Thursday, February 8, 2018

expect the unexpected

When moving to a new area there are always things you can't plan for, things you just don't expect. One thing that has surprised us about living a high altitude life is packaging.

Yes, packaging.

When we go to the store, all the packages look like this.

See how it bulges and strains? It doesn't stand on the shelf anymore, just rolls sideways and falls down. It's because of the altitude. When it was packaged they didn't take into account The lack of air pressure at higher altitude. The whole store is filled with plastic containers like this. All laying sideways on the shelves. And the chip bags!  If I go down the mountain to Costco and bring home a bag of chips or popcorn, it will often pop as I drive up the mountain. Or the seam will split. Or, on the few times it doesn't The package is so ready to burst no one will touch it.

It's not something I thought about when deciding to move up here. Not that it would have changed my mind. It's more amusing than annoying. It just illustrates that there will always be things you don't expect.

But there is one other thing that happened to us that was expected.

a bottle some laughs and a diaper change will tucker a poor girl out

Meet our foster child. She's six months old and as sweet a baby as they come. We've been working on getting her for close to a month but she only came to live with us a week ago. I probably don't need to mention that my home is a mess, my to do lists are undone, and we are loving every minute of it.  I do need to get back into some sort of writing schedule, but I'll do that next week. Right now there's a baby to cuddle.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Snowy Day

I remember as a child my grandfather sitting us all down at a holiday gathering and reading a short piece about a winter evening. I don't remember what it was called or many of the details but I remember it happening. At the time I felt the narrative too long, my little body ached with inactivity and listening. Now, I wish I could read it to my own children as we sit in front of our wood stove and the snow falls quietly outside.

And fall it did. We got 12 inches yesterday, which is not a record by any means. Just enough to keep us hunkered down, reading, playing games, and watching movies. Spending time together, focused, unencumbered by the cares of the world.

Our very own winter wonderland.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Fall has been a busy time. 

We’ve continued work on our garden fence. 

We put out a fire in our compost pile that was threatening the forest. 

We hosted and cooked our first high altitude Thanksgiving (yes, altitude does make a difference on all those recipes, including turkey cooking time.) 

We’ve cut down and decorated our first Christmas tree on our property. 

We spend a lot of time cutting and stacking wood now that the temperature has changed. 

And in our cozy house, we plan our spring, the veggies we’ll plant in our garden, the projects we’ll start, the fun our family will have. 

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year and next year should be amazing!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

We did it!

We’ve been worried about getting our fence posts in before the ground freezes. Well, we did it. 

This weekend we put in the last of them. We may be a bit sore but, for now, the digging is done. There’s still a lot to do, the connecting boards and braces, putting up the fencing, we’ll need to do boards around the bottom, too, to connect the fencing to so foxes don’t push under it or pull it up. But all of that can be done on nice days in the winter. One good thing about Colorado is the complete fluctuation of temperatures.  

  It may look a little bit like a pole garden, or an abstract sculpture But we won’t have to worry about digging through frozen ground. 

And maybe, just maybe I can convince lumberjack to do some easy inside work this weekend.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Building a garden

Lumberjack and I definitely wanted a big garden. I'm very excited to start gardening again, however, living where we do means we need extra precautions. We need a tall fence to protect against deer. We need something that reaches the ground and maybe even covers the ground for several feet on the outside of the fence to protect against digging animals. It needs to be strong so bears don't knock it down. So, essentially we need a prison.

To make it easier, so we don't have to do a fence around each, we're combining the garden, compost pile and chicken coop into one big well guarded compound. Sounds good, right? Well, it's a lot of work.

This is the area we wanted it in. It's fairly level, for the mountain anyway. It's large, it's south facing for sun and warmth. Plus, it's over our leech field so we're hoping for some extra nutrients. You can see at the back left the huge slash pile we had to clean up, plus there were a couple trees back there that needed to come down.

The next thing we had to do is build a small retaining wall in that back corner where the slope was too big to deal with. That area will be our compost area.  

Eventually it will have raised beds, with covers we can take off/put on to extend the season. We're more worried about putting in the fence posts before the ground freezes though so raised beds can wait. What can't wait is preparing the soil. So we laid out where we want our beds and did some compostable layers with cardboard packing boxes, packing paper, hay, and lama manure we got from a friend. Hopefully, with the warm/cold and wet/dry crazy weather we have over the winter it will all be nice soil ready for planting in the summer. Looks a little funny right now though.

That'll be a lot of veggies for us.

We started the fence posts this weekend but with all the rocks, and the length of the fence it's taking awhile. 

This is what we're doing based on our needs/wants and what we think will work. If we're doing it wrong or you have any suggestions we'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Firewood isn’t the only way we’re getting ready for winter. I was fortunate enough to have parents who planted fruit trees. They can’t use the fruit this year and my sisters didn’t take their fair share so we ended up with a lot of fruit. I spent all of last week bottling. ALL. My kitchen was (let’s face it, it probably still is) a sticky mess but we ended up with 

19 quarts of pears

26 quarts of apple pie filling

12 pints of apple jam

10 pints of apple sauce

4 pints of chutney

3 pints of Apple Cider Syrup

And 1 ½ pints of Apple Butter. 

Previous to this I’d made and frozen a dozen peach and blueberry pies. 

Looks like it will be a yummy winter.