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~

What do Popeye and Ralph Lauren have in common?

My husband, God love him, adores buying and selling used boats and motors. He began boating as a teenager and his love affair with being on the water has continued to this day. He found a motor that he just had to buy but the seller would only let it go as a package deal--boat and motor.

So he came home with Popeye and Olive Oil's boat.

I have to admit that this little dinghy is precious but we have no use for it so he posted it on Craig's List. As an aside this is probably the only part of technology that he has embraced. He can't get enough of Craig's List. But I digress....

And here is where Ralph Lauren comes in.
Along comes a buyer today who purchased it for a Ralph Lauren storefront in Aspen!
How cool is that?!!

The moral of the story is this--never doubt a person who has passion and knowledge about an area of interest! They always seem to come out on top! That's my Honeybuns!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Rain (Deja Vu)

I don’t know why I find the weather to be so fascinating. Perhaps having grown up in Southern California where the weather rarely changes, caused me to be drawn to the drama of watching four very different seasons! So I’m always on the 9News Interactive radar to see what is coming our way!
Last night is was torrential rain with it coming off our metal roof as though the heavenly spigots were fully open! That was accompanied by the flash of lightning and immediate C*R*A*C*K of thunder! Oh the spectacle! Of course I had to grab an umbrella to get myself out into the action! Who doesn’t love the sound of the pitter-patter of raindrops on an umbrella? Of course in this case, it was more of a splash-splatter of rain on the ol’ umbrella.

This morning I stopped on the way to work and snapped a pic of the thoroughly-drenched Elk Meadow—sans elk (they are far too smart to be out there up to their um, ankles, in water)! So this pic is a mere 2.8 miles from home. Let me tell you how hard it is to go to work when I live in the paradise called the Rocky Mountains!

Forecast for this afternoon and evening—more rain!!!!!!
And so the weatherwoman (Kathy Sabine, of course!) was right! As I drove home tonight I watched off in the distance as the clouds parted and the rain shafts appeared. I watched the lightning run its frenzied path across the skies. And made it indoors just before the sky opened up again!

My poor xeriscape plants are wondering why the heck this gardener didn't read the instructions on the label! "Geesh, Woman! We are drowning here!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fawn in the Morning

Bambi and his mom were back this morning.

I just cannot get enough of this little one!

My other little "fawn" loves to play on these very rocks!

And as much as I love this year's baby deer...

I have to admit that our little human dear captures my heart and soul like no other!
(yes I know, terribly corny, but I had to go with it!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Baby Huey" the Woodpecker and his Mom!

So this evening I'm at my computer and look up
to see yet another woodpecker on the suet feeder...
Okay, that's nice but then I see two of them and the one on the feeder keeps flying over to the trunk of the pine tree and gives food to its mate...

Yeah, well call me slow but whatever, it dawns on me that the BIGGER bird is actually a juvenile woodpecker being fed by its mom!

Try as I might I can't seem to get the two of them together
and get a decent snapshot...

But then, HURRAY!!
The money shot!!
Baby Huey gets some delicious dinner thanks to Mama Woodpecker.
How cute is that?!!!

Summer Morning

Awake at 5:30 a.m. and not being a morning person, I stumble outside to put up the bird feeders. But what a way to wake up! I dash inside to grab the camera to capture the beauty of the sunrise.

The sun is barely up and the cool of the morning is deceptive as the temperatures are supposed to reach close to 100 degrees today!

But that is of no concern to me right now as I feel the gentle breeze that is delightfully cool and refreshing. The aspen leaves above me quiver slightly, the sunlight glistens off each and every leaf. And the sound that they make is like a lullaby. Wish I could stay out here instead of having to go back to get ready for a work day.

Is there any more peaceful way to live, I ask you? Each and every day seems like I'm on vacation.

My soul is alive and my heart is full.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The return of Bambi and his Mom!

A HUGE bonus to living in the mountains are the wildlife encounters! One week after the initial sighting of Bambi and his mom, I saw them again this morning!

As you know, the bear took down two of our feeders on the night that we lost Quincy. So now I have to take the feeders down each night so we don't get another rampage! This morning at 6am, I stepped outside to put up the feeders and came upon this lovely scene!

Bambi and his mom were back! Is he the cutest thing EVER?!!! So little! And those spots! Good Golly, you can't help but smile when you see a little one like this!

After playing, yes literally, scampering around on the rock outcropping, he decided he had better rejoin mom...

So off he went in search of her!
PS: This is our little "meadow" where we sit on the glider and bench each evening.
Mountain living is paradise!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quinny Boy

11pm and I've tried to go to sleep tonight but can't. I'm watching the flashes of lightning and listening to the low rumble of thunder. And I provide the rain in the form of tears that won't stop. I so miss my boy. I so miss him. I'm out of bed and carefully walking across the dark room so as not to step on my black pup who blends into the darkness at night.

Won't need to worry about that anymore.

Quince, are you up in heaven sleeping on a cloud? Are you happy now that you are free of the pain? What is it like up there? An endless supply of Milk Bones with the added bonus of never gaining that dratted Labrador weight? Do you miss me as much as I miss you? Whose feet are you sleeping on tonight? Did you collapse against someone else's feet and look up at her as lovingly as you did me?

Did you run your legs off today? You certainly did while you were here on earth. Dashing to the end of the driveway with a quick look over your shoulder to acknowledge that you were indeed, being naughty but simply couldn't help yourself. "Bye! I'm off to make my "treat rounds" of the neighborhood. I'll be back after I've visited with my buddies!"

The house is far too silent, Quinny. I miss the sound of the dog door, of you slurping up your water one huge gulp after another, of you barking at the wildlife that I can't see or hear in the dark.

Thank you for your friendship, My Love. For your eager grin and wagging tail. Thank you for being my buddy who never picked a fight, never disappointed me, never delivered less than what I needed or expected. Thank you for being my goofy boy.

I love you my Little Man.


'Nuff Said

We lost our dear doggy yesterday to lymphoma. Last night we lost two bird feeders to a bear because our dear boy wasn't around to scare him off. Quincy, you are sorely missed for your major role as our friend and your very minor role as our protector. Sigh.

Mind you, these feeders were both 10 feet off the ground and strung between trees so this was one determined bear. All that effort for some sugar water and a bit of seed.

Stoopid bear.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Above: A view from the "garden" (a work in progress)
Above: Come on in!

Above: the office all decked out for summer!

Another work in progress but far better than the olive green and harvest gold!

Above: Yes, we have an outhouse but it is only "optional" seating :)

Above: the master suite of our one-bedroom abode!

Above: a dated pic of the living room (a work in progress--I keep saying that don't I?!).

The Great Recession

So how did we end up living in a 516 sq. ft cabin? Oh wait, that is an exaggeration. With the outbuilding that is our office we add another 100 sq feet!! Well we bought this as our rental property but then came the Great Recession of 2008 which left my husband taking "early retirement" and us holding the bag on a MUCH-larger house in a zip code that was quickly filling up with foreclosures. Exit stage right!! Sold the house and into the cabin we went.

Talk about a transition. Yowsa. We downsized DRAMATICALLY. Had a very large garage sale and just closed our eyes to avoid the pain and horror of selling off all of our accumulated "stuff". Even after moving, we had to rid ourselves of more and more stuff. That was July, and then came our first winter! The two middle-aged downsizers were playing lumberjack by chopping down trees, splitting wood, and stacking said wood. Oh but wait, the great part is that we had to go out ALL WINTER LONG in the snow and ice to retrieve the wood!! Can you say "blizzard"?

After our first winter and a spring that teased us with not-quite-yet-warm weather, we found out the true definition of "cabin fever". Argh, we had had quite enough of being stuck inside.

But not to dissuade you from doing the same, fast forward three years and many modifications and a renovations and additions later. With a carport, deck, mud room, we can now spread out just a bit more. And most importantly, we have totally embraced our mountain home and neighborhood full of kind and generous folks. This ain't tract living! We have made more friends here than we ever did while living in the city.

We traded quantity for quality--house size for fresh mountain air, elk, deer, birds of every variety, golden autumns, riotous springs, and everything that makes life worth living. We have a a laughable mortgage and the house cleans up in a jiffy allowing us to go out an play!

Life is Good!

Elk in da 'hood!!

We are so blessed to have numerous herds of elk in the neighborhood. This pic was taken just down the road (about 100 yards from the cabin) on my way to work. I think this was February of our first winter. This city girl was pretty impressed to be viewing wildlife on the way to work rather than cars in a traffic jam!

First Glimpse of the Cabin!

Seriously? I mean really. Truly. Seriously? Well it will be our rental property, right?
We aren't going to live here, right?! Right?

The spacious living room complete with an ancient wood-burning stove. And brick flooring.

This is where 70's appliances came to die.

View from living room into the kitchen. Yes, that little room is the kitchen.
But again, this is our rental property, right?!

The cabin only a mother could love.
Could use a bit of HGTV magic. Correction, a WHOLE lot of HGTV magic!

We bought our little cabin in the Fall of 2007. It had been renovated inside and then rented out. Don't ask me what we saw in this! Potential, I suppose....

The Civilian Conservation Corps

Our cabin was built in 1936 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps which put men back to work during the Great Depression. It was a public work relief program for unemployed men ages 18-24. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Our subdivision was homesteaded in 1925 under President Lincoln's expanded Homestead Act which allowed people to purchase 640 acres from the US Government for a mere $10! In the early 1930's our homesteader sold off sections to Stanley Barrows who immediately began to subdivide in smaller sections and parcels. Our cabin was sold in 1940 by the executor of Mr. Barrows estate. Documentation for the original purchase is filed in Georgetown, CO and has Calvin Coolidge's signature!