Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Life's adventure in Florida and elsewhere

More back and forth from Naples to Miami. I don't know how Mark does this all the time. Whee... In addition there's a quick trip to Dallas tomorrow for, sadly, the funeral of Mark's beloved Uncle Ralph. He lived a big life full of adventures, some were misadventures to tell the truth, but living life fully sometimes backfires like that. He will be very much missed. So then back to Miami, then Naples, then it's Star Mt.for me for the summer.

I promised you a new restaurant review and here it is. The above photo is deceiving, that was from Sunday brunch at Brio - not new but really good... The new restaurant was 1500 South at Naples Bay Resort. It's owned by celebrity chef Art Smith. Very pretty inside and out and the food was really good and generous in portions. It's an elevated southern cuisine and I think will be a great addition to Naples. We all waddled out of there.

Time to shift from manicured lawns, sprinkler systems, spotless cars, and all things retail to wildness, starry starry nights,coyotes howling, owls hooting and magnificence in every direction. I'll  manage...

Quiet waters, no cruise ships at dock, and all back to work after the long holiday weekend. Busy, busy in Miami, no real off season here.

All kinds of fun things are coming this summer including a family wedding set outside in Crested Butte. So excited Krissy and Calvin! Mark will be back and forth of course, working in Miami and continuing on his quest to regain 100% strength and mobility in his shoulder. It's going really well - crossing fingers it'll continue. Back next from Star Mt...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From snow capped peaks to swaying palm trees

Monarch Pass - notice the lack of railing
So here we are, and where is that? The above was taken on the way out to the airport. We are in Florida, at this very moment Miami. Back to Naples tomorrow.

Switched gears and poof CO to Naples. Hot temps, the start of rainy season and it is so quiet. Season is over over over...

My morning walk still has sweet surprises. A very curious new otter friend and mommy with her ducklings. The duck families are all over right now, and they will waddle across the road, gotta watch when driving.

And the scene changes to Miami. You see above all the giant yachts are gone, Mark Cuban's also. All gone to milder climates I think. Mark's back in the office and his recovery is going well, so well I've changed my flight back to Star Mt. to a week sooner. Still has that darned sling for 3 more weeks but he is adding travel, driving, and will be starting his own PT next week. His doctor thinks maybe he'll be one of the lucky ones with a 4 month total recovery. You go Mark!

Love the morning light on the Miami River. It looks so peaceful but behind the scene are a lot of serious dedicated people running/walking to get their morning exercise. Mostly young and interestingly no one acknowledges each other - big city behaviors are weird.

Manny the cat showed up this time. If you remember I'd posted a photo of  his permanent sign outside the Mandarin Oriental hotel back in April. The sign is enlisting help in feeding Manny. He has a water and food bowl under the sign and  as I walked by this morning, some black birds were having a quick snack. He was very slowly ambling over clearly not concerned.
Coming up next time, a special restaurant review from Naples.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Musings from the high country

The time is drawing near when we depart back for Florida. Not permanently I hasten to say, just this crazy back and forth schedule due to Mark's surgery and his continuing decision to work. As we've said to many people, he has currently flunked retirement.

And I think we've been here just long enough to brush off the trappings of civilization, Naples style that is. The land of luxury beach style with Bentleys, Roll Royce, Lamborghinis etc. a common sight, designer clothing everywhere.Notice the photo above - oh yes a cattle drive down the only road into town. We were headed to a PT appt. and amazingly were not late, even though we had to slowly thread our way through this massive group. Lots of semi-liquid stuff to avoid if you know what I mean.

We've returned to our role of restaurant critics briefly before leaving town. The above is from Off Elk, a new barbecue/breakfast place. For those who know the area, it's taken the place of short lived 3 Chix, which took the place of the Bakery. The Bakery,  as long time people knew it, - a fantastic bakery in the middle of town with lines out the door in its heyday. Sold, moved to the outside of town and then rapidly closed, location a challenge ever since. So far so good at Off Elk. We had lunch and thought the smoked meats good. They make their own biscuits for breakfast and have vegan and GF options. They will soon open for dinner too. We'll go back!

On the way to CB
Last night was back to a long time restaurant, Gourmet Noodle in CB. We hadn't been in years, food and service had gone down in quality in our opinion. Happy news - food and service all good and the inside has been redone with acoustics much improved. And that's the food report folks.

We've seen increasing deer, coyote, fox, ground squirrels, chipmunks,of course elk, but no moose. Hey Bullwinkle, our time is almost up - show yourself!

Part of a whole stream of elk crossing the road. I don't think she's saying hi, more like we own this space, who are you?

first larkspur - poisonous to cattle, beauty to humans
Things I will miss as we exit: the full aspen leafing out, the purple haze of lupine and larkspur across fields, first visit back from Flap, and maybe the elk babies. Hoping they will still be hanging around for me mid June. Next post from Florida...

Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring at Star Mt. is bursting forth

Moose sighting! But sadly not by us but our closest neighbor. It's a bull moose nicknamed Bullwinkle and we think it's probably the same one from last year. If you read the blog last year you know this was the first sighting ever at Star Mt. and much excitement. I didn't see him last year but holding out high hopes for this year.

Snow continued to fall for most days since my last post. We woke up to white and then it would melt by noon. I think,hesitantly, that it's done. Gorgeous if a bit chilly weather the past couple of days. I may actually get out to take down our 100ft snow fence. Yes, we have strange tasks out here in the wilderness. Stay tuned for another project: replacing our front gates with cattle guards, This we're not actually doing ourselves just paying for. The gates have been less than satisfactory so here comes a substitute.It's all to prevent the cattle that roam here all summer from coming in our fenced in portion of the property. Gotta have something...they are destructive critters.

Aren't these male dusky grouse a hoot! I counted five on one morning walk. Clearly the females are nesting at this point with dads in full protective mode.That's the fake giant eye they puff up to to scare us all away.

Crested Butte is very quiet as its still off season. Only a couple of restaurants open, McGills being one and there were only 8 people including us when we stopped in for lunch. This is the land of an hour plus wait when you show up in the summer. Everything will be back open by Memorial Day, but we'll have already flown back to Florida. Mark is doing beautifully in recovery but still needs help and it's weeks before that sling comes off. The office is calling!  I cannot lie, I'll definitely miss the continuing spring blooming around here. I'll be back June 13th and Mark will follow a couple of weeks later.

Elk, elk and elk. No boys though. They are flitting around somewhere else until that universal mating instinct kicks in early fall. Hoping the girls are still around with their new babies when I come back.

Watching everything wake up here is quite magical. Bears are supposed to be coming out of that long winter sleep. I was skunked on sightings last year, hope to see one this year, from a distance of course.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Back to Star Mt.

The Castles
And Star Mt. it is. We landed in Denver to light snow, which required brushing two inches off the windshield of the rental car by Mark before we could proceed, and it continued to snow through the mountains until we got to a sunny and dry Monarch Pass. Ironic since that was the one area we were sure would have issues. Quite the transition from Florida!

On May 1, 2 inches of snow fell at the house. Melted off by noon. That's spring in the mountains for you... The peaks will keep snow until August.

Beyond the late brief snow, everything is greening up by the day, we have a lovely display of daffodils out front and the birds are everywhere. One of "our" pair of bluebirds is here and diligently working on a nest under our deck and a couple of hummingbirds buzzed the deck when we got here clearly sending a 'where is our feeder' message. I promptly put one of our Big Boys up; gotta feed these tiny creatures who traveled all the way from Mexico just to land here. Makes my head spin to imagine the journey.

I'm happy to report that Mark's RC surgery went well. That was the whole reason we flew back to Star Mt. I can't say enough about his surgeon  Dr. Gloria Beim, who was the head doctor for the last winter U.S. Olympics team. Patients seek her out from far and wide so we feel lucky to be able to have her help us. Recovery is going much better than expected although this does not unfortunately shorten the infamous sling time (6 weeks). I've been taught rehab to do with him 3 times a day from the PT which goes on for 4 weeks. No driving either so I'll be going back with him to Florida in a couple weeks to help until he can function on his own. But no fly fishing or golf for him this season. Boo.

Shaggy winter coats still
The elk were here on our first day. Wonderful. It's the 80 or so group of females who come back every year to graze and birth at Star Mt., our woods being a key spot. We've had magical sightings of the babies and the gathering at the end of June. The gathering happens when at a signal only known to the elk they assemble from every part of Star Mt. on the hills in front of us with all the babies in tow, milling around, and then off they go to an unknown destination.

Springy things are happening all over. The calves were born while we were gone and in every field up and down Ohio Creek there are teeny ones dotted everywhere. The first teeny bluebell wildflowers are popping up along with the greening of every nook and cranny. Aspen leafing out next.

Been on my woods walk a few times now and it never gets old. It smells different here and the sounds are only nature ones. And I with my marvelous tracking skills notice elk tracks in the dirt road, elk pee and poop, and the occasional coyote poop. This is a skill that's probably only useful here, I'm pretty certain. The deer traditionally come later than the elk so I don't expect to see Flap anytime soon but I'll have my eyes peeled just in case.