Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chill air, crystal trees and mighty mountains

Little Star Mt. in the middle
SNOW we need SNOW. And we've had 4 inches, not enough but something. Enough for Mark bring out the big kahuna machine for the driveway.

Hardy cattle here. Out they stay - all winter no matter the weather. That special Ohio valley hay goes to good use.

We went cross country skiing today and differently than last time, it was 28 degrees not 0, but lightly  snowing, which was just enough to take visibility away and slow down the gliding process. This activity is a great excuse to march on over to Ryce for our Asian lunch fix.

Good news from our little area of the world. Crime, such as there is here, is in general down 30 plus percent. That includes assault, theft, and assorted miscellany. (there is no category for murder as there aren't any). DUI's are up interestingly.
And a fun little story in CB. Last week after a snowfall which left only pristine snow everywhere, the police noticed an abandoned townie bike (old style funky bike that are all over CB- used instead of cars). They followed the footprints from the bike to a series of parked cars, in fact all the driver doors of the parked cars, ending in an empty parking space with tire treads leading elsewhere. And the trail ended with the townie bike owner (a minor) in the car he stole. Crime solved by footprints in the snow. Gotta love it. Clearly he must be from out of town, it's only peace and love here...

We march on figuratively and literally through the winter. On to February!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Playing with company and watching the winter days hurtle by

And we are four, at least temporarily. And we are having fun. As always... Lisa and Charles zipped on over from Santa Fe for a quick visit. Party on!

First time visit to Kochevars, the oldest bar in Crested Butte (1895 saloon and gaming hall), now redone with great revamped menu courtesy of recent owner Jason. That's Jason of Soupcon fine dining fame who's putting his magic touch on, let's be honest here, what was one of those places people spent all day glued to a barstool until the wee hours of the morn, stumbling out at closing. Great casual menu of which we had wings, fried clams, barbecue brisket, ribs, pulled pork, onion rings, and homemade mac n cheese. And we waddled out...

This was not a first, second, or even third time visit here. Third Bowl -Great ice cream as always. Lisa says bring back the black salt topping!

Interesting way to get to the nordic trails
Cross country skiing again. Mark definitely all cylinders go on winter sports of every kind. He's been snowshoeing, cross country and downhill. I have yet to go up the mountain as it takes me quite a while to gear up for that somewhat scary activity. In the meantime we were a bit shocked to find it
was only 0 degrees when we got to the trail. Our meteorologists have their off days in predictions especially in winter. Dressed for conditions thank goodness.

Definitely light on inches for snowfall in January so looking toward Feb for some bulk. Gotta have it to keep all seasons working well. I would like to order up the dates of the snowfall though, as Mark will be traveling in an out on business. Not so much fun to clear it all myself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Animal tracks, magic water, and frosty breath

We are halfway through January with much of winter left - 2 and 1/2 months at minimum since I don't know if you can actually count April. It can be snowy but more likely its the muddy bog that sucks you, your car, and anything else you own into the nether region. I greatly prefer our brilliant sparkly white wonderland.

More cross country, snowshoeing for both of us, and a warm up downhill for Mark. You do have to get out there with these short days or you're going to have some saaddd days. I have it on good authority there are a number of people here who definitely have issues with the winter blues and they're generally not getting out. Hmm.

From right to left: squirrel, mouse or other, and not sure - something with low body mass?
No new mountain lion tracks happy to say but I'm on alert. I'm pretty sure it will come back having clearly had great success with the rabbit population for dinner. Instead we have tons of small to medium animals happily bustling around. They are not following in my tracks unlike previous years.

The live animals are harder to spot. The coyote was today and while there have been a number of bald eagle sightings this season, I have yet to grab a photo. This was from 2 years ago. They're all here just hiding except for Mr. and Mrs. Bear - snoozing the winter away.

My Magna Carta class is on the fence and about to fall over on the side of boring. A 75 year old professor droning on and on the grounds of Runnymede is not it. I'll give it another week. My other class is non-existent as it turns out. It let me sign up and it turns out it was for January of 2014. A fault of the Coursera web people along with, of course, a non observant me.

Magic underground mountain spring water
Now onto the cleaning of water containers. After using the humidifier in a fast and furious way while Mark was recovering from that nasty flu, it needed to be cleaned. Quite the procedure which included white vinegar and bleach. And the containers we use for gathering and storing our magic water, soap, bleach and soaking. All good now - no nasty bacteria.

This activity is currently on the banned list, courtesy of Ralph's accident last March. Danger here folks...

We are but a miniscule speck in the immense world which surrounds us. It's an everyday reminder here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crystal snow, animal tracks, online classes, and bluebird days

Gorgeous weather continues - our area style. Only a few inches of snow the last few days, which was just enough to cause me to use the BIG snowblower on the driveway since Mark was out of town. All went fine. I gotta say, big powerful machine. Hasn't been put to a real test yet - lets wait for one of the big snows...

My tracks only
Now about that mountain lion. He came back, After I had been so blase about it all, taking a whistle and pepper spray just to humor people. And this time he had popped in and out of my tracks a couple times. You're welcome. Anyway, I nearly decided not to go back out, but then reason prevailed. They are nocturnal and don't like to be around humans - soooo, I'm out doing my thing until I'm not.

I've been asked how in the world do I manage with the crackly dry air and sub zero temps - as in my skin. It's definitely a challenge but for those you who might be dropping into the arctic soon, here are
some tips:
Face:Vitamin C serum (that's year round - collagen builder) plus Olay total effects 7 in one
Hands: I use Burt's Bees beeswax almond milk  heavy duty cream - no other cream comes close
Feet: I have a tendency to develop chilbains in cold dry weather so use tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic) and L'Occitane foot care cream
And the rest of the body Amlactin cream - found this years ago wouldn't be without it.
Lot of stuff right? I'm thinking many years ago this area's winters battered the people including their skin. What did they use?

Keeping busy in these winter months. My first online class started this week, Magna Carta and its legacy. and hoping its enthralling. If not I will disappear like the wind - that's part of the benefit of free and online... And my watercolor painting is keeping me hopping. I'm doing a series of cows of many colors. Kinda think I've been affected by my surroundings.

Mark has made it back from his business trip and happily there is an almost 3 week break for him. Let's see what fun stuff we can find to do. And we may have company coming soon. Time's already moving along at a speedy pace. Half of January gone already.

Winter, winter, winter. We know there are people fishing at this time of year. Looks way too cold to me...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Elk, cattle drive, winter sports, and coffee

And the cozy fires, and spice tea and permission to just sit and read, after of course I march out to snowshoe and Mark chips away at the ice that settled on the deck. No snow since we've been back. That will not last nor would we want it too.

Temperature inversion causing crystal trees and ice fog
Trying not to have a too frenetic pace here. I switch from watercolor painting, to reading, to snowshoeing (while carrying a whistle and pepper spray courtesy of all the advice I've been given since I posted about seeing mountain lion tracks).

The start
The end
Not expected at this time of year - a cattle drive down the valley. About 600 of them and they win. I stopped dead in the road until they passed. Brrrr for the cowboys.

So many people have asked after Mark. He is on the mend, feels pretty good but unbelievably still has some congestion and cough and its 2 weeks today. Nasty, nasty flu. Business travel on Monday - hope that goes well!

Made into CB twice now and saw an elk herd on the way to and from. They are hanging out there and who knows why that field off the main highway.

Hit Ryce and McGills so far. Yum. And there are people, as you can see with the cars, but it's now a quieter place for a bit after the holiday rush. And of course picked up freshly roasted ground coffee at Camp 4 Coffee. Best in the state we believe.

Hurray for groomed tracks
Had my first cross country session since we've been back. Went better than I expected and was gorgeous out. Mark came with me but was not participating this time. Being smart in his final phase of recovery.

I'm back on the MOOC kick again. Two classes this time, starting soon. About as divergent as you get: The Magna Carta and its legacy (University of London) and Soul Beliefs: causes and consequences (Rutgers University). Hey, what's to lose - its free and just takes some time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Snow, settling back in, and surprise

Back in the saddle as it were with the revolving earth slowwwing down at Star Mt. The crisp air, pristine sparkling snow,and silence. Real true silence - a handful of people are here at our community of 1500 acres, so we see almost no people or cars on any given day.

Our half owned old miners cabin - how did they make it through these winters?
Mark is still recovering from the nasty flu that's been sweeping the country. He's now at that point where you feel that much better so you think you can do everything. Um no. He did do some snow moving with our brand new heavyduty snow blower. I, will be learning how to use it too, its self propelled so possibly this will work. We'll see...

I made it out for the first snow shoe trail breaking through our woods. Okay, I'm supposed to be in decent shape, but one, we've been away two months at sea level - this is 8900 feet, and two, 4 miles a day of brisk walking on flat ground does not equate to snowshoeing in any way. Forgot.

Gorgeous day to get out with brilliant sun and blue skies with 33 degrees, which here translates to a feel like 50. And here comes the surprise. First day out, mountain lion tracks and it's bed in the snow. You'll just have to trust me on this, the photo is hard to read. So I am that much closer to actually seeing one. Our neighbor, who did see one close to his property late last summer, said he guessed his gun needs to come out when he snowshoes. Really? I don't have one, thinking I'll be fine...probably.

Also saw a new tree with bear clawings. I hasten to say there are no bears around now. They're in their deep winter sleep. They are few and far between in season and I was actually skunked on bear sightings this past year. (not in family sightings however- Mark saw one down the road from our house - thank goodness).

I think I must have started New Year's resolutions early. It's two months today since I started daily meditation. Fabulous practice and I highly recommend it. It lowers stress levels, and studies say helps boost immune system, lowers blood pressure, and a host of other things. 20 minutes a day and free. Off my soapbox, at least for the moment.