Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary

August 27, 2006

~Our Wedding Day~

Through the years...

Lake Powell

Jefferson Lake

Jefferson Lake


Alaska, again!!

Easter Morning Brunch

Lake Granby, 2006


“20+ Flavors” in Grand Lake

“20+ Flavors” in Grand Lake
~a little spin around Granby on our anniversary morning~

~Dick and Nanci at Grand Lake~

~Love you My Sweetie~

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Put me in, Coach!

Put me in, Coach!

As I was driving into Bergen Park yesterday I spied the unusual baseball team in the outfield.

A huge herd of elk appeared to be more interested in grazing than fielding balls.

Unfortunately, by the time I got the car into position to take photos, the game was over.

I suspect that the other team won as these guys really didn’t seem to have their heads in the game.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My House Finch: A Biblical Moment

Early this morning I was out watering my garden and thankfully I looked down before stepping on a little finch that was on the ground. He appeared to either be a baby or a sick adult because his feathers were fluffed up.

I easily cupped him in my hands and in a comforting way, began to talk to him in a soothing voice while trying to figure out what was wrong. Had he fallen from a nest? Was he sick? Obviously something was amiss and I so wanted to help him. Here I was at six in the morning, trying to run through my extremely limited knowledge of how to take care of a sick bird.

With the finch in one hand, I lowered my bird feeder with the other so that I could get a few seeds to feed him. Meanwhile I called to my husband asking him to find an eye dropper so that we could get liquid into him. Gosh, I just didn’t know what to do and was grasping for whatever solution I could come up with. Could I find him a worm and mash it up? Would he eat it? Would he drink water from the eye dropper???? I just didn’t know what to do. In the meantime, we discovered something wrong with his beak so my husband took the tweezers to dislodge whatever seemed to be gluing his beak together.

And with that, my sweet little finch, took a few rapid, frightened breaths and died in my cupped hands.

This sounds so silly but it seemed like a Biblical moment.

Matthew 10:29

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

With the sweet finch in my hands, I talked to God and asked him if he had taken the little finch home. And in my heart, I knew the answer was “yes”.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Laundry Day

Laundry Day in Them Backwoods


Living in a small house has many positives.

Living in a small house with my husband has many positives too!


His version of doing laundry differs from mine. Greatly!

I came home from work today to freshly-washed laundry strewn all over the mudroom.

Yes, “undergarments”

And all.

And of course, this is the day that my dear neighbor, Sara, decided to return a couple of bowls to me.

>>>>>>Inside of the laundry room<<<<<<

With the laundry hanging up all over the place.


And all.


Well it is understandable that on a hot day, the guy didn’t want to heat up our little place with the dryer but still…

The timing could have been better!!

I am now going to go looking for my dignity.

Maybe it's here underneath his boxers.

In the mud room.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't Quit

~God must have been listening this morning because I found this when I arrived at work and it so met my needs for today~

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! if you must; but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit.-anonymous

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mountain Mailboxes

~I’ll choose mountain mailboxes every time~

~Now if you saw these in the city, you might think run down~

~But in the mountains you would think~

~One of a kind!~



~When can I move there?!~

~Whoa Baby!~


~What a view!!~

~I'm packing my bags and moving on up!!!~

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lazy Sunday Morning

Out for an early-morning bike ride. One mile coasting down the mountain and then one mile struggling to get up the mountain.

Phew, I’m outta shape!

Of course I had to stop along the way to snap a few photos.

~I never seem to run out of photo ops~

~Good Morning My Lovely Bergen Park~

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Good Morning, Beautiful

Good Morning, Beautiful!

Out for an early-morning bike ride and taking in the beauty of a summer sunrise in the mountains. Rounded the corner and came upon this young buck that was enjoying his breakfast of lush, green grass.

Without a doubt he was aware that I was there but apparently not going to cause him any harm so he returned to his munching.

Farewell Handsome!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's A Baby Bird in my Disney Forest!!

My husband, R, thinks I live in a Disneyesque World of Wonder and maybe he is right! I envision myself surrounded by the adorable critters of the forest and imagine one of my beloved birds lighting on my extended finger as the other birds flock about us.

“With a smile and a song, Life is just like a bright sunny day Your cares fade away, and your heart is young...”

So you can imagine my delight when I spotted this little baby finch dining at my bird feeder (cue the music!). I’m practically clapping my hands in excitement and squealing in delight.

STOP rolling your eyes. This is my Disney movie!

What a precious addition to my backyard slice of heaven!

Check out my other forest friends at the bird bath.

The music swells, my heart is full, and we all lived happily ever after!

"A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grappling with False Pride

“No one ever choked to death swallowing his pride”

I won’t kid you. Downsizing from a traditional house to a dinky cabin was hard on the pride. I had to finally admit that the life of my parents (and many of my peers) was not going to be mine. We had experimented with real estate (to limited success thanks to the economy), sold the large house, and could have stayed in the city in more conventional housing but…

Who in their right mind really wants to go back to the shared walls of condo/townhouse/apartment living?

And who in their right mind prefers the sounds of traffic and sirens over the wind in the trees and chirping birds in the morning?

Well maybe if you are from New York City, but I’m not!

But I’m going off point here. It did hurt my pride to move into such “unusual” housing. Even though I love nature, the great outdoors, and the more rustic lifestyle. Even though I’m intrigued by the charm of yesteryear and I love to imagine what life was like long ago. But dreaming about it is quite different from living it. And again, feeling the need to defend our choice to friends and family meant that my pride took a hit. It was announcing to the world that we were economically challenged. We were announcing that we had embraced thriftiness and had become penny-pinchers. And I have to admit that I swallowed my pride (and still do, in fact) when inviting others to our home. I feel the need to explain. Why is that? False pride, rearing its ugly head.

But when I don’t have to pretend for others, I can go on and on and on and on ad nauseam about our wonderfully simple life. We wake up to elk and deer on our property. We have had bear on our property—including an adorable little cub just last year! The meadow next to our home is full of wild roses and a variety of ferns and wildflowers. I have numerous seed and hummingbird feeders all over the property. Most importantly, we are a part of a neighborhood of wonderful and caring people who also have shunned city living—we have a neighborhood that is a throwback to days gone by.

Yes there are challenges--

First of all, we don’t have a well. Our water is delivered which means that we have to conserve water—short showers, washing dishes by hand, watering the garden with buckets of water rather than with a hose.

Secondly, our original source of heat was a wood-burning stove. That meant bringing dusty logs into the house, getting up in the middle of the night to stoke the fire, not to mention the felling of trees, and stacking of wood. No turning the thermostat up to a comfy 75 degrees. Now we have propane but again, it is delivered so we have to monitor our usage.

Thirdly, our place is small. There, I’ve said it. It is compact for sure. So when I shop, I can’t go nuts with my purchases because I have very limited storage. I have to employ the wisdom of “when you buy something new, something else must be purged.” I only surround myself with things I care about (my books, my sewing, family photos)—everything else is stored in our sheds. But honestly, does one really need to pay for a house and the upkeep in order to fill it with meaningless junk? Downsizing meant becoming an organizational wonder. Finding creative ways to store the necessary stuff that one needs in the house. I’m not saying that it was easy. Nuh uh, not on your life.

So yes, my pride was wounded. I was embarrassed to be in a tiny home. But would I trade my new life for the old one? Not on your life. I abhor going into the city. I’m quite content in my little dwelling. This is living life the way it is meant to be lived!

Monday, August 1, 2011

You Gotta Have a Sense of Humor…

So our little weekend getaway was planned as a stress reliever after Quincy’s illness and death. We were both tense and sad and just needed to get away from it all.

A weekend camping and boating at Grand Lake would do the trick, right? Less than 100 miles from home, this makes for a gorgeous and relaxing retreat.

DEPARTURE: So we packed up the tent trailer, my husband “R” got a new bike rack for the back of said trailer and loaded up our bicycles, and off we went to our pleasant little getaway.


The bumper of the tent trailer fell off in the driveway as we were pulling out.

Okaaaaaay…a bit of a false start.

Well we stopped to remove the bikes from the bumper and set it aside. Rearranged camping supplies in the back of the truck so we could stuff the bikes inside. And we were off again. Just a little hiccup. No big deal.

Arrived at the campground right at noon and it was hotter than HECK. That nasty little pine beetle has devastated the forest up there and acre upon acre of forest has been cut down so the pines don’t fall down and kill anybody. So no shade. BUT we had the canopy on the tent trailer so we made our own shade! Just another little hiccup but it won’t quash our fun!

Finally, finally, finally got out on the boat on Sunday morning, ready for a glorious day of sunshine and fishing and sunbathing and reading on the lake! Whoo hoo! Launched the boat, turned over the motor, and…….nothing.

No go.

So my handy husband “R” applied bit of mechanical wizardry and at last—no the motor did not turn over—finally we got it back on the trailer and over to the mechanic.

But we are on vacation so I’m not gonna let this get me down!!! The boat mechanic is on the outskirts of Grand Lake so into town we went for lunch and some window shopping while Cap’n Andy works on the motor! “R” likes to refer to these gift shops as selling geegaws and doodads but I don’t let his negativity get me down. Heck no! I hit every shop including my absolute favorite—Humphrey’s Cabin Fever which has EVERYTHING a person might need (actually what a person might WANT) for decorating their cozy little house! I could drop a fortune in there. But I don’t have a fortune so I wander and lust after each chipmunk-inspired candle, moose and deer area rug, columbine glass plate, quirky handmade windchime, cabin hand towel. Sigh.

Dang, being broke has caused me to develop such restraint. I simply cannot drop $40 on a brightly colored rug even if it does have a black Lab that would be a lovely reminder of our sweet Quincy Boy. Shucks, I simply cannot do it. I pick up two clearance t-shirts for “R” at some cheap touristy store instead. Phooey.

Still no call from Cap’n Andy so we decided to head into Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park just for the heck of it. Wow, the pine beetle infestation has truly damaged this park. It is awful. Mile after mile there are downed trees that are piled up like haystacks. I wonder how long it will take this forest to come back from this catastrophe? Decades? I simply do not know.

Well we continued our drive and tried to see past the brown and dead trees. As we left the park, we were rewarded with a wonderful sight! A female moose (cow) was grazing next to a meandering stream. Automobile drivers were pulling over like crazed paparazzi to get the photo op of the year! And we were one of them!

We gazed at the gorgeous sight and reluctantly went back to the car to head back into town. And after killing a bit more in town, we got a phone call from R’s youngest. His older brother had been in a bicycle crash and was in intensive care. His most severe injury was a ruptured spleen and he had internal bleeding.

We rushed to get the boat from the mechanic, deliver it to storage, pack up the campsite and hit the road. Got to the hospital in Denver about 8:30 in the evening where R’s son was in intensive care. Cracked ribs, cuts and scrapes, and a morphine drip due to the injured spleen. Doctors had to go up his femoral artery to stop the blood flow to the spleen which in turn would stop the flow of blood to his abdominal cavity. But he was stabilized and doing much better by the time we arrived.

ARRIVAL: 11pm and we were finally tucked into our bed and fast asleep both happily contented to have had a relaxing and stress-free weekend away from home.

Except for those blasted hiccups.

Friday, July 29, 2011

History of the Elk Meadow

How many times have you driven past the Elk Meadow and looked at those old buildings out there? Ever wondered the history behind them? Well I have and I finally got on the Jefferson County Open Space web page and found out a bit about our lovely meadow!

Long before this barn was built the meadow was visited by Utes, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe tribes who came through for summer hunting. They also found Lodgepole pine here and used them to make tepee supports.

In 1858, Robert Strain built a hand-hewn log cabin on the land and in 1870 he filed for the 160 acres through the Homestead Act. Through later land sales the area was purchased by Ted Johnson in 1905. It is his barn that still stands in the Elk Meadow near Painter's Pause Trail.

On a personal note, about the time our little cabin was built, Tulsa oilman Darst Buchanan bought the property that became Hiwan Ranch. Less than 10 miles apart, but representing two distinctly different lifestyles! The aristocratic Denver society of Hiwan and the modest, homesteading folk of my current neighborhood!

So beyond the lovely and abundant elk herds that we see on an almost-daily basis, perhaps next time you drive by you can envision the acreage as it once was. Close your eyes (oh wait, pull over first and then close your eyes!). This land was once inhabited by Indians or Homesteaders. Can you see the tepees? Smell the campfires? Or envision the hay fields, ducks & turkeys, and all that would comprise a thriving ranch? I can!

Then entire history can be found at:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Commute, Mountain Style

My commute does not include traffic jams, honking horns, or angry people.
After a peaceful drive home tonight, something caught my eye as I began to turn onto the dirt road leading to my place. Do you see it?!
Oh yeah, there he is. Or rather, there they are as I found out after taking a closer look.
A small herd of elk, all enjoy the lazy, late afternoon by grazing in the quiet meadow.
Well some where grazing while others watched.

Do many folks get to experience this by living in tract housing? I truly doubt it!

Mountain living and cabin life are not for everyone. Not for those who crave excitement in the form of non-stop action in the loud city. However for those who are willing to take a chance by throwing away all that is familiar and take the leap, trust me, you won't be disappointed!

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your Mountain is waiting. So... get on your way!
~Dr. Seuss~