Friday, August 26, 2011

Mountain Lions

My goodness, has it been a long time since I blogged! I'm not exactly sure why that is; maybe a combination of lack of creativity, too much going on, not enough going on, sometimes I get tired of hearing myself talk, summer is chaotic, and I've had a string of not so fun or interesting things happen lately. With that note, I've got a lot to write about now. Or maybe I have all along but now I actually feel like writing about it. For whatever the reason, I am inspired at midnight on a Thursday night to tell you what happened just last week.

About midnight (does anything good happen at midnight?) I heard the mountain lion right outside our window pacing up and down the road screaming its head off. I woke hubby up, too. I'm not sure why, maybe because I was so freaked out or maybe it was because I wanted to see if he thought it was a mountain lion, too. We were told when we moved in a couple years ago that if we ever heard what sounded like a woman screaming outside our house NOT to go outside and investigate because it would be a mountain lion. Evidently, that is their mating call. I am SOOO glad J.D. gave us the heads up because that was the absolute most eerie thing I've ever heard. I recorded it but haven't figured out how to upload it. It went on for about 20 minutes and echoed up and down our canyon. I opened the front door and stood with just the screen door between me and possible death and shook until I had thoroughly erased all chances of sleep that night, but I got it on audio, by George! MacGyver rolled over and went right back to sleep. Nerves of steel, I tell you, but not before telling me he was glad I woke him up because he wouldn't have believed me, otherwise. What? Thanks for the confidence, bubba! The kiddos were upset I didn't wake them but there was a good reason, which I will divulge another time. But I did promise to wake them if I ever heard it again. I'll have to warm up some milk and bake some cookies if I do, because there aint no way those puppies are ever going back to sleep after that, either! I know! Bad grammar! But this girl is NOT joking. That is the spookiest sound I have EVER heard.

It reminds me of the time we were camping in our camper up in Pike National Forest. MacGyver was at work and my mom had come up to camp with us for my birthday. We made dinner and played some cards and when it got late we snuggled down to get ready for bed. About that time Maggie started growling at the door and we heard what sounded like a mountain lion outside our camper. Boy I have never been more excited to have four solid walls in my life! Anyway, the more Maggie growled, the more freaked out the kiddos got. I think we all got the willies pretty bad. I finally decided to take Maggie and our gun outside and shoot it off. The idea was to make the kids feel better because the gun shot would scare away the mountain lion. I have to admit it actually worked. It made me feel better, too. That was just one time when I had to put my "Big Girl Panties" on, as I like to call it, and muster up the courage to do what it took to make those kiddos feel safer, if not truly safer. There were more "Big Girl Panty" moments still to come, but this was one of the more memorable ones.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Us

Well, it was my anniversary, but unfortunately before knowing the date, I committed the kids and I to show sheep with our 4H club at the Colorado State Fair. So, 5 girls and Ian loaded up a bunch of sheep in the back of the truck, hauled them to the trailer, loaded them into the trailer and drove down to Pueblo. We then transferred them to their pens at the fair. Boy was that some fun! None of them were halter trained so we man handled them all the way into the fair. We got some weird cross-ways glances the whole way in!

Hauling Hay

Izzy hauling water

Ike & Dixie hauling water

Kelly & Izzy feeding Dudley

Waiting & waiting for the show to start

And waiting

Kelly, Ian, Shelby & Izzy taking Douglas for his winning picture

Kelly & Sundance posing for the winning photo

I finally was able to kiss and hug Mac and tell him Happy Anniversary at about 11:48 PM, with 12 minutes to spare! We learned a lot about showing sheep, finally were able to go to the state fair, and had a good time with our 4H peeps!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rough Riders Horse Show

Animals, Animals Everywhere!

My chocolate lab, Molli, broke into their kennel/coop area and attacked our nicest chicken, Melanie. When we got to her she was still alive but her wings were broken and she couldn't stand up or move. I'm guessing her back was broken, too. The other chickens and the kids were beside themselves! I sent the kiddos inside, and grabbed my leather gloves. I had to put my big girl panties on and do the dirty deed since Mac wasn’t around to do it. The kiddos were so traumatized, as was I! I kept thinking, “These are the hands of a murderer!” We buried her under some trees and they cried and cried. It was pretty sad. They were ready to shoot Molli. Ian helped me fix their coop back up and now all is well at the Cooper Cabin again. Now we’re down to 3 chickens. They aren’t laying as many eggs as they used to. Unfortunately, Melanie was one of our best layers. I’m trying a few new things to see if we can remedy that.

We had a bear break into our pump house. That’s where we keep the horses’ feed and our garbage, too. When I went out that morning to feed the horses there were 6 bags of garbage strewn up and down our road and even up the side of the mountain! That was fun! I don’t think any of us ate much after that! I had hoped our webcams picked him up but the computer went down and didn’t pick up anything that night. So far all we’ve picked up is birds, birds, more birds, and some elk. Our neighbor picked up a mountain lion on his webcam. He walked up on his front porch! Can you believe it?

The DOW officer stopped by last week to let me know we have a mountain lion hanging out in the trees at the top of our pasture! He’s collared and they stop by all the places he hangs out if he spends more than a few hours there. Evidently, he’s been bedding down less than 100 yards from our cabin. YIKES! I’ve been walking a mile or two every morning and most evenings (when it isn’t storming). I have philosophical debates with myself every morning. It goes something like this… ”Is it better to know where your enemy is and be scared of that specific area, or not know specifically where he is but know he is probably somewhere around you?” I still don’t know the answer to that, but l’ll let you know if I come to some conclusion. Often my thoughts are influenced by tracks I see, or Maggie’s countenance, or when she alerts on something up the side of the mountain. Shudder. Regardless, I carry Mac’s awkwardly huge and heavy pistol when I’m out walking. As you can imagine, it goes a long way in making me feel safer. 

Mac and I went looking for me a new pistol once. The salesman asked what I was looking for. I told him a mountain lion gun and possibly one I could carry concealed. He said, “Ma’am, you’re talking about two different guns!” I had to laugh. He thinks I need a .40 for the mountain lion and a .9 or for concealed carry. We never did replace my old one that broke but I think I finally figured out what I want. I really don’t like how awkward I feel carrying a gun around, though. But I don’t think I’d like how awkward I’d feel if I didn’t carry it around and needed it. We both took the concealed carry class but I don’t think I’d ever conceal carry. So much responsibility! I’d just rather open carry! Mac had some guy we didn’t know coming up to the cabin to look at a ladder rack for his truck we were selling. I told him, I didn’t mind as long as he didn’t mind me having a big ‘ole .9 mm sticking out of my jeans! Regardless, when Mac is home I make him walk with me and carry his unusually bulky and heavy gun himself. Things just seem more right with the world that way!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ike Returns

Ike got back from scout camp a few days ago. We actually drove about three hours further into the mountains of Colorado to pick him up. We were about ten minutes from Wyoming. That's some beautiful country, though. I was so happy to see him and was pleasantly surprised that he was just as happy and excited to see me. That'll warm a mama's heart. If only he would have bathed once or twice while he was gone. But then the trip home wouldn't have been nearly as exciting and eventful. We actually stopped at the nearest gas station, made him go to the bathroom with a change of clothes and wash up as much as possible. I even paid three dollars for a tiny bottle of Fabreze. Unbelievable. I knew we would never make it the three hours home, though, with our heads stuck out the window. Really. It was that bad. You've never smelled the kind of funk a twelve year old boy puts off after a week of fly fishing, hiking, and horseback riding and not taking a shower. OH MY GOODNESS... And the layers of couldn't possibly understand...And to think I hugged and kissed him without considering my personal health and welfare...

Anyway, I was so glad to see my boy. I missed him like crazy. Izzy and I were pretty busy with VBS and chickens which helped. But every day I got more and more anxious to see that sweet-smelling boy. Hmph. Shudder.

I think he was glad to get home, take a shower and sleep in his own bed, too. There is just something precious about coming home to your own bed and stuff. Not to mention all the hugs and snuggles he got...after a long, hot shower, of course...

He said he had a blast, made some new friends, got a few more merit badges, learned a couple new card games, perfected Old Macdonald on the harmonica, and gained some extra blisters, too. Battle wounds, I suppose. He was very excited to learn that we got some chickens while he was gone. We got home late and the poor boy headed straight to bed after his shower, but he was up bright and early the next morning meeting the new additions before running out the door. We had a parade to attend...

Friday, June 17, 2011


My girl and I found four laying hens someone was giving away last week. MacGyver helped us turn an old shipping crate into a roosting box. He put it up two feet off the ground and then made us a chicken ladder. Izzy and I went to the local feed store and picked up some laying feed and some pine shavings for the roosting box. The lady let us use her little cat sized carrier because the trunk we brought only fit two chickens. She told me she also homeschools her four boys and is involved in 4-H, as well. She invited us to come join her local homeschool group. Evidently they have a  12+ adventure club. I don’t think either of my kiddos need one more thing to do, but I might look into it. It might fit the bill for our friends’ young son. He’s not big into scouts but needs an outlet like that. Since one of my parenting philosophies is to let my kiddos dip their toes in as many ponds as possible until they find their niche, we might check it out. Who knows what we might find in that pond. Everyone needs a niche. The biggest problem for us seems to be narrowing down ALL our individual interests; and we have a bunch. So far, Ike’s niche is scouts and shooting sports. Izzy’s niche is definitely horseback riding. MacGyver’s is scouts and search and rescue. Right now my niche is supporting everyone else’s niche. What are my interests if I had all the time and money in the world? Medicine, horses, quilting, painting, scrapbooking, and since you asked me today…definitely chickens. Since we brought the chickens home I haven’t been able to keep my hands or eyes off them. Izzy seems afflicted with the same illness, as well. We are as excited as little kids on Christmas morning! I have wanted chickens for a long time. I don’t know how long we will be in this house, on this property, or in these exact circumstances, but as far as I’m concerned, it couldn’t be a better time to have chickens! The lady told us that she’s been getting about two to three eggs a day and isn’t sure why all four aren’t producing. I’ll have to give it a go and see what we can find out. One is an Anacona. She’s black and brown with a little crown on top. Her name is LuLu. I’ve laid claim to her.

The other three are Red Stars, I believe. We’ve named one Nana, another one Penny. Nana has the smallest "waddle" under her throat and Penny has a crown that looks like fingers. We’re waiting until Ike gets home from scout camp to name the last one. He won’t be home for three more days and we can NOT wait to tell him all about the new chickens. We set their nesting box up in one of the outdoor kennels so the mountain lion or other varmints don’t try and get to them. We figure we’ll let them out to do a little free ranging when we’re home and once they’ve figured out where home is. I think I’ll work on cutting some ventilation holes and attaching some hinges to the top so we can get to the eggs easier. It was sort of a rushed job. It will definitely keep them safe but I’ll make some modifications as I notice the need. Izzy and I are instantly in love with our new girls. We watched them scratch and scratch at the floor of the kennel.

No name on the left; Penny on the right

Several of them found worms and then fought over who got them. We got a few chuckles out of that! Izzy cut a bunch of grass and gave them a billion little tiny snippets. I gave them some chunks of celery and they seemed to love that. All I know that they can’t eat so far is potatoes. We’re going to have so much fun learning all about chickens. Nana wasn’t feeling so well when we got home. She was pretty lethargic and even let Izzy hold her and pet her for a long time. She eventually “laid” a broken egg and the shell was thin and rubbery looking. I’m not sure what that means or what to do about it. She drank a bunch of water and came around enough to eat some fresh grass and scratch around with the other girls. We were happy to see her acting more normal. I’m still worried about her, but have a better feeling that she’ll at least make it through the night. Izzy asked me to check on her first in the morning before she did. She has already found herself attached to Nana {with Izzy on the right} and doesn’t want to find her lifeless body in the morning. I don’t blame her. Neither do I! it was so much fun to watch them first huddle in a corner and then settle into their new home and set about doing what chickens do…scratch around for bugs and plants. What fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Evergreen Rodeo

Evergreen Father's Day Parade

Our 4H club, the Rough Riders, got together this year and made a western themed float for the Evergreen Parade. We had a blast and handed out gobs and gobs of candy.