Total Pageviews

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...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Winter Readiness
Check out our latest blog on Mother Earth News about all the proactive preparation it requires to live in the mountains. Once the snow flies it is usually to late to do outdoor tasks. It can be found at the above link.

Taking Your Own Path by Sakoieta

I learned many years ago that the path I walk is my path and no one else’s. I have my path and you have yours. Everyone has a path. Each of us are on it whether we realize it or not. At some time we will come to know it and accept it as such. When we walk that path we know because we are happy and content. It doesn’t mean that we just sit around and expect everything to come to us but there is a reciprocity that we need to remember in that whatever we do or set in motion will return to us in a bigger way than the manner in which we set it in motion. Being on our path in a good way means that we are doing our earthly work and causing no one or anything harm.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Child In The USA

We often think our country and the world are getting worse but maybe we don't look hard enough at the things that count. Consider the following regarding children:
In 1990, 105 children would die each day before their first birthday.  In 2014, 66 would die before their first birthday.
In 1990, 10 children were killed by a gun each day. In 2014, that number is down to 7.
In 1990, 6 children died each day by suicide. In 2014, that number is down to 5.
In 1990, 719 children were born each day with a low birth weight. In 2014, that number is 865.
In 1990, 27 children were born into poverty. In 2014, that number is up to 1392.
In 1990, 217 children were arrested each day on drug charges. In 2014, that number is 408.
In 1990, 1,849 children were abused each day. In 2014, that number is 1837 each day.

So fewer children are killed each day, more are born into poverty, low birth weight is up, suicide is down, child deaths before age 1, are down, death by gun is down but abuse is about the same.

Some area's are down, some are up and some are the same. So in summary things are roughly the same 24 years later. Not particularly worse but not particularly better either. We sometimes believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket but when it comes to children it is about the same. So my question is why is it the same? What have we as society been doing regarding children the last 24 years? Perhaps we are doing it wrong. Could it be the old values may be best but we have zoomed past them so fast that we have lost them and their benefit?

Far be it from me to make that determination but I find this information worthy to consider. Have we really made progress in the past 24 years regarding our children? Children are our future.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pack Rat Ride

 This is number 11 so far this year. Catch the pack rat in the live trap and give them a ride down the road on my bike. It is an exciting ride for them as we go over the rocks and ruts in the road en-route to our destination away from human habitation. I actually heard this one go wheeee a few times and saw him put his little front legs up in the air. When we got to our final exit point in relocation I held the trap up and with the pack rat looking me in the eye I explained to him that this was a much better place for him to live and there were several blow down piles of trees that would make an excellent home.
I believe he said he wanted another bike ride and that one was the most exciting one he had ever had. He was also reluctant to leave the trap when I opened the door. Since many of his brothers and sisters are located at this new location he should like it a lot.
It was this particular rat that Disney modeled Mickey Mouse after. They are cute if they didn't smell so bad and were so destructive. I found his nest and will clean it out later today. No telling what I will find in the nest. Last nest I cleaned out I found a dead and totally dried mouse. These guys will gather just about anything and horde it in their nest.
Enjoy your new home #11.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sarah The Sweetest Girl Ever

My friend Sakoieta posted a video of 5 German Shepherd Dogs walking obediently behind their owner off leash. That got me to thinking of our three German Shepherd Dogs and how well behaved they are. The above photo is of our happy Sarah who is over 10 years old now and is so gentle and sweet. Each day we have a little ritual where after their breakfast we go out into the back yard together and I pick up the poop from earlier or late yesterday.

Sarah will protect me by checking out the surrounding area and then she will sniff her way around the back yard for a few minutes. It is a chance for her to have some alone time with me without her two brothers pestering her. I will tell her it is time to go poopers and she will go find a suitable place to relieve herself. I will then tell her what a good girl she is. She doesn't need me to tell her to poop because she has been doing it fine by herself for over 10 years. She likes to be told she is a good girl and we use that natural event to make a fuss over her and let her know she is a good girl. It is that time of day when she would go poop anyway and once praised she is generally always smiling.

We use every opportunity to tell our boys and girl how good they are and hence they know what we expect/like and do it to receive our approval. It may only be a little thing but they are in tune with what we desire for them. People are a lot like that too and need reinforcement and praise. It can be the smallest thing but in their life it weighs huge. Sometimes in our busy day we forget this basic need in our relationship with others. The poop routine only works with Sarah and if I complemented my wife on doing the same I'd be quickly taken in for a psychological evaluation. You have to be smart about what you use for praise and it must be sincere.

Every night I have another ritual where I go to where each of our fur family is and tell them good night and how much I love them. They surely don't need to hear that but it is reinforcement each and every day. We try to show it to them all day each day. They know the word love but they probably don't know any more than it is a good word. After all they actually live the word out in their lives every minute of every day. They like and wait for our little ritual each night and would think they had done something wrong if I failed to do it. I get down and right in their face tell them which I also believe is important in making that connection. Aren't people like that too? Not just the meaningless or passing ritual of saying "I love you" but they need to hear it with sincerity. If those two little rituals can change our fur families lives for good what could they accomplish if they were applied to our human family too?

Those two rituals are two of the most important things I do each day and the benefits are easily seen by anyone who visits us. Are you to proud to get down and look your pet in the face to tell them you really love them?  They may not understand the words but they clearly understand the meaning and intent. Our fur friends are devoted to us not because we demand it but because of a love bond that is reinforced each day.  Find someone today to tell how much you love them whether they have four legs or two. Get right in their face and look them in the eye and try it and see if you notice a difference in the relationship. I know our three furry family members will look right back at me and I can see the love and devotion in their eyes. Try it yourself because the rewards far exceed the small amount of time expended.

A final story about Lucas the wolf. Lucas was the pack leader at a local wolf refuge. When the alpha male gets old and can no longer defend their position in the pack a younger male will challenge them and assume that role. Lucas loved each and every member of his pack so much it was evident. When Lucas became old and the younger males in his pack could have easily taken alpha away from him none even attempted. Why? Simply because none could love more than Lucas. The rest of the pack respected Lucas for his ability as pack leader to love them all greatly. Lucas was pack leader because he loved so much..I think we could all learn a great deal from Lucas the wolf.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dog Thoughts

But mom, you said I was your child. Can't your child curl up in MY chair. It rocks you know.
You can sit in it when I'm will like it too...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Mail Box

 17 years ago when I retired the office and those I worked with across Pennsylvania held a retirement party for us. At that party I was presented with several departing gifts and one was a hand made mailbox by my friend and co-worker Tony Telep. Tony had made the mailbox on the theme of our A-Frame house. I was excited over this labor of love by Tony and being a woodworker I recognized just how much work had gone into making it.
Tony's advice was to use a good wood sealer on it each year and it would preserve the wood from deteriorating. I have taken it down each year and as I stain the roof and seal the rest of the mailbox I can tell just how much care was put into making it just right. Tony hand cut each of the roof pieces and weathered the exterior trim boards. I think of Tony often but especially each year when I treat the mailbox as Tony suggested. You can't help but notice all the care and effort that went into making this box by Tony when you seal the wood each year. He made every little detail just right and there is no question it was a labor of love from start to finish. 

When we moved out here I would send Tony a letter every few weeks telling him much of what this blog was set up to do - how life is here in the mountains. Tony then retired and he would call me on his cell phone around once a month. Then one day about three years ago I got a call from Tony who informed me he had a disease that was going to take his life. The lump in my throat was so big that it was all I could do to say goodbye to Tony and tell him how much I valued his friendship over the years and how I loved him. 

Then a few weeks later I heard that Tony was gone and I'm still heartsick over the loss of a good and true friend. A few weeks later I had heard from Tony's son who advised me he was cleaning out Tony's desk and found all my letters which Tony had saved. He said every time he would visit his mom and dad that Tony would pull out the most recent letter and read it to them and then put it away in his desk. 

Having a good loyal friend like Tony is priceless. Having a mail box that reminds me of Tony and how meticulously he made it is even better because each time I look at that box I think of Tony. I have it in a spot that  I see every day and what wonderful memories I have  of Tony and his friendship... 

Friday, September 5, 2014

More Dog Thoughts

Mom, purrtect me, dad wants me to go outside and its cold and damp outside. It is scary too. I want to stay inside and is it okay if I just look outside?  I don't like the cold and damp outside - mom purrtect me...Wait!!! What??? Walk, oh boy a walk.. I'm ready lets go... Yipee a walk.... Let's go...oh boy a walk... Yahoo, a walk.....I love walks.....Can we go to the meadow mom???Huh, huh???  Bark, bark, I love walks....lets go...Arroooo

Mountain Language

It seems everyone has their own language now days. We have ours too and its called mountain language. The photo above looks like fog....NOPE. When you live at 9,750' elevation it is actually clouds that have drifted in. We discovered this when we first moved here as we hiked to the top of the mountain we live on and while on top of the mountain we were probably having crackers and cheese with a little wine sitting on top of the mountain when we actually saw the clouds drop down and move right into the mountain. We were on top in the sunshine and our house below us was in the clouds.
So we don't say it is foggy outside because it is actually cloudy outside. Often like today there are particles of moisture drifting around in the cloud. The other half of this is saying "the clouds are rising" as they lift and move away. Or like a weather forecaster for Accu weather used to say this is a Maidenform cloud (he actually said Maidenform fog)  It will lift and separate in two hours...
Today is one of those days where we are in the clouds. I went down to the front gate to pick up a package and when I was 1000-1500' lower in elevation I could look up and see where the clouds met the mountain...and when in it the view was just like the photo above...

Dog Thoughts

What? Did I just hear the leash move?  Yup, that is what I heard, the leash moved...Wonder if it is time for a walk. Okay, I'll go but don't these people ever get tired of walking? Tiring them out is a full time job...Yup, I'm sure of it now that leash moved... Darn, I was real comfortable here in bed..why now???? Do I need to act excited or not... Well, I guess I can go for a walk but what do I do after the walk....

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I ordered The Journey Bible/Revealing God and How You Fit into His Plan from the site that I joined so I can review books for free. You can check the site out at This NIV edition of the Bible is very interesting.

The book is published by Zondervan which I know to be a reputable company. The editors chose 5 books of the Bible as those that would give the reader a good grasp on what the Bible is all about.  They refer to them as FIVE ALIVE and include Genesis, Deuteronomy, John, Acts and Romans. There is a page and a half of “Jesus’ Famous One-Liners”…those quotes that we often might use even in every day life such as “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12).

There is a FIVE ALIVE 30 day reading plan included as well as Book Summaries and Main Themes, Defining Moments of both the Old and New Testament and many other really neat features. Included in the chapters are side thoughts….Addressing Questions, Discovering God, Knowing Yourself and other topics to inspire thought.

Of course the focus is to draw the reader closer to knowing God and establishing a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. As it says on page xviii “You can visit the mosque where Muhammad is buried. Buddha was cremated, and his ashes dispersed. But when you go to Jerusalem and visit Jesus’ tomb…it’s empty.
I would highly recommend this Bible for any seeker…someone who is a “spiritual explorer”. You will not be disappointed.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Quick Fix - by Sakioeta

Everything has a reason even though in our quick fix world we often want the answers right away or understanding to come immediately even though Natural law does not work that way. Everything we see is like a puzzle with all the pieces thrown about, it takes time to identify each piece to be able to determine where it fits into the larger picture of things. All of the puzzle is there but often in our present condition we don’t comprehend the first thing about fitting the right pieces together. It takes time. I learned long ago that patience was needed with everything and that if we were going to look at a situation accurately and find answers we needed to embrace it holistically, spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally as well bring all seven of our senses into play so that we see it, smell it, taste it, touch it, hear it, gain awareness and finally receive insight into how to best be a part of finding the answer. It is necessary to keep all of our different ways of understanding open. There have been many times I have been shown the answers or been given directions and guidance through dreams when the other pieces still needed one final piece to bring them all together and have them fit.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Extend A Helping Hand - by Sakoieta

In my life I have seen times where people let their pride rob them of help they really needed and also robbed other people of the chance to really reach out to help someone. I often wondered why is it so hard for people to accept help from other people without people feeling negative about it or even angry. No one is saying that person has not done really well and as good as they could do. They have just noticed that with that little extra bit of help that person can finish the job faster, get it done quicker, be able to finish things more completely. When people need help it doesn’t mean they have fallen short. If they have done everything they could do to help themselves then it should be considered as maybe it is time for someone else to have the chance to give. If the feeling of accepting help is awkward, then we can remember that feeling and respect it next time we help someone. Pride can at times be an admission of weakness and gratitude a sign of strength. We can give graciously but also receive in the same manner. It helps to keep us healthy and balanced.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Large White Stripe On Top - Flag Pole Side

Is there a proper way to hang the British Flag.  You bet there is and I found out the hard way. The large white stripe goes on top and the inside. When I was in the US Air force, stationed at Kindley AFB, Bermuda I was assigned flag duty one day. We were host on the British island and hence had to fly the host flag along with the US flag. As we looked at the flag before we ran it up the flag pole it looked okay to us but as it turned out it was not all right. We had a fifty-fifty chance of hanging it right and we took the wrong choice.
None of us knew the difference of large white strip on top and it had probably been run up the flag pole wrong numerous times before. This particular day the Island Governor just chose to visit the base and of course he noticed it immediately. He really made a big deal out of it which was right since we had hung it upside down - not knowing the difference. Apparently he didn't say anything to our base commander but went through diplomatic channels so it came down to the base commander via channels and gained momentum as it filtered down to us. Didn't take long to get it hung right and everyone properly educated on the RIGHT way to run it up the flag pole.
That was the day the entire base from our commander down was educated on how to properly fly the British flag. Who knew - we didn't but we soon found out..

Ignorance by Sakoieta

Personally I believe we can always forgive ignorance to some degree, but when it is willful ignorance that is a totally different issue. The sad part is that the two often go hand in hand to create danger. The main objective of this type of personality is to take advantage of or to prey on anyone or anything for no particular reason, other than they can and are able to. We need to be able to be aware of people like this and not give them opportunity or reason to take advantage of us. The worst people to deal with are not those who are ignorant and can be educated, but those who are ignorant and choose to remain willfully ignorant.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Lumber

 One of our last projects is to mill out enough lumber from our dead trees so we can use the winter to build our projects. Yesterday we milled out three logs from a tree that died last winter and is prime lumber. We have about 25% of the lumber I will need to build two stand up closets and a new front door and a pantry door. When the snow is deep and there is nothing to do outside I can make two closets that will help Carol and myself to organize our clothes. One thing an A-Frame lacks is storage space due to the angle of the roof. The above photo shows the lumber we milled out yesterday.
 This is the same lumber except it is stacked with stickers between each board. Stickers are just 1" thick pieces of scrap wood that are spaced about every 2 feet to keep the board level with each successive board adding weight to the one below it. It allows the air to circulate around the boards and they dry out uniformly until they reach equilibrium which is nothing more that allowing excess moisture in the wood to escape to where each board is equal in moisture to its surrounding environment. When you buy a board at the lumber yard it has been dried to a certain moisture content but when you bring it home if the ambient moisture in the air around it is higher it will absorb moisture until they are relatively equal. That is reaching equilibrium and if you are not in a hurry (I'm not) then you can put stickers between each board and let it dry slowly. Here it may take two or three weeks because we are in a semi arid environment.  
 This photo shows the stickers between the boards. I like to put the thicker boards on top of the stack because they weigh down the thinner boards below them. Just from sitting in the basement I can feel the moisture in the boards as I was stickering  them. Sticker is not a term you hear every day because it is mostly used by sawyers when they layer boards to air dry. Just as effective as drying in a kiln (1-2 days) as opposed to air drying 2-3 weeks or sometimes longer in the air. It depends on how soon you want to use the lumber. On some woods like aspen, it is also helpful to paint the boards on each end with paraffin paint so the boards will be forced to lose moisture on the long flat surfaces. Other wise the boards can warp or wind and lose any value other than firewood.

The above photo shows a log on the mill and we are ready to extract another 22-25 1" X 6" X 8' long boards. It about killed us getting that log on the carrier to mill it out. We had to use a 6' steel bar and car jack to get it up on the carrier. Dangerous and tricky but we finally got it in place and with only a bruised ankle on Carol and several muscle strains for me. That one log should provide us with enough lumber to finish one standing closet and start another one.

Checked The Trail Camera This Morning:

 It is always a surprise to check the trail camera. This is Daisy's daughter who we miss very much. This girl will lay down around our house and act as our watch deer.
 Dawn at our home...
This guy is a really big buck. In all likelihood one of Juniors off spring...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Doing What Is Important - by Sakoieta

It seems like most of our efforts follow the scrambled egg approach with everything being thrown in together, whipped up and beaten without much real substance. Things we do overlap too much, sleep lets worry in, eating is not prepared but brought in containing ingredients totally beyond our knowing of what is in our food. Talking is not any more than being boastful and empty chatter to fill air space and time. Even prayer and thanksgiving is too often relegated to listening to someone else who knows how. What ever we do should be done with all of our hearts, and not done so we can feel important and seen by running here and running there, but done for the sake of caring, love and definitely not for competition. Who we are, what we are, where we are going and when we get there what we will do has more to do with the mind, heart and spirit, than how people see us and who sees us.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dog Food Bowls????

 Dog food bowls - what kind of a blog is that??  We could have gone on an extended trip to Europe if we had the money back we spent on food bowls. The three in the photo above are the ones in current use. Our three guys are all different feeders and each require a different bowl to regulate their feeding. We feed them three times a day because they eat kibble with the occasional gravy real meat chunks mixed in. Our guys go from eating their kibble to getting a large drink of water. If you have ever seen kibble after it mixes with water it swells up to several times its original size.

German Shepherds are prone to stomach torsion which is mostly fatal but a very serious condition. It is where the stomach twists and blocks the digestive tract. It stands to reason if you feed them once a day the required amount their stomach coupled with water will extend very large. Hence we space it out over the day, feeding them three meals.  We have read it is best to feed them this way. We also feed them off a shelf a foot off the floor which is more natural for them to eat from.

On to the bowls themselves: Our two males have slow eat bowls where they have to navigate around protrusions which forces them to slow down. Our female is a nice slow eater and her bowl is in the middle. One male is a gobbler and he can scoff up food at alarming rates. The other male just needs to be slowed down a little and the bowl accomplishes that. The bowl above is a gobble bowl and proved little value in slowing the gobbler down. He would grab the bowl by the bone and tip the bowl over and still gobble the food. A waste of money but a challenge for a couple weeks for him. We now have gone back to his slow feed bowl but only divide his portions into two helpings. That forces him to slow down as he has to wait for us to give the second half of his meal.

A little more time consuming but effective in spacing his food out more evenly. If we didn't pace his eating out he would be much more prone to stomach torsion. We also have a little ritual we go through at meal time. The three have to sit and wait until I tell them 'come'. I make eye contact with each of them before they are allowed to eat. I am telling them in dog language that food is mine and I'll take it back if I need to. Hence none of our best friends are food aggressive and that problem is eliminated. It may sound like a lot of extra work just to feed our loved fur friends and it is but keeping them well balanced and healthy is more important to us than time expended.

Feeding is only a small portion of caring for our beloved fur friends. Today is Pet-a-cure day and also brushing day. They may be called German Shepherds but in reality they are German Shedders. I will get enough loose fur off them to stuff a sofa with. We try to brush them every 2-3 days so it is not so overwhelming. Still they are mostly in the house except for walks and when they go out in the fenced in back yard. They go out and sniff out a place to do their business and then head for the door to come right back inside. If we had the time it takes to satisfy their needs and could put it elsewhere we could solve the world hunger problem. I'd rather spend the time on their needs because the returns we get far exceed the time we devote to them. I guess you would have to be a dog lover to understand that aspect of living with dogs.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Where Are Our Bats?

We are wondering where our bats are. We have a bat house under the eves and we have had bats every year up until this year. These little guys have a lot of myths written about them, but these mammals are clean and very efficient insect eaters. They especially like mosquitos. A bat can eat a tremendous volume of mosquitos in a single night. We usually have 4-6 bats but so far this year we have not seen any. Fortunately we have a large population of birds that are picking up the slack but they are not as efficient as the bat is.
Bats have a tough life. They seem to gravitate to caves and such. If the white nosed disease doesn't get them cave collapse can. Then there are those that seal the entrances to caves trapping them inside to die. Life can be tough for a bats.

These beneficial mammals are much needed for all the good they do. Nectar feeding bats help with pollination in addition to other bats controlling the insect population. We miss our bats and seeing them go out at dusk and return in the early morning.

Don't Judge Prematurely - By Sakoieta'

The most common reason for us not liking someone is because we don’t know them. We may tell ourselves it has to do with the way they dress, or the way they look or talk or a variety of other excuses. That’s all they are excuses. The real tragedy is we often judge right away by the way they look. Underneath every face is a real person with real problems, real needs, real value. To them we may look secure and it may make them uncomfortable, wondering if we are going to greet them as a friend yet unmet and accept them as they are or not. Yet we all have pretty much the same fears, the same needs and the same value. Every friendship could take shape more quickly if we would speak and smile, even when there is no obvious response. I know people who walk around and their faces look as if they died years ago and they seldom smile with a real genuine happy smile. Yet they would be so beautiful and handsome of they just let it out and smiled and carried the energy of true friendship

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mylar Tape - Bird Deterrent

Check out my latest blog for Mother Earth News on how we keep birds from flying into our windows using holographic Mylar tape.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


I was just out watering our garden and the turnips have flowers on top and while I had the garden box top up this guy swooped in for some fresh nectar. He/she was only inches from my hand so I got a good look at this unique beauty. As I have said over and over when we go outside we never know what we might see. I was distracted initially by two elk in the back yard but my presence drove them off.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making Informed Decisions

The second and final in the series on cleaning your own chimney vs having it done by a chimney sweep was published on Mother Earth News today. After reading both articles it may provide readers with enough information both ways to decide what is best for you. I'm just plain old fashioned and like to do it myself but the day is coming that I will have to seek the services of a professional chimney sweep. The second article can be found at:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

:Herd Of Elk

Sorry for the poor quality of the photo but it was taken at dusk and therefore did not turn out as well as I hoped. Last night a very large herd of elk were in the back yard. There were probably in excess of 50 elk in the herd. For some reason the trail camera did not get any of the elk. Elk have a very distinctive smell. Their smell lingered for quite a while after they had moved on. Not an unpleasant smell but unique and distinct. Hopefully next time I will be able to get a better photo..

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Trail Camera Photos

 Elk in the back yard yesterday.
Recent deer photo.

Game VS Overrun?

Three pack rats in three days. I'm re-homing them about 5-600 yards down the road but but I can almost swear that this is the second time for this particular one. They all do look pretty much alike but there is a familiarity with this one. Either we have a healthy amount of pack rats or they need to be re-homed much farther away due to their built in GPS systems. I'm starting to wonder when I release them it they are not somehow beating me home.

They say that we need to keep our wood storage 70' from the house because they do not venture much farther than that. I'm not so sure that is accurate as I have live trapped three in three nights and they sure look very much alike. Anyway I'll play their game (actually it is kind of fun) and keep re-homing them further and further away. If this is a game I will win in the long run as I'm feeding them copious amounts of peanut butter so ultimately they will get fat. They if I take them further and further away to re-home them they will get exhausted trying to come back with all that weight.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

That Time Of Year - Pack Rat Time

Here we go again - pack rats (wood rats) looking for nesting places. I caught this one on the deck last night in a live trap. This is a smaller one which means it is probably the female. Now I have the male to deal with and I think I know where he is at. These little buggers look cute but they are destructive and pests. They can build a nest under the hood of your vehicle overnight using the wiring insulation, vacuum hoses and hood insulation. Their nests are full of twigs, mushrooms and about anything they can carry. Then the pee and poop on everything and the smell is horrible.

Each year at this time they start looking for a good secure place to nest and raise their young. I took this one down the road and turned it loose as I don't like to kill them regardless of how destructive they are. Some people I know catch them and turn them loose at other peoples houses. That is probably the lowest form of human I know. One year we were recipients of 19 of them. I take them where they can live away from homes. We keep our hoods up on our vehicles since they seem to prefer closed spaces. Let one get at your wiring harness and they can cause thousands of dollars damage.

So Mrs. pack rat has new digs and hopefully we won't see her again. As she was scampering  off I did think I heard her yell back "I'll race you home", in which case I'll have to set snap traps. These rodents have also been known to chew the insulation off your electrical wiring and cause house fires. We have chicken wire sealing off our wiring so first they will have to chew through that which I suspect they would do if they wanted to. Like I mentioned, they are also smart little buggers.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Squirrels And More Squirrels!

We have more different squirrels on our property of various types. The one above and most prevalent is the ground squirrel. The one below is more rare but I saw one this morning at the other end of our property. It is a black squirrel with a white tip on its tail and it has tufts or hair on its ears.

Then the one that almost equals the ground squirrel is the gray squirrel below. There seems to be a fairly healthy population of those too. The ground squirrels hibernate over the winter but the other two do not. They gather pine cones and bury them for a food source in the winter. They are able to remember 90% of where the pine cones are buried. Amazing little critters.

The Mud And Dirt Plan

As I previously posted we just had our carpets cleaned as the dogs and we tend to track dirt or mud in when it rains outside. We have a plan we hope will eliminate this. Above we have planted grass in the pathway that we hope will eliminate tracking in dirt or mud. We also have a piece of old carpet that the dogs walk across (most of the time) to grab dirt before they get in the house.  I'm not fond of seeding the entire back yard as then the grass has to be maintained and I see no need of that. The seeded area is starting to sprout and hopefully it will grow in thick enough and re-seed itself where it will take in most of the dirt the dogs pick up on their feet. With the dogs in and out a dozen times a day and us even more this plan needs to be a good one to work and hopefully this will do it. 16 feet tracking in each single day needs a workable plan.

The second stage is we have placed micro fiber carpets just inside the mud room door that are designed to collect and hold 7 times their weight in mud and dirt. Pretty pricey but if they work as advertised well worth the cost. If they actually hold that much dirt and mud I will probably need help in carrying them to the washer. They are very heavy to start with. We should have had a plan earlier but this year it seems muddier than usual so it became necessary.  Will report results later...