Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Heather's Baby Shower

The baby shower is done and was a great success. Tiffany and I flew in from our respective cities and  the whirlwind commenced. It's amazing what can be accomplished online... Airbnb for the house/event space, caterer (Heather helped with this one), and lots of things ordered online and shipped. There's a funny story on that last front. Tiffany ordered giant balloon letters to spell out baby. She opened the package after we'd arrived at the rental house and blew up Y.  Perfect,but then discovered the rest of the letters consisted of C and C and A.  Whoops, no that does not spell BABY, and we could not figure out any alternative. A minor mishap.

The family group. I have to say, don't I have gorgeous daughters!

Bell House Catering gluten free cupcakes - Yum

Food was fabulous, specially tailor made for those with food challenges, Heather was one, as she is gluten free, but others had their own issues. All were happy with the food options. Kelly Bell, a shout out to you for the great food!

Aaaah, look at that. I made that blanket 40 years ago when I was pregnant with Heather. She has it now to pass on to her daughter. Can't believe I still had it! Someone asked how could it be in perfect condition after all these years. For one, I hardly used it with baby Heather. In the end it didn't go well
with baby spit up etc. so decorative it became. I think Heather's plan is the same.

Lovely to meet some of Brian's family. His two sisters and mom Lucille came and Lucille kindly provided a beautiful centerpiece and a silver punch bowl. Just missing his dad and older brother.

Only a few short weeks left. Baby girl will join the world in either August or September. Bets are on! We'll see when she decides...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bear,balloons, hummingbirds, and cattle -summer fun

Time is whizzing by. Hope everyone had a marvelous fourth of July. We celebrated by going to the annual hot air balloon rally at daybreak. It's quite the sight.

Seen some amazing things over the past couple weeks, some I caught via camera but some I could only stare at. The first bear sighting was one. A good sized black bear ran full speed outside the line of our fence into the woods. I ran for the camera but too late. I think with the things I've been missing I need to tape it to my body or some such.

Right this moment, I have a buck tucked under our deck and a new friend -marmot who loves basking belly flop style overlooking the deck. Not sure what to do about that one. He seems harmless enough but may do damage to the yard.

Long distance lens to catch this mommy and baby on our neighboring ranch. Been seeing quite a few elk here and there just not at Star Mt. I was told there were 40 to 50 elk up on our community hunting property last week. It's not hunting season yet and I'm quite sure they know they're safe.

Looks peaceful right? My early morning walk. It's as its always been, except for all the new home construction. 4,as of right now, and possibly 2 more in the next year, which is huge for our little community. People want to have their own piece of the specialness that is Star Mt. I'm not seeing as many animals now, but I think that's just part of it. Some disturbance before things settle down again. I need to adjust and have a little more patience with the process.

Challenges for people building here are a bit different than city living. First, there's the water issue. We are all on wells, and each lot, while very large (35 acres), may or may not have viable water. We are massively high up in the mountains so all is dependent on underground water sources which are hit and miss. Massive rock makes for the need to drill very deep wells.  We went down 400 ft. and our immediate neighbors had to go down 900 ft and that was the 3rd try due to mine shafts. And mine shafts are the next issue. Our whole community is set on an old mining town with remnants of mining cabins, equipment, laced with old mining shafts hidden just below the surface. Drilling may hit right into one and due to the instability, a well can't be put there. We were lucky. We weren't even aware of  the dangers and missed the problem altogether. Crossing fingers for all our new neighbors.

The hummingbird photo in no way shows the mania that is going on from daybreak until dusk. We have 4 big boy feeders up that hold a quart of sugar water in each, and I'm refilling them every day. Dusk brings more than there are holes, I count an average of 30 birds fighting to get the sugar water. Since I'm leaving tomorrow for a few days I'm filling all and hauling up a broken handled one as a backup, but I'm sure they will all be empty when I get back. These hummingbirds travel from Mexico every year to get up here and nest as well. Speaking of nesting, I saw an amazing sight a few days ago when sitting on the front porch. A hummingbird swooped down close to me to peck at a spider web until it had a mouthful and flew away. They use spider webs to build and anchor their nests. Who knew... Darn, no camera.

Flowers are still blooming although winding now. It's early but the low snowpack from winter is more than likely responsible, plus lack of rain early. We've had rain almost every day the past week which is much appreciated but we have a long way to go to make up for the past.

Hit a small cattle drive on the way to Montrose. I was dropping Mark off at the airport there. A little surprising on a high speed road. We expect it here in our totally ranching community, but not the bigger city. We knew there were cattle about before we saw them - the manure in the road. We've developed quite a detective skill.

Off tomorrow for the baby shower in Maryland.  Heather only has 7 weeks to go! It's all very exciting. I'll be back with photos....

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Back to Star Mountain

Fabulous to be back and trying to catch our breath, literally. It's almost 9,000ft here folks! It's been the longest time since we built the house that we've been away. (6 months). Our arrival had yellow sunflowers in bloom, deer everywhere, coyote and great horned owl poop on the deck, and the humming birds were back within a half an hour of putting up the first feeder.

Young buck coming to say hello
We missed the elk and their calving in our woods that happens early June, but upon arrival saw a ton of deer and they've been very active most of the week we've been back. Saw our first fawn two days ago. Brand new and probably born in our woods. And the deer spa area has been visited (dirt area under our deck) by many, who could by any calculation be some of Flap's babies. My rough guess is she's had at least 15 babies in the 9 years we've been here. What we haven't seen yet is Flap herself. It's not cause for alarm, some years she takes weeks to come visit.

Some of the last lupine
The last of the larkspur (beautiful but poisonous to cattle
While the wildflowers are beautiful it will not be the best year for bloom as we had low snowpack over the winter. We need moisture and now are in high wildfire danger throughout the state. Rain would be a help but almost non existent so far. The wildflowers bloom early and are less prolific in drought years. It's very reminiscent of the last big drought year 2012. I've put out our rainbarrels with hope.

Other changes coming a month later meant a harder time finding hanging baskets. I was lucky and grabbed up a matching pair at a local nursery. It just wouldn't feel right unless I have them up. This whole area puts up lavish displays of the blooms every summer regardless of the conditions.

Cattle were put in as soon as we arrived. A whole brand new set of steers to roam our fields until fall. Close those gates around your houses - quick!

We've been busy our first few days here. We took the jeep and headed over to Marble and Crystal River for some fun. I enjoyed painting and Mark had big success fishing. Those waters are not fished and there are native trout galore in the river. Cutbows and cutthroat - Mark must have caught 30 in two hours. Not crowded at all this time. Last year we went over Labor Day weekend which had to be the busiest days of the year. Mobs, all on their way to see Crystal Mill. And thank goodness the only restaurant for miles is a great one: Slow Groovin BBQ.

Ahh the Maharaja
We made it to Montanya and Soupcon right away. Been missing them! While there were no changes at Montanya, surprise, surprise Soupcon has been sold. We knew the owner had put it up for sale in the fall, but weren't prepared for the actual sale to have gone through. Someone with big chef experience and our meal was very good, but slightly different. Clearly the new chef/owner is putting his own take on the food, which is his right of course. Let's just say the jury is out so far on where we are with this. We will go back and decide.

No worries magic spring still going strong
Settling in, although Mark will leave in a week and start the summer schedule of coming back and forth from Miami 2 weeks at a time. And I leave in less than 2 weeks for a long weekend for Heather's baby shower. Much fun is being had with Tiffany and me planning that.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Charleston with Penny and Juliet

The whirlwind trip to Charleston has come and gone. Penny, Jules, and I had a fabulous time. Lots to do to keep ourselves busy while mommy and daddy were in Australia. Penny had summer camp and Jules her preschool so I wasn't the sole entertainment. The wonders of modern day tech- Tiffany and Chris talked to the girls everyday via Facetime. Their breakfast morning time and our early evening.

Nice observation tower for broad views of the low country
I'm still finding rare creatures wherever I go, this one was a mud salamander -pretty strange looking
Mark came in the middle for the weekend which was tremendous. We had a trip to a new park, the beach, and their favorite ice cream store.

Mark and I made it to a historical soul food restaurant in N. Charleston after I had picked him up from the airport. Bertha's Kitchen. Located in a industrial railroad track area, this female run turquoise little building is an institution started in 1981 by Bertha. She has since passed away, but her female relatives have kept it going strong in the decades since. Last year it was given a prestigious James Beard American Classic award. I had collard greens, fried chicken, cornbread, and red rice and Mark substituted fried fish and mac n cheese in his mix. Not my normal but good stuff.

Cow and cat moves
Yoga practice for the girls. I was trying to get things calmed down for bedtime. Had some limited success but they liked the yoga anyway.

Yes, the tide does fluctuate that much!
Such a beautiful little park  just a mile from Tiff's townhouse. Was a part of old 1700's plantation at one time.

The neighborhood homes on my walk to the park are just spectacular. New made to look old, and the low country style is gorgeous.

An impromptu dance concert from Jules and Penny. We should all go back to being so free...

A last lunch with the weary jet lagged travelers back from down under. Saltwater Cowboy - great seafood and barbecue with dolphin and manatee sightings as entertainment. Charleston is a great town, no doubt about it!

Now back to Florida but only for a short few days. We fly back to Star Mt. the 23rd. Can't wait!