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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Alternatives To Herbicides

Our weeds are buried under snow now but in the spring they will resurface. How to control weeds without using toxic sprays. Go to:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas back in the day/Carol

With the Christmas Creep upon us I got to thinking about the Christmas' past with my Mom, Dad, brother and sister. When I look at the "wish lists" that kids make these days...what they want for Christmas...I am amazed.

One year one thing we wanted, at least my sister and I, was a typewriter. When we got up Christmas morning there was one. It was a used Smith-Corona portable typewriter. I have no idea where Mom got it but we were both elated! It was used for many many years....with no complaints!

How the times have changed.....................

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Let It Snow, Let It Snow...

 We are into the routine now; snow for a couple days and then nice weather in between storms. So far we have around 9" and more expected. That makes it 27" so far this winter total. What is on the ground now will remain there until May when it will melt. Click on the photos and see the beauty of those soft flakes floating down and the silence outside.

New Life

After weeks of trying to visit friends who have a new puppy we finally made time yesterday. It is so easy to forget how puppies and their puppy behavior are because they grow up so fast. Their baby teeth that compels them to chew on just about everything. We had some friends one time that had a puppy that loved to chew sheet rock walls.  Looking into their eyes and seeing the wonder they display in looking back at you. Thinking that just a few weeks or months ago that they were born into this world with only one sense - smell. That their eyes did not open for several days and their hearing was not developed until later. They did not come into the world understanding any language. How they have so much energy and want to be doing something all the time. Not to mention the smell of puppy breath.. that is something that is unique and wonderfully distinct. They are a brand new family member and there is a whole world to explore and they have the energy to do just that.

How they believe the world evolves around them until they grow up and learn the requirements of family living. How everything is new to them and they are striving to adapt to their surroundings. While I personally prefer to adopt a rescue dog there are numerous benefits that go with getting a puppy too. You get to shape their life from the start. You get to experience their interest in things that you take for granted like a bug or dust bunny under the bed. You learn new appreciation and  wonder in things that you previously took for granted. (like boot laces) You get to work with them early and literally shape their life because there are no boundaries for them except what you teach them. How they are so dependent on you for affection, food/water, health care, and safety. Raising a puppy is hard work and teaching them what to avoid for their own safety is challenging to say the least. They have no fear of things that could harm or injure them and hence your role is the ever vigilant parent.

Then they are suddenly grown up and their puppy life is just a distant memory and they have bonded so close to you that you don't remember how life was before them and they had become that trusted and loyal family member. They grow out of that puppy stage so quickly into adulthood and then they start to slow down just a little at first and get a little grey around the muzzle and you then seize every minute you can spend with them realizing that their lives are so much shorter than a human's life. Yes it all starts with the puppy and you have helped them to be what they are through endless love, compassion and training. Bringing up a puppy is the same as bringing up a child in many ways and it takes special people to accept the challenge and prevail. Before you know it the cuteness of a puppy is replaced by love you never knew you possessed and the closeness you feel is extraordinary. For me I prefer to adopt a dog that others did not want, but my admiration goes out to those who take on the many challenges of raising a puppy. It is not an easy task but the end reward is well worth the grief, chewed up shoes, table legs and about anything else they can wrap their mouth around. If I were to put a percent on the upside vs downside I would say the upside is about 99.9% and the downside is about .01%, except when you are actually raising and training the puppy and then maybe those figures are reversed. It is love and patience that finally gets you to the 99.9%.

Puppies are a new and wonderful experience and even as puppies they make you a better person.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mountain Chickadee

Our favorite bird in the mountains. The mountain chickadee is polite, intelligent and entertaining. Polite because they take turns coming to the sunflower feeder and take a seed and leave. Other birds will perch on the feeder and sometimes swarm all over it. The chickadee help themselves to one seed and leave. I have never seen them chase each other or any other bird away. Intelligent, they seem to be highly intelligent. I put the feeder out yesterday and the regulars from last year were waiting for those delicious sun flower seeds. Their memory of where the feeder was and what it represents is remarkable. Sometimes when the feeder is out they will come and get me. Actually!!! If I am outside they will come and perch on a tree next to me and stare me down. Anyone who has a dog knows 'the stare'. I will tell them to go up to the feeder and I'll feed them. They will then go perch on the railing and wait for me to fill the feeder. Entertaining, they keep us entertained with their flitting around and song. They will sometimes light on the front window and look in at me when their feeder is out of seed. They will sometimes light on your hand to take seeds. This is a tiny bird that if just plain fun to have around.
Carol is presently heading back from town with a 50# bag of sunflower seeds. They will go through about 100 - 150 pounds of sun flower seeds per winter. Their presence is well worth the cost of that much sunflower seed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It Is Now Official

 The calendar may say it is still fall but outside says it is now winter in the mountains. 11:00 AM on 11/12/14, and it is still 2 degrees below zero. The frost on the trees isn't a substitute for snow but it is pretty. Quick trip into town and back to stay warm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nuclear War Was Very Close - Much Too Close

I don't talk about it but in October 1963, we came closer than most people will ever know to a full out nuclear war with Russia. I was working in the SAC headquarters on the third floor of the underground at the command post entrance on 10/28/62. It was the most sensitive area of the headquarters and the only way to enter the command post was if the SAC Guard personally knew you and your purpose inside and allowed you to enter. I rarely ever got through the electronic door myself but this day the duty commander came out and ask me to join them in the command post and lock the door behind me as I came in.
I had taken various VIP tours through the command center previously so I was familiar with the inside. As I went in the mood was very solemn and very quiet which was unusual. I was posted immediately behind the console that ran the entire SAC operation world wide and was told that the DEFCON clocks were running down and my job was to make sure no one interfered with the two duty officers at the console. The red DEFCON clock was almost down to zero and I understood when it ran out we would be engaged in all out nuclear war.
I remember the day like it was today. Due to all the electronics it was always kept cool but the two duty officers were positioned at each end of the console and perspiring heavily. I was sweating badly myself as was the crew in the command post. Between the two officers on the console was a red phone that went directly to President Kennedy. All eyes were focused on that phone. As the clock neared zero hour both duty officers took a key they each possessed and held it ready to be inserted in the proper slot on the console. When the clock hit zero they would both turn their keys simultaneously. It seemed like an eternity that we stood there with nothing but the hum of the equipment and sweat running down our backs as they were both poised to turn their keys in unison. Just moments before time ran out the phone rang and it was President Kennedy telling us to stand down the Cuban missile crisis was over. We were that close to a full nuclear war with Russia,
To my right was a machine that would show when missiles were launched against us, their destination and the probable deaths associated. A grim reminder of what we would find when we were finally able to go topside. We all had families above and while we were safe from a direct nuclear strike we knew when we were able to go topside everything we loved would be gone and the world would never been the same. We had come to within a few more drops of perspiration from launching a full out nuclear war. It was that close.
When my shift was over and I went topside everyone was going about their day like nothing had ever happened when we were just the turn of two keys away from launching missiles, bombers all armed with nuclear weapons. It was totally surreal up topside and everything was business as usual and even when I got home my family didn't have a clue how close we had come to all out war. It was like walking from the heart of a major crisis into happy town America where there were no problems.  I have read several accounts on the Cuban Missile crisis but none that have read have told just how close we were to total out nuclear war when Khrushchev and Kennedy called the matter off. 52 years later and I often wonder how in a few more seconds life could have been changed forever. I know I was there watching it unfold and it was very scary for a young man because my orders were clear and I fully intended to carry them out if necessary.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Technology By Sakoieta

More and more I see people getting into these technological devices and letting these devices control them. Computers, cell phones, i pads, etc. These devices were supposed to be used to help us to be more independent and productive as human beings. What I see instead is people becoming slaves to them and becoming less and less involved in the living of life as a good human being. We have people who won’t even talk to each other unless it is through a text. People slandering each other and writing nasty messages to others that they would never think of saying in person, etc. I see a definite use for them if they enhance our ability to be better mothers, fathers, husbands, partners, human beings. But what I see happening more and more is that people cannot even reason anymore without a computer or hand held device doing it for them. Instead of making us smarter these devices are making us slaves who are unable to think for ourselves, add, subtract, or search unless the answer is right there in seconds. They are becoming the new pill to supposedly fix us. Instead, like our prophecies state, they are controlling our minds and taking our minds away.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunrise In The Mountains

 Seeing this first thing in the morning is something worth getting up for. Our sun rises are spectacular in the mornings. The photo on top is the view from our front window and the one below is from our deck looking at the Spanish Peaks. You can just see the outline of Spanish Peaks in the center of the photo. We love our beautiful sunrises and never get tired of them. They are breathtaking and these photos are with a cheap point and shoot camera so I hope the viewer can appreciate how much more beautiful they are in real time...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bobcat Tracks

 Here are more cat tracks but this time bobcat tracks. This one passed within 40 yards of the house. These animals are around all year but until there is snow on the ground you are unaware of their presence. These were fresh, probably last night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Pantry Door

new door
Project number two of the projects the lumber was milled out for last summer. The cost of this project was perfect. It was zero cost. I had all the supplies on hand and used the hardware from the old door. The old door was more heavy and did not go full length. This door is lighter and does go full length. I put in a new door frame and made the trim from lumber we milled out. As it gets older it will age and darken lke the wood paneling on both sides of it. Project number two done, now just two more to go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tracks In The Snow

It isn't easy to show how big this track is but it is about 6 inches across. One of the benefits of a fresh snow last night is what you can find in the way of tracks. This big cat crossed about 110 yards from the house where there were also deer tracks. When I first saw them I estimated that they had been made within the last two or three hours because the deer tracks already had snow in them and I saw the deer earlier this morning. Based on the depth and size of the tracks the mountain lion probably ran 150-160 lbs. Earlier today the dogs had their noses in the air so this is what they were alerted to. No wonder they wanted to come back inside so fast.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Closet

From dead standing tree, to log, to lumber, to waiting patiently while the lumber dries, to making a closet for clothes. Check out the entire blog at:


 Doesn't seem like almost 10 years ago that Junior was using our home as a home base. He would come around and sleep just outside the back yard fence when he wore himself out chasing the does constantly. He would come to the fence and stand there until he got our attention and when he did he would lay down and go right to sleep. Sometimes he would sleep for hours and we could come and go and he would lay right there and sleep. He would do this for several months until the snow would get too deep and then he would head down the mountain for better feed grounds.

He was a best friend and would walk up to me and follow me around through out the day. Here in this photo he looks dead but he was just sound asleep knowing we would look out for him. He is gone now but we sure had a special relationship when he was alive. We sure miss him and his constant presence at our home. He adopted us and spent most of his life right here at our home. He would wander off at times but always came back. Sure miss our Junior.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Morning Lesson

I was out back instructing a herd of elk on how to avoid hunters so they could stay safe. This big bull stepped out to catch the end of the lesson. Our property is a refuge for elk and deer during hunting season because it is more open and they can see danger long distances. While they stood there with rapt attention listening to what to avoid this time of year I was able to get a photo of this big boy. Today was lesson number two in a series of three.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Start Of Winter

 While I was out yesterday shoveling a pathway through the 3" of fresh snow without thinking I was tossing it as far out as possible. That is just something that I do automatically so at the end of winter we don't have the snow banks closing in on us. As I was shoveling off our walkway I was thinking how it seemed like I had just done this recently. We had received 1" of snow last Friday and then on Monday another 3" but that wasn't what made it seem so recent.
I came into the house and paged back in my day planner where I keep track of the annual snowfall and found that on May 13, 2014, we had received 12" of snow. I counted back and that was a total of five months of Spring, Summer and Fall seasons crammed into 5 months time frame. That means our winters are 7 months long. We get into the habit of dealing with winter here in the mountains but often forget how long it actually is. That leaves only a little time to get our 9-11 cords of firewood in for the next long winter. It also leave a little time to enjoy outdoor activity without coats and boots. It may sound like a long winter - which it is - but I wouldn't trade it for any other place. The summers are glorious and spring and fall while short are equally great. So for the followers of this blog - plan on lots of snow photos over the next 7 months.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10,2014, First Snow

 First snow - darn that was one short fall season!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Leaves

Back yard with leaves. The rain strips the leaves from trees and the smell is wonderful fall smell. Colors are vibrant and it is now full fall time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

More Trail Camera Photos

 The elk have been allusive this year. Probably because the poachers are using elk calls around us. When the area of the calling doesn't move for two to three hours and is in the same place night after night that is a pretty good indication that the elk are leaving the area due to heavy hunting of them. Elk will graze and move along and poachers will sit in the same place and call and call to try lure elk to them. First year we have had few elk around this time of year..and we believe the reason is poachers since there is no hunting in our community.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Wolves Should Be In The Wild

Check our my latest blog on wolves and the wolf refuge near us and my experience with a wolf that was given to me as a dog. Major learning experience..

Friday, October 3, 2014


 We have a wolf refuge not to far from our home and make the long drive every once and a while to visit the wolves. These are wolves who someone thought they could raise as domesticated canines only to find out that doesn't change the wolf in them. Then they try to dispose of the wolf or turn it over to a shelter because they can't handle it. That happened to me many years ago when a military friend asked me to take a 'Siberian Husky' that his brother had brought down from Alaska with him and he ended up with the 'dog '.
I took the animal but it had different characteristics than a domestic dog would possess. For instance its eyes were yellow and it had a strong dominance trait. It would burrow in the back yard even though we kept it inside. Other dogs were prey to it and it took a very controlled hand to control it. Large feet and while it bonded to me it did not care for other family members. In fact it even tried to kill me one time and was subdued. This refuge near us takes in animals like this and lets them live their lives in natural surroundings where they can roam but still be confined.
We sponsored one wolf named Lucas. Lucas was the alpha male and pack leader but not by dominance. Lucas loved and cared for the rest of the pack and led by the power of his enormous love. Even when Lucas became old not a challenger attempted to take over the pack as alpha wolf because they were unable to love the rest of the pack as much as Lucas.
That speaks highly of admirable leadership qualities. What if our leaders led because they loved us more than anyone else could. The pack leaders wanted Lucas to be alpha wolf because of his tremendous capacity to love. Lucas was a one of a kind wolf but maybe we could learn something from Lucas if we tried.
As to the wolf I inherited, I was the only one who could handle her and she was so smart she learned commands in 30 minutes. We ended up having to send her to a very large farm where she could roam and live out her life as a wolf. While she would mind me she did not like my ex wife at all. (that should have been my first clue). She was also dangerous to have around small children unless I was present. It is best to leave a wolf to be a wolf and if you want a pet find a domesticated dog. It is hard to take the wolf out of a wolf but I must admit that she was an obedient and loving girl towards me. Establishing yourself as an alpha male over a wolf is extremely hard. Our vet said she was far more wolf than dog and maybe all wolf. It is unfair to cross breed these magnificent animals. But in Lucas' case I believe he has much to teach us humans about leadership and communal living..

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pink Hew

 We had a very beautiful sunrise this morning with a very strange after glow. Everything outside was pink or had a pink hew to it.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hindsight Is 20/20 by Sakoieta

There are many things we may hear during our lives. Special words that were shared that we really didn’t understand at that time and place. Sometimes during our days as we grow older and mature we go back to those words and then find they now have meaning that makes sense to us from where we are in our life’s journey and maturity. Years can pass between an event or a word spoken and our eventual understanding of it. It’s like a house being built. We can see the structure going up but we really can’t use it or know how to really use it until it is finished.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pack Rat #16

 We are one pack rat away from reaching our all time record of 17 pack rats per fall season. That year we had a brutal winter and the animals, birds and insects instinctively seem to know when it is going to be a hard winter. We catch them in the live trap and when that happens they enter our relocation program and get a free bicycle ride to their new home. The reason we don't want them around is they are destructive and they stink. This year we may actually pass our old record of 17 in one year because this seems to be a good year for pack rats.

I know some readers like me to adhere to safety rules when riding a bicycle but the little helmets are currently on back order probably due to the increased demand for the rats having a good year. I will continue to be very careful until I can get them fitted with helmets. These little guys are thrill seekers and take great joy going for a bike ride down a dirt road.  They can hardly contain themselves with the wind in their fur and want to stick their head out the window but ours is one of those cheap traps without a window.

While these little guys are cute they exceed their cuteness by being destructive. If you don't put your hood up on your vehicle they can obliterate your wiring harness and hoses in a single night. They like the insulation on electrical wires and will chew up anything they can sink their teeth into to make a nest. If you have small shiny objects around they really like to horde those. Little things like the chuck key to your electric drill, wrenches, screw drivers etc. Of course when you finally find it they have already peed their brown excretion on it and the tool will never smell the same.

We believe we have a good relocation program and as soon as we catch both male and female and put them through the program we seem to have another pair replace them. Dirty smelly little buggers.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall In The Rockies

 It is beautiful here in the mountains this time of year. It doesn't last long but when it happens it is absolutely beautiful. Maybe those leaves are so brilliant because of the blinding blue sky above them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn Leaves Are Falling Fast Now

The aspen leaves are falling rapidly now. They are starting to cover the ground and I saw these on the steps so picked them up to share. Aspen trees turn all shades of yellow, orange, red, rust and other colors. Sometimes the leaves hang in on the trees for much longer than they have this year.
Click on the photo and it will enlarge for a better view. The leaves are quite colorful this year but not lasting as long.

Evaluate Opinions by Sakoieta'

Other people’s opinions are just that, their opinion, not a verdict. There are those who have the personality type that want their view and opinion to be the only one that counts, the one that states what is valid and what isn’t. But even if they were correct in one instance doesn’t mean they always will be in every instance forever. It is our prerogative to accept someone else’s opinion as just that or not. We should always be free to accept things or not accept things. That is why we were born with free will and as we work with ourselves, our families, our clans, our communities, our nations and the natural world we should learn how to use it so that we do stay free and do not become bound by any sort opinion or verdict put over us by someone or something else

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall In The Mountains

 I decided to take the rough road home from getting the mail today and was rewarded with these beautiful shots of Autumn on its official first day.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Caught On Trail Camera

 Caught on the trail camera. Missed some good shots as the camera lens got dusty but is now cleaned off and hope to capture more photos from unsuspecting deer and elk.
The elk are bugling almost non stop but one caller is someone who is apparently poaching and is lousy with an elk call. Doesn't fool anyone including the elk. They finally gave up a couple hours after dark last night. No need to call the game warden as their calling is so pitiful that it doesn't fool the elk or anyone who knows what a real elk sounds like. They inadvertently left their cow call in the road to be relinquished to the game warden. They are now using a bull elk call and have a long way to go in mastering it. No one ever claimed poachers were smart - only sneaky and illegal.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Signs Of Fall

Every once and awhile an elk will stray past our trail camera. Here are two cows that did just that a few days ago. The aspen trees are changing color, the grasses are going dormant, the crispness is in the air, the elk are bugling, the wild rose bush leaves are turning yellow and loaded with rose hips, all signs that fall is in full swing. I don't know which I like better - the smells of fall or the color change. All tell us that it won't be long until snow is falling and we start the grind of clearing it away so we can get around outside safely. Time to go over our winter preparedness list one more time and make sure all is done but in the meantime I think I will just lay in the hammock in the back yard and enjoy what the day has to offer.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

First Fall Color

 Grass has stopped growing, garden almost done except for zucchini, trees changing to yellow and orange, elk bugling - I'd say fall is upon us here. The weather forecasters are saying the peak season will be from Oct. 1 to Oct. 10 in our area but I think it may be on the decline by then. Leaves are already falling.

Garden box with lettuce is done for the year and made ready for next spring. The leaves on top of the box are a sure indication that fall is here and you can smell it in the air.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trail Camera Shot

We have been seeing this mama doe with her two babies all spring and summer. Her she is caught in the trail camera and in each bottom corned are the two little fawns still in spots. They have grown a lot since we first saw them. Their tiny hoof prints were barely an inch long. They were out in the back one day when I let the dogs out one at a time and mama gave them some kind of signal and they both dropped down into the long grass and disappeared. Interesting to have had the opportunity to see them grow up and see them become more self reliant like in this photo. They used to stick very close to mom...