a t-shirt. I had sun, wind, snow and hail to battle but overall it was an amazing run. There wasn't any snow on the road or trail. This is what the cabin property looked like around 14:00:
This morning told a different story when I opened the bay window curtains.
 No problem, I needed another workout (actually I need to give myself a break but I just can't). I got the fire going, made some tea (black tea and carob) and grabbed a quick breakfast. I spent an hour shoveling and getting the car cleared of snow, it was about an 8 inch accumulation but was fluffy for easy work. It warmed up to 4 degree's but it didn't matter as I worked up a good sweat.
All done, time to get some more cardio! Grabbed my pack and headed out to enjoy the beauty of snow. This spot is always beautiful, the sideways tree is healthy it just grew that way. I think it makes for a great backdrop, we will probably get someone to take our picture there eventually.
 On the left is Mount Humboldt and right center is Colony Baldy.
 I was hunting wabbits! I think everyone hunkers down when it snows, and that's a perfect time to get out and enjoy nature without people (or tire tracks).
 Looking West. The roads aren't all maintained so people tend to contribute to a communal plow vehicle that stays at the end of the roads. We would have already had the entire thing plowed but I think they only use it in really deep snow since this plow hasn't move the last 2 storms.
 Same two mountains as above. You can see that the wind doesn't mess around up on the ridge and it was around -4 degrees with windchill where I was standing. I had to take off my hat as I was overheating going uphill but when I turned around and went downslope I needed it again.
 You can see that someone dared interrupt my alone time and made tire tracks. They didn't know what to think of me but we both waved hello anyhow. I didn't use the tire tracks, that's too easy. Yes, I know the patterns don't match but I'm not trying to make a fashion statement, just layer correctly. I could always break out the snow camo and winter ghillie suit....
Back home! I found a white and gray cat near the woodshed as I stalked my own property line. There is plenty for a cat to eat around here and they help keep the rodents down. If it becomes a cat invasion, that will change our thinking.

We hope everyone is enjoying Sunday. There is the second batch of salsa for the day getting ready to be canned, pumpkin brownies need to get made, laundry done and then it's elk burgers for the tummy! I also have a date with a foam roller.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Good morning sunshine!

I got up twice last night to reload the stove. Since it's really a fireplace insert instead of a wood stove, it doesn't last as long. I think 3 hours is the tops on a full load with the vents closed down to 80%. That's better than a regular fireplace so it's just something we need to get used to.

I cleaned off the automobile and shoveled the end of the driveway while it warmed up. Warmed up is a funny term when it's -8 outside and wind chill moved it to about -20. I cleaned up where the plow had wrecked my clean up job and then thawed out for a few minutes and headed to work. Besides swearing at people driving 20 in a 60 (on dry pavement) it was an enjoyable drive.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Winter cardio at -10

When it's cold out, and snowing, I tend to do something crazy. Sometimes it's run in deep snow, sometimes it's shovel more than necessary, sometimes it's cooking new stuff.

Today when I arrived at the cabin it was the perfect time for a hike. Without cheating I went with what I had on hand. Jeans, boots, t-shirt, light winter jacket, head wrap, beanie hat. I have better winter gear in the car and at the cabin but since you can't always plan when an emergency will happen I just took what was on, or in my bag.
An hour later I made it back to the cabin (after getting the mail) and I only spent a few minutes thawing out. With the wind chill it was at least -10 and it had snowed enough to bury my tracks 30 minutes later. I had a great time, saw a few deer and a bunny.

After I ate about 12 too many ginger snaps I had to visit the woodshed and restock the inside wood supply. Growing up with only wood heat I remember how critical packing a stove for the night (or day) is. 
On the way to the woodshed I had a meeting with a shovel. I'm a sucker for staying active. I decided to blur out my car and the effect was pretty neat.

Back to the wood stove, I'll set my alarm for 1:30 AM to check on the fire and repack if necessary. It helps keep the electric bill down too!

The inside temps at the cabin before the fire was going were:
Inside the front door: 60
In the kitchen on the fireplace edge: 68
Master bedroom: 56 (this is a small thermometer thats just laying on my nightstand but it felt about 56 degrees)

It's creeping up to 80 in the front rooms, the master bedroom is 64 and perfect. I planned on taking tomorrow off to enjoy the snow but instead have a meeting scheduled for 11 so I'll hit the road about 8:30. 
It took a little over 2 hours to arrive this afternoon, I was patient and just podcaster out while traffic crawled around like it was gridlock in LA. It's just snow, but what do I know. Perhaps the snow will lift so I can get some great valley scenery shots.

Winter bids a fine 'hello'!

This car went by me, an old white Chrysler something-or-other. 6 inches of snow covered the car, 2 eye holes were made in the windshield. My friends thought it was funny when I stated "that car is one shotgun away from a KKK rally". I realize it's hard to take the extra 10 seconds to increase your spook holes in your pillowcase (aka windshield), but it could just save my life.

Besides the bicycle in the middle of the road, everything is normal. Nobody thinks the painted lines mean anything when there is snow on the road, nobody thinks stop signs... oh wait, they never do anyhow.

We love and hate winter. I think the bundling up aspect is what we hate, but once it's done who cares. Rock doesn't appreciate the winter at all in the morning, at night he is fine. We went for a little hike around the neighborhood last night when I got home, he looks very handsome in his coat and ice beard. This was later in the evening, once he had thawed out.

I hit the gym after our hike, 20 minutes of hiking does get the heart rate elevated enough to consider it cardio, but I needed more;
Dead lifts: 5 sets of 5 reps @ 245 pounds
Chest fly machine: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 110 pounds
"Donkey" calf raises: 5 sets of 10 reps @ 255 pounds
Single arm cable curls, isolation: 5 sets of 10 reps @ 27.5 pounds
Overhead tricep extensions: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 22.5 pounds
60 situps
35 pushups

It's going to take another week or two to get back to previous strength levels but I'm feeling great. As long as I keep up the hikes and winter running (and keep extra food out of my mouth) I think the winter fitness will work wonders. It takes a real extra effort but I set lofty goals to help keep the motivation up. I feel a little weak in the isolation single arm and overhead stuff, but otherwise I can lift heavy things and set them back down. A lot.

I see some flags blowing from my office window. It looks cold out, and should remain so for another day before the mid 40 degree weather comes back.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The guilt of standing still

or sitting still, that's probably a better term. I feel really guilty when I'm not doing something productive, it's not getting any better the older I get. Funny how the brain works, as always.

This weekend saw us get away to the cabin for some last minute winter preps, and sure enough winter is here with a swift kick in the ass. 18 degrees before wind chill, blowing slow and crappy drivers. What more could one ask from the winter season.

The moon was amazing on Saturday night so we did a late night hike with Rock. It's nice to get some backpack training in, even if it's at night. That prevents people from seeing us and asking questions, most people aren't out past 6pm in the winter, so we can wear whatever gear we want. Walking backwards for 1/4 a mile isn't an easy thing, you need to be shoulder to shoulder with whomever is walking forward otherwise it's a move and cover scenario. Anyhow, it's nice to take a stroll in such a beautiful area, armed to the teeth.

Here is Rock and I, patiently waiting for the pancakes to be done. This was after a bright and early wakeup and hike. I felt guilty sitting there so I got the table set, the syrup out, etc. Once we ate it was off to town for some Cilantro so we could make some more salsa.
This batch had more red tomatoes so it wasn't as "green" and I added a few extra hot peppers. I ended up making this batch alone and opted to send the "help" to clean the garage, start the ATV's, put a new garage door seal on, hook up the ATV trailer, etc. I constantly have projects to do, even if nothing actually needs to be done. As soon as the jars were pulled out of the hot water bath, I put my boots on off I went.
I picked up almost 3 loads of wood from under the power lines, I'm not sure why people just let it sit there, everyone in the area has partial wood heat. We didn't get it cut and split, but it's in t he yard and available if needed. We figured that was better than nothing, or having it sit on the roadside under a snowbank. The chainsaw will be out on the next nice day so we can get it cut and split.

I'm heading down tomorrow afternoon to see how the first big snow shaped up. We are both really excited to spend time there while there is snow all over. Hiking and running in the snow is something we both love.

Here in town it's a lot of work activity, running and gym time. I was able to do 5 reps @ 250 on the incline bench last night and tonight I might be able to do a new front squat record. I did have a big lunch at Chick-Fil-A, but I refused to get the food for free (Veterans Day and all). I get the 'thank you' part, but prefer people help others out who actually need the help. Besides, I was just a "cook", I'll let the hero worship go to people who want it.

3 cheers to fellow vets.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Crackling of a fire.

It's starting to snow, again, and that's alright by us. We have the fireplace going and it's about 75 inside. Truth be told, I'm about to combust but at least the bedroom is cool and I can go outside and dodge sleet/snow.

Here is the weekend in pictures!

Rock, as many of you know, isn't he best with people and dogs. We accept that, everyone is different and we don't force things with him. When he needs his nails done, we pay up at the vet since they are the only people who he lets touch his paws. Almost 18 months in a kennel with a concrete floor will change the way anyone feels about their feet.  So his pedicure is every 2 months and runs $42 mainly for his dew claws, the rest are usually fine with all the hiking we do. We had no visitors for candy at the cabin, I'm not sure if the Amish celebrate the holiday and they are the only ones with kids in a 1 mile radius. I did see them cutting down some tree's for firewood and then taking a break to talk on the cell phone... lol. Not judging, they live a simple life in comparison but it still makes me chuckle.
Broke down and purchased a TV for the cabin, it's a "smart" tv. I almost hit it with a sledgehammer after two tech support calls. The router is 25 feet away and they said it's too far, the wireless in the TV sucks. It also won't play from the iPad since the input cable is a converter cable. I asked tech support if they could send me some 1980's technology to use with my 2015 TV.
Returning it tomorrow. &^%$%$#@!
 Saturday wasn't too bad, the storms would hit and leave, playing tag with Rock and I as we hiked around. We got in 4 hikes, about 6 miles total and I even grabbed a run. The few people who were out and about looked at me like I was insane. Running, and running in the mountains. I'm back running 4 days a week and the gym 3 days, I am enjoying the pain and misery again that working out brings. Health and fitness is overlooked by many, but living at 8500 feet on the weekends quickly shows you weak points. My weak point is hydration, easy to fix but hard to maintain for some reason.
 We ended up with about 40 pounds of green tomatoes, so it's salsa season. Here is the first batch, it came out pretty good but a little thicker than we would have liked.
 Since one of us works on Saturday, I was bored and hungry waiting for a late dinner (BBQ pork chops and garlic olive oil asparagus) so I made pumpkin chocolate brownies. They are very spongy, sort of like a cake, definitely my new go to snack. They are healthier than the usual brownies I make and since we aren't giving up carbs or sugar anytime soon, we do a lot of experimenting with baking.
Everything above was on Saturday, today is Sunday and we are listening to some bluegrass, watching the snow move in and out. We made scrambled eggs and blueberry muffins to start the day and Rock went out for a hike.
It's salsa time again, this one ended up 8 jars instead of 6, each batch is a little different. We always use 8 jars for prep, just in case there is enough, I hate running out of jars when the ladle is still doing up full. This batch is a little spicier and puts us at 17 jars of Salsa so far out of at least 60 we will end up making.