Thursday, June 14, 2018

threat of fire

A haze of smoke fills the horizon, reminding us of everything we could lose. It’s the price we pay to live up here, in this beautiful country. Everywhere has a price, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, 8 months of winter, tropical heat and bugs.

 But here, the thing that makes us fear and remember what is important is forest fire.

Today, thankfully, there are no fires nearby. The smoke comes hundreds of miles from other fires, other people who worry and fear. Even so, in the back of my mind there is a running list of things I would pack, things important to take, if the evacuation call ever came. The kids are subdued and hesitant to go outside as we all think about what if. 


Monday, June 4, 2018


I love gardening. I love being able to grow my own fruit and vegetables, but that's difficult up in the mountains. Not only do you have to contend with cooler weather, high altitude, and short growing seasons, you have to plan for the animals. Deer, racoon, skunk, fox, squirrels, birds, bears, bobcats, mountain lions. If we want to keep a garden, and chickens, safe we have to have a fence.

We started with a relatively flat spot. I've noticed that my definition of 'flat' has changed since I've moved to the mountain.

We had some friends with Llamas that generously allowed us to pick up a lot of their dung. We didn't have the fence up but it was outlined, so we guessed on where our raised beds would end up and layered some dung with paper and cardboard for cutting down on weeds.

We guessed pretty close because we didn't need to move too many. We did this last fall so it would have all winter to compost.

We also started the fence. Our goal was to get the fence posts in before the frost. Thanks to our late winter we managed, finishing them just before Thanksgiving.

During warm spells in the winter we hung the fencing. Then, this spring we've been working on putting in the raised beds. It's been a lot of work due to the slope and the rocks and all the digging. So much digging. But we finally have a garden.

It's still a work in progress and we'll have a fence dividing it in half so we can have chickens in the back, but we've been able to get some vegetables planted and now we'll see what we can make grow.

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.