Saturday, August 28, 2010

The last heartbeats of summer

This is our traffic here. Sooo typical, and everybody waves. Gotta love it! The slow pace of life is awesome...
Our company has come & gone - boo hiss. It was a great week and the last day everyone went in different directions from Crested Butte (Ralph & Janice) to volunteering time at the art center in Gunnison (me), to enjoying and solving the world problems at home base(Mark & Duane). Weather was fabulous all week, thank you, and now the crisp air of fall is descending rapidly. Our cows are now fat and obviously love Star Mt. grass. They are here for another month and then, well, it's destiny.
Picked up our weekly eggs at the farm. The goats greeted me as I drove down. Not sure what they're contributing to the process other than eating down the weeds. Very cute though... You know there is a goat movement in different parts of the country to rent them to eat down the grass & weeds instead of horrible non- environment friendly mowers. Wow is all I have to say. We're in good graces there I think, with no mowing whatever at Star Mt.
Last tidbit - local airport was shut down temporarily when the Gothic RBML scientists checked luggage with vials of potassium chloride. Oooh, FAA wasn't sure what this was - well neither am I, but evidently harmless and in small quantities for science experiments. Just a blip - wish I had been a fly on the wall when the men in hazardous uniforms showed up in itty bitty Gunnison. airport.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wish everyone was here!

Sorry this is a little late, as usual, we've been moving fast with our company. Mark & Ralph went fishing while the rest of us went to Crested Butte. Shopping (Duane a little less enthused) and lunch (Duane more enthused) on another gorgeous day.
Jeep day - while Duane opted to stay & relax at the house. Yes, he brought his guitar - quite the talent. The rest of us went to Emerald Lake for a picnic lunch and then over Paradise Divide. Spectacular and lots of laughs...
Dinner at Le Bosquet - great as usual. 33 years and still going strong. It's a delight to have Ralph, Janice, & Duane around. Fun had all around. Only small blip - fishing is hard according to the boys(although Mark caught an enormous brown today). Clearly off season right now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some are working, some are just having fun

Oh, the fun of company! Always something to do & see. We went into Gunnison to eat(stuffed our faces at W cafe), shop, and visit the crazy store with mountains of antlers & stuffed animals. Ralph decided there were too many germs in there, Janice got the heebies jeebies, and Duane just thought it was a fascinating store. Everybody has a different reaction to that place - that's why we go!
The doe with twins were back again yesterday morning. The deer love to eat right by our bathroom window. Most unfortunate for those of us who are trying to take showers, brush teeth, etc. without disturbing them. I was taking pictures with a towel wrapped around me - as if the deer care whether I'm dressed or not :-)
On the way back the cowboys were hard at work, exactly what work we're not sure, but it certainly looked impressive. Photos courtesy of Mark. Our cows are placidly eating up our grass and bothering our newest neighbors with no cowboys in sight. They don't have a fence up yet and are frantically trying to schedule it, as damage mounts up. The cows have pushed one of their garage doors askew, and are trying to mangle the barriers around their well. Boy, I remember the frantic herding away from our house last summer - welcoming the new people.
The hummingbirds are becoming scarce. The bees are about as numerous as the birds, so we expect the time is limited to have the feeders up. They seem to be busiest at sunset. I love Mark's picture. Yes, I let him take a photo every once in awhile with his former camera.
And here's a photo of the "boys" this morning contemplating life or trouble - hard to say...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Discovering new things

Went for the weekly egg pickup at the farm. The enormous egg recall makes me even more thankful for these terrific eggs. Big sign in the shed saying no extra eggs for sale, only egg share people (that's me) can pick up. The chickens are molting. That's when they lose their old feathers and grow new ones - evidently egg laying goes way down for the duration of this process. The sweet faced cows were in for their daily milking, and a flock of growing turkeys had been moved to a field within view. The kids sure seemed entertained - what a great way to grow up. I know, I'm looking at the romance of it all, not the work.
Fishing report - mediocre right now. Mark remembers August being not great last year as well. Sept picks back up - and that's right around the corner - how did this happen? The college is back in session Monday and the stores have been full of students buying supplies. That's a good thing, the town needs the support. Where did the summer go?
We went to explore the other part of Star Mt - the 350 acres across Carbon Creek where hunting is allowed during season. Amazing that we hadn't already done this. We found where the head gate is to be repaired by the river and hiked up about two thirds of the mountain. Great views from the other side although our house is hidden. There's a sign-in box (which had a mouse living in it - he liked the sign in sheets, having chewed them all up) and trails for atv's or hikers in our case. An unexpected pretty part of the creek, which Mark says looks fishable, and a beaver pond with beaver present while we were there. That's giant thistle I'm in - all the thistle around the county is considered a noxious weed - we've not seen any this big! We'll go back, it's so great it's 2 minutes away, just not during hunting weeks.
Finished book #44 another by Lynda Robinson - Eater of Souls. These are the murder mysteries set in ancient Egypt. They're all entertaining...
Company comes tomorrow - hurray! It's been quiet around here for a couple of weeks. Ralph, Janice, & Duane driving all day from Texas, will be here all next week. Bring on the fun...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Energetic activity

Went to Lobar (one of two sushi restaurants in Crested Butte) finally. Only open for dinner and after 9:30 turns into the only nightclub in town. It's tiny, and I think Crested Butte's attempt at "cool" - you go down the stairs into a very dark room with tv monitors that loop fish scenes. Good sushi and we enjoyed although didn't stay for the changeover - don't do much nightclubbing as you probably can guess...
Lots of haying going on around the valley. I'm definitely a creature of habit, so it feels good to have such predictable cycles - you grow it, you cut it, you feed it to the animals over the winter, and then start all over again.
Had to take this photo of the giant moth on the petunias. Hadn't seen it around and a hummingbird thought it was large enough to be a threat and chased it away. Anyone know what kind it is?
Went for a drive all the way down Carbon Creek - first time this summer. A pretty drive and Mark was surprised at all the new beaver ponds that have developed since last year. Busy little creatures! We were also looking to see where the mine people purchased property for future "staging areas" and diverting water for a reservoir. If you don't know about the mine, it's been in the planning stages for years now, with passionate opposition from the locals. It's to be built outside of Crested Butte and is nicknamed the "moly" mine for molybdenum - a mineral that is used in many things, machines, etc. so valuable. It's supposed to have the largest supply of the mineral in the U.S. Goody - there are many many promises that minimal damage will be done and the actual mine will be all underground, etc. etc. We'll see - anyway, the mine won't be close to us, but this peripheral property for water storage, and goodness knows what else is within a few miles. We saw no sign anything is happening. Next summer we think...
Okay, one more mushroom picture - they are growing up through the road - called shaggy mane, and supposed to be edible. I don't think so...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Animal drama and mud

Mud - that is the word of the day. We had day two of repair on the driveway. It's amazing how we - alone - can cause instant downpours. All we have to do is schedule Walter or Keith to dig up or move around dirt, stone, etc. and voila the skies open up and rain comes down. The photo is after the morning rain stopped and Walter & Mark were getting the emptied drainpipe back in the ground. Giant rainstorm came in right as the last pile of dirt was smoothed on. Lots more work to be done gravel, rock, and huge rocks to be spread. Messy.
I know it seems I'm obsessed with mushrooms, but they're everywhere at the moment. Had to put up a couple more photos. We saw these on our walk this morning - a bunch had even pushed up through the dirt in the road. No idea why the photo is on it's side - sorry. One of these is scary looking, couldn't find it in the "book" so who knows?
Flap appeared in the yard this morning, looking perky & plumper (her ribs had been showing) and no she didn't go near the petunias. Don't understand it, but that's okay. Nice to have the flowers and hanging baskets for awhile longer. Freezing temps later this month will put an end to them - I know that sounds crazy, but the seasons are very compressed here. The aspen will start their major fall color change in the next few weeks - hard for me to believe too.
Finished book #43 - highly recommend it: An Italian Affair by Laura Fraser. Non fiction account of her life & travels after a divorce. Not Eat, Pray, Love by any means but very entertaining.
Animal drama here, two of the steers died, one close to us (down the hill by the mine shaft, and the other way on the other side of Star Mt). Don't know what happened, if they were sick or a predator (say a bear) got them. I guess it happens - just the first time for us. And a neighbor's dog went missing for three days after chasing a steer. They found it, with some broken bones, but hopefully will recover quickly. They don't know what happened there either. Wild west indeed...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Enjoying the wide open spaces

Chilly the last two mornings - 40 degrees when we got up. At this rate I will have to break out gloves - holding the cold metal camera causes numb fingers. Still gorgeous and warm during the day - high 70's, but I feel a change in seasons a coming - Stop and stop - I want to hold back the days!
The driveway/drainage issues continue. No rain now, but the damage was done. Stuff is being dug out, rock delivered, and now our drain pipe under the driveway has to be dug up and stood on it's side to get all the mud & gravel out. It feels like new house construction is back...
Mark has been busy with golf tournaments and a little fishing thrown in. Fishing report is mediocre he says. He did bring home a nice size trout which we had for breakfast with scrambled eggs. Yum!
I went in our woods to: one; search for mushrooms, two; check out flowers, and three; heave fallen branches into piles so you can walk without tripping. A ridiculous task, I've gotta say - there's enough fallen wood to keep this project going for years... Did see some great mushrooms, including one with a big bite taken out of it. Guess the animals know if it's poisonous or not.
Picked up the weekly eggs and monthly meat package at the farm, and yes, there was a giant chicken in there. Will be brining before cooking - thanks Heather. Happened to get there as milking was going on -dairy cows are very cute. Still am not buying the raw milk, not because of the controversy, we hardly drink any of whatever kind.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food stories

All about the food for this post. Mark made the most luscious meatballs & marinara sauce the other night. We'd read the best meatballs have 3 types of meat - veal, pork, and beef - and he used all three - organic farm to boot. Lots leftover to freeze for future meals even though we stuffed ourselves.
Speaking of organic, we had our whole chicken from the farm a few days ago, and it was very tasty but not super tender and a little dry, even though it was done in our Romertopf clay pot (everything cooked in this is normally wonderfully moist & tender if you haven't used one). Any thoughts? Is this the way organic chicken just is and we've gotten used to the regular grocery chain poultry with who knows what added to change the taste/texture?
I pick up this month's meat bag at the farm tomorrow, which I know will have another whole chicken in it. I'll have to see what I can figure out for preparation.
Some time ago I found fava beans at the farmer's market - so excited, since they are normally available for a short time in the spring. They're fussy, have to peel them twice, blanche and then put them in an ice bath, but well worth it. They have an amazingly sweet taste, not like lima beans (which I don't like) even though they resemble them. No more til next year...
And in the deer food category, Flap has only made a minute appearance in the last 4 days - and left the petunias alone. I did talk to her about not eating people's flowers - did she listen?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ode to the mountains

So beautiful here, weather back to normal, birds singing, bees humming (actually those bees are a nuisance on our deck, since all they want to do is get into the hummingbird feeders!)
Had to take a picture of this crazy red mushroom. Looked it up and it's called Russula and is not edible recommended (since it could be the poisonous kind or maybe not- this is a repeat topic on how I am NOT picking mushrooms around here.)
We went jeeping today(yes to the Rock) to Union Park (Sherry, Chris,Tiffany, kids - does this ring a bell? I still laugh over our adventure.) We did not go on the same roads except for the initial one - this was 4 wheel drive only and very narrow at that. Lots of fun, went through major cattle fences at Union Park Cow Camp (there is an old bunkhouse that I don't think is used anymore, but who knows, it was for the cowboys out & about checking on those valuable cattle) and drove through a lot of streams. Mark did some fishing at the beaver ponds, some success, but said it was more work than it was worth sloshing through the brush and muck to each one. I painted plein air , which is painting on the fly, I'm not great at it, but today was better than most.
Mark also stopped at Lotus Creek on the way out to try a few minutes of fishing. We don't know the history of the rock wall on the road, but it was beautiful there; kind of reminded me of Ireland. I will try to research it out, if it's interesting I'll let you know. This whole area holds its secrets close to the vest.
Unsettled weather equals amazing, amazing sunsets!