Monday, July 27, 2015


Looking easterly from the front porch of the farmhouse, July 26

Mike and I are preparing for another great adventure. He and son Yancey are going to complete the Colorado Counties Challenge – you know – where they get a geocache in every county of the state. The plan is that the dogs and I, who usually “staycate” during Mike’s travels, will stay with the family in Thornton. This idea has been in the works since last year. “I’m tired of traveling the interstate on my motorcycle,” Mike said. “Next year, I’m going to trailer it and you can come, too. You could even take your sewing machine.” (I don’t think he remembers the sewing machine part.)

Mike is going on a trip, and he’s going to bring . . .
·       His Dodge Dakota pick-up
·       His Triumph loaded on a trailer hitched to the Dakota
·       GPS (maps, cache info, etc.)
·       Helmet (and riding gear, including rain gear)
·       Snacks (sardines, crackers, trail mix, and such)
·       Clothes, etc.

I am going on a trip, and I’m going to bring . . .
·       Laptop and devices
·       Gifts and such for grandkids
·       My sewing machine (needles, bobbins, thread, oil, scissors)
·       Patterns and project ideas (downloaded patterns printed and filed in a notebook, pattern envelopes, pattern books, etc.)
·       Small cutting mat and rolling cutter
·       Fabric (fabric, fabric, fabric, and yarn)
·       Sundry notions (bias tape, lace, ribbon, elastic, Velcro, etc.)
·       Annabell (the Build-a-Bear)
·       Shirley Anne (American Farm Girl)
·       Books in a bag
·       And lastly, clothes (If there isn’t room, I’ll leave my suitcase behind.)

And of course, we’ll bring the dogs, their mats, leashes, dog food – and treats to share with cousins Blanche and Abe.

Of course, we know that Mike is going to use his motorcycle, but we wonder if I will really sew? It’s a lot of paraphernalia to go into the back of the Dakota.

Old rugs in the foreground as Mike cleans the pick-up
In the process of cleaning the pick-up for the trip, Mike asked me to wash the old fuzzy bath mats on which the dogs ride. I protested mildly, stating that I retired them because they were coming apart when washed. But I agreed to try, and then I was so mad when I saw the mess they made of my new washing machine. As Mike was cleaning the gasket, I lectured him on what I think about using deteriorating stuff. “Let’s get rid of these mats and get the dogs something decent to lie on,” I pleaded.

He agreed, so at Costco we found these lovely memory foam bath mats. Mike put them down on the living room floor so that Nellie and Bess could try them out. Initially, neither dog would go near them, but Bess finally acquiesced. The cashier at Costco said that other customers had purchased these mats as pet cushions. KW

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Morning light over Central Ridge (today)

We had several brief rain showers in the early morning -- not even enough to settle the dust or clear the air of smoke, but the vegetation appreciated it anyway. Since it’s cooler, it will be a good day to bake zucchini bread.

Monday I noticed a controlled burn on the other side of Little Canyon and ventured down to the pond to take pictures. We’ll undoubtedly see many such fires into the fall.

Mike took a road ride out to Craigmont this morning, and while he was gone I took the dogs and the camera and walked up the road. The downside was that our vistas are obscured by smoke, but we enjoyed the outing anyway. Endearingly, Nellie stayed right beside me for the entire hike. It took her about a week to fully recover from the snake bite, but she’s feeling good again now.

Nellie moves through the garbanzo field (today)
Speaking of snakes, Mike saw Rattler #19 at the corner of the barn on Monday. He also reported that while he worked out in his "barn gym" the other day, a 4-foot bull snake slithered by him. (I don't work out at the barn.) 

From where my laptop sits on Grandma Ina’s old pantry cupboard in the corner of the dining room, I look at the southwest corner of the barn. The last few days I’ve seen a bunny down there, and this morning we saw two – one bigger than the other. Oh-oh.

The hummingbirds are still here and partaking of the delicious nectar I prepare on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they are now vying with the yellow-jackets.

We’ve known for a while that a family of American Coots has taken up residence at the pond. The algae situation is much improved, so Mike researched and discovered that indeed, the coots do eat algae.

Doe at Plank's
She doesn't see us
Now she sees us
On this morning’s walk, I was able to take a few pictures of a doe. The three of us (Bess, Nellie, and I) spotted her about the same time as we descended Plank's Pitch. We stood still and held our breath. She didn’t see us at first. Even when she did, she stood to watch us for a minute before bounding away. Bess did not chase, which earned her a “Good girl, Bess!" KW

Sunday, July 19, 2015


[The pictures here were taken last week when it was cooler and we enjoyed some interesting skies. They are not especially illustrative of this post.]

I haven’t been telling you about the rattlesnakes for fear that someone would ask, “Why don’t you move from that awful place?” Or, “why don’t you exterminate those rattlers?”

We saw the first rattlesnake of the season on Sunday, May 10 (Mothers’ Day) – several weeks earlier than usual, and it has proven to be a summer of “snakes aplenty.” Mike encourages Bess to bark when she sees them, and then he makes much of keeping her back and away. We hope she understands. Nellie doesn’t hear them and seems oblivious to the danger.

The snake raced into the shed.
Thursday’s sighting (July 16), was #18 for this season and happened near the maple tree where Mike had been lubing the chain of his dirt bike. From the house I heard Bess’ sharp bark and looking out, I saw Mike marching to the woodshed for his snake-getting tools with businesslike Bess marching along beside him. I joined the party. Nellie watched from under the tree.

The snake was noticed midway between the tree and Mike’s storage shed, and as luck would have it, it raced into the little shed where it took shelter in the front left corner under shelving. It was a trial getting it out. We couldn’t leave it there, of course. We had to know the situation was resolved. But killing and/or capturing it was problematic.

It buzzed continuously. Finally, after repeated attempts, Mike was able to grab it with his snake tongs. Bess and I took a couple of steps back while Mike finagled it into his pail and put the lid on. He then drove it off for dumping.
Now #17 was a different story altogether. We ran over it in the lane as we drove in on Monday, July 13.

Well, I’ve done some research on the matter of rattlesnakes. If you have them, you just have to be careful. There’s no eliminating them. Personally, I think that the lack of a good, hard winter doesn’t help the pest situation. People think it’s wonderful when we escape without snow and cold temps, but we do pay a price for that in pest population, lack of water, etc. – not that there’s anything we can do about it.
The girls got their anti-venom booster shots Friday afternoon – for what it’s worth.

Speaking of pests, when we left the farmhouse on Friday, I insisted we re-set the mousetraps. We’ve been a little lax with that lately, and it pays to be vigilant. I watched as Mike placed a trap at the pocket door, and we remember discussing that that was a good place to set one. Well, that trap is missing. KW

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Every morning my email is filled with messages from my favorite retailers reminding me that it will soon be autumn. “Check out our patterns, fabric, and kits,” they say. “Get ready to decorate for the season. Oh! And did we mention that Christmas is coming?” It doesn’t bother me in the least. I love it. On the other hand, I’m still working on the Halloween and Christmas quilts I started two years ago, and I have yet to be tempted by their marketing ploys.
Well, the suggestion of autumn seemed unbelievable as we struggled in the heat. This week, though, there’s been a change. It turned cooler last weekend with scattered showers. It rained a little here at Gilbert. Monday night I traded my summer nightie for my summer pajamas. We slept under a blanket with a quilt over our feet. Tuesday morning the low was 54 degrees – foggy and drizzly. Today (forenoon) it’s not yet 70 with a cold wind a-blowin'. I may have to change into a warmer shirt and jeans! I guess it's a good day to work on that Halloween quilt.

I haven’t cycled for several years, but last week Mike brought my little Trek mountain bike here to Gilbert and we’ve been making some short rides together at a slow pace. I carry my bike on the 4-wheeler to the top of Plank’s Pitch and wait for Mike to join me. Today was our fourth day out and we went two hills farther. Oh! And little Bess runs beside us all the way.

I know the garden wasn’t really happy in the heat, but I have to wonder about the effect of this cool weather. The cherries and raspberries are past. I’ve picked four or five zucchini. We had a delicious vine-ripened tomato in last night’s green salad and I have another small one for our lunch sandwiches. I wish those green tomatoes would hurry and ripen.

I’m illustrating here with pictures of whitetail deer in the north field. They seem to abound this year. Mike counted 14 before he reached the top of the Gilbert Grade last week. And it seems to me we've seen more bucks. In this last set, you see a buck under an apple tree in the lane. In the photo on the right, he stands on his hind legs to reach the apples. I've never paid much attention to that tree, but I noticed recently that the apples have a pointed end -- are oval rather than round. KW