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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

our woods taken from our swing...silence is golden.........

Ready For More Snow

 We clear a path for access and to use the vehicles and then work piecemeal to clear the rest of the snow. We have defined where the driveway is and have cleared the snow so we are now ready for the next storm due tomorrow night. Between the wind and the sun the snow on the driveway has mostly gone.

Random Thoughts Of A Mountain Man - Integrity

Integrity: "The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles: Moral uprightness. The state of being whole and undivided". Or as C.S. Lewis says above - Doing the right thing. Even when no one is watching. Integrity is something that can take a lifetime to establish and only takes a moment to destroy. Integrity is something that you need to be consistent with or you can lose respect from family, friends and acquaintances. I believe that we are all born with a moral compass of right and wrong but it needs cultivating or it dies if unused. Parents need to instill and reinforce it when we are young or it will never develop fully. Giving a child a start on integrity is much more rewarding than giving them a video game.

Integrity defines who you are and what your character represents to others. It is something that requires a long term effort and while it embraces your true self it must be constantly sought after because it defines you. Desiring your own way or not conducting yourself with honor/honesty rarely goes unnoticed. When you do not treat others with respect, fairness or honor them it is usually found out and can undermine your credibility with others. Some people seem to put a low value on integrity but when they finally realize how valuable it is the time may already be past in obtaining it.

Integrity  when taught at a young age, if followed, will serve a person an entire lifetime. Integrity can not be bought but instead it must be slowly earned. Integrity is not about quantity but quality. It is not a about a few acts of random kindness and then cheating or taking advantage of others when you think no one is watching because almost always someone will be watching you and your conscience will know as well.

Integrity is more valuable than gold and as allusive to some as trying to push back the tide. A person with integrity will have honest and true relationships whereas someone lacking integrity will never feel fulfilled and will be lacking something they can't put their finger on. Those who lack integrity often strongly resent those who have it. It is a reminder to them of their shortcomings and what they should be.

We need to instill these values in our children if we want them to be successful in life and reinforce it throughout their lives, even through adulthood. In spite of our best efforts though some will not embrace it and then ultimately find it too late to develop. The more you make decisions in life that are not moral decisions the more your moral compass is skewed. It is not always easy to take the moral path but in the end it is the most rewarding.

 Many people; especially in their later years are concerned about their legacy. They want to be known as having integrity but sadly lack it. I would hope when I am gone that those who know me well would say he was one tough guy but he had integrity and you could always count on him when needed. His moral compass was spot on.These are some of the random thoughts of a mountain man who has worked his entire life trying to be honest and maintain strong moral values. Looking back it was the easier road to travel and now I can see how it has enriched my life.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Random Thoughts Of A Mountain Man

I have debated with myself for several months whether to do a series on some random thoughts from experience I have gained over my many years. On one hand I think it may be beneficial to some but then I think that people are so busy now days and consumed with their life activities that no one would care or be interested. I think I finally won the argument with myself and hence I now plan over the next several weeks or months do a series on 20 subjects. Character builders or reminders based upon my personal experiences.

When you achieve my age you have lived a lot of life and throughout that life you have gained insight and experience. It seems a shame to keep all these mistakes and learning experiences to myself. It is also very hard to sit down and write brief but comprehensive comments on subjects and experience so I plan to insert one occasionally over time.

The topics will include subjects on friendship, marriage, honor, integrity, honesty, children, love, truth, nature, pets, simplicity, true to self, faith, money, success, thanks, forgiveness, security, hate and wise sayings. I hope to start on the first one 'integrity' and hope to post it soon.

It seems to me (I could be wrong) that today adults don't talk to youngsters like in 'the day' and most of children's learning which used to be passed down is now learned off a smart phone or tablet. Hence the aspects that help build a child's character are obtained via the internet. The values they learn may not be the same that those who love them might impart to them. Those on the internet may not have the same values that would benefit a child and help them develop good character. Hence I plan to prepare the 20 topics like I were speaking to one of my own children for their growth. So watch out for future episodes.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Personal Gift

When Junior was alive he used to come around and bring some of his friends with him. One was a buck that we subsequently called Hat Rack because he donated his antlers for a hat rack. I was out to the side of the house late one winter and 3-4 bucks were standing around and I was talking to them. It was about time for them to shed their antlers. They were in a semi  circle and I was facing them when I mentioned to Hat Rack if he would shed his antlers I would make a hat rack out of them in remembrance of him. He looked at me and put his head down and shook his head real hard and both his antlers fell off on the ground. I picked them up and made a hat rack out of them that is on the back side of the front door.

Some of Hat Racks friends moved off several feet and did the same thing and in the above photo is their contribution. I mounted their antlers on a piece of aromatic cedar that I obtained from a gulch a few miles from here. Then I installed it in the kitchen for Carol to hang the kitchen towels on. True story and no one will ever convince me that deer don't understand. That is clear evidence that they do and I have a hat rack and towel holder to memorialize the occasion.

Junior was very intelligent but Hat Rack was equally so. One year I was doing cowboy breakfast and here comes Hat Rack walking up to about 6-8 feet from me. I greeted him and we communicated a little and I told him I had not seen Junior and hunting season was only about a week away and I was getting concerned for his and Juniors safety out there with the hunters. I told him I'd appreciate it if he would go find Junior and bring him back here where he would be safe. He abruptly turned and walked away.

Three days later I happen to look out the side window and here coming through the woods was Hat Rack in the lead with Junior and Junior's brother single  file coming right behind him. I went down to get him something to eat and true to his nature Junior stayed around our house where it was safe until I told him hunting season was over which was his annual ritual. While this may sound made up it is absolutely true and I couldn't be more proud of the deer we had that used our home as a base of operations and safe haven.

Really Seeing by Sakoieta'

Somewhere deep within us is a likeness to others that really defies the most drastic differences we believe exists. If it wasn’t so we would be a people of no compassion, incapable of loving, caring and not understanding the needs of our fellow human beings. It is true in many ways we are very different. Perhaps you can’t stand me and what I am or who I am, I might not like some of what you represent either. BUT I know from experience that changes when we get to know each other. Sometimes people aren’t what we think they are and vice versa because time has taught us to protect our own vulnerability and prejudices. But there is a spark of humanity and spirit in each of us that can penetrate the protection and it helps us to reach out to another human being and say to the most unlikely people, "You poor person. I like you any way". When we do this do we realize we are actually talking to ourselves?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

That Awkward Moment

That awkward moment that occurs between the time you get all the needed outdoor chores done and that first significant snow storm. While we have already received a total of 12" of snow but most of the ground is clear. Each year we rush around trying to get all those last minute chores done outside like putting up markers so when the snow gets deep I won't slide off the edge of the driveway. Or replacing rotten boards in the fence before they are covered with snow. Trimming up the tractor trail so next spring it will be smooth and level so when I clear the snow off it and not jam up the snow thrower. Making sure all tools and equipment are put away where they can be found when needed. Putting the deck chairs away and a host of other tasks.

Once the snow starts to fall it these multiple tasks will be done and not covered with snow for months. As we work to have these all done there is sometimes a gap between when everything is done and when the first snow arrives that will be significant. That is the awkward moment when we rack our brain to see if we missed something and realize that all is done and there is nothing to do now but wait. It is a void where we are satisfied we have finally caught up but then there must be something that we missed... That is where we find ourselves presently. There is forecast a storm for tomorrow that could give us 2" or 2' depending on which weather forecaster we believe. All we can conclude is that the computer models are conflicted so we will prepare for the 2' and if we get 2" we will continue to wait for the big one.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Principles Of Blogs On This Site

This blog site has certain principles and rules for our posts. They are basic and simple rules and guide our blogs. We allow comments as long as they are respectful and do not contain objectionable words. Comments may express different views or points of views providing they follow the aforementioned rules.
This blog is about our lives and experiences both in the past and here in the mountains, It is about lessons we have learned, survival in the mountains, and what we consider other things of interest to those who read the blog.

My spam box is getting larger each day from people who want to advertise and submit comments with a web site embedded in the comment. Everything from sexual enhancements, to products that seem to me to be scam material. We do not post blogs in foreign languages like the one deleted today that said "What would Jesus Post"?  Within it was dozens of links and web sites. It appeared to be in Russian language. It was deleted as are all those who try to take command of our blog for unethical pursuits.
Scammers and spammers be advised that if your comment is relative to the topic it may be posted but even if it pertains to the topic and has a link or web site in it - it will be deleted. Two clicks and you are gone so you are wasting time trying to insert yourself in our blog site.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

Important Decisions by Sakoieta

We all handle and make hundreds of decisions a day. But few decisions are more important than this one, what words we choose to use with those who are around us.The main thing we have to remember is to keep life, love and living in a good way at the top of the list. It will make us happier and others also.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Genuine Thanks

This next Wednesday is a day we set aside as a day to honor and thank veterans.  Every time I drive into Ft. Garland or Alamosa, CO., I see a park off the side of the highway with a T-33 jet fighter mounted on a post and flags and a monument that is called Veterans Park.  Those who live in Costilla County and have served our country have their names chiseled into that granite block. Many of those listed on that block of granite have passed away but many (like myself) who have their names on that monument are still alive.  Every time I drive past that park I reflect on those who have served our country and flag and given their all. They have given part of their life, all of their life or parts of their bodies for our freedom. Regardless of which branch they served all share a common brotherhood or sisterhood. We gave a part of our lives to serve our country and preserve our way of life and our freedoms.

I sometimes wonder how sincere those platitudes really are that say  "Thanks for your service", Do they really understand that many someone's were out in the mud, rain, heat, cold, wind and other miserable conditions day after day and some who gave their very lives and died for people like us who they did not even know but sacrificed and gave their lives for so we could live free. Are these thanks just said by rote or do they really feel thankful in their hearts? Do they realize that they live side by side, work with, worship with, socialize with, circulate with veterans whom they really do not acknowledge or greet. Is "Thanks for your service", real and heart felt or is it just a common comment? At least when I served my 8 years during Viet Nam they spit on us, called us names and blamed us for a war we did not choose but their feelings were heartfelt. They believed the war was wrong and acted with sincerity and took it out on us who chose to serve or were called to duty. We took our fellow Americans abuse and just kept on serving our country realizing not all were of that persuasion.

To sum this up, if you really are thankful for a veteran who gave their all for your freedom and way of life do something to 'show' how much you appreciate what they have done. When you see a veteran or homeless veteran do or say something to make them feel better. Tell them you know your freedom was founded on what they did and what their fellow men and women did and that you are grateful. But most of all be sincere in your thanks and don't just repeat a standard clause 'thanks for your service'. The vet will appreciate it and you will make a difference in your life and their life. You will know who they are because when the National Anthem is played they will stand - take their hats off - face the flag - stand as straight as their old broken bodies will allow and show honor to the flag of our country by putting their hand over their heart or saluting the flag. They will stand proud and just a little taller.  They are reciting in silence and in their mind those who gave their lives and can't be there to honor the flag so that we all could live free and enjoy all the freedoms our country provides.  They will remember and everyone needs to remember too. Truly honor a veteran!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mama Black Bear And Cubs

 These photos were taken back in 2006, of a mother black bear and her two cubs. They hung around our house for the better part of the summer. When we would bump into her and her cubs outside we respected her space and she respected our space. Just another of our good neighbors. Those two cubs were simply adorable.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Black Bears

This is a photo I took a few years ago of a mama black bear and her two cubs that had been hanging around our house for quite a while. She used us to train her cubs and if we were outside she would sit down and the cubs would cautiously start to come check us out. She would signal them and they would then run and climb up a tree. When she was sure they were properly trained she would show them where the good grass was or other things to avoid - like our dogs who were safely in the back yard. This photo was taken about 10' away from our elevated deck. Mother bear knew we were there but she continued to feed on grass right below us.

When the two cubs grew up and were on their own they still traveled together and came back to visit us several times. A few years ago Carol was walking our past dog Gypsy on her leash which we always do and she was down on the road in front of our house and myself and Bozwell were on the deck. Bozwell who never barks suddenly started to bark. Carol yelled up what was he barking at. I then told her it was the bear right next to her. Neither she nor Gypsy had seen the bear grazing along the edge of the road and I had not seen it either but Bozwell who is always vigilant saw it and barked a warning. Before I could blink Carol and Gypsy were on the deck huffing and puffing. She was 6-8' from the bear and then she was on the deck. The bear never stopped eating and ignored her and Gypsy.

I just submitted a bear blog to Mother Earth News that should be published early next week. It will be under the heading "Nature and Environment".

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fort Garland History

Right after the civil was over the government sent a detachment of buffalo soldiers to man Ft. Garland, CO. These brave men fought the Ute's to make it safe for the settlers in the valley. The Ute's were fierce fighters and they were fighting for their homeland and freedom. These soldiers were able to subdue the Ute's and make the valley safe for settlers and then maintain peace. The memorial outside the Ft. Garland post office does not say what happened to the Ute's but I doubt it was what they wanted for themselves.

With all the talk now days about "black lives matter" I find it very ironic that it was a black regiment that subdued the Ute's. Black lives mattered back in the 1870's and so did Ute lives matter. To me it represents the fact that "all lives matter".

This memorial is just down the road from the old fort which is now a museum for visitors. I wonder how many people walk past that tribute to the fighting prowess of the Ute's and the Buffalo Soldiers and never even look at it or stop to read it. Both the Ute's and the brave Buffalo Soldiers deserve to be favorably remembered and not just a stone and bronze memorial to be walked around. Those who live freely in the San Luis valley now days (both settler and Ute) owe a debt of gratitude to these soldiers for making it a safe place to live. Sadly it is a rare occasion that I see anyone reading or even looking at that tribute.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Back Yard Elk & Wasps

 The trail camera caught this big boy moving through the back yard.
When gathering firewood I kicked this rotted stump over and there under it was an abandon paper wasp nest.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Being Prepared

Check out the latest blog on the preparation and planning it takes to get ready for high elevation winters here in the mountains.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

First Snow

Christmas Cactus

Our Christmas Cactus appears dead for the majority of the year but then it comes alive and blooms in profusion. It is early but very full and pretty.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Claw Marks On Tree

We frequently have claw marks on trees but they are generally only as far as the bear can reach from standing on the ground. Bears mark trees to establish boundaries to their territory and then urinate under the tree making it personal. The difference with this marked tree is that the claw marks are 25' up the tree. These are deep claw marks and something with considerable strength had to put them there. Mountain lions will climb trees to hang their kill or pounce on unsuspecting animals but I have not seen them mark trees before. This is a puzzle as to what may have marked this tree so high up and why.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Life Lesson #117

Being old enough to remember these magnetic Scotty dogs from many years ago also means that I'm old enough to have observed some human characteristics over the years. These little plastic dogs glued to magnets would keep some of us kids entertainer for long times as we would move them around on a smooth table top. Or put one on top of a piece of paper and use the other one underneath to move the top one around. If you were lucky enough to have a glass top table they were especially a lot of fun. They would if you tried to put them nose to nose repel each other. Turn them around and they would lock together like they were following each other around.

I have observed over the years that some people are just like these little magnetized dogs. Some people simply do not like others for no apparent reason. It is like their poles repel each other. Of course some may not like others because of what they have heard from others whom they may assume they can trust without making their own opinion hence exclude others from their lives, who may have greatly enriched their lives. Aristotle said some friendships are convenient friendships where the two "friends" share a common interest or goal and when that interest or goal is reached or  falls away they no longer are friends. These are transient friendships based on some circumstance or factor that is not lasting leaving those who rely on such friendships always seeking that one true friend and not finding them. Some people go through their entire lives without forming a lasting friendship and hence usually can be observed in their elder years as somewhat bitter and resentful.

The little Scotch dogs if placed nose to tail would lock together and short of significant force they would not separate. Some people are like that and will for what ever reason follow someone who they think is special only to find out that person is on a destructive path or has their own agenda in life and is leading them to their own destruction. They follow blindly not being able to see or anticipate what lies ahead only to their own peril. Blind followers following blind people who seem to have it all together and appear at least to them of achieving some level of success. They may be wealthy, hold a responsible position, have a big home or car or any other envious status that the follower considers important. The leader may lack good judgement or purpose and regretfully by the time the follower figures that out it is usually too late to avoid getting burned by the same fire.

Then if you would move the little magnetic dogs around real fast they would repel each other and attract at the same time. Many people are like that just moving around without purpose and they seem busy but are really just burning energy and making foolish motions. They seem to be accomplishing something but in reality are just making needless movement and getting no where.

One thing all these people seem to have in common is judging others. They quickly will judge others on assumptions and partial acts without taking the time to get the full picture and making a valued decision. It is easier to listen to one version of the person even if that is the wrong version. If they considered all the facts they might just be tempted to take the other side or see the value in the other person that their myopic vision shut out previously. It requires less effort to jump to conclusions or take sides, right or wrong, where sympathies lie.  But one fact is crystal clear and that is to gather all the facts and not half facts before making a judgement.

I have seen this over the years and it ultimately leads that person to skepticism, disillusionment and bitterness and generally unhappiness with life in general. If you doubt that look around and see how many happy people you can find and identify. It seems some people have been handed one bad turn after another and still they are happy and content. Yet others seem to have all the good things of life and seem very unhappy and lack joy. Perhaps the reader is one or the other and wonders why. It could all boil down to those tricky dogs and how you have adapted to life.

Another Trail Camera Shot

We don't use the correct date on our trail camera photos nor do we post them near when they were taken because community poachers were using them to kill the animals. We learned this when we used to post them and almost instantly would have people poaching near our property. Therefore we post them several days after they have visited us to protect the animals. We live on a perimeter road which makes poaching possible. This big guy was here a few weeks ago and behind our property is a huge ranch where they have now gone to for protection. The ranch hands patrol the ranch for unwanted visitors and have in the past had some arrested. We keep our property free of poachers but they still sneak on the ranch land from a well used trail down the road a little ways from us.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Trail Camera Photo

Sorting Out The Important by Sakioeta'

We really need to take the time occasionally to clear our minds. There is so much information that is presented to us on a daily basis that is just plain trash dressed up as something someone thinks is important for us to know. We don’t need to know everything and having learned some of this trash, when we find out later is untrue or simply doesn’t apply to us, we then need to unlearn it. We really need to be very careful and judge selectively what information we are going to take in and spend serious time, energy maybe even finances on. We then need to let it go if the information is not good or necessary.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rising Early

Most days I rise early when it is still dark outside. I have found the benefits of getting up early far out weigh sleeping in. This morning was no exception and the dogs are an efficient and effective alarm clock as they want to go out into the back yard and potty. A cold nose on any part of your body when you are snuggled into bed will bring you instantly awake. Most mornings are pretty routine but sometimes the morning is very special. This morning was one of those special mornings.

After letting the dogs out to do their business I came back inside as it was pretty chilly outside at 40 degrees. I figured as long as I was up I'd get a fire started in the wood stove and brew a pot of coffee. The dogs all found a bed and went back to sleep. As I sat in my recliner I realized this was a special morning as follows.

The fire in the wood stove was crackling and I could feel the warmth of the stove in my recliner. The dogs were all laying in bed sleeping and breathing deeply with Sarah gently snoring. As I looked out the triangle window the stars were bright in the night sky and they seemed endless. I had a cup of  hot coffee at hand and my morning bible study materials all laid out.

As I sat there doing my prayers and bible study it occurred to me in the quiet of morning that this was one of those special moments in time that I should just relax and enjoy. The silence, the dogs all sleeping peacefully without a care in the world, the wood stove crackling and radiating heat, the stars twinkling and a moment to simply reflect on the days coming activity and be thankful.

Soon I would be into the day doing my chores and going through the daily routine but this was one of those special moments that has been set aside to experience the peace and calm and bask in it. Now as I sit here watching the sun come up over the horizon it makes the moment complete and I feel fresh and ready to start a hectic and strenuous day. Having this special moment in time in a world that is crazy and hectic gives a good start to any day.

As the sun now comes up and the dogs get up and shake and stretch and as Carol remains asleep under her new blanket this day has gotten off to a good start. A quiet time to pray, reflect and plan the days activities and enjoy the quiet, crackling wood stove, warmth and peace is a good start to any day. My wish for all readers is that your day may start as peaceful and calm as mine has started.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Special Privilege

Early last spring the mom brought these guys around to meet us. I was out back and she brought her new babies for us to see. They were just barely born with wobbly legs and probably not 5 lbs yet. She has come back with her babies through out the summer and this was taken a few days ago. Soon the snow will start to fall and accumulate and she will move with her babies down to the lower areas. When she does that and we see the babies again they will be full grown. They were right next to the house and we will miss their departure soon. It has been a high privilege to watch them grow up. On this occasion they were eating rose hips from the numerous wild rose bushes that grow around our house. I trim the weeds but leave the rose bushes alone so the deer will have rose hips to eat. We will miss this family when they leave and look for their return come spring. I hope we will recognize them when the babies come back as adults.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Spirituality by Sakoieta

From my experience I have found the greatest proof of spirituality based living in people’s lives is not how far or fully a person can analyze their beliefs, but how far in practice they will exemplify their actions and living on that belief. Once again I am not speaking about religion, but living a spiritually based lifestyle and the results of that lifestyle in the way it affects all of our relatives, people, animals. the birds, trees, plants, creation. Everything. smile emoticon

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Colors

I especially like the aspen trees that are different shades of green and yellow. Maybe because I know that when they turn all yellow that the leaves fall off but mostly the blend of those two colors is just pretty.
If you click on the photo and enlarge it you will see what I mean.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


Unannounced Strangers On Our Deck

We just ordered a driveway sensor unit so no one will sneak up on us again. Yesterday I was sitting here working on my computer and listening to 50's music playing softly. I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye and there was a total stranger coming up on the deck. When the dogs heard what turned out to be two strangers come onto the  deck they all raced to the door barking. I put my computer aside and went to see who was out there. I was trying to pull the dogs back when the woman opened the door to talk to me and all four dogs charged outside. It turned into pandemonium as the husband of the woman had the gate open also coming onto the deck and there were more people gathered at the end of the driveway. The woman said "don't let your dogs out as my dog is in the car". She had opened the storm door to talk to me in the first place letting the dogs out before I could pull them back. 

It turned out to be a landowner who had brought people from the charity in Alamosa to check out the firewood I was holding for them. She had let them through the entrance gate into the community. The charity called a few days ago and told me that they would get our firewood next week but apparently she decided they needed to come by our house anyway. They ended up taking our firewood and then went to her lot to cut more firewood. 

I can't believe anyone would walk up to your door unannounced and then when they saw four German Shepherds agitated from their sudden presence on what is their deck then open the storm door and let them out and then say don't let them loose because her dog was in the car parked next to our house. 

Therefore we are buying a driveway sensor so no one will suddenly appear out of no where again and stir our dogs up. Fortunately no one was injured on our narrow deck with four large dogs checking everyone out. We are not used to having unannounced visitors and in the past 18 years have only had a handful of them. It won't happen again.... 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Wapiti - Elk

To better see the magnificent elk click on the photo. This was taken previously this year but published today. Regretfully poachers follow this blog to get a handle on where the elk are so we delay publishing until we know the elk have left our area and in this case crossed the mountain to the other side.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


We hear there might be rain tonight and if wind accompanies it we might lose a lot of our pretty here are a few pics!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Home Again

Heading out in a little while to pick up Carol who is returning from her conference in TX. Not only will I be glad to get her home but her recent travels have been nightmarish. One of her flights to visit her family were cancelled - Great Lakes - and she had to reschedule. American then charged her $338.00 to reschedule and her first leg to Chicago only gave her minutes to catch her second flight which she found out American cancelled. They did fly her to Buffalo NY which is only about 100 miles from where she paid to go. They refused her any compensation and I guess they felt proud that she ended up in the right country and state she wanted to go.
This trip  to TX went okay but when she went to return they charged her $40 for her carry on. The same airlines didn't charge her extra to carry on to go to Texas and they told her they were giving her a break as they normally charge $60. for carry on's. The guy behind her in line told her they always charge $40. and they clerk was lying to her.
Flying anymore is becoming a real hassle and very costly yet they claim they are making record profits. Me thinks that they need more regulation. I just hope she makes it home and doesn't end up at some remote airport where they don't speak English. Flying anymore is not as reliable as it used to be.
The above photo of Southwest is the only airlines Carol says she will ever fly again. No problem, no price gouging.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


It only takes a moment or brief absence of paying attention to have an accident. When you live remotely with the nearest medical help an hours drive away it pays to always be cautious and careful. The line on my hand was an injury that I received many years ago but it displays how quickly an accident can happen. We were still living in Harrisburg, PA, and fortunately had a walk in emergency facility only a few blocks from our house. We could be there in minutes and now it can take up to an hour which is why we are especially careful now but accidents still happen.
We had purchased some ski poles that were army surplus and when they arrived the baskets which are now mounted on the poles were separate from the poles and had to be put on the poles. They had a tiny hole and I could see no way to push them onto the poles. I put a little Vaseline in the holes thinking they would expand and slide on. I had the pole upside down and was pushing the basket on which required a lot of strength and effort and the basket slipped off and the sharp end of the pole entered my hand at the heel where indicated above and then went along and through my hand  as the line indicates. The point ended up at the base of my little finger.

I remember standing there with the pole sticking out of my hand thinking to myself that was a dumb move. I went ahead and pulled the pole out of my hand and went downstairs to show Carol and then on to have it checked out by medical personnel. It turned out to be a minor wound and not painful at all but it could have been more serious if the pole had not been tapered like it was. It only takes a moment of carelessness, inattention or a bad decision and you can be seriously injured. I was fortunate in that it was not painful, did no permanent damage and no infection set in. All I have is a little piece of scar tissue at the heel of my hand which is a long time reminder of how easily these accidents can happen which is why I'm now posting this.

When I got back home I was a little smarter because I took the basket out to the deck and placed the tiny hole over a crack between boards and drove the pole through the hole that way. They went in easy that way. Who knew.......

Walk Daily Holding Your Head High by Sakoieta'

Walk straight, walk tall. There is no problem we can’t over come. Stand strong in who you are. Your identity, your integrity and truth. Sing your song of life and living when you feel like crying and give thanks when you feel like swearing or cursing and continue to walk forward. Challenges will always come. They enter our paths to make us stronger and better people. Realize with all of this, we always do as good as we can do in dealing with these things. If we were perfect there would be no need for us to be living here on earth. We would not be here on the earth learning we would be dwelling in Sky World.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Wood Cutting Tool

My old chainsaw was a Stihl 021 that was 22-23 years old. This year it started to act up by running irregular. I tried all the quick fixes but none worked. It is after all an old saw. I have three main chainsaws that together cut 10-15 cords of firewood each year. I bought a Husquevarna a few years ago anticipating that my favorite Stihl could one day soon give up the ghost. The Husky works well but is a pain to change the chain or clean and I am not happy with it at all. Even though the bar was greased regular and I use the highest quality bar oil it locked up and froze and I had to replace the bar.
I still have a Stihl 'Farm Boss" that cuts firewood like a champ but is heavy and leaves me with a back ache after using it for a few hours. I now have an Echo which is rated as good as the Stihl and comes with a 5 year warrantee.  I did an online search and read dozens of owner reviews and decided that a Echo might be the answer.

Yesterday I had to have some work done on my tractor tire chains and checked the Echo saws out while I was at the Co-op. I had my good friend Skip with me and between us we asked the questions needed and got favorable replies. I am now the new owner of the Echo 400 chain saw in the photo above.

When we left Skip asked me about why I shop at the Monte Vista Co-op. I advised that they took the chain saw and fueled it up and ran it to make sure it was going to run right for me, they threw in a carry case that makes it easy to transport with all the tools  They also gave me a quart of bar oil and a container of fuel mix along with a new Echo ball cap. They repair it under warrantee on site if I ever need warrantee repair. A five year warrantee tell me that they believe in their product to perform as advertised.

Our chain saws cut a lot of firewood each year and I need a chain saw that will do the work with as little down time as possible. This winter when I have time I will take the Stihl 021 apart and repair what is making it run irregular. It will be a good back up saw that will most likely last many more years, but when we are in the middle of cutting trees doing major repair on it is time I can not afford. The price of the Echo is good and considerably  less than a comparable Stihl model. I have fingers crossed that the saw will preform as anticipated which I will find out later today.

Both Carol and I have taken Small Engine Repair plus the advanced course so we repair and maintain our saws ourselves. That is why the  Stihl 021 has run flawlessly for 20+ years and has run so well up until this year. If The Echo doesn't measure up I'll report same on this blog but I expect it to perform as indicated by other owner reviews. What I do know is the Husky requires more detailed and frequent cleaning and it hard to put back together. The automatic oiler also has never worked right allowing to much oil to be used. It will be good to put it on the shelf and not have to rely on it and have it strictly as a back up tool.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dirty Job Accomplished

 Every year there is one job that exceeds all other jobs in dirty, dangerous and a test of my courage. That is cleaning the wood stove thoroughly and cleaning the chimney and lastly the wind cap. It requires hauling a heavy 40' ladder up to the house and then struggling with it to get it on the side of the roof. The top of the chimney is about 32' high and the ground is hard and rocky. Because the house is an A-Frame it is very steep and when I arrive at the top of the ladder I have to turn around on the ladder and face out. Because I am only one little slip away from a near straight fall I wear a climbing harness and attach myself to the top of the ladder with a very strong rope.
 Above I am bringing the wind cap down to clean it which is the photo below. We use creosote sticks through out the winter and they make cleaning the creosote very easy. We can clean the chimney from inside the house but the wind cap requires a steep climb. Folks ask me if I'm scared to climb up that high and that steep. I would be lying if I said I wasn't because that is almost straight up and very high. But it needs to be done to keep our wood heating system safe and I've tried to hire in the past to have it done but it seems it is never done as well as I like it done. So I swallow my fear and climb up and clean it very well so I don't have to worry about doing it for another year.
I think I am getting a little to gimpy to be doing it many more years. I could wait until there is 6' of snow piled along the side of our house but still that snow is hard so I'd just as well do it this time of year when the wind isn't gusting. Besides I always enjoy the sense of relief that it is done and I'm still in one piece after having done it. That just may be what they call a high or rush because it is such a relief to tempt or risk fate and win. I usually save a ratty old set of clothes to use so I can throw them away after I'm done. I take them off outside and go straight to the shower. Creosote and soot seem to smear every where and it is good to get them off my body as soon as possible. One more dirty job done and won't have to worry doing it again until next year.  For now - ahhhhh it's done.