Wednesday, October 11, 2017

First snowstorm and goodbyes

This is the last post from Star Mt. for a very long time. We are Florida bound. It looks a bit different than last post right? Clearly the weather wanted us to have the whole experience before we left. 6 inches of snow at the house. It's still melting as I write two days later.

And as expected, the cowboys showed up to take our cattle away, good timing as it was right before the storm. It's like a ballet really, they move slowly, making invisible movements with their horses that cause those cattle to just stay in line and wander down the road. No cattle until next June. Our gates are now open, we still have two even after replacing one with a cattle guard last summer.

Hunting week was unsuccessful for Mark and Paul. They saw a lot of elk on the hunting ground just didn't have a clear shot. The elk above were right around our house one morning where of course there is no hunting. Clearly saying hahaha to Mark and Paul. This big bull came after a few minutes delay behind his harem. Next year....

During the snowstorm we had a ton of deer appear, looking just a little bit confused, but kept right on eating anyway. This was the cutest little boy fawn who was right outside our window.

Twas a bit crazy to have the snow but so so gorgeous, especially with the last bits of color. Yes I walked just not during the storm.

Post storm there were naps- in the snow in front of our house. No sign of Flap in this group. Have to wait until next spring apparently. Our deer spa continues on, if only for a little longer before they leave for the winter.

Bye house for now. There'll be a lot more snow than this when we get back.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

And leaves are blowin' in the wind

Carbon Peak
This has been a week of contrasts. Rain, snow, sleet, leaves turning, leaves flying off in the wind, brilliant sunshine. We don't know how to dress here currently.

Ahhh, the annual fall roundups. This was on my way home, the one way in, one way out road. These are not "ours" but I'm keeping an eye out for our rancher. Ours will go any day now. The cowboys are spending a lot of time bringing herds down from the high mountains where the cattle have been roaming free all summer. Ours are contained within the community fence. Much easier job to move them.

A random lady in a car rolled down her window and volunteered to take a group photo- thank you!
This past weekend on Ohio Pass - gorgeous, snow spitting, and those of you familiar with the photo spot on the pass - can you believe the amount of people? It was crazy and the most we've ever seen up there. Paul and Sherry had just gotten here and we went trekking to CB for breakfast. Yes, Paradise for those wondering. Yum.

Elk hunting week, which is why Paul and Sherry are here. Sherry to observe and of course Mark has been up there hunting on off work time. Lots of hunting but no shots taken with still a few days to go. We always love having Paul and Sherry visit no matter what the reason!

Baldwin mining cabin
Another Baldwin mining cabin
Fall is now on the waning end. I ran around and took as many photos as I could before the falling off started. There's always a new view, a new perspective. It never gets old. And people actually lived in those cabins in the late 1800's. In this severe winter of -25 and hundreds of inches of snow. How??

Strange combo but its peaceful coexistence
Creatures are out and about and there's a big shift about to happen here. Deer and elk move to less snowy areas, bear find their homes for the big winter sleep, small creatures such as weasels and snowshoe rabbits turn white to match the snow coming, and the smallest ( chipmunks and mice) will hunker down in deep burrows for a torpid semi dormant winter sleep.

Mark and I leave for Florida in 10 days. We'll be back for our winter fix but that won't be for quite awhile. Trying to fit in everything we can in the meantime. This place feeds my soul, and with all the current tragedies and trauma it serves as a place of solace. Peace to all...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Liquid gold, bluebird skies, and a chill in the air

I'm watching the fall in all its glory. Another snow dusting with the gorgeous color is a unique mountain event I look forward to.

First fire, Mark is usually the firemaker, and he's not back yet, but happily I know his technique. Temps went into the low 20's in the last few nights. Now that's cold.

Preparations for the long standing fall harvest festival called Vinotok in Crested Butte were underway.A week long celebration  with ancient roots coinciding with the autumnal equinox to give thanks for the abundance of harvest through song, dance and feasts. People in nature crazy costumes and the culmination is a bonfire and burning of the Grump, somewhat similar to the Burning Man or Zozobra in Santa Fe on a much smaller scale. We've never made it the 'burning' but hear its a lot of fun. Maybe one year...

Lake Irwin
Workshop group and yes, it was cold!
Forest Queen Mine
During Vinotok, or instead of it, I went to a wonderful 3 day art workshop in CB. The instructor was Frank Francese, a long time watercolor artist and teacher in Colorado, known for brilliant loose color mountain scenes. We had part on site(plein air) and part inside. Got to see Lake Irwin from a different perspective and see Forest Queen Mine for the first time. It was a silver mine active in the late 1880's. I learned a lot, purchased a painting, and met lots of great people and reconnected with an old acquaintance. Nice way for me to get back to painting, as I've been writing all summer instead of painting. More on than later...

Mt. Crested Butte

Caught a herd of big horn sheep as I was traveling around. These are all female, males are clearly wandering.

Fall color is interesting this year, of course every year is different, but this year is more checkerboard, as I call it, than years past. All gorgeous no matter what. The scary part is give this a week and tons will be falling to the ground. Too quick... 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A dusting of snow and a pinch of fall magic

There is sadness for all the destruction in the aftermath of Irma. So much damage everywhere, power is still out for many, a boil water mandate in Naples, scarce gas, and normal services are not up and running. For us, however, nothing was breached, and while power is still out in Naples, we count ourselves as very, very lucky. Mark is in Miami and I'm at Star Mt. and he'll be checking on Naples in a few days. So many people we know are not in the same situation and our hearts go out to them.

Flap - the clue is the right ear
Isn't it great - Flap appeared outside our window after an absence of 2 months. She did not have any fawns in tow, so I think our theory she's in the latter part of her life is probably true. She looked good and healthy though. I've added it up, since we moved here Flap has had 13 fawns. That's how the deer population becomes large and healthy!

Our first snow dusting. It was 35 degrees in the morning and a spectacular day. A great horned owl hooted at daybreak from the peak of our roof and as I went for my early morning walk elk were bugling  in every direction. Magnificent nature.

We are marching ever closer to the peak of fall color with winter soon to follow. The small creatures will start hoarding food for their winter homes. I am about to take down the remaining hummingbird feeders, always a painful task, since it means the season is done. We have 2 little birds still showing up, all the rest have clearly marched on their path to Mexico. I need to wish these bon voyage...

Deer are still all around us, including visiting the deer spa under our deck. They don't stay however, some unknown signal says get to lower ground before the real winter snow starts. Once it starts, it stays until April.

One of the 200 cows at Star Mt. They don't know but their time here is coming to an end. Our rancher will be picking them up in a few weeks. They are enormous after eating Star Mt. grass all summer. I cannot lie, I will not miss the manure... Happily we have one more round of company(Paul and Sherry) before we shut the house up for many months.Elk hunting and fall color photos will be happening.