Sunday, August 26, 2012

BEAR #2, more jeeping, and end of summer fun

Yes, ANOTHER bear sighting. I'm starting with the most recent event first. Can you believe it! First, it is a black bear, even though brown in color, and anyone recognize the place?  Roaring Judy Hatchery. We drove down to see if the salmon had started coming in, and there was Mister Bear. We stayed 10 minutes with me snapping away as he caught trout after trout in the ditches. No dummy this one... And there are bear warning signs all around the hatchery, but in all the times Mark's been, he's never seen one.

Mister Bear hiding from us
Aw shucks, they've seen me
Ready,set, go
Got one!
Shoo magpie
Mine, all mine
Back from Colorado Springs and even though short, it was a really good trip. Dad is holding his own, and Mom and I did a bit of shopping.While we were away, the baby owls decided to vamoose to parts unknown. No more night shrieking. I'm a little sad actually. Quite an experience probably never to be repeated.

rain and heavy clouds for Star Mt.
Went on a jeeping trip yesterday which was supposed to finish at Ptarmigan lake via Tellurium Creek. Nope, had to turn around. We'd had a lot of rain during the night and this turned the rocky creek bed into slippery mud mess. So on to  plan B. We went all the way up Taylor River Rd to the very end. Never had done that. It's beautiful, had a nice picnic, Mark fished and caught some brookies, and I painted. Also stopped at Spring Creek Reservoir to check it out. Beautiful there as well. Nice when plan B works out.

Spring Creek Reservoir
Went to CB farmers market for our usual Sunday trek. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh bread,but  no eggs nor egg guy booth. Hmm... The egg supply project is not going well so far. Ate at Sunflower Deli (I've been many times, but Mark had not, so it counts on the trying out new places). I always like it, and while Mark isn't a sandwich eater really, liked the fresh stuff.

start of Ohio Pass
CB organic community garden
And people from other parts of the country ask me what there is to do here in the summer. Let's see: Hiking, rock climbing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, white water rafting, mountain climbing, 4 wheeling, mountain biking, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, zip-lining, jeeping, camping, and then there's the eating and the quaint shopping. And, by the way, just relaxing works too. I know there's more I've forgotten. Those in the know, send me what I'm missing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wildlife update and hints of fall

Eagle soaring by our windows
Haven't mentioned it lately, but our owls are still with us. The three babies are growing, but still have the baby shriek, and are quite noisy at night. We have windows cracked (actually we do that even when it's below freezing) and they definitely took mommy owl's advice, and are staying put right inside our fence.  We had friends Gail and Steve over for dinner a few nights ago,(shrimp paesano - sorry everybody!), and while out on the deck after the meal, the owls decided to give us a show.

Out of this world Shrimp Paesano
A large rabbit was munching away in the yard minding its own business and the three babies decided this could be a meal. Only it was too big and barely paid attention to them until they got too close trying to dive bomb it. It ran away. Mark thinks they tried again in the middle of last night with perhaps more success. Oooh. Which begs the question, how long will it be before the owls are completely grown up, and how long will they stay? 

plus this - not a good combination
This brings to mind the whole nature story, and how left alone the circle of predator versus prey seems to work well, with populations kept under control. I will say its a little too close lately (saw the remnants of a kill on my woods walk this morning, probably due to the coyote family with 6 pups) and I have to accept what is a natural survival instinct. After all, man is the only creature on earth that kills for other than food and defense.And for the coyote family I speak of, there is no special "coyotes only" pick up door at the grocery store. C'est la vie.

Tiny signs of fall coming are starting. A trick of lighting, sharper rustling of the aspen leaves, a yellow leaf popping out here and there, and the hummingbirds that stuck around after our of town trip, are starting to leave. Suddenly, we're hardly filling anything. Too fast!

Lots of deer and a sighting of Flap. She's been scarce and of course alone when we do see her.She's virtually the only one who gets right up by our front door. Can't imagine how she got close enough to another deer to have produced her twins last year, if you get my drift.

Egg report - the new farm is not ready yet to roll out its CSA, but apparently the chicken move was successful. They have "settled" and are starting to lay eggs again. That was weeks ago - boy, they must be quite the sensitive creatures. I still have hopes of at some point regularly getting organic special eggs...

Our Culligan water guy came to service our equipment, and while he was here, I told him the strange, untreated well water poisoning the hanging baskets, story. He tests our water, so looked up his records, and announced the only thing he could see that would possibly have this effect were sulfites.That's the rotten egg smelling stuff to you and me. Interesting, although it changes nothing, can't use the outside untreated or the inside treated (salt), so still with the rain and spring water. It brought them back from the dead!

Back to CO Springs for a short visit this week. It's a happy thing its only 3 1/2 hrs away. I may, in fact, be going from CO Springs to Denver to pick up Mark at the airport if he is unable to make his connection back to Gunnison, as he will be traveling during that time as well. His travel arrangements have left him with 30 minutes to run from one plane to another. Odds?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Camping, grilling, golf, floating, and BEAR

Camping yes. Fun yes. Will we do it again, oh yes. I have to say, we did it the right way, as in car camping. The site was 10 minutes away up Ohio Pass, we had real pillows and thick pads under sleeping bags, and meals cooked on the really nice two burner grill we purchased. Mark grilled lovely steaks and sauteed mushrooms and onions in butter and garlic for dinner, and bacon and eggs in the morning.Outdoors with perks.

Mushrooms here too!
A doe wandered by as we sat in a flower strewn meadow with a glass of wine. Aah, the relaxation.

Lots of deer within our fence after we got back. Eyeing the hammock?
So after camping, we went to play golf in a fun tournament at friend Steve's invitation. Had awards dinner afterwards at Harmels. Their back deck is gorgeous!  Haven't been in that place except their store in a very long time. Then Mark floated the Gunnison with friend Steve the next day. Water very low but had good luck fishing, even with a slight mishap with the seat Mark was on. Yes, we are cramming in many things these days.
And on our way to CB today, up Ohio Pass in the middle of the road - a BEAR. A very big black bear and since I always have my camera, whipped it out and here's the evidence: He/she was headed pretty darn close to where we hiked to the fen the other day by the way...

Another new restaurant tried - Mexicali Grill - enjoyed it a lot, and as you can see, were testing out the margaritas as well. Very fresh food, and good salsas.Nice addition to the CB scene, very different from Donita's.

In the midst of all this, another book done. Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst. Great writer of WWII spy novels.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Deer, mushrooms,restaurants, and history

Running as fast as we can to enjoy every little minute left of summer. It's going so quickly!

on my walk
our salt lick inside the fence
Deer everywhere and the fawns are growing up. Still with all their spots though. Another month or so and they'll look like mama. Of course then they all turn gray and the trees all turn yellow, orange, and red. Nature at its best.

On a whim went to dinner at Garlic Mikes in Gunnison. First time in almost two years! We've had erratic food and service so wasn't sure what to expect. Pleasantly surprised - good food and service. We'll be back. And amazingly, a week ago the Travel Channel came by to film the restaurant. Seems to be a garlic theme in the show somewhere, but not sure. It's airing sometime in the fall. Our waiter said a little extra alcohol went around to calm down the nervous, soon to be filmed, customers. Ah, fleeting fame...

Puffball (at least I think it is) huge actually 7 inches across
So its mushroom month again, and seeing them on the woods walk popping up all over. My problem is I've been scarred after purchasing a mushrooms in Colorado book the first summer the house was finished.There are wonderful edible varieties here, but also lots of copy cat poisonous ones. The only way I see eating any are from this scenario: local mushroom expert accompanies me and picks them, then he/she prepares them, and finally he/she takes a bite first. It is a thing around here, we met an eastern European gentleman with his basket and a few dogs on our way down from the fen hike. He said he'd been told to come to that very area for good mushroom hunting. Good luck, we said. I saw very few mushrooms on our way up, but maybe I don't have the eye for it.

Decided to try out new restaurants in CB and return to some that were not so great in the past, just to see.
So first up is West End. Only been in business a year, they were Timberline prior for a very long time (claim to fame: infamous plastic surgery Heidi Montag's parents, believe no connection now.) Had barbecue (they smoke their own), and it was pretty good. We'll go back, so success #1.

Reading a book on Gunnison Cty cemeteries, which is fascinating. One of the original cemeteries was under the airport. (All graves were moved to the current cemetery) All the old West folklore, sad results of epidemics, mining accidents -huge history in those.We have at Star Mountain, a one person cemetery. Joe "Peanuts" Berta, which is in the book. He was the last miner at Baldwin, and wished to be buried at the place he loved the most. Sweet.

And what is this you ask?  Yup, we are finally going camping. Tonight., Trying out all the new, or should I say, unused and in original condition, since we bought it all last year, equipment. Should be fun!