Friday, July 31, 2015

Chain Saw Therapy

When Don was working, he always looked forward to a day of chain saw therapy at the cabin.  It helped him get into the vacation mindset.  Although he no longer works, he still enjoys the chain saw, so when we saw that the electric company had cut down a few trees behind our cabin, he took the opportunity to pull the "I need some chain saw therapy" on me.

In two days, we managed to cut up one large tree.  The logs got a bit large for me to handle, so I didn't stack the last few, but between the two of us, and some supervision by Jordy and Nelson, we managed to put up a bit of firewood.  Now all that is left is the splitting when it is dry!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Far From the Madding Crowd

As a teen, I thought it was imperative that I read only classics, even though half the time I didn't know what I was reading.  I read Wuthering Heights, but remembered none of it except that it was dark.  I read Ivanhoe, but I only remember it had something to do with Knights. I started Emma but don't think I finished it.  And several books just sat on the shelves:  The Turn of the Screw, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Jane Eyre are just a few of them.  So when I saw that Far From the Madding Crowd was being made into a movie, I had to read it.

Diana told me she doesn't really like Thomas Hardy's writing, but she does like this book.  Well, that was encouraging.  But I started it anyway.

It wasn't long before it had me in its grasp.  It was not a book I could read quickly, but it was one I could read slowly and enjoy.  The descriptions were beautiful, and for once, I allowed myself to enjoy the way Hardy put words together.

What I didn't know until the end is that the book was written as a serial in a magazine.  Hence the number of short chapters.  I really enjoyed the shorter chapters - I could pick it up and read for a few minutes, and then get on with things.

The particular book I read was one Diana had used.  It contained many notes from each chapter that highlighted the numerous Biblical and literal references contained in the story.  I found it fun and helpful!

This is a book that is a pleasure to read, especially when one has time.  I highly recommend reading it, and now I can see the movie!  Hurray!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Elk Mountain

Every few years we take a trip to Elk Mountain, and this year, our friends, the Kings, joined us.  When  we go there we always find something new or different.  This year we found tent worms defoliating our favorite aspen forest,

a spring that has been dry for the last few times we have been there, 

and patches of snow, some of which ended up down Annelle's back!

The road itself was not nearly as bad as it could have been, and although my Fitbit logged about 10,000 extra steps and 400 flights of stairs that I did not walk, it was a relatively good ride!

The best part was when we got to the top of the mountain.  Rather than 45 mph winds that we usually experience up there, and threats of lightning and thunder, we encountered light breezes, warm temperatures (thankfully, since neither Don nor I had remembered a coat), and sunny skies. Although we may not have seen to Oklahoma, we might have . . . and we definitely could see Las Vegas and Hermit's Peak.

This was the first of many times the pups will be on the mountain, and since they love Annelle, a picture of the three of them is a reminder of the best part of the day - being with good friends!

Be Careful What You Wish For

Don and I had planned to come home from the cabin on July 8, Wednesday. I had been startled awake about 2:30 a.m. Thinking it was Don, I yelled, "Don, are you ok?"  He sat straight up in bed . . . yes, he was ok.  So we went downstairs to check on the dogs, and indeed, Jordy needed to go outside.  I took him, put him back in his kennel, and went back to bed.

We got up early to make sure we were ready to leave, and about 8:15, I put the laundry in the car.  Don accompanied me to the car, and he commented that he didn't want to go home.  "I feel like I did when I had to go to work."  We laughed at how hard it is to get ready to leave, and I backed out of the driveway.  As I headed down the hill, I realized, "Houston, we have a problem."

That's when it occurred to me it wasn't the dogs that awakened me.  Needless to say, our trip home was delayed.  Shucks!

Luckily, Don had the chain saw in the barn, and 45 minutes later, we had cleared the road so I could do the  laundry. But there was no way we would be able to leave. So we had a young man up the  road come help us, and with Annelle King, we cleared all of the limbs, cleaned the log in the stream, and carried the wood to the cabin.

For their help, we made chocolate chip cookies and learned to play Hand-and-Foot.  It was a great day after all!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Yukky Web Worms

In 2013, when we went to Alaska, we rode the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad from Chama, NM to Antonito, Colorado.  As we rode through the aspen groves, we noticed that most of the trees were leafless.  My cousin, Marci, explained that the web worms had taken hold and this was a yearly occurrence.

We thought we had escaped until last year, when we began to see web worms in our canyon.  This year, due to the rain, we did not have so many and thought we were good . . . until we went to Elk Mountain.  The two beautiful aspen groves up there were totally leafless, and web worms were everywhere.  I had thought all of the rain would take care of them . . . but apparently not.  It was a very depressing sight - our favorite aspen groves looking as if it were November.  I hope this rainy season will get rid of them.

A Closetful of Lady's Slippers

When we were at the cabin in May, I found several Lady's Slipper plants, but only one looked like it might bloom.  I was hoping it would open before we left, but that was not to be my luck.

When we returned on June 26, I went up to find it, and it was still yellow.  Since I had the dogs with me, I did not get close and the next morning, it had turned brown.  Dad gummit!

Over the weekend, Melissa and Angus MacPherson were walking with us, and Melissa told me she had run into a whole patch of Lady's Slippers up the hill. Later that day, I went exploring, and although it took me a few minutes to find it, lo and behold there were four still blooming . . . but there had been seven or eight more that had already bloomed!  For flower geeks like me, it was a thrilling find!  I will be keeping my eye on this little patch, hoping that every year, it will find a way to bloom en masse!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It is Just Too Weird

Sometimes things happen that are just too weird.  So far today we have had two of them . . . and it is still early.  First, Kenneth called, and he was telling his dad about the two bucks that he had just seen standing next to a cornfield.  Don mentioned that we had had two does at the cabin, and then he turned the phone over to me.  As I looked outside, I said to Kenneth, "Huh.  We have two big bucks outside the cabin."  We had not seen the bucks before, but now here they were.  Too weird.

Then we took a walk, and as we crossed the bridge below the cabin, Don saw what we think is a vole in the road.  It just sat there, puffed up and seemingly unhurt, as we approached it.  Using our "trash-picker-upper" Don touched its back, and he even tried to pick it up.  It never tried to run.  He put it down, and in about ten seconds, it slowly and then more rapidly scurried to the grass.  Really odd!