Extreme Fire Danger

Greetings from our very dry forest

When I was about 3 years old my parents used to camp.  They had a trailer they pulled behind Dad’s truck and would go up to Christopher Creek or Tonto Creek in northern Arizona and camp.  I don’t remember much about that.  One summer, while Mom was on vacation Dad took us up to a camp area outside of Tonto Creek and left us there with Mom, my sisters, myself and the family dog.  Mom had her car so we could go into town to get groceries.   Dad went back to the valley to work and came up on the weekends.  There was a forest fire.  It was moving fast.  Toward where we were camped.  Mom left us, went into Tonto Creek to call Dad to come get us.  On her way back to the camp spot she passed her trailer being pulled by a forest ranger who also had her 3 girls and the dog.  Like I said, I don’t remember this event, but Linda and Deb had their versions of the story and I heard it so many times.  Obviously we were safe but it was something that stays with me.

So here it is, I live in the forest.  We have had little moisture over the winter and barely any rain.  Our area, Southern Colorado is in extreme drought.  Recently there was a fire in northern New Mexico.  A wake up call for me.  Get your important papers together and have a plan.  Now there is a fire 40 miles from us, the Spring Fire.  Roaring out of control.  40,000+ acres and zero containment.  Our community is stepping up.  Moving animals to Trinidad’s fair grounds, taking in pets at the local animal shelter, gathering supplies for the firefighters. It has been so hot the poor firefighters are having heat stroke, according to the ambulance district which is running ragged as well.  We pray for rain.  For the firefighters. For our neighbors safety.  And yes, my evacuation box is packed although no surprise here, the most important thing in my house to get out is Max and Ollie.

It is part of living amongst the trees.  A chance we take.  But when it is happening it just sucks.

Please ask the universe to look kindly on our area and if you pray, please pray for our forest, our neighbors, the animals and for rain.  Lots of rain.

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Rain/Snow Dance

Greetings from the Forest

You know you’re desperate for rain or snow when you find yourself googling rain dance! Denver got snow.  We did not.  Cottonwood Az got snow.  We did not.  Prescott Az got snow.  We did not.  Come on, lets all do a collective rain (or snow) dance and let the powers know we need, want and would appreciate some moisture!

My herb garden so lovingly planted by Jeanie and Kelly is doing well in my house.  It seems very happy.  So much so that I went ahead and planted my garden seeds yesterday.   I only planted tomatoes, lettuce and baby arugula but that’s a start.  If nothing else I can have salad!  But, once we do get to spring weather with milder nights I’ll get some peppers in the garden outside.  Hopefully my timing is better this year.  Last year I was so excited I planted seeds in January and had a full fledge garden on my window sill waiting to be put into the ground. Perhaps this year my timing will be spot on and my garden will thrive.

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We’ve had visitors of the 4 legged type lately.  The big buck with the limp (from running from a mountain lion we believe because he had scratches on his side) is still hanging around and I’m so happy he is.  There were a couple of skeptical people saying he wouldn’t make it when he was hobbling around but the good news is he is still here and visiting us.

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So that’s the news for now.  Please send rain our way if you’re getting any.

And of course,

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Love from the forest.

Finally!

Greetings from the forest

We finally got some snow!  Thank goodness.  We can always use more but most everyone I know around here is happy.  The trees are especially happy.  It has been a very dry winter so far so as I mentioned in another post we are hoping for some wet spring snows.  Living in the middle of the forest, fire is the biggest threat so bring on the rain and snow!

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It was really fun to see the ice before the snow…

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On this weeks agenda is to plant my seeds for my garden.  I have lettuce, tomatoes, arugula, and peppers.  My dear friend Jeanie has started my herb garden and I’m very excited for it to come home to my house.

I tested Blue Apron this weekend.  You know, the popular food delivery service.  I received a coupon from my friend Stacey so I figured what the heck.  I made Chile and orange glazed chicken, garlic mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.  It came out really good.  If you’re not a cook the directions are great, step by step.  If you are a cook then you can add or take out what you want.  The latter is what I did.  I also got a fish recipe but I didn’t end up making most of it (cabbage slaw and rice).  I just made the fish and had a salad.  The fish was fresh and that was good.  Prep time takes a bit but in the end its worth it.  Also if you like left overs you’ll probably have some of those too!  Will I not continue with Blue Apron-  sadly it’s a bit too pricey for me and I’m not a left over kind of gal so it would go to waste.  But thank you Stacey for the opportunity to give it a try!

On a food note, I volunteered to be co-coordinator of our church’s new Angels in Aprons program. It is a group of people who are volunteering to cook for the members of our congregation who are in need.  I cannot tell you how excited I am.  I think it is a very important program to help our members.  Our church is very generous with the community so deciding to help “our” people seems only right.  More on this to follow as it’s just in its beginning stage.

Wishing you all a very happy weekend and week ahead.

From my forest to yours….

 

 

 

It has been so long.

I can’t believe I haven’t written since June of last year.  Well actually I can believe it.  Life has been a proverbial roller coaster since then.  Here’s the short version –

In June of last year I started on another chemo drug.  Every 3 weeks I went to Pueblo for 2 days for treatment.  It was much stronger than previous drugs I’ve had so the idea was to put me into remission for a year. The treatments were short but I wasn’t able to drive so depended on a great group of friends to ferry me to and fro.   Unfortunately my insurance doesn’t see the need for a PET scan now that I finished (in October) so we did a CAT scan and that showed improvement but not remission.  So we wait…..

In the middle of all this chaos, my sister had a decline in her health.  Recently I was told by the assisted living here in Trinidad where she has lived for 2 years that she needed to be moved in the next two months.  They were just unable to deal with her disease. Well if that didn’t throw a wrench into everyday life.  I was lucky enough to find a senior advisor to help find a place that would take lewy body dementia and eventually medicaid.  Not a good combo.  There was one facility but unfortunately it’s in Colorado Springs, 2 hours away.  But, it is worth it.  They know how to treat those with the disease.  Lots of activities!! Kind, caring and educated staff.  Secure environment and they specialize in memory care. I moved her last week.  Again with the help of dear friends who came along to distract and give moral support.  It was a sad event and not one I’d wish on anybody but it is for the best.  I now talk to Deb every other day and will be going to see her weekly.  It’s a big adjustment from 2-3 phone calls from her a day and 2-3 visits a week.  Again, they’re keeping her busy at the new facility. I pray she has quality of life now.

Ok, enough of that.  Here’s what is happening in the forest.  Nothing!!!  Little to no snow so far and its scary.  The trees are so dry.  We are praying for one hell of a spring snow storm or two.

The other day when I went to the dumpster, one had been tipped over and trash was strewn about.  Guess the bears are not hibernating when its 60 degrees out!!

As always, here are a few photos –

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Mr. Deer with his broken leg.  He’s still hanging around.

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Sunset

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Just a dusting. It was gone the next day.

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Sunrise.

And it wouldn’t be my blog without Max and Ollie!!

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Blessings from the forest.  I’ll be back soon.

 

Spring now Summer is finally here!!

Greetings from the forest

Spring has finally arrived and now the temperatures feel like summer.  The weather, albeit warm, is beautiful.  Occassional afternoon rains even hail, sunny mornings, cool evenings.  What more could we ask for living in this beautiful area?!! And because of our spring moisture everything is so green and lush!!

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The animals are out in full force.  Mating season has begun for many of the forest animals, or so I’m told.  The turkeys are still strutting but I think their mating is over.  Just strutting for strutting sake I guess.  But that is ok because they are beautiful when all puffed up.  I saw elk the other day just below my house.  They are strangely majestic creature.  Kind of odd-looking but pretty at the same time.  And huge!  On the other side of our community a mountain lion took down an elk.  I just find that amazing. Male elk get up to 750 pounds and females over 500.  I know mountain lions are large and strong and fast (and scary) but wow.  This elk I saw the other day…

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The deer visit every other day or so.  Because of all the rain we have an abundance of natural grasses and they love it.  Here is one that just happened by the other morning, look at those furry antlers.

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And with spring and the rain come the weeds.  It is a hobby this time of year to try to keep the weed population under control.  I find it a losing battle but I keep trying.

In the morning there is a crispness in the air, especially after an evening of rain.  It is damp, the smell is clean, and you know the animals and the trees are just happy.  The chipmunks are back out in force driving poor Max crazy.  They sit just far enough away from the fence and tease him.  Some day Max believes he’ll catch one.  Dreamer.

We went shooting again!!  I had a gun that I brought from Arizona with me, which I hated.  Never got used to it and so never used it.  It was stored in a book bag in the back of my clothes closet.  Yup, I figured if a bad guy came to the door I’d ask him to hold on while I got my bag and clobbered him with it.  Truth!  But, after going and shooting a number of guns at Whittington NRA Center in Raton NM (30 minutes away) I found a gun I really liked.  Well as fate would have it I managed to get this gun and have gone shooting a few times. What a difference having the right gun makes.  Now if a bad guy comes to my door, he’s probably history. lol.  Not sure I’m that brave but you get my point.  And I’ve now found out that shooting is super fun and a great stress reliever.

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And of course –

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Until next time best wishes from the Forest.

Spring snow!

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Greetings from the forest

So the one thing I learned very early on when moving to Southern Colorado is that the weather is very unpredictable. Beautiful, but unpredictable. While the rest of the country is in full spring mode with flowers blooming and grass growing we in the Southern Colorado mountains just had a major snow storm. Some areas up to 20” of snow! Roads closed, apparently the Walmart parking lot turned into a makeshift campground for those who could not make it over the closed Raton pass.   Personally I’ve not seen that much snow (I say that after every big snow) and the drifts were 3 and 4 feet. Fortunately the day after the big storm the temps were in the 40’s and 50’s and now a few days after we are swiftly approaching 75!! Dare I say that might have been our last snow storm for the winter? Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t.

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The moisture from this very wet snow is appreciated by those who live in the forest and are perhaps inconvenienced by muddy slick roads. Come summer it will have been worth the trouble considering any moisture helps with the fire danger.

So now the iris can continue growing and perhaps the garden project looks more promising. The last frost is normally around Memorial Day so no planting until after that but we’re only a few weeks away and I for one am excited. I did have a bit of a plant debacle – I found some mint growing in town at a rental and picked it, brought it home and put it in water to root. Now I know mint is one of those plants that just takes over but I had a perfect place for the ground cover to do its thing. Then a friend, who lives in Arizona and not our forest said “um Lanae do bears like mint”? Well I’d never thought of that, I was just focused on the ugly bare spot having green and yummy smelling mint. Sadly I won’t be planting my mint right by the house because yup it is a favorite of the bears. Guess I need to pay better attention to my choice of landscaping.

I want to talk about shooting. Yes shooting. Just about 20 minutes from me, across the New Mexico border is the NRA Whittington Center. Now understand this is not any sort of political statement. I am not an advocate of the NRA. However, their center in New Mexico is some 33,000 acres with huge amounts of open space, several different types of ranges for safe and enjoyable shooting and the gift shop is pretty cool too. I went there with two friends, one being a fire arms instructor so it was a needed learning experience for me, the non-shooter. The other friend (Annie Oakley) is a great shooting talent and much fun. Yes, I own a gun but I never liked it, was never comfortable even looking at it let alone shooting the darn thing (which I’d done once). With the opportunity of my two dear friends letting me shoot and try out different fire arms, I now have a new appreciation for being a gun owner and I found a gun I really like (another blog perhaps). Thank you girls for such a fun and enjoyable day out in the sunshine!

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On that note, I’ll close wishing you all a very happy spring!

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It had been a long time…

Greetings from the Forest

Goodness how times flies.  My last post was Thanksgiving.  Well here I am now so lets catch up.

We had a relatively dry winter with only a couple of snow storms unless spring hit and we’ve had two lovely storms.  Lovely because our forest was so very dry you could hear the trees giggling when the snow started.  Here are a couple of pictures of happy trees and happy dogs.

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Spring has sprung and the animals are out and about.  Turkey mating season is upon us, or I guess upon the turkey.  Nothing prettier than a male turkey strutting his stuff.  Here is a photo taken by a friend of two turkey trying to impress the ladies!

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The deer have lost their antlers and so its tough to tell if it’s a group of doe or buck hanging around but they are hanging around.  There are 8 that visit my home almost daily.  I think to drive the dogs crazy! lol.

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Soon the garden will be a focus of this blog but I cannot plant until after Memorial Day and the last freeze.  The window sill is full of little plants so I’m getting ready. Zucchini, tomatoes and spinach! Oh a a bit of celery as well.  Salad or a bloody mary anyone?

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So I’ll leave this catch up blog on the same puppy dog note – Max and Ollie are doing just fine.  I’ll be in touch soon…..