Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great days in the high altitude

Fun with family goes on. We went jeeping on Almont Triangle yesterday and had a picnic lunch up on top. The views go on forever. We were all alone until a DOW truck pulled up and a young guy whose job this summer is tracking the big horn sheep jumped out. Really, that's his entire job everyday. Can you imagine? Most of the sheep are collared, so he has headphones & antenna to track their movements. The big horn are struggling to survive for a variety of reasons, so I hope this tracking program helps. And, no, we didn't see a one. We did see some scientists from RMBL (Gothic based) sticking different colored flags in the ground with no pattern we could discern. Lisa was the only one willing to jump out of the jeep & go ask. They're studying aphids,secretions of aphids on certain plants, and some other stuff that you need a biology degree to understand. Interesting jobs around here...
A wonderful mountain rainstorm finally came to our house. Thunder reverberating through the mountains is a unique sound. Let's have some more!
Dinner out to meet an old friend and then back home to more coyote howls. You can definitely hear the little ones yip, yipping in the mix. Lots of deer around and saw a huge herd of elk plus babies on Castleton Ranch property (our neighbors) on our way back from town last night. We see a lot more animals than people some days. Yes, very weird, I know...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sprinkles, veggies, and nature

Grand fun happening here. Lisa & Charles made it up and we are so excited to have them. We sat out on the deck (of course) and amazing, three elk showed to say hi to them. We have not seen any elk for a week now, and were positive that they had all left for the summer.
Went to the farmer's market in Crested Butte - lots of fun. My Thistle Whistle Farm guy was not there, but other organic farmers were. And, so as not to confuse, that's not our Parker Pasture Farm group in the photo. It's the brother and his farm is outside Gunnison and he does the CB market. Bought veggies, ate some bits & pieces and then it decided to rain on us. Unusual - we need rain and none has been falling.
We hiked the trail to the beaver ponds on Ohio Pass before it started sprinkling. Lisa saw a yellow columbine among many groups of regular blooms. Good catch! I looked it up, and it's not wild, somehow a hybrid plopped itself in the woods.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Outdoor Fun

Lots of happenings here. Mark returned from his Black Canyon float trip in one piece. Had great success fishing and the rainbow (see pic) was one of the biggest the guides had seen. The brown wasn't bad either... Both he & Steve decided against sleeping in the tents, and stayed out in the open. Dreamed with the moon & the stars.
In the meantime, I, with free time, decided to hike with the mountain ladies (as I call them) - yup, a 9 MILE HIKE! We went to Green Lake which is at the base of Mt. Axtell. Let's just say it was a major thing for me to do - I could hardly walk when I got home. Saw a red columbine, don't believe I've seen that before and met lots of inspiring women. They mountain bike, cross country ski, hike big huge mountains a few times a week, and two of them were in their 70's! Boy, and I thought I was in decent shape....
The bear saga continues. I think this is a bearprint (not, I hasten to say, anywhere close to the house on the next hill over) however, this morning more "evidence" appeared on the driveway. I am not crass enough to post a photo of that. At the same time our plastic wrapped newspaper at the top of the driveway from yesterday had disappeared(I was too tired to go get it after hiking). So my conclusion is that we have a literate bear in the vicinity. Perhaps I'll leave reading glasses up there for him...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Magical moments

Went to pick up my dozen eggs at the farm yesterday. The eggs are fabulous! (We bought a dozen on tour day last weekend) After Heather put nutritional info on pasture fed eggs versus commercial on her blog, I was sold. And they look different too - bright orange yolks, yummy. My timing was great too, they had just brought in the dairy cows for their once a day milking.( it's in the distribution building where you pick up eggs and milk) They get a yummy treat so are happy to saunter in the milking room. Can't wait for the July meat pick up!
The first columbines are blooming in the woods. Yes Tiffany, thought of you, and they are gorgeous! We planted columbine seed in our yard last year and I think some of the plants have come up, but most of the wildflower seed doesn't bloom until the second year - just have to wait.
An amazing sight this morning. On my way driving out of Star Mt. I rounded a curve and had to stop dead. A doe and her brand new baby fawn were in the middle of the road. The doe was confused and didn't know what to do, but finally walked across the road and a few seconds later the little scrap of a baby staggered after her. It brought tears to my eyes...the things we see here!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The mountain life

Shhh, it appears the larkspur are mostly gone, as Mark pointed out this morning. It's at least 2 weeks earlier than last year. The cowboys usually take a ride through Star Mt. to check it out - once they see this, the cows will follow. Yippee!
Finished book #34. Great murder mystery set in Rome A.D. She's written a ton on this series - I will be getting more. Lindsey Davis - Jupiter Myth.
We have deer in the yard every morning it seems. This is a spike buck who found the other salt lick that Mark put out in the front. Yes, we're actually promoting deer hopping over the fence. They can eat whatever, we've left the yard wild, and only hope they won't eat the baby aspen.
New flower plant has popped up on Star Mt. It only blooms every 2 - 7 years, and they weren't here last summer. It's called Gentian and can get up to 9 feet high. This time of year is fun: one thing stops blooming and the next jumps right in.
Mark has left for the big Black Canyon guided fishing/float trip. Lots of gear crammed into bags. It's camping time - whoo hoo. It's supposed to be perfect fishing - cross fingers...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A day in the neighborhood

A little sad and disappointed today. Our good friends Wade & Pam will not be joining us next week due to a health issue. Here are hopes for a speedy recovery Wade - we'll miss you both tremendously. I know we'll get you back out here another time...
No sign of elk for 2 days (did I talk about their exit too much?) hopefully they are not gone yet. Lots of deer and first sign of one of the big bucks that hung around last summer. I continue to want to somehow control the happenings here - HA HA.
Hooray, Ohio Pass is finally open. Still a lot of snow in the woods and the yellow glacier lilies were everywhere. They're only around early and high and are a great bear favorite (saw no sign of any, sigh of relief). A fair amount of cars back & forth, including a camper and RV. They really shouldn't be going over - a little narrow and winding in places. Summer people are here!
So see photo of crazy decor - guess where we were! Oh, yes, Secret Stash is also finally open for lunch. Yummy, yummy pizza as usual. Quiet there though - the staff spent their time playing Uno when not serving...
Had a great dinner at our friends' Steve & Gail, of guess what - aged beef! They are our first friends who actually followed through on the process after we've raved about it all. We brought caramelized onions (courtesy of Mark) and blue cheese to top it with, and they provided a great salad and polenta. Lots of fun! Changing the beef habits one household at a time...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And life goes on

Found another traffic jam on our way to have dinner in Mt. Crested Butte with friends. Yup, cowboys moving cattle. The cowboys seemed so at home on their horses herding the animals along the road. Seems like such a peaceful life (don't know if it is, probably not - like lots of things, looks can deceive.)
The restaurant was great and lots of fun. Django's - European small plates with a very modern decorated interior. Not the usual in our area...
Flowers, flowers everywhere. The evil larkspur is still in blooming prime. It's a gorgeous flower and keeping the cows out of Star Mt. - for a few more weeks anyway. The lupine aren't great for cows either, just not as poisonous... We have a neighbor's house just completed on the next hill, but they're not moved in yet. Wonder if they know you really, really need to have a fence around your house starting in July...
Finished book #33. Fluff book pure & simple - Debbie Macomber - 92 Pacific Boulevard. Boy, I can't believe how much I've slowed down on the book reading. Other things to do, and it probably won't get any better. We have a big schedule of friends & family coming to visit starting this weekend and going through July. Good friends Wade & Pam fly in on Sunday - so excited to see them. Lots of fun planned!
Lastly, the fishing report. Water's come down & is clear. Mark went fishing today for the first time in awhile. Caught a couple rainbow and reports his new boots worked very well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Our feathered friends and four legged animals

All about the animals - we've seen elk mommies & babies every day and they have massed back up together. Unfortunately, the elk are so shy & protective of their babies that we can only look at them at a distance through the binoculars - never are the babies close enough for a photo. It's been amazing to watch, a couple nights ago there were twenty elk and 10 babies, bouncing around chasing each other. They were all over the caves, for those of you who know where those are. And soon, if last year is any indication, at some preordained magical moment the whole group take their babies and disappear for higher ground. (Star Mt. appears to be high enough to me,but I don't speak elk to argue).
The deer are everywhere now and soon it's their turn for babies. Mark put out a salt lick within the fence, and there they were this morning - we think this is one of the mommies with twins from last summer. We seem to jump deer every morning walking (see - I know terms, be impressed) and scare the grouse as well. Pretty sure there are nests with babies around hidden in the ferns. The photo of the male trying to scare me away with his "eye" is a big clue.
Speaking of nests, we walked in our woods and came across a red tail hawk nest high up in the aspen. We were trying to be quiet, but there was a hawk on the nest who, startled, sounded a piercing alarm all through the woods. The deer & elk were alerted, oh well.
Water levels in the rivers are finally coming down from the spring runoff, so mark is itching to go fishing again. We had a cold rainy couple of days and a new layer of snow appeared on the mountains. We needed the rain - we've been hand watering all the baby trees (there are already casualties by the way). Wonder how many out of the 60 will make it...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A visit to the farm

Wow, wow, went to the local organic farm for their open tour day. It was fantastic! A young couple with their 3 small children are living the life - 400 acres leased to them from the city of Gunnison with beef cattle,dairy cattle, pigs, meat chickens,chicken for eggs, turkeys and sheep. All free range and pasture fed. We tromped through muddy pastures and visited most of the animals. Naturally I went gaga over it all and we're signing up for the eggshare and mixed meat share. They have a raw milk share as well, but I'm not sure how much we would consume, plus I know there's somewhat of a controversy over the "raw" part. Yes Heather, the link you sent is the same darling Parker Pasture farm. Naturally you would sleuth out the good organic even from a long distance away...
They have a big problem with foxes, so there are different protective measures depending on the animal. The cages for the meat chickens & turkeys, are portable and moved over different parts of pasture. The free range chickens are guarded by two older great pyrenees dogs. See photo. Isn't that great? Pigs live with the chickens, which they say is all very friendly, and they have 5 different kinds of chickens, including Ameraucana (green eggs!)
The sheep & lambs are their daughter Chloe's territory. She was darling, talking about "her" sheep. Sweet photo. I don't think I could do this farm thing, but I love, love the concept, and will be supporters. Power to the little guy doing sustainable stuff!