Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bread, hiking, deer, elk, and a badger

As promised, we are getting out there enjoying the paradise we live in. Marched back in CB for the farmers market. Ohio Pass is absolutely gorgeous right now. Not very many campers though, another piece of the unusual summer, I guess. We, oh yes, are still planning  the Big Campout. I'll you know our progress.

Talked to another organic farm Big Kids Farm, who are taking on our farm's(Parker Pastures) chickens. Thanks Heather for the tip! They aren't organized yet in how they're going to do this - they already have 75 chickens and taking on 70 more- so I'll be back in a couple weeks to discuss. Maybe there's a chance we will still have wonderful organic eggs.

Bought more bread at the organic "hippie" bakery at the market. Stunningly great bread. This time cranberry and walnut. Yum.

Carbon Peak from a different perspective
just over one of the fences - part of another mine and miner cabins
view from up high in the woods
Castle Mt from up high
We went hiking yesterday on the Star Mt. common property across the road - it's 350 acres and hunting is allowed by our homeowners in the fall. Good time for us to be going now. We'd been once before but hadn't explored up to all the fenced boundaries. Beautiful woods, scared a lot of deer and elk, and  there were more droppings than we've ever seen in one place before. We've heard stories there are bear there, but saw nary a one.

Thought this was bear scratching - turns out elk eat aspen bark in the winter when they can't reach other food. Gnawed this to pieces!

Beauty of a buck and others that we scared in the trees. We weren't close, so thank goodness Mark had his zoom lens.

Two hours later -done.

And a final wildlife sighting of the day. On the road back to the house close to the cabins,a badger ran across the road. Just caught it with my camera. Wow - only seen one before, not all that far from this two years ago. Very vicious creature with 3 inch long claws... Nice sight from the car!
Mark went fishing today with no crowds. Not a super fishing day, but did catch the biggest brook trout he's seen in the Taylor.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Animals, Scooby, and bring on the rest of summer

Back from CO Springs, a short visit, but very nice. Even managed to be resized and  computer analyzed for new walking shoes. It's been a bunch of years since I've done it, and there's nothing locally that could help me. The good and the bad here...

Mark is back from Detroit as well, so the plan is jeeping, hiking, fishing (Mark), golfing (most likely Mark), camping?, and whatever else comes our way. No company until Labor Day weekend.

photo courtesy Mark
The insane hummingbirds mostly left when I took down all the feeders before leaving town. It was definitely out of control- we were going through 4lbs of sugar A DAY. First item on the list when I came back was to put some feeders back up, and within an hour some started coming back. It's a fraction of what was - 15 versus 50.

Update on Scooby aka irobot. The replacement wheels did arrive and lo and behold, it worked! Scooby is back scrubbing the floors with all the gusto it started out with. Crazy. It also means I'm probably going to have to stock up on wheel parts - they start falling apart after two months.At least it's back functioning.

photo courtesy Mark - great zoom lens
photo courtesy Mark
All "our" creatures. We never know what we're going to see...

Lots of rain has greened up everything nicely and more late wildflowers are blooming. We have lots in front of the house. And a month of bloom for the daylilies - a first year success.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Owls, hanging baskets,jeeping, and wormwood

Quite the nature drama we have here. A great horned owl decided to plant itself at the edge of our woods two days ago, sitting perfectly still for hours. Absolutely gorgeous creature. Learned they are the largest owls in the state (6 foot wingspan),they don't make nests and borrow a crow or hawk's, lay eggs in January and February (when its minus 15 here!) and are the only owls who fearlessly attack skunks and porcupines. Lo and behold, we saw this morning- her babies! There are three, and apparently mama has decided our woods by the house are a good junior practice hunting field. Oh, the magic, sacred woods.
Mama(courtesy Mark and zoom lens)

Mama (courtesy Mark)
two of three babies - couldn't get them all together
Mama, can I get in the hammock?
So what's this black thing sis? (mini sunshade for our baby tree)
My hanging baskets. Yes, well, they haven't been spoken of in some time, and the reason is - disaster. Blah... I had done everything I could think of, and slow death was happening. Mark finally took over and said, "it must be the water". The water - really?, it's our well water (non water softener treated). It's been 10 days and yes, it clearly was the water. The minerals or something... I didn't take a photo of them at their worst, where there were zero blooms, but here's the current. On the mend using rain water and spring water. Lots of blooms, but not all the way back. Hopefully it will recover before frost time (early, early here - sometimes August!)

Noxious weed specialist hired by our homeowners assoc. to knock out the bad non native species. Ran into him on my morning walk and became much more educated on what we have here at SMR. Pretty looking white daisies, all kinds of thistle, and wormwood. Wormwood looks like sage, was brought here with the miners - to make hooch, as the weed specialist said. That's the stuff that made absinthe, the famous drink that made some people go insane. Hmm...

Update on Scooby, aka irobot Scoomba. The floor washing robot is having severe issues. Lost its brain I'm thinking - only goes around in tiny clockwise circles and constantly starts its drying cycle when the washing tank is full. Customer service trying to troubleshoot and sending me two replacement rubber rings for the back wheels. Ha, I say - if that fixes this I'll be amazed. Too expensive a gadget to not force the issue, so we'll see.
Great jeep trip yesterday. We went up to Red Mountain - a 17 mile trek with a little hiking at the top looking for the apparently phantom two lakes drawn on the 4 wheel drive map. No elk or deer to be seen but one GIANT bull wandering around. There were also bones scattered around in two places, and not to be too graphic here, it hadn't been that many days ago. Clearly there are bears about. I think it would make me a tad nervous to camp there, no matter how beautiful... The wilderness.

Been behind on reporting books read. The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay, good - historical novel set in 17th century Paris. The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst, excellent writer of WWII European spy novels, and Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker, a light Bridget Jones kind of story - set in the English countryside.
Mark off to Detroit this week while I'm off to visit my parents for a few days. Dad is at home getting excellent care from hospice and other outside nurses.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sad company is gone, but still enjoying summer

Sorry about the delay in posting. We have a HUGE problem with our internet service, which takes too long to go into, but suffice to say, rural America is pretty helpless in this area.

Miss very flexible ballet dancer Krissy
So, wonderful visit with the Texas Adams family, but sadly all done. We had rain almost every afternoon, good for us, but kinda changes the outdoor plans for visitors... Some good fishing luck by most, little bit of jeeping, and lots of talk and laughter. Time goes fast...

community garden-lots of growing needs to happen
A CB resident artist - hard working, we see him every visit
Went to the farmers market in CB, of course, and amazingly in that small town, never saw our group. Big crowds and great people watching.

I did some painting plein air as well. In our own yard and in between the rain. Hammocks are hard to paint by the way, and that's as much use as it got for this group of visitors. Too much wet!

Boo, our farm has stopped the egg shares. Well, it was a good 2 year run. The chickens are being sold to another farm, who is present at the farmers market, so for a little while, we hopefully can purchase a dozen here and there.