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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. http://www.motherearthnews.com/blogs/nature-and-environment.aspx#axzz3AZA15Ij2

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Moth

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: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/chimney-sweeps-vs-dyi-zbcz1408.aspx

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...

Hummingbird Traffic Cop Needed:


We have placed a hummingbird feeder in the front of the house and one in the back. When I looked out this morning both were fully occupied and there were at least a dozen or more waiting for an opening to get to the feeder. They were buzzing around like crazy and there were no openings to accommodate those who were still hungry.

These little birds are highly entertaining. When the feeder is empty in front they will come to the screen and hover there to get our attention. Then when we go out they will hover around us until we get the feeder and take it in for refilling.

We must have 50 or more hummingbirds hanging around for the sugar water. We will taper off the amount we put out the end of August and take them in Labor Day so they will migrate and not wait to long and put themselves in danger. Presently they are going through a gallon of sugar water a day and it is a chore to keep those feeders full.

Carol is about ready to embark on her family visits so I know I am going to be kept busy in her absence.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Hand For Humanity - by Sakioeta'

The human race needs a helping hand right now. Not a permissive hand and not a hand that strikes out, but it needs a hand that soothes and leads and does so without a selfish motive. Our condition is a result of disobedience. Every rule has been broken, every law, written and unwritten, has been ignored. It has all made for imbalances, injustices, broken hearts and broken people and less or no stability. Where is the hand of love and compassion. Really when there is little or none we can see it has to be our own. It has to begin with the individuals who is willing to let others exist, to forgive and to be forgiven. No doubt the bad will get worse, the good will get better. But for our part and what we choose to support the bad or the good, it is a personal decision that either way comes with great consequences that can be very healing or terribly destructive.

Friday, July 25, 2014

homemade vanilla/Carol



I went to Ft. Garland to have lunch with two friends yesterday and picked up my "kit". Have the vanilla started and will wait @8 weeks to use it. It wasn't expensive, the shipping was fast and free and you can see it doesn't take much to excite me!! http://www.beanilla.com/

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Professional Carpet Cleaning


We have commercial grade carpeting in the back half of our house and with three dogs we need to get it professionally cleaned at least once a year. After checking around we decided to use Pro Clean out of Alamosa, Colorado, owner operated by Domingo Estrada. He has proven to be professional in getting the carpet clean and getting the dog smell out.


 This year we decided to have the loose Berber rug in our living room cleaned as well. It is over a cherry composite laminate floor that should not get wet. No problem, roll it up, carry it out to our deck, spread it out and Domingo can clean it right on the deck. The photo below shows how nice and clean it is with no stains or traffic wear spots.


Pro Clean is very reasonable and their service is friendly and professional. Domingo is always looking for solutions and mixtures that work better and while he continues to seek new methods and chemicals his current system is more than efficient for our purposes. Fresh smelling clean carpet. We would highly recommend Pro Clean for regular carpet cleaning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Dirty Job Done Again

One of the dirty jobs required each summer is cleaning the chimney, wind cap and wood stove. It is one of those jobs that I put off until I have worked up my courage to climb up the ladder 30+ feet to take the wind cap off. Since our house is A Frame construction that is almost a vertical climb. I wear a safety harness but none the less I can't attach the safety rope to the top of the ladder until I get to the top. Then I have to turn around facing out to reach the wind cap and there is nothing in front of me except air and my heels hooked on the ladder rung. I always give a sigh of relief when I make that climb and the wind cap having been cleaned is back up and in place.

 I can do the remainder of the cleaning from the ground but that climb is daunting to say the least. I've been doing it for 17 years so I have to guard from being over confident. The photo above is scaling the soot and creosote from the inside of the wind cap. Then I also have to run a wire brush up through the chimney from below to clean the chimney. Clean the wood stove which collects a lot of ash in its tight  spaces and put everything back together again.

It is always a relief to have this 2-3 hour job done each year because no matter how careful you are it is a dirty job. Now it won't be required again until next year. Whew!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nesting Fly Catchers

 Each year a family of fly catchers nests at our home. Some years they nest on top of the electrical box, other years in other places. This year they built their nest under our deck. We have watched the mom fly catcher sit on her three tiny eggs until they hatched and then watched the helpless little birds be fed by the mom and dad. The last couple days they have become too large to fit comfortably in the nest but they still hung in the nest.

Over the years we have observed their behavior and how scary it is for the young ones to actually take flight. Shortly after I took these photos two of the birds took off on their own leaving the third one in the nest by itself. It is hard for them to leave the protection of that nest and the closeness of their brothers and sisters and being cared for by the adults. It seems each year mom fly catcher lays three eggs and her hatch rate has been perfect so far. We have watched this process happen year after year.

For about 2-3 weeks the adults feed those babies until they have developed fully and are ready to be on their own and experience the freedom of flying and fending for themselves. We have also noted that once they leave the nest that mom spends a little time with them teaching them how to catch their own food since they have been fed up until this point. Watching them take flight for the first time is interesting. They initially appear dumbfounded with their new freedom and just sit and wonder how that happened. Pretty soon they are free from the restraint of the nest and forge into the great unknown flying from tree to tree in search of food.

We have also noticed when they are ready to leave the nest that they crowd each other tightly in the nest and that mom quits feeding them as often and tapers off feeding them altogether. Soon they are hungry and that serves as additional motivation for them to leave the nest. Once out of the nest mom gives them the final lesson needed and they are on their own catching their own food. It seems to me that this is repeated over each year exactly the same. It makes us realize just how perfect nature really is and that we can learn a lot simply by watching and observing. One of those lessons is that when they have finally taken flight, received their advanced education they do not return to the nest. They either make it on their own or they fail. Mother fly catcher has given them all she can and the rest is fully up to them. While it may seem heartless it is actually the most loving gesture that a mom can give her offspring. They end up experiencing the true freedom of life without restraint and their wings carry them through the future.

Many of us humans raise and nurture our young, send them off for advanced training, then they come home again and sometimes stay for very long times. Maybe we should observe the fly catcher and other birds and take a lesson from them. Adult children who are dependent on their parents never truly experience the freedoms of life they are meant to experience. I'm sure those little fly catchers will make mistakes and some may be serious mistakes but they also are living true freedom once they depart from the nest. Dependence is good when you need it but can cripple you when you don't. Lessons to be learned from our feathered friends.




The Value Of Listening by Sakoieta'

One of the best lessons I learned many years ago was the value of silence and listening. Really listening to someone. It was not half listening so I would know how I was going to respond, but seriously getting my mind into the mindset of the speaker I was listening to so I could, if I had to, very respectfully ask for clarification of something they had said so I would not be misunderstanding their words, or intent and not so I would be able to respond with my thoughts. It was listening without even thinking of speaking. It is very seldom that I run into people anymore who really take the time to listen. Most people want to be heard and need to be heard in some cases very much. But we also need to learn again to listen so we get the full meaning of what is being really spoken by the words being used, the tone of the words and the body language that goes along with it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What Goes Around Comes Around by Sakoieta'

Everything is in a circle. Whatever we set in motion comes back and often can shock us with how quick it can return and the impact it can have. It causes us to be careful with what we invest our time and energy into. Even a word, time, actions or other things, even a dollar must be "invested" or spoken carefully and in the right spirit because the investment will return to us. Such things teach us to stop and think, to consider these things. I have found and experienced that when I have had material needs, a single dollar that I gave to help someone out in their time of need has often returned from unexplainable sources and in a multiplied fashion, sometimes many years later. Everyday even the way we treat people with kindness is an investment and though at times it may seem wasted or insignificant, when we have really need it, it returns to us as well and we learn how important it is to keep living in, and "being" in a good way.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Changed Life

Has a single event or item ever changed your life? Put a thought in your mind that grew and grew until it became a reality? Check out the latest blog in Mother Earth News about how it changed my life and landed us where we are today. I can even remember where I bought that initial edition - Woolworth store off Lee Road, Orlando, Fla.
Sometimes you read something or someone tells you something that sparks an idea or has an impact on you. Read about it at:http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/a-changed-life-zbcz1407.aspx#axzz37ja7BNIa

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life Choices - by Sakoieta'

Life is full of choices we all make. Some we make too fast without really taking the time to see the good and the bad consequences that may occur because of our choice. There are many things that come to us that were dressed in bright colors or fancy words. We chose and then later regretted our choice. We sighed, we cried, got angry, and saw that it was only something we had chosen that had no substance. Time, thankfully, teaches us wisdom and hopefully we learn not to make the same mistakes more than once. In the end it still comes down to the basic freedom we have to choose. We need to always try to choose wisely. Often it is not an easy path we have chosen, may not be easy to walk and may even at times be impossible.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why We Like The German Shepherd Dog Breed

Saying we like and prefer German Shepherd Dogs does not mean in any way we don't like other breeds or the mutt. German Shepherds are large dogs that sometimes intimidate people due to their attitude, appearance and behavior. They often seem aloof or suspicious towards strangers or other dogs but in reality that stems from their high degree of intelligence. They look and evaluate before moving forward. To sum up a German Shepherd in one word it is intelligence. They constantly amaze people with their intelligence. they are so intelligent that they can problem solve.

They are devoted and extremely loyal. They are often used for police, military and guard duty. They make excellent family companions and unless trained otherwise they are friendly, gentle, and loving. they are good around children but can be protective and because of size can bump small children down. They are currently number three on the AKC most popular breed list. I have personally loved the breed since I was a newspaper carrier at age 12. They were the only dog who would not chase me on my bike.

Our three all have totally different personalities. Bozwell is contemplative and solves problems. His intelligence is so great that we often have to be careful what we talk about as he has a vocabulary equal to an 8-9 y/o child. Sarah is more with drawn and shy. She loves attention but only if she is ready for it. She is very cautious but also highly intelligent with a large vocabulary. Many dogs understand a single command like sit, stay, down, come etc. Sarah along with our other two understand more complex requests in the form of a sentence or series of sentences. Echo is reserved and a follower. He will wait and evaluate before he engages in an activity. He almost turns himself inside out to please us and has never failed to do so.

German Shepherds seem to be believed to be barkers. Not ours. The ones which bark seem to be the ones trained for police work, military use or lack basic training altogether. Ours are very alert and let us know if anything is around but do not bark more than one or two barks to make sure we know something is amiss so we can investigate.

That pretty well sums up why we love the breed and more specifically our three. It is hard to imagine life without them. Most people underestimate their intelligence and therefore lose a great deal of companionship. We talk to our three all the time and they hear and comprehend what is being said. If a normal dog knows 150 words a German Shepherd is capable of learning 1000. An average dog may fetch their bone but a German Shepherd would relate better to "Where is your bone? Why don't you go find it and bring it here".

German Shepherds are fearless and will easily sacrifice themselves for you. If challenged they will not back down. They also do not like rough treatment. When the census taker came around he ask if he could come in and sit down to write. I told him we had three large dogs so he could come in but not to pay attention to them until I told him it was okay (they look and evaluate). He sat on the couch arm and when Bozwell did come up to him he ;unexpectedly grabbed him by the muzzle. Bozwell backed away and I told him not to do that again. Well it happened again and I told him more forcefully once again to not do that. What do you know but he did it again and this time Bozwell took matters into his own mouth so to speak. He grabbed his arm (he had on a winter coat) and without bruise, tearing cloth or breaking the skin he held his arm firmly with adequate pressure. 750 lbs per square inch can get peoples attention. He then let the guy go on command and the census taker commented that he now saw what I meant by not grabbing him by the muzzle. Lesson learned, but his next lesson if Boz didn't correct him would be me throwing him off the deck for rudeness and plain stupidity. I'm not sure why he didn't think my telling him not to do something was insufficient in the first place.

German Shepherds are great problem solvers and very gently for their size providing you do not get rough with them. Ours have never had rough treatment or harsh words. As a result they are gentle, loving and excellent family members. We just have to be careful what we say because they understand far more than most people would believe. Yelling or harsh words is probably the worst thing you can do as they react to that fearfully. They are a breed worth considering if you want and can deal with a highly intelligent canine.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Special Relationships

We have a special relationship with some of our wildlife. When we first moved here a doe we called Daisy came around with her two fawns and took a liking to us. Then the fawns came back a few years later and one male would walk right up to me without any fear or hesitation. That was Junior. Junior lived to old age and didn't come back one year so we assume he died. Now his younger sister by several years also an off spring of Daisy comes around and will get within a few feet of us.

We don't know who Juniors or his sisters dad was but we strongly suspect he may have been a traveling man. We also have a female black bear that would raise and train her cubs at our house. When we see a bear now we often wonder if it is one of her cubs. Contrary to what is in the media and other sources we have found the bears to be very good neighbors. Far more respectful than most of the two legged kind that lives here in this little paradise.

We enjoy living with our wild neighbors and having them accept us as part of their environment. Check out our latest blog for Mother Earth News at: http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/wild-animal-adopts-a-human-zbcz1407.aspx#axzz36zE6Bzjb It is all about Junior and our experiences together.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Daisy's Daughter

 I have often spoken of Daisy who was Juniors mother and while they are now passed on, this is Daisy's daughter. She recognizes my voice and who we are and shows no fear what so ever. She was only a few feet away browsing on the lush vegetation over the septic tank drain field. When I went out to get Carol some garbage bags to carry the laundry home in from the laundry mat in Alamosa this sweet girl just kept on eating not 8' away while I went in and out the gate. When Carol went down to get the Jeep to leave for town she glanced up but did not cease eating. Amazing when deer trust you enough to let you within a few feet of them...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Birds Are Nesting

 Above is a fly catcher that can put a serious dent in our fly population. Ever since we have lived here a family of fly catchers has nested somewhere on our house. This year is under the front deck and we are eagerly waiting those three tiny eggs to hatch. Those babies will be hungry and keep mom and dad busy depleting our current abundant fly population. These birds are so agile that they can take a fly in full flight.


 They need to get with the program though as we have half a dozen wren (above) families nested in the bird houses put out for them. We also have a couple families of western tanagers (below) near the house also. Those fly catchers are going to have to compete with all the other birds gobbling up insects.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Mountain Beauty

 Above and below is today's sun rise.  Great way to start out the day.

 Columbine are in bloom now and we see them all over our property.

 Wild rose grows just about everywhere on our property and sure smell good.
 Pretty little yellow flowers which I couldn't pass up.
More wild rose.