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.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The week in review, by the numbers

The number 2: This represents the number of accidents father in law has caused in a 14 hour span. He said his foot slipped off the brake, but that means he is driving with one foot on each pedal. The first accident caused him to pull out in front of someone and ruin both vehicles fenders. Nobody was hurt luckily. The second accident was when he put the car in the garage and once again his foot slipped off the brake this time causing the car to crash into the back wall of the garage and into his bathroom.

We know it's about freedom and independence but we have to take his car away. Today he said he is going to physical therapy to get stronger and will be able to drive in a month. We disagree on this subject and it's going to cause some issues. The fact he drives with one foot on each pedal is scary enough because if your foot slips off one pedal, the other one is engaged at all times. I see people going uphill with the brake lights on, and father in law is one of those people. Combine this with the last health scare where he told people in Safeway he wanted to basically die... well there are some decisions coming down the road that just have to be made for all involved.

The number 43: One less marble out of the jar. I don't know how many I have left but I have a blessed life and treat each day as a gift. Not counting my military years, I'm in the best shape of my life. Work failed to get me a cake so I got my own just to prove a point I guess. When it came time to cut the cake only 2 out of close to 100 employees showed up. My reputation for being blunt and a little unforgiving I suppose. No need to sugar coat what I'm saying, we did almost 21 million in sales last month, we aren't a mom and pop operation anymore.

The number 20: Tomorrow is our official day for our 20th anniversary. It's amazing to think back over all of the years and see how things have changed (and in many cases stayed the same). It's really incredible to think we have been together just short of half of our lives. We have done a lot to celebrate so we are just going to have a nice dinner in the mountains.

The number 12: This is easy, we made a dozen muffins for breakfast at the cabin. Food storage cooking is really normal for us. We didn't have eggs or fresh fruit so we rehydrated some and cooked everything up just fine. We have butter so there wasn't any need to use canned/powdered but at least we have it should the need arise. We have a lot of fruit in #10 cans, probably because we tend to eat pretty healthy and want to try to maintain that in tough times.

The number 2 (again): This is the number of Jeeps in the driveway. I'm test driving one for the weekend, it's time to sell the Land Rover and get something newer. We might not end up with anything, we have plenty of vehicles but most are 15-20 years old and just aren't reliable.

The number 5: The large pile of wood, 5 cord, will get us through this and next winter. In addition to what we have put away earlier this year, we are set for fuel. If times get rough we will have enough for one winter. Next spring we will put an addition on the woodshed that should get us enough room for 10 cord.

The number 70: That's the temperature this weekend in the mountains. We are going to run together this afternoon (a rare treat) and hopefully cover about 8 miles.

There, those are just some fun numbers (or not, depending on the view). We are going to swing by and check out the developments on our CA's blogger friends property, get some groceries, ride the ATV's, enjoy the amazing fall colors, read, relax, etc. Work is in upheaval again but it might help us as one of us might get a promotion and pay raise. It won't be me, I can't get any higher up the ladder but I'm not complaining, I'm treated well.

Growing up I never thought I would be positioned like we are today. We grew our own vegetables so we have food to eat. Now I grow them because it's a choice and if we had more time at home we would have chickens for sure. Even if the marble jar is close to empty, a life full. Well lived.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I'm tired of airplanes

Unexpected trip to New Jersey for a meeting didn't put a smile on my face. I have a lot to get done at both properties and a last minute trip tossed everything into disarray.

Getting to the hotel at midnight was bad enough, but the HVAC system was loud no matter the setting so I might have managed 30 minutes of sleep before my alarm went off and it was time for a run. We were staying next to some river so the running should have been great but with all of the storms on the east coast I opted against being cold and miserable on top of being tired.

The meeting sucked, executives at any level seem to be happy to listen but you can always tell when they have their minds made up. We had 3 hours and half-way through it they were more interested in lunch that anything else. The flight out was delayed due to the weather (surprise!) and we spent 6 hours in the airport and I was finally back home by 1am Saturday morning.

The entire time in the airport I had to listen to gun control and mental health debates from the tv's, speakers and people. Airport food sucked bad, like always.

I'm glad that I don't have anything planned for a while, it will be nice to catch up on chores and projects. I spent a few hours setting up my new plate carrier yesterday after I went for a run. I'll get a picture of it when it's done but for now I still have some tweaks and adjustments to do. Now I need to find a bag for transporting it around. This is part of our step up in preparedness plan.

Firewood, tree cutting, wood splitting, yard cleaning, winter food storage inventory and stock-up. We have a lot to do and it's much colder than expected this weekend. We have a monsoon rain yesterday and hail, so now we have an insurance claim to send in on my 98 Discovery. Always something to keep us busy.

I hope you east coasters have hunkered down and didn't get very soggy. I'm doing inside projects right now while someone else is out in them mountains 4 wheeling with Rock. I just didn't have it in me and have a lot of long term concerns about life, fitness, the economy, work and preparedness... these are keeping me busy enough.