Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Local Critters

Mountain Bluebird, audubon.org
Daily we see these beautiful, vibrant Mountain Bluebirds. It's quite a delight to have them around. This photo is the male, the females are more brownish with just a little blue.

We also have many of these Pinyon Jays around. They're larger than the mountain bluebird, and not as vibrant blue. They have quite a loud, distinctive CAW--CAW that we hear over and over.

Pinyon Jay, audubon.org

Wyoming Ground Squirrel, nps.gov/romo
Last, but not the least, we are over-run with these squirrels. They are called Wyoming or Richardson's Ground Squirrels, and they are everywhere. They must have extensive tunnels underground; we see holes in the ground all over. KK enjoys chasing them and trying to catch them. She seemed to catch one by the tail or foot one day, but most of it disappeared underground while she chewed on something leftover. My concern about these guys is that when we get around to gardening, we'll have to line the undersides of our raised beds with something to keep them out: probably chicken wire or hardware cloth.

Other than these, we often see deer, sometimes elk, there is a den of foxes near the road not far from here, and we frequently hear coyotes in the distance. (This afternoon I saw one just outside our RV.) It's nice to be surrounded by so many critters.

Construction Update

We continue to make progress here, little by little. The barn is getting closer to completion. The storage/workshop area is mostly done, with its SIPs walls and roof; the doors and window are in and the roof is mostly completed now with metal roofing to match the main barn. The lean-to is well on the way. We had someone come out to do a site inspection of the property in order to do the engineering necessary for our septic system. When the engineering is completed, we can submit that to the county for our septic permit. Then we can  move forward on that, plus approval for the home plans and excavation for the house.

With the storage room enclosed, we were able to get our belongings delivered after being stored with the moving company for almost 3 weeks. It's good to know everything is here, safely in our possession.

Tim has just less than two weeks left with HP, and is looking forward to his retirement, so he can work on completing many of the projects we need to do here. There are so many things to do!  In addition to requesting permits and moving forward with the house, we still want to put up fencing as soon as possible, so the horses can roam the property. Soon we'll have the roof done on their lean-to, so we'll be able to put up fence around the area that will be their paddock and a larger area for them to enjoy on a regular basis. Later, we'll fence as much of the 40 acres as we can for them to roam.

In all of this, we don't want to lose sight of seeking God's Kingdom and following Him in whatever He has planned for us. Sometimes we feel so self-focused, working on the house and property, but want to see His purpose in this move. We just want to remember that this life isn't just about us, but about Him and His Kingdom.

Mountain Living, May 2015

Living in the mountains sure is different from the lowlands! We have been here almost 4 weeks now, and have had quite a taste of our new life here. We’ve had a couple of good-size spring snowstorms, which left roughly 10” of snow each time. Now we're in the middle of the third since we arrived full time. At one point we were without power for about 4 hours, and another time it was out for about 34 hours. Today it was real glitchy, going off and on all morning. The internet has occasionally been down, which means we not only can’t get online, we can’t use our phones, since all we have right now are internet phones.

We’ve contacted the phone company about getting a land line. At first, they couldn’t verify our address, since the county hadn’t put us into their E-911 registry. We got that taken care of with a few phone calls, and after a couple of weeks waiting, the phone company came to discover the nearest junction is across the street from us; they will need to bury a line to our house. They’ll put it where the house will be, and we will need to put our own line from there to the RV. That should be done by early next week. Then we won't feel quite so stranded when the power and internet are down.

Between the snowstorms we've had some rain & hail, and a few nicer, sunnier days. The roads get quite muddy when it rains or the snow melts, and are a bit difficult to maneuver. A few neighbors get out with their snowblades or a drag to even out the ruts, but other than that there isn't much done for the roads. We had thought that the local association would maintain the roads during bad weather, but we haven't seen them do that yet. We definitely don't see as much traffic go by when the roads are bad. The horses' pen gets quite mushy, too, and it's difficult to feed them and impossible to scoop poop. The poop will wait, the food gets thrown over or under the fence.

Yikes! It's 2:20 pm and I just saw a coyote about 100 yds from the house. We do frequently hear them in the evening/night, but I don't like seeing them around during the day. Perhaps the snow brought him out. Fortunately, KK (the cat) is inside curled up on the sofa, and not out roaming around!

That's what we're dealing with here these days.

Monday, May 4, 2015


Now that we're here full time, many neighbors have been stopping by to say hello. If they don't stop, they often drive by slowly, curiously looking at the property and waving. It's been great to meet friendly folks and discover where they all came from and what brought them here. Many are retired; some are snowbirds, spending winters in warmer climates and summers here. Everyone seems to love the mountain lifestyle, getting away from cities and their escalating problems. Some have been here many years, others a short time; one is still building and not sure if or when they'll come full time. Some are second-homeowners who only visit weekends or for vacations.

One neighbor who stopped in a couple of days ago brought us a dozen of his duck eggs! It's sure nice to have those duck eggs in the refrigerator again! Our ducklings (to arrive the week of June 1) won't be laying eggs until at least November or December, so it'll be nice to have a local supplier of fresh eggs until then.

We're enjoying getting to know the neighbors little by little.