Thursday, March 28, 2013

Warm temps, melting, and mud

And the big melting begins - for real. Temps in the high 40's make for rapidly emerging ground. Gunnison has virtually no snow on the ground. We have a lot of snow at Star Mt., so it will take awhile (weeks!) before we see the surface. Late snow is sure to happen, but will disappear in a fast heartbeat. Mud, mud, mud..

Visiting Secret Stash a couple of times in the last week means we've got the scoop on the impending move. June 18th projected opening and not more seating (putting two stories into one larger single story ) but double the size kitchen. Trying to replicate the eclectic interior decorating (the owner's purchases from trips to 62 countries) and make cozy seating areas. We'll see...

Last nordic skiing day for us. Warm temps causing ground to pop up in places and the tracks pretty non-existent. Ah well, we definitely made the most of the winter this year along with having lots of company to enjoy it with.

Getting quieter in town (CB) Had lunch at Mexicali Grill which is staying open through off season. They all make an individual decision, most saying no.

Eagles soaring, fox and coyote out and about, lots of bluebirds and robins chirping. Note to self, take the old bluebird nest down from under the deck soon. Old story, but bluebirds abandoned that nest and two years in a row, a pair of  less than intelligent robins used this much too tiny nest. Results: eggs falling out and baby birds falling out. Let me help you, you silly things.

my walk
Books read: Rhys Bowen -Naughty in Nice,  George Sibley -Dragons in Paradise, and Julia Spencer-Fleming - Out of the Deep I Cry - all good. Two out of the three are continuing series, and George Sibley is a long time local CB guy. Very thought provoking book on his experiences here, doing everything from caretaker at the biological lab to owning the CB newspaper, to professor at Western, and being a bum in between. Just a day in the life here...
Next post from Reston with Miss Penny.

Monday, March 25, 2013

End of season fun

Whirlwind last few days with company. Yes, I know it we seems we own a bed and breakfast, but I repeat, no we do not. How lucky we are to have so much family and many friends who want to come see us in our heavenly place high in the sky.

Skiing for Mark and Gail, although they missed one day due to cold temps and raging winds. The mountain got more snow, which is great since we're are at the end of winter and soon the snowmelt will start. You wouldn't know it today however, a massive cold front in throughout most of the state - minus 6 at the house this morning. Lisa and I shopped, ate out, and of course solved world problems with our brilliance. Maybe we could hire out as problem solver consultants.

red draping leftover from Red Lady Ball - there was literally swinging from the ceiling - missed it!
Odd drink in the pack was Lisa's - mango jalapeno
We initiated Lisa and Gail into the joys of Ryce restaurant and Montanya Rum Distillery. Gotta love it...

Mark's paella was a great success - those of you who've had it already know that!

photo courtesy of Mark
New calves everywhere, actually we nearly saw a birth on Ohio Creek on the way home. We left before the great event, giving her privacy? And, not going into any details, but a balloon looking thing was involved.

All things will go quiet here soon. Ski mt closes down in less than 2 weeks, restaurants are closing till mid to late May, mud season in April will start, and we leave Sunday for a couple days in CO Springs (Mom is moving to Seattle!) and then fly to Reston to take care of Penny for a few days while Tiffany and Chris play in Napa. Back for a week and then down to Naples for a couple of weeks for a nice break (from the mud, I think). Zooming...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Last winter company and signs of spring

I'm baacckk! Time got away from me, again. As we go through the first day of spring, here it's still a winter wonderland, but the signs of change are coming. Lots of different birds arriving, calves being born by the dozens, and yippee, my first sighting of sand hill cranes. They come here early spring by the hundreds but only for a short time. They are huge birds with a loud unique call, and the noise was the first thing I heard to alert me. They circled around our mountain peaks, calling, calling.

Time is starting to run out on the big Gunnison Country writing project. Went back to the college, oops, excuse me, I mean university, library, to return thesis papers, and pick up more books on my subject. Very quiet campus - spring break!

New students on campus?
Another odd sighting, coming back through our Star Mt. gates - a porcupine. I got out of the car, got fairly close to take photos, and thought he/she was acting a little weird - not running away from me, or perhaps towards me, just circling. Got back to the house and looked at the pics - strange object near her - could it be a newborn baby?  Couldn't tell, but sharing the photo...

Sadly, it looks like snowshoeing is done for the season. I know I discussed the hazardous conditions and the dreaded holes off the path - now that we had a few more inches of snow, it only covered up those holes. Walk a step, plunk down to your knee next step - no fun, we decided. So I'm walking on the woods walk with fair success until I get close to the 4 way. Mud, not just mud, but squishy, suck your boots off mud. I'm turning around at that point and marching the other way. This is probably a forerunner of the dreaded April mud season.  Ha, we'll be gone to Florida for half of that...

One more round of company before a long stretch (3 months!) of not anyone at all. At least that we know of - surprising things happen all the time around here. Mark's friend Gail  from Detroit, and Lisa from Santa Fe, my sister in all but blood (Mark's real one, as it happens) will be here for a few days. Celebrate the last bits of winter!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Great times at Star Mt.

Much winter fun happening here. Lots of skiing (downhill) and snowboarding (James) for the guys. And, no, I was not participating, if you're wondering. I let the guys do their thing.

Great weather and lots of melting suddenly happening. We still need snow to be up to normal levels, maybe another good storm is still a possibility before the month's over.

up Ohio Pass
So the snowmobiling did happen and I now understand what the fuss is all about. It was lots of fun! Mark, Ralph, and I went up around Irwin and even zipped up the back side of Ohio Pass. Breathtaking scenery. Those machines go awfully fast, although being my usual cautious self, did not max out on speed. Thanks Ralph for bringing your two! (rented a third). Paul, James, and Ralph went off today to snowmobile - watch out for James!

tiny rodent tracks
Snowshoeing is challenging, this time for a different reason - melting makes slippery tracks. If you go off the path at all, you slide straight down 3 feet. Glad I've been wearing snowpants - jeans do not go with wet snow...

We've started hearing coyote howling in the night, and the fox are out and about. Saw the first bluebird back yesterday - spring's a comin', although not a bit of green will show up until the beginning of May.

Everyone leaves tomorrow and it's been grand. I took a pic last night at dinner so I could prove they were all here. Much coming and going this week.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Winter sports continue and family visit

Time got away from me - again. The days seem to fly by faster and faster. Once again all white photos. We had almost a foot of snow a week ago, and the latest storm came through yesterday, this time only dropping a couple of inches. There was enough floating around Colorado to make part of Paul and James drive up with not the best road conditions, but made it here just fine. Ralph came in a day early and missed any bad travel. The guys are off skiing and snowboarding today. Spring break hurray! Missing Sherry, Katie, and Krissy though...

Snowshoeing has been challenging with the pile of snow plus drifts. I sunk to thigh level on some of the trail. Today the trail was more manageable, but have learned it's only as good as the next snow. How did the people of long ago manage to make this work? What an easy life the modern world is - at least physically.

Lots of work going on for class, Gunnison Country, to be specific. Research paper - it's been so long, I'd forgotten how to do footnotes etc. Still have genetics, but they're on spring break - gosh even for online, and philosophy continues at University of Edinburgh - evidently they break at Easter no matter when the date is.

Late on listing books read also, things a teeny bit out of control. Compiling taxes is next - now there's some fun.  Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen, China Court by Rumer Godden, and The Forgotten Affairs of Youth by Alexander McCall Smith. All very good, with only Rumer Godden as a newcomer, at least to me, she wrote over 60 books, sadly passed away in 1998, but lots of new titles for me.

Enjoying the company for the next few days, and there's a possible plan for me to try snowmobiling with Mark and Ralph. Big, loud, powerful - sounds like fun, I'll let you know...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bouncing from one thing to another

Still winter here folks. First of the week-snow, then almost 24hrs of wind (which acted like new snow - blew in our driveway, needing plowing out with truck twice, plus dozer, thanks everyone), and now we're due another storm tonight. We do need all the snow we can get (for water later on) so not unhappy if it keeps coming, just not disrupting travel please. Mark flies out again Tuesday, and we have company coming late next week -Paul, James, and Ralph. Yes, indeed, the fun keeps on coming!

More snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Yes, having to blaze our trail in the woods - AGAIN. At least its good exercise. Had to delay the skiing a day due to nordic races raising money for cancer research happening right in "our" area. Good for them, and of course they were wearing costumes. Very normal, the abnormal here.

cross country skiing dad - there's a toddler in that pod!

CB is still hopping with ski groups in and out. Those colorful shuttle buses busy, busy back and forth town to ski mountain. We're on the last few weeks of the mountain ski season, then all goes quiet until mid-May.

There does seem to be a little shift in the animal activity. Seeing ducks and geese around, horses seemed extra frisky this morning, and we have eyes peeled for what will be the gigantic calving season in a couple of weeks.

Ha,ha not an animal, at least I don't think so
Had a chance to do my normal walk in the woods in between the snow and the wind and the whatever. Beautiful...

Classes are fine, especially since I decided to blow off the weekly genetics quizzes - still watching the video lectures, but enough of this math insanity... Philosophy lectures and quizzes are no problem, and working on the paper due at the end of the Gunnison country class. Whee - all ends in a few weeks - will I have withdrawal do you think?