Monday, April 30, 2012

Animals, property lines, and Miss Penny

Animals out everywhere - great to see. The deer are back, at least the first wave. Coyotes, grouse, elk, deer, fox, and our bluebird couple are hanging in. With all the constant noise and people with the basement construction, thought for sure they would abandon plans for a nest.

our house in the far background and our half-owned cabin
view of castles on property edge
Great discovery we made - new survey done on our property (all part of the fun refinance the mortgage process) and lo and behold, the property extends much further up the next hill than we thought (for those who are familiar - the cave hill), in fact our property line goes right through the middle of one of the old mining cabins to more than halfway up the hill. So, we own half a falling down cabin - whee! We hiked around that stake and marched on to the other end, with Mark finding a dirty bottle. So what, you ask? I asked him to take it back to the house - silly sounding I realize, but as it turns out - it's a very old bottle made by a company, that before Prohibition, was the largest wine producer (New York no less) in the US.

A quart size glass wine bottle of Virginia Dare made by Garrett and Co. with embossed design made sometime between 1900 and 1919. Apparently everyone knew this name and how and when this bottle got here is unknown. Clearly connected with the miners I think. Prohibition killed this company, as it did most wine producers at that time.

This is the latest photo of Penny sent by Mommy. I could die over this- is she not all that?

Next post will be from Napa Valley! Our 40th (OMG really) anniversary is next weekend, and we elected to go to one of our favorite places (outside of Star Mt.) FUN...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

irobot, goats, and basement

Spring marches in, the aspen trees are starting to leaf out - of course early by about two weeks. Snow is gone except on the high peaks. Don't think there will be a big change in the river levels when the high snow melts, so much less this winter - they're already pretty low.

Say hello to our newest member of the family - I call her Scooba girl. A 13" diameter power packed cleaning whirling dervish. Yes, craziness abounds here - we have purchased a floor cleaner irobot. After a little hiccup getting the thing to start, I'm happy to say so far it's amazing, and watching it zoom around sucking up dirt, putting down cleaning solution, and then drying is pretty entertaining. The floors are a lot cleaner without the real elbow grease it takes to get them truly polished. It's a bit noisy but that's a small price to pay to have shiny floors. I'm going to use the way out of this, so we'll see if the electronics hold up.

On my way into town had to stop to take a photo of the goats and kids. This is a cashmere goat farm that we pass each way back and forth into town. There are huge amounts of goats but they're normally at the far end of the farm away from the road. I never see the kids - oh that kid is holding a kid - ha ha. The farm has no sign, and I've been curious about their story, and not too long ago found out the owner is a woman who moved here in the early 90's, sells the cashmere, and supports the local 4-H club in a big way. 50 or 60 kids every year adopt a goat to learn all the ins and outs. Unfortunately she doesn't sell the cashmere locally - boo.

More basement photos. We're almost done! So, let's see, if someone comes to stay, I might need to purchase, say, a shower curtain, more pillows (bed coming), a rod in the closet to hang some clothes, okay minor stuff...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sleet, daffodils, elk, and renovations

Gorgeous days here, although a snowy,sleety day happened mid-week. Didn't last and everything melted. We brought up the remaining outdoor furniture on the deck and sat out for a bit late afternoon. Too early to put out hummingbird feeders, too early for hanging baskets, but not too early to grill out, have a glass of wine, and enjoy the view.
My daffodils are blooming away in front, but all the other bulbs haven't even peeked out of the soil yet - only just got rid of the snow you know... The first little wildflowers have started popping out on the hills. The wildflower season will start quite early this year we predict. Did you know that the Crested Butte area has been named one of the top 5 in the world for wildflowers.Whoop! Could be that our rancher will bring the cows in early too, no need to rush that as far as I'm concerned. It's usually early July, but all is dependent on when the poisonous (to cows anyway) larkspur die back - must remember we get a terrific tax break and free fertilizer because of them.

Mark had good luck fishing today, catching some large size ones. The zero streak is over. He said nobody else was around either - what's up with that on this gorgeous day?

Elk are around pretty much every dawn and dusk right now. Small groups, large groups (my largest count so far - 51) which is great fun to see. The elk population is very healthy here, and finally the deer population has recovered from that nasty, nasty winter of 4 years ago. (no deer yet on Star Mt, should be mid -May but maybe early this year along with everything else).

The basement renovation is flying.Walls up and painted, bathroom half done, some flooring in. Estimate is two weeks til completion. I've put up a teaser photo of one new hall, more to come once the electrician, tile guys, and carpet guys are done - we think it's going to be a really nice addition.

Finished another book - A Dying Light in Corduba by Lindsey Davis. Historical fiction based in Rome - murder mystery, naturally, and a wonderful mild history lesson with every one. This is my fifth one and there are 19 in the series. Love that, nothing worse than finding an author you like and then realizing they wrote one book.

Had to throw in a little series of Penny photos. Playing with her Daddy...  It's only been a week,, but I miss her a lot!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Penny, Penelope, and Penny Lou

I'm back! Great visit with the family. And, oh Penny, what do I say - she is all that is good in the world, a little angel. And of course beautiful and brilliant (Nana isn't prejudiced at all of course). Oh hey - don't you love that Penny already knows the importance of a phone.

Lovely weather, cherry blossoms falling down everywhere, eating out on Tif and Chris's deck, plus a little swing action.

One of  Penny's favorite words
Mark is now in San Antonio for a multi day meeting - we left via planes this morning just in opposite directions. Left 85degree weather and came home to blowing snow, none sticking, on every pass, and leftover snow on the deck. Just a couple of inches, but enough to wet the ground - helpful while disorienting. Walls were taped and textured while I was gone, and Keith is painting now. Next the tile man. Things are moving along well - we should have everything done in the next few weeks - more places for people to stay for those who are planning to visit! Speaking of visits, the next time we see Penny will be early July at Star Mt. Fun will be had...
Must mention that I FINALLY finished Atlas Shrugged (on the plane out as a matter of fact) Powerful, compelling, and hard to get through -take it for what it's worth....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Loud noise, signs of bear awakening, and grassfire

First, the second tub made it -undamaged. Confusion over which trucking company was bringing it - turns out there are two different drivers from two different freight companies with the first name Nick. What are the odds? Sheet rocking today, on Saturday no less, by far the noisiest thing that's happened so far. I'm hiding out in one of the upstairs bedrooms as I write. Moving forward on this basement project is all good - definitely will put up with it.

Little bit of drama yesterday afternoon, a grass fire on Ohio Creek road - not close to us, way the other direction closer to Gunnison. 200 acres burned,homes evacuated, but all is peaceful today thank goodness. We drove by the area, looked like it missed any structures and all the ranches seemed to be as norm - cows eating hay, dropping babies, the usual.
Speaking of ranches, it has been amazing watching the mass of baby calves being born within hours of us driving by. We can tell now which are the newest - no ears tags yet. The ranchers been moving cattle to different areas (on the way to CB there's virtually no cattle to be seen right now), and started dragging the hay fields where they "deposited" natural fertilizer. Having had this all over my car more than once, it's quite the pile of stuff.

Bear activity is beginning, not by or close to us yet, but a sure sign of spring - just outside CB at our curtain/blinds store. The trash dumpsters are irresistible. I will be on the lookout on my woods walk soon - whistle and spray in hand.
Mark played golf at our local course for the first time in 5 months - crazy!  He said it was ugly, but happy to get out.
And looks like our little Western State College is making a modern move. The board voted to make it a university - taking effect this summer - name will be Western State Colorado University. Has a nice ring don't you think...

The lack of travel for the last couple of weeks is ending. Mark heads out Tuesday for a long schedule of multi-cities, and I head out Wed - first to visit my parents (Dad will have just come home), and then off to Reston to visit Miss Penny, Tiffany, Chris, Heather,and Jay for a long weekend. Mark will be able to fly in for a shorter weekend visit in between cities - great!

For the record - here are views of Carbon, Whetstone, and the Anthracites on April 1. This blog serves many purposes, not the least of which is keeping an accurate record of events, animal sightings, snowfall, etc.. You know, you think you can remember past happenings with precision , but I,at least, cannot...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sprinkling of white stuff and elk

Weather people were wrong, naturally, so no rain as predicted, instead an inch of snow that melted immediately. At least a little moisture. I had started taking the watering can out daily to sprinkle the daylily plants and daffodil bulbs - dry around here.

more special effects - pencil drawing of Mark
Construction goes on downstairs, but no tub has shown up yet. Of course, the thing that needed to be here first apparently will be the last. Tomorrow is the scheduled shipping day and cross fingers it's not damaged like the first one.

photos courtesy of Mark's zoom camera
Breaking news - the elk have shown back up! Mark's been on the lookout every morning and sure enough 9 females were out on the next hill yesterday (April 3rd) He saw more this morning, then they moved Early we think, with all this warm weather and not much snow, but we don't really know - never been here at this time of year. It's too early for babies, that happens in June, and has been every June since we finished the house (our 4th summer!).

Reorganized our upright freezer in the garage. Lots of things I didn't remember we had, and some things I scratch my head over. Our mixed meat share from the farm has provided wonderful organic meat, but some cuts I haven't a clue what to do with. Anyone have a mutton chop or pork smoked shank recipe?

Another book finished - third in a series, Alan Bradley's Red Herring without Mustard - English mystery (yup again) with an eleven year old girl as the star -sounds weird, but entertaining. And yes, the long ongoing project of reading Atlas Shrugged is NOT done. I will admit while I find it difficult reading, it has sucked me in. I begin to understand how so many prominent business people and politicians quote from it

Last, but not least, my father has rallied enough so he can leave the nursing center and go back home next week. Everyone is very happy about this, and my mother is excited to have him back. Amazing! Let the rally continue...