Monday, January 28, 2013

Cancellations, paella, and snow machines

Bunch of snow dropped over the weekend, requiring much clean up effort on our (mostly Mark's) part, along with the snow plow company hired to clear Star Mt. roads (which Mark flagged down to clear our driveway.) Amazing amount of wet heavy snow that was added to by all that slid off the roof. Not done yet either apparently. Mark's flight was cancelled out of Gunnison,so trip is not happening this week, and I will not be driving to CO Springs tomorrow. Plan B, plan C, etc.

Wonderful paella cooked by Mark. Apparently we thought 6 strangers were showing up instead of just the two of us. Ha, more for us!

My online philosophy class  with the University of Edinburgh started today. The video lectures were good and thought provoking, but first I had to get beyond the distracting lilting Scottish accent of the professor. Well, it is coming from Scotland after all. Total number of students as of today - 90,000! Surprised the site didn't crash.

Bull escape. Coming back from errands in town, a group of bulls had escaped and crossed the road over to their owners house. Feed me was the message?

Walked the normal through the woods route before the snowstorm for the first time since last October. So pretty. We made our snowshoe run after the storm, had to do a little work to compress the trail again. Weird priorities right?

Tired after watching Downton Abbey last night. I tape it then watch it when it airs anyway. LOVE that show, anybody else?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nordic skiing, red tutu, bread, and coyote

More cross country skiing. Slowly getting the hang of it. We are doing classic nordic skiing which is using tracks or (hasn't happened yet) virgin powder snow to make our own trails. Fun.

using free trails only at this point
the aforementioned tracks
Hey, the paparazzi are  here
Man on a bike with red tutu. Very normal sighting in CB. But what for? And he was not smiling... Speaking of costumes, we hope to get to CB to see the annual Alley Loop Nordic races next weekend. Many races down the main street and surrounding alley ways in crazy costumes. Any excuse to dress strangely is a Crested Butte mantra.

Coyote in front of us on our way back to the house. Yup - airborne! The warmer weather seems to have brought out more animals. We can't believe it - today our thermometer says 42! Mark's had to fire up the snow blower to get the heavy wet snow off the deck that's sliding off the roof.

More cinnamon cranberry walnut bread baked this morning. So easy and yummy.

As usual, forgot to list books read. Trick of the Light by Louise Penny - great Canadian mystery writer, another in her series, and Nothing Daunted by Dorothy Wickenden, a fascinating story of her grandmother and best friend leaving New York as debutantes to come to the Colorado wilderness to become teachers in the early 1900's in the far northern region of CO, not in our area, but conditions were likely similar, wild being the key word.
My genetics class is hard and I'm in good company, if you go by the discussion boards .Lots of complaining and theorizing. Learning a ton, will see how I hold up over the next few weeks. Worked way too hard on this weeks problem sets, after aceing last weeks, but thinking less than stellar this week. (Monday spits out results, we'll see) And, ha, ha, my online philosophy class starts Monday also. Can't wait to see what kind of homework that entails...

Busy couple of weeks coming up. Mark has a business trip to St.Louis next week, and if the weather holds, I'm headed over to CO Springs to visit Mom, and we have company coming in a week - Heather, Jay, and their friends for a winter fun week. Can't wait to see them!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Animals tracks, cross country skiing, and brilliant blue skies

The, sort of, warm spell continues. Drop dead gorgeous during the day. We went cross country skiing just south of town (CB) on nice groomed trails Sunday. Beautiful and we're baby stepping our way to work on technique. We bought skis, boots, and poles on sale so we're definitely committed. Another outing soon. Gotta play in the white stuff.

Second Gunnison history class last night. A guest speaker (Dr. Bruce Bartleson) professor emeritus of geology at WSCU. Wow, great lecture and slide show. A whole new perspective on our mountains here. Dinosaurs, glaciers, towering peaks that used to be even taller before volcanic activity. AND, this is a big one for those of us looking for this, he did confirm there are petroglyphs outside Almont. We were in the right area, family! A summer project.

Tiny prints on the left and coyote/fox tracks on the right
Animals on the move. Last night 6 white snowshoe rabbits running all over the road as we came back home from class. Why? No clue. No sign of coyotes which was a surprise.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sparkly, pristine, pure white snow

Warm spell going on here - 22 degrees today. yes, I know that sounds absolutely freezing, but in the land of no humidity, it's not. Perfect to go play outside. We live in a world of magical white.

Lots of animal tracks in my tracks on the snowshoe trail. Also pee markings - I think a sign of approval. Fun to imagine all the travelings back and forth in the night.

The first Monday night Gunnison History class was really great. Professor Vandenbusche is a long time, multi published, and big personality faculty member at Western.No doubt we will learn a lot. Surprise though, there is reading homework, there will be a paper due, and here I thought extended studies meant sit through some lectures and slide shows. Ha. Quite a few regular students taking this for credit as well (and have more requirements then the rest of us). And let's not forget I am in the midst of genetics and evolution class. Must be a throwback to "real" school when I sort of panicked over the first graded problem sets. Figured it all out in the end (although I don't have my grade results yet). Honestly, I am loving this experience and the format of these MOOC classes is fantastic. And I have one more starting in 2 weeks. Philosophy from University of Edinburgh with 80,000 of my closest friends. Yes, am aware I'm just a tad in overboard mode.

Speaking of a learning mode, I want to share some interesting info we learned about in the Gunnison area a few months ago. Surprise to us, there is a substantial population of Cora Indians living in our area.  Never heard of them? Nor had we, so I looked them up.  They come from a remote mountainous area in western Mexico. Came to our area to have a better life, and are some of the hardest working people around. The difficulty lies in the fact that they do not speak English nor Spanish, just Cora. There are other Latino people in our area, mestizo, but they are not, in any way, the same. So programs have been set up to help everyone get along. Always the way, isn't it.

Beauty in every direction. Still a long time before winter is over. Big snow through March, sometimes even April...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cold, bread, icicles, and cows

January is the coldest month here. And this year is no different. Today the high reached 3, really. And that's from a low of -17. A warming trend is coming Wed with a high of 25 - practically beach weather.

I think the cold has caused some kind of frantic cooking spell on my part. Some great new dishes have come out of this. A butternut squash/ kale pasta recipe, really good and healthy, a mushroom and fresh thyme soup, good and also healthy, while tasting creamy and high fat, made with chicken stock and low fat milk, and my most fun thing yet - homemade cinnamon walnut, raisin, cranberry bread. No-knead, really easy, you just need a cast iron pot with a lid for the blazing hot temps that make the fantastic crust. Yummy. The soup and the bread recipes come from a blog I've started following. She's a chef who has a street crepe and waffle stand at various markets etc. in Vermont, splitting her time between there and their renovated country home in France. Sounds nice yes?

Good thing we have giant piles of wood. We continue to go through enormous amounts every day.

Genetics and Evolution class is still going well. I do have problem sets to submit that are graded this time. And this weeks lectures were on genetics 101, as in genes, mitosis, etc. Oh, boy...

We had some snow a couple days ago and our neighbor who we've hired to plow our driveway promptly came over. Very cold of course, and he did a great job until his engine kept died. Out came the jumper cables. I don't know, we may have to consider a heavy duty snow blower next year.

The cows the last few days have frost on their backs. Now that's cold...

Off to the History of Gunnison Cty class at Western State. Can't get used to calling it a university, but that's what it is now.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter and little bits of other stories

It is snowing as I write this. Lite snow but more to come and bitter cold following, in for the weekend. After my snowshoeing the last few days the trail was nicely packed down - not so now. No trace what so ever of the path, animal tracks, nada. We'll be starting all over...

We shiver, build lovely fires inside, drink spiced tea, and the cows eat, drink, and sleep outside. Even in -20. The cowboys drop hay for them every morning and that's apparently all they need. This also goes for the horses, goats, sheep, and any other animals the ranchers and farmers keep all winter. Harsh...

So speaking of animals, want to share some information I  found out some months ago. Pronghorn aka Antelope. They're a big deal in Colorado and we enjoy seeing herds of them from time to time.Here's the funny thing, there are NO antelope in North America. These beautiful animals have been misnamed for at least 130 years, probably longer, and it seems to have started with the man who wrote Home on the Range.Which is actually the state song of Kansas, who knew, and written by a Dr. Brewster Higley in 1876 - you know the one, "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play," etc. Perhaps he was distracted with his 5 wives and drinking problem, nonetheless, its been engrained in our heads for a long time. There's a movement out here to correct all of us, but I can tell you pronghorn does not come off the tongue easily.

I do not have jury duty and very happy about that. Was dismissed Wednesday - bless those 14 that are left to decide the verdict in the probably 5 week murder trial. I hasten to add the murder did not happen in our county, was just moved here. We're still a land of mostly petty crimes, thank goodness.

snow ribbon
red tail hawk nest - winter empty
More snowshoeing photos. It is the quietest place, our woods, only snowshoes can be heard crunching on the snow - stop and not a single sound , only pure silence.
My online genetics and evolution class is going well so far. Only practice homework the first week, we'll how I feel this second week. The video lectures have been fascinating - learned a lot already. Next class is a live one - history of Gunnison County at Western State through April. Mark and I are both taking it on Monday nights. What's with all this learning stuff? Don't know, could call it New Year's resolutions, except I never make any...