Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall in the Rockies

Random thoughts about fall in the Rockies...

1. Fall has definitely arrived in the Rocky Mountains. It's was 34 degrees outside this morning. It was pretty cold in the cabin, too. I had to get up and start a fire this morning; the first for the season. The bridge over the creek was frozen. I just about lost my footing when I went out to feed the horses. Luckily, for me anyway, the creek dried up a month ago. Even so, I'm thinking handrail?

2. The cold is bringing lots of changes. The leaves are turning yellow, red and different shades of brown. I had a little 'walkabout' to take some pictures. I LOVE fall!

3. The elk have also moved up higher in the mountains. The last one I saw on the property had antlers with an 8' spread. Yup. Big guys. Bigger than my Jeep. I've been hearing them rutting (sparring) and bugling. I love to hear them bugling but it takes a little getting used to. It is almost eerie and it echoes in the canyons. The other day I heard it and was wondering if there was a donkey in the woods.

4. We spent several days this week hauling wood. One of my friends called and asked what I was doing that day. I told her we were pulling trees. She wanted to know how you pull trees...MacGyver cut down a bunch of standing dead aspens and then again into 10' sections. I would take the ATV into the woods, attach 6 or so with a chain, and pull them out to the road near one of the piles. The kids would unhook them, push them closer to the pile of wood and the whole process would repeat until we got them all out. The next day we went back, loaded up the truck and hauled them to the woodpile and dropped them. The last step is to buck them to 18" and the larger pieces of pine have to be split. Most of the aspens are no bigger than about 8" in diameter so we don't have to split them. We guesstimate the grove we were working in has another 50 trees or so that need to come down. We need about 3 chords of wood to get safely through the winter so that should do it. I think we have about 2 chords but we don't have it all cut and split so it's hard to tell. We've got our work CUT out for us! (Sorry, couldn't help myself).

Wood waiting to be bucked

Wood waiting to be split

In the woodbox waiting to be burned

5. We have a trash situation. We used to empty our trash can once a day or once every day and a half. That adds up quick. We also don't get curbside trash service so once a month we would haul it in the back of the truck to the local dump. But with the bears, squirrels and raccoons getting into it, it often means we are having to go more often or pick up a big mess. We decided a few weeks ago to get a trash compactor to see if it would help the 'situation'. Since getting it, we have only taken the trash out THREE times. We can't believe it! I think every house should have one. It would save everyone money, time and energy and think about the landfill space we could save. We even used it once to crush our cans. It is totally worth it. Plus, there has been no more squirrel, raccoon or bear sightings. And I don't have to pay out chore money quite so often! HAHA! One word: Awesome!

One week's worth of trash in a nice, compact 8"x16"x16" bag.

6. Ike and MacGyver are going camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend. This is Ike's first scout camping trip. He's trying to move up in his rank and he'll be able to knock out most of the camping requirements this weekend. He's using my old internal frame backpack. He's excited beyond belief! He's packed, meals are bought and packed and ready to go. Now all I've got to do is make some Rice Krispy Treats for a bunch of hungry boys. I think I'm going to make him add some long underwear, in light of the recent nighttime plunge in temperature, as well as a sleeping bag liner.

7. We met one of our neighbors yesterday. He lives at the end of our road (on the paved side). We were getting a new propane tank because we are switching companies and getting the propane topped off for the winter. Evidently, Mr. Propane guy couldn't find us and stopped to ask Mr. Neighbor where our house is. It isn't a surprise, really, when even the fire department can't seem to locate us. So, Mr. Neighbor jumped on his ATV and came up to our cabin to inquire if it was the correct address. I was just getting back from town and pulled up to a traffic jam (haha) on our road with the confused Propane Guy, Mr. Neighbor Guy, and MacGyver on his ATV. The propane guys aren't able to get back here between October and May so we have to make sure our tank is full before the snow starts to fly. Anyway, Mr. Neighbor knows all the ATV trails around these parts and offered to show them to us. I see plans in the near future! The kids were hoping he'd drop a tire like this guy.

8. The puppies all have their eyes open and have doubled in size. I think it's just about time to start feeding them solids. I'm not sure Molli is able to keep they are getting teeth. She has it written all over her face: "I'm DONE"! I'm going to run to Wally World and pick up a couple of chip and dip serving trays. You know the kind with the bowl in the center? They are pretty cheap and is a great way to feed the puppies and keep them from walking all thru their food. We still have to wipe them down or give them a full bath once in a while, but it reduces the frequency.

9. We have a new 9 week old puppy. I know. We are insane. At the moment, we have 3 dogs and 9 puppies. We are training him as a Medical Alert Dog. He chewed thru our high-speed internet yesterday. Luckily, MacGyver had enough cable to replace it. We also hung it higher so he couldn't get to it again. I scolded Tank for not being a better babysitter. He gave me the familiar look, too... "I'm DONE"!

10. Maggie caught a pheasant the other day. She caught us a little off guard, too. We didn't know she was a bird dog. When we yelled at her, she let it go and it flew off. We saw a pair of pheasants a few days later and wondered if that was one of them. One of them was looking a little dazed and confused. I'm guessing the sight of us gave him a little Post Traumatic Stress.

Ahh, Fall in the Rockies!

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