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, jalapeños (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.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The winds howl

Life at the base of a mountain range has many challenges, but the biggest issue I always seem to notice is the wind. If you go one direction and have a headwind, when you turn around how is it still a headwind? I see all these houses and ranches in the wide open and just don't understand how they manage.
Sustained winds of 45+ mph were incredible to witness and feel. Even out in the sunshine, with the thermometer reading 40 it felt like frostbite was going to set in fast. It howled all night long, Rock wasn't pleased with the sounds and I just knew my plans to run were being demolished. I don't mind the wind but at some point you have to throw the towel in.

Heading to the cabin it was very calm and beautiful.

We spent the weekend hanging out reading, adding our latest food storage purchases to the inventory list and doing some relaxing. I have to admit I was bored out of my mind and thought about buying a treadmill but realized that's more boring than anything else. Unfortunately with getting 15+ hours a week of running, lifting and MMA, I find myself unable to sit still for very long.

We knew it would be windy when we purchased in the area and that's why we got a place in the tree's. Being wind trapped for the first time ever was just an odd experience. It can be -20 and 2 feet of snow and I'll be out playing in it but these winds this weekend were a 'no go zone'.

Work is really slow for me as expected but the business overall is booming. We should be up about 20% year over year and I should end with my best year ever (financially). I should enjoy the downtime but it's just so damn hard.

Rock doesn't enjoy winter so much, more inside time than he likes. He expects us to just keep the front door open... our silly little polar bear.

Hopefully I'll get another post in before Friday but if not, Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Harder and harder to get out of bed

Work has been mentally taxing on the both of us for the last 2 months. I always imagined myself as a happiness over money person but when you really start to weigh things out it's odd how much the scale leans towards the money. It's probably a good thing, prevents people from making decisions based on emotion. It also lets you ride the wave in the storm to the beach (or the rocks, depending).
Good news is we have seen the beach and the sand looks good. I decided to get rid of my last old vehicle but did need to replace it so... SURPRISE, happy early birthday, late anniversary and early christmas...

Nothing we've owned has had a trunk, they are really handy for storing things out of sight. A great invention.

I've stepped up my working out, again. I've picked up a real boxing coach and take classes after my regular sessions and running. This will put me at about 9 workouts a week. Getting out of bed is becoming a real bitch, especially at 2AM when Rock needs to be let out. I sort of get up and lean on the wall and zombie shuffle as my ankles decide if they want to be flexible or my hips want to pivot. It's a lot of discomfort and work but anytime I think it's not worth it I remember I've gotten some of my best boxing pointers from a vet who has a below knee amputation on one leg and works hard at the gym.

I'm the leanest I've been as far back as I can remember (high school perhaps and that was just skinny). I'm thinking of hammer out a 50k next year, that should be a good goal to work towards and destroy.
Rock is enjoying the relatively warm December. We didn't rake the leaves up this year so they can break down and make some healthier soil. We also can hear what side of the yard he is on as he crashes through the piles the wind has made. I think the only downside is sometimes you can't find the shoes and socks he leaves under the bushes.

We took all of our firearms and drove to Texas and sold them for cash. The guy didn't even want a receipt and there are no background checks for private sales. I figured it was time to get rid of them before they automatically assaulted anything.

or did we....

Sunday, November 29, 2015

White Friday!

I was amazed at all the awesome deals I found on things we don't want or even need. Even if I wanted some things the internet was down because of some nice snow. I headed out of town after lunch on Friday because work was terribly slow and everything was iced up nice from the Thanksgiving storm. I did get our food storage stocked up a little more and need to visit Costco this week.
For the holiday we had a family dinner at father in-laws and I think I made my best apple pie ever and it was a nice afternoon.

It's always a surprise when it comes to the weather but it's never unpleasant because if you can't control it, just try and enjoy it.

Shoveling snow at 8500 feet is always a great workout. It took me about 90 minutes to shovel the drive and parking area. As usual I'm the only person who shoveled but we like it neat and clean.
They were nice enough to get the road cleared so it was easier for Rock to walk without ice forming on his paws. We had the fire going and the cabin was warm... ok, it was really hot for me so I didn't have the blower on and just let the stones suck up the heat.
Saturday it was almost 25 degrees (about 15 with windchill) out so I went for a run. If you've never run in snow or sand, it's a lot of work. You lose power with each step and because it's not very stable your quads get a great workout. I made hamburger stew and chocolate fudge brownies for our weekend eating pleasure and of course we had pancakes this morning.
The temp skyrocketed to 30 so I got ready for another run. The storm that was hanging out on the mountains roared in but I didn't care. When I was done with my run I was overheated and wet. The storm was really dropping snow but I was working hard and never noticed that it was cold out (13 degrees before windchill).
We refilled the kindling box, load up the wood rack, do some laundry, eat some stew.... A great night even if it's dropping another few inches later tonight. Right now the temp is dropping but I suspect the clouds will be back soon. Going to pop up the Christmas tree in the next week hopefully and get the lights strung up. Meanwhile we stare out of the picture window.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

'One more'

Today I'm exhausted. I've got work locked down tight and will be heading across town for some kickboxing and grappling training. I'm looking forward to it but dreading it at the same time.
One more.

My run last night started well, my best friend and his dog ran with me. About 2 miles into the run my pace dropped and I was struggling mentally for the next mile. We dropped down onto a different trail and everything was golden again, we zoomed forward.
One more.

The worst paycheck in 3-4 years is heading my way tomorrow. I'm still thankful for it but it's frustrating that accounting keeps dropping expenses into the wrong months. This has happened for two months in a row and for some reason they don't understand to account for an expense in the correct month so the expenses even out.
One more.

Thanksgiving and Christmas at the cabin but I'm not sure I can spend 3 days alone with Father in-law when everyone else heads back to work. I think he will be bored out of his mind and I'll be busy doing projects, working out, dog hiking or reading. That's what I would like to be doing anyhow but instead I'll be worried about him and what he is doing.
One more.

Thrive (the rebranded Shelf Reliance) has all of their food storage on sale for 50% off retail for a week following black Friday. I'm going to float an order on my credit card for a month but we should be able to add a lot to our pantry as planned.
One more.
One more.
One more step, workout, stride, day, sprint, stair, sit-up, get-up, holiday, paycheck, work day, sarcastic comment, etc.

No matter what happens it only takes 'one more' to keep progressing. Not everyone has the capacity for one more, for never quit, for don't give up, for don't stop, etc. Some days it's the only thing that keeps us going.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Where have the days gone

Wake up.
Work out.

I'm on day 24 without a rest day and thats a total of 27 workouts not including any hiking. Kicking butt, every day is my best day.

The talking heads say to stay indoors and nobody should be out in this weather. Up to 20 inches of snow and people are flocking to the grocery stores. We are up to our necks in supplies and wouldn't want it any other way.

What do I know. I don't play the 'behaved citizen' and 'popular opinion' games. I've dropped some online friends over my stance on the activities in France and the Middle East but that's just fine. I prefer to pay attention to what's local and I can possibly influence and try hard not to be distracted.

Fun local issues:
In the city the police no longer have to perform P.T. tests because they got sued by 12 women who couldn't pass it and were put on administrative duties. It's not like they prevent crime but it would be nice if they could run without adrenaline doing all the work.
At the cabin the community has a matching program for non profits. You select one of the eligible non profits and donate and it's matched by a non governmental organization. Perfect!
Oh... the Sheriffs Office is one of the organizations you can donate to.... doesn't that mean I should be able to write off whatever % of the property tax collected is given to them. Sigh.

We are stocking up the cabin with a lot of supplies so that's actually a bit of work that we didn't expect to take so long. I have a truckload to take down this weekend and a carload to deliver sometime this week. It's been windy down south and down in the teens (feels much colder with the creeks so close) and up into the low 50's during the day. The fireplace has been used but since it brings the temp indoors up to 80 really fast I'm not allowing it to be up and running all day/night.

Plans until the end of the year:
Level a spot (concrete maybe) and get a shipping container (20')
Add switch at electrical panel so generator can run the well pump
Buy emergency hand well pump
Build woodshed extension
Buy and cut plywood so windows can be secured
Relocate 90% of long term food storage
Black Friday long term food storage sale purchases (would love to pick up another year)

Get out and get something done even if it's in short-shorts in 20 degree weather with sleet/snow hitting your crazy hair!

and Happy Birthday Jam!

Monday, November 2, 2015

and to think people dream about this life

It's so romantic, driving around like mad-max popping zombies in the head, stuffing pillowcases with canned goods from the wally world distribution center, swooping in with your fellow militia members and saving dozens from a sex slave operation...

I would add some nice fun photo's but our bandwidth cap has been reached and I can't upload anything.

I don't think I'm far off about what a lot of people think this sort of life would be like post SHTF. Most of you who read this understand already, it's a lot of work and that's in the right now. Recently I've tried to extend our network a little, perhaps find a few more people who think the same way and might be good companions now and for whatever the future holds. At this point I'm taking a reserved approach and doing a lot of listening but that's easy when people like to talk (a lot).

We had a nice, full of hard work, 3 day weekend although I was the only one here for all of it. The woodshed is as full as possible with enough space to get to the seasoned wood if we need it. We added 2 rows outside and have about 2.5 cords under a tarp. It's some nasty piñon wood but it shall burn just as good as anything else. Soft wood doesn't make any more/less creosote in the chimney but it's just not as dry as we would like.
We pulled out the fireplace insert and fired up the new shop-vac. Around the insert there was about 4 inches of soot and ash, not sure when it was cleaned last because we didn't do it on move in. We checked the insert over and found it to be in good working order. The fan made a lot of racket last year so we took off the mesh guard and now it seems to be better. We wanted to add some more insulation around the insert (between the rocks and the insert edges) but the local Ace didn't have any. I'll kick around amazon and see what I can find.

Friday evening there was frost and snow all over the place so the run was a little chilly once I got out of the tree's (5 degrees). I ran every day and today was a balmy 63 degrees. We ran together yesterday, a rare occurrence and were enjoying our jog when we heard a kids voice.... I looked and the kid was probably around 8 or 9 and he seemed to have a problem with us running by his house, especially the fact that I didn't have a shirt on. There was a lot of F bombs and even a couple 'I'll f-n kill you lines' and my favorite of the encounter 'ill shoot you with my bb gun'.
Not sure what to make of it really, I could blame the parents (or lack thereof), the prison (I mean school) system, video games.... maybe it's our fault, maybe I shouldn't be running with my shirt off, maybe.... maybe someone should stick a bar of irish spring in his pie hole. We had some laughs about it once we were down the road a bit. Everyone wants to offend people and most people want to be offended but we use critical thinking.

Not ones to be victims we don't let our guard down, even if it's a punk ass kid on an old country road. I don't want to be the person begging for my life when the next asshole decides it's time to kill people. I HATE running with my pistol because every ounce adds up with every single step. The shooting close to the city house reinforced what we do, and why we do it. We just hope we are on the winning side or at least made an effort.

This life isn't easy, and it's rarely romantic (ever try to caress someones face when you have gloves on filled with splinters and pine sap?). It's what we love and to us that's what counts. As the world continues to go to shit we just push forward and deal with whatever is thrown our way.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The swing of the seasons at 8500 feet

Rock and I loaded up on Friday afternoon for a great weekend at the cabin. A couple we know decided to drive down and hang out with me because I was going to be all alone and lonely... well not so much but we planned on riding the ATV's.

The drive from town was great, a little rain and then it happened:

Winter officially arrived. This was 10 miles from town so I expected the cabin to have a few inches of snow but was surprised to see how beautiful it was as I got closer:
Not that it's ugly when it snows but I wasn't mentally up for a fireplace lighting weekend. We had gotten some rain but otherwise the tree's were in full color still and it looks amazing. I changed and headed out for a nice relaxing run (and managed to not run as fast as possible for once).
Rock and I got our usual hikes in, here is Saturday morning up the road. Rock was checking out the new 'neighbors' and their horses. They tore down the 3 strand barbed wire fence around the property and erected a 2 strand electric fence. I admit I don't know a lot about horses but I don't see a need for anything more than barbed wire to keep them contained. I must not know what they know.

ATV riding was fun but certainly a little chilly. We started out with temperatures in the low 30's and finished in the high 50's. We had some dust, mud, slush and finally some 18 inches or so of snow when we hit around 12k feet. Only one of my friends wanted to ride and we stopped a few times and had some great conversations about life in the mountains. He just couldn't figure out why people would choose big cities over the mountains and that had us talking about a lot of life things in general. My friends vehicle was hit by an EFP (formed IED) and he lost some buddies and it's not very easy for him some days so it was nice to be in the mountains, throwing snowballs and forgetting about life for just a few minutes.
We rode back and got ready for a run, I wasn't going to waste the low 60 degree weather especially since we had just been standing in snow talking about making a snowman (or person, we weren't sure how to make a gender neutral snow person). The temperature swings are pretty big in the valley, I left my shirt in the car for the run, might as well get some sun while I can.

Sunday my friend and his wife decided to just chill out before heading back home. I took Rock out for some hikes and went for a run once the temperature hit 50 (started out at 28 with frost all over). I know the neighbors think I'm crazy, running in the first place and not wearing a shirt (or gloves, hat, scarf, jacket, etc.) but I think they are even crazier when it's 55 degrees and they have winter jackets and mittens on.

Rock and I spent Sunday night alone and headed in bright and early. We hit some traffic that didn't care we were trying to get down the road but Rock reminded them who was in charge and we squeezed by. They didn't put salt on the road so I'm not sure what they were licking but I'm sure it was tasty! I wonder how tasty bighorn sheep are.... probably not.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crisp, like the season should be.

As usual it was a little windy in the flats near the cabin but the benefit is once I'm out of the trees I don't have to eat dust if someone roars by me at 60mph (unless I'm on the wrong side of the dust path). It was a nice easy run, I needed some time to clear my head and there isn't a better place.

Decided to turn the heat on, todays high is going to be 48 with a lot of rain forecast (snow in the higher country). It was dark, quiet and cool in the bedroom so I managed a few hours of really good sleep. This morning it was warm, 43 and the deer and Elk were hanging out on the roadsides as I drove to work. As I drive I repeat 'don't swerve' a lot since that's what causes people to get hurt and die instead of just hitting the brakes and hitting whatever runs out in front. Obviously if there were Moose all over I might have a different mantra (and a larger vehicle).

The colors have changed really fast on the property and they are just about gone from the mountains. Heading to Denver for a meeting tomorrow and then it's a long 3 day weekend at the cabin for ATV's and wood cutting/splitting/stacking. Have a great fall weekend!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Annoying trigger time day

Yesterday was a well planned out day at the range but you know what they say about plans...

Meet at 9:30 was the first part of the plan but at 10:45 we were finally leaving. Couldn't just meet at the shooting spot because nobody but us knew where to go. I'm a stickler for being on time (and that means you show up early). I was really annoyed.

I had an entirely new target system designed and spent 30 minutes assembling it only to have the wind pick up and blow everything all over. I disassembled everything and I was most certainly annoyed.

We did bring our backup targets (55 gallon water barrels) and they worked out great but there was a total of 10 people including a toddler and a few people that don't shoot much or have never shot. Shotguns do a number on the barrels (birdshot especially) so I probably need some new ones. So much going on, so many people. I was annoyed.

Having to always look around to see where all the people were at, where they were shooting from, where they were pointing the muzzles, etc. really threw me off my planned day. The normal crew I run with I never have to check and if I get 'muzzled' it's no big deal because I have a certain comfort and trust level built up. I was annoyed.

Normally a day at the 'range' has both of us shooting around 300 rounds in total because it's not about volume or standing in one spot/lane. As I was packing up I realized we went through close to 900 rounds. I was annoyed.

I know, I'm a ray of sunshine but there were some good points of the day.
Someone who had never shot a gun and had been the victim of domestic violence learned to shoot and is certainly hooked and is planning on getting a pistol soon.
The new shot timer worked great (when everyone else was reloading). With my arms hanging down and relaxed I practiced draw and shoot (close range, 15 feet) and was able to get my best time at .89 seconds for one round and 1.03 seconds for 2 rounds.
I practiced reloading, 1 round on target with an empty magazine so the slide would lock back, reload (magazine on left hip) and release the slide, shoot 1 round on target: 3.03 seconds
I practiced non timed smooth draw non sight window 1 shot and holster the pistol repeats. All 19 rounds hit on target including 4 head shots and the rest in vitals.

My new body armor carrier was worn for 3 hours and it seemed perfectly uncomfortable. I'm not sure if I like the abdominal flex plate but everything takes getting used to.

I'm off to order some ammo to restock. I'll get things cleaned, reloaded, etc. this week. For now everything is piled on the dining room floor.... not a bad use for a dining room honestly.

It was a fun day, it made me annoyed, it took me out of my comfort zone, it made me miss the solitude of the cabin.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Leaf peeper pictures

Most of the blogs I follow probably have as good, if not better, fall colors. I figured I would put some of the photo's from our ATV ride out for everyone to be forced to enjoy!
The larger aspens at the cabin are still really green so we should have a couple more weekends of great color before it's all dead and snowing.

Amazing color where the water runs down through the conifers.

The plains looking east

This is about 10 miles by trail from the cabin but my favorite grove

We laid on the ground a bit just watching the aspens sway

Music mountain way in the distance

Close up

Spanish Peaks mountain range, we crossed over the Sangre de Cristos

Jeep parking only! I wanted to buy the red on but decided against it.

Sitting on the deck having a sandwich view.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Number 3

The week in review with the 2 accidents... actually we discovered it was 3. Father in-law didn't tell us that when he ran into the garage wall (and into his bathroom) that he put the car in reverse and guess what... foot slipped off the brake again. The entire side of the car ran along the side of a tree.

We took the keys.

'If I don't have my car I'll be trapped in this g-d m-f house and I'll have nothing'
I've been saying for months he can't stand the house and I told everyone it was going to be like this when they shoe in home hospice for his wife. People don't usually want to live where there spouse suffered and died. Unfortunately he doesn't want to go someplace else but we are going to have to make it work pretty soon.

Since the promotion went through it's now all about taxi cabs and the like. Neither of us can pick up, wait around, bring home, etc.

oh well, I know we all get to that stage and since everyone in this family is so damn stubborn it's going to be hell.
Green tomato salsa, it's the absolute best.

I want to can some salsa this weekend but I don't think I have enough tomatoes. The house sitter failed to water as requested so the garden took a big crap. I might have enough for one, maybe two batches but not the usual 5 dozen jars. Since we haven't been eating a lot of carbohydrates this year the food stores are still stocked up nice.

I have a meet-up this weekend with some people in a new preparedness group. Still trying to learn all I can and since our last group fizzled out I'll give this one a shot. I'm approaching it somewhat reserved because I don't want to be the one who is in charge and comes up with all of the ideas, all the time. I also don't want a pot-luck social every time people gather, there needs to be some exchanging of ideas.
Between what we buy, being in the John Birch Society, being preppers, etc. we are on all sorts of government lists. I've been on them for a long time and luckily get extra special treatment by the HS/TSA because of it.
We are shooting this weekend. It's been a while and that makes me feel slow and rusty. I'm sure I'll have the best scores and fastest times but that's because I practice a lot with drawing and target acquisition at home. I worked up a new range target set-up the other night when I (as usual) couldn't sleep. This will give us 4 stations to shoot from (or run to, use for cover shooting, etc.) and up to 10 targets. I get to test my new armor and pack set-up to see what adjustments I need to make. Everything seems fine now but diving behind cover can change comfortable into 'ouch'.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Orange lights, pumpkins, leaves

We picked up 5 pumpkins for the cabin path and stairs, fun to spruce things up for the holidays. Spent a little time this evening hanging the orange lights in the windows. We try to make the place look active and lived in. A lot of solar lights help, including lining the driveway and the path to the woodshed.
Inside we have lights on timers including some Phillips HUE bulbs that we can adjust the settings remotely.

I can drive around and tell who hasn't been around for a long time, we just hope by making the place look active that others will be targeted first if someone was breaking in. They would probably steal the TV and maybe some tools but otherwise it would just suck as far as replacing a window or door frame.

We racked up 35 miles on the ATV's today on our leaf peeping route. The trail was really dusty in many sections where the hunters are driving around all day. Once we got out of the easy section it was back to normal. The leaves are falling fast on all of the tree's not located really close to a lot of water. On the cabin property one type of tree is yellow but the aspens are just starting to change and many are green still. I need to download the photo's from the trail but if you don't have bandwidth capped satellite internet, you don't know my struggle.