Monday, September 12, 2022

Time flies by, cooler weather

 Besides the daily "scope-out" of the morning temp's showing a downtrend, the flowers and foliage show us that change is coming. The day before yesterday it was 31° first thing and never rose above the low 50's with thick fog blanketing the canyon. So different from the blue, BLUE skies we normally see.  The electric blanket is on the bed and the tiny electric heater plugged in and ready to turn on if needed overnight.

We had a relatively sedate Labor Day weekend in our park, so dead one day then full of happy campers for the next couple of days and back to just a few "regulars" spread out around the park. 

The cabins and transient RV spots are all empty first thing in
the morning on Fri 9/02/22. By the next morning everything was full. 

Can you say quiet?

We like it both ways just fine, people (and dog) watching and things happening in the pavillion/playground area when it's busy, and bird (and critter) watching when it's quiet.  This time of year the bears are on the prowl trying to get beefed-up for their upcoming hibernation. We have had a momma bear and her cub(s) coming around in search of good eats, however, everyone is pretty disciplined in food & garbage management and there's not much to be had.  The momma knows how to open unlocked car doors, so we had several people whose vehicles were investigated, and one morning the momma and her cub were "treed" up a large pine by the bathhouse. Of course, like you see everywhere, some people don't know how to give wildlife some space, but we had no dramas, thank goodness.

The above video was taken by a "workamper" who's working here for the season. It's also the 1st vid I've tried to post, hopefully it works.

I spied a downy(I think) woodpecker on a cottonwood tree up near the laundry room and tried to get a decent picture of it.

Pretty good camouflage job, just a tiny red 
spot under the chin.

While up near the laundry I spied this (tired) tire cover I found amusing.

Let's not forget these guys running around, wild turkeys. They were very skittish and it was hard to get a good pic, but it looked like a him/her. 

Tom and Mrs. Tom?

I mentioned the flowers showing some signs of the upcoming end of the season, however this lady's planter box has done beautifully over the course of the past few months, thanks in large part to her diligent applications of Miracle Grow I suspect.

How pretty is that? Good job neighbor!

On the cooking front, I've discovered a "new to me" wonderful chipotle product that I don't believe I've seen back east, so I've stocked up on some to take back home. It's a sauce, so it's been pureed, no hassles, so good and so easy to use.

The combination of chipotle, ancho and guajillo chilies makes for a nicely Tex-Mex flavor with a moderately spicy heat. So wonderful added in smallish quantities to stews, chilies and the like. Pour some over enchiladas to tune them up - YAY! When I get home I will fill an ice tray up with this sauce and have handy ice cubes on hand to toss in to my dishes. 

Finally, I will share this cartoon, which is often the case when coming up/down our canyon on the weekends, albeit never that much traffic! Haha. See you the next time, thanks for stopping by.

Courtesy of ??? (I don't remember, please don't be mad 😨)

Friday, August 19, 2022

Northern Flicker hatchlings, travelling Flamingos & cooler weather

 We had a planned power outage the other day which, when combined with the glorious weather (sunny and low 70's), presented the perfect opportunity to take a nice walk across the river and around the neighborhood. 

Hwy 14, which runs east and west through the canyon, has a few bridges for access over the river to the roads running parallel on the far side. In previous years we were able to walk these roads together quite often, however foot problems in recent months have put the kibosh on that.

It worked out great, with my feet on good behavior for the 1+ mile trek. I know, some of y'all can hike for miles & miles (you go!), so my effort seems kind of puny comparatively speaking, but I was happy with it. 😊

The pale blue arrow points to our car/site, for some perspective
of our location vis-à-vis the river. Nice and shady too.

We've been under a flash flood watch due to a fair amount of rain, and you can see that the water is a bit ashy with runoff from the burn scar up the road.

A while back I posted about the Northern Flickers nesting in a cottonwood next door to us. Well, they were noisy chicks, and I was hoping to watch them fledge, but one day that was it - dead quiet at the nest and no more sightings. We didn't know what had happened, but maybe 2 weeks later, here was the family of 5 back "home" for a visit and to search for bugs in the lawn next door. Whew, so happy they all made it.

The parents watch the kids on the ground.

Speaking of birds, these "travelling flamingos" showed up on our neighbor's lawn the other day. A note around one's neck suggests moving them to a new locale every week or so, haha.

The are metal and very well made - cool idea
as long as they don't travel home with somebody.

We are car racing fans, F1 and Indy in particular, which we record so we can stream them at our leisure. We usually have some good eats ready when watching at dinnertime.

A race and a half rack of ribs to split.

Another drive and picnic lunch up north to the Dowdy Lakes area. Lots of dirt roads around but fortunately, most are in decent shape.

Dowdy Lake @ the Day Use entrance

Some sights of the area we travelled through. Big bee on thistle, birch tree with a blemish, and rock formations.

We've had some great sunsets and moon sightings, so I've included a couple of those here as well. With cooler weather we have checked out the sunset and evening approach in front of the firepit too.

Sunset and moon above.

A nice evening was had by all.

Well, that about wraps up this post, thanks for visiting, and come again!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Neat diversionary jaunt to the USFS North Michigan Reservoir State Park

 The other day, the 1st of August, we had an internet outage throughout the entire canyon, so we packed up a lunch and headed out for an auto-tour with the objective of riding through the North Michigan Reservoir USFS State Park, out west of us some 40 miles.  After passing over the Continental Divide at Cameron Peak, we came to the State Forest State Park Visitor's Center with their magnificent full-sized, barbwire moose sculpture. I wanted a pit stop and to take in the scenery of the area.

Full-sized for sure, I think he's been waiting for me 
for a bit to take the shot, I was distracted by flowers.

I took a companion shot from inside the lobby of this stuffed moose in a diorama setting.

 Anyway, beyond that maybe another 6 or 8 miles is the entrance to the North Michigan Reservoir and campground. The main road, although unpaved, was nicely maintained and easy going. There were plenty of less well-maintained side roads, leading to cabins, yurts and dispersed camping sites. Some were specifically meant for off road vehicles, horses, hikers and the like.

Eventually we made it to the reservoir, which was slap-up full with water running down the spill-way. So nice to see, an abundance of water. I guess being fed by the Michigan River, there's most likely water in the spill-way most of the time.

North Michigan Reservoir - so pretty

Here's a shot of the spill-way.

The reservoir side of the spill-way.

The valley side of the spill-way, the water flowing down the concrete
 and into the creek/river down below. It actually looked a bit swampy.

Very pretty around there, lots of wildflowers, large queen anne's lace for one, and plenty of wild daisy's.

Another shot of the reservoir and it's surroundings, so lovely!

We ate lunch, then as we were leaving we came upon this guy, standing in the middle of the road ~ deja vu! He skedaddled pretty quick.

Yep, an antelope. He's checking us out.

We decided to head up to Walden to pick up a copy of the incident report from our antelope encounter back in May. Driving along with the Medicine Bow Mountains on our right and another range on the left, the middle area is called North Park. I love it because of the vast views. The photos don't do it justice though.

North Park heading north to Walden, Colorado.

A shot out the driver's side. All the rains have really greened things up.

This is big-time cattle country, these pastures are full of cattle, so it's no wonder we spotted a few of these signs around.

I can't say I blame them if you look at the predation caused by coyotes
and the damage caused by the feral hog problem plaguing the southern states. 

Once we retrieved our report from the Sheriff's Office we headed out of town. Ed spotted this house with this wonderful garden. I couldn't fit it all into one shot. They had 2 fantastically gnarly, weathered tree stumps as focal points, and plenty of flowers of all types. I liked the tall, blue larkspurs - super nice job folks!

I wish I had the space, talent, patience - did I leave anything out?

The ones here in our RV park are 5' tall - larkspur.

Well, that's the day for you, we were gone a lot longer than I had figured on, but luckily I had Italian Sausage spaghetti sauce in the fridge and even cooked pasta all ready to go. I always cook a lot of extra pasta and dress it with EVOO or butter plus a few sprinkles of garlic & herbs seasoning.  It reheats really well in a frying pan or covered pot with the smallest dab of water for some steam.

Thanks for dropping by, and we'll see you the next time.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

The Same old Shoot-'em-up and the same old Rodeo

 Here we are at the end of July and things are just rolling along as per usual. Not complaining mind you, not at all.

A few days ago we had some stormy weather coming in, followed by nearly dime-sized hail - holy smokes! Those sounded fierce pounding down on Rocky's roof.  Ed was outside enjoying some firepit action and took this pic of the start of the onslaught.  Later we saw some pics from Estes Park, which is south of us by roughly 50 miles as the crow flies, and they had so much hail they had to snowplow it off the streets/sidewalks. Ours only lasted 10 minutes or so, thank goodness.

Looking at storm clouds.

Hail just getting started, whoops, time to douse the firepit.

Later that evening I strolled down to the river to see if it was running clear, which would mean "no drama" up canyon of us, and it was.

A good volume of flow but no mud.

And I took a shot of these flowers that fill the whole length of the wall of the shower-house building - so pretty, the pic doesn't do it justice as the day was a bit cloudy.

Yesterday Ed took the car just down the road to Dadd Gulch for a hike while I defrosted the fridge/freezer. He was the first one there so he was pretty continuously calling out "No Bear" just to clear his path up the gulch.  Well, when he started heading back down he ran across a mountain biking couple who said "There was a bear back there a ways" - haha (not!).  So, now, while hiking back to the car he was continuously calling out "NO BEAR!!!" But he didn't see a thing, whew.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had just finished up the defrost and reload of the freezer when Ed suggested we head down to town, pick up our mail/packages and shop-up for the next couple of weeks. OK, let's hit it.

With all the town chores completed and with a firehouse sub in hand we headed up the canyon for a likely picnic spot whereupon we caught a group of rafters busily getting loaded onto rafts.

Looks to be a pretty good-sized group.

We found a likely picnic spot and while eating lunch we had a few close-up's of rafters coming through. It looked like they were getting a few last minute pointers for the run through the rapids.

"Here's what you need to do"

It looks pretty frothy out there, lots
of rocks along the whole way too.

Coming past our picnic table.

Some sizable cottonwood trees grow alongside the river. Here's a shot of our resident tree-hugger with one of them.

Back at Rocky, after breaking down the meats and getting them packaged up, I got all the meat, dairy, veggies and cold cuts loaded up and boy, was it packed pretty full! Ribs, pork chops, ground beef & Italian sausage, plus chicken, the freezer is full.

I use these baskets/tubs to help with the organization. I can pull
them out individually and root around in them to find what I want.

We shopped at King Sooper's (Kroger), which has an amazing variety of fruits/veggies, as opposed to Walmart, where we sometimes shop depending on what other household items we need. We feel so-o-o fortunate to be able to find and, for now, afford healthy, good food. Pray that that continues!

A full fridge for sure! You may notice the pancake
fan Ed added to circulate the cold air, giving us a 
more balanced temp inside the entire compartment.
It's attached using alligator clips in all 4 corners and
works a treat for us.

Well, I'll close with a sunset shot and a flower shot, and we'll see you the next time.

Thistle with a bee in it's bonnet.

Thanks for visiting, leave a comment if you feel like it - we love from hearing from y'all.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Good days, good eats and flowers

As the days pass by, the hotter weather is starting to build in a bit and the "monsoon" season rains have moved in as well.  After the mudslide up the canyon west of us last year, we have become wary when it rains for several hours/days in a row.  The grass and flowers are loving it but the day before yesterday mid-day, the river turned to mud and we wondered what that was all about.  We had had flash flood advisories around us but mostly to the south, closer to Rocky Mountain Nat'l park.  The river cleared up by the next morning - I didn't get a picture of it all muddied-up.

Coming home from town yesterday I snapped a couple shots through the car's window, and surprisingly, they turned out pretty well.

The lighting was fairly neutral which makes for an easier shot.
We've got a pretty good flow going right now.

There are several rafting companies in the area
so every time we traverse the canyon we see rafters.

Our neighborhood cotton-tailed rabbit is back making the rounds nibbling here and there, but it seems to be the chipmunks that gleefully munch on my flowers. We also have a nesting pair of northern flickers with chicks in the dead tree next door. We can look out our dining nook window (and up) and see the activities to and from the nest.  Pretty cool!

You can't see his white cottontail in this shot.

On this past Wednesday it pretty much rained all day so I got inspired as I watched one of my favorite youtube channel videos by Chef John - Food Wishes where he was making a smothered chicken dish, and decided to do the same.  My pantry has a fairly limited supply of spices, for example no coriander, no tumeric, and no saffron, but I made my gravy using cumin seed, cumin, hawaij, smoked Joe Parker chili powder and some others besides and it was yummy. This next shot was taken at  an interim moment, after a hard sear on the chicken thighs (skin side down) and while I was getting the veggies into the gravy to soften and cook.

I sure could've used a bigger frypan! I did get it all
 to fit and simmered it for a couple of hours. It had potato
wedges in it so no rice was needed.

Check out this porkchop cooked on the Ninja Foodi Grill - so good!

Some fresh corn on the cob, a tomato
salad and fresh sauteed asparagus - yum.

We were able to tackle a pet project of mine, swapping out the loveseat for a recliner chair and bookshelf.  My back wasn't very happy sitting sideways on the loveseat all the time, and since we won't be having any sleepover guests we decided to give it away and replace it with another recliner - lots of seating choices that way.  Adding a small bookshelf offered the opportunity to square away the craft supplies and etc., to clear the floor under the table. So far so good.

Still finessing it at this point but I'm liking it so far. The tray 
table that I use for the laptop has legs that easily slide under the 
furniture or swivel out and away from the chair for easy in & out's.
Since I often take the laptop to the table for food prep I've opted to leave
the cords in front of the bookshelf. A little less than tidy but oh well.

The flowers are all doing great, mine as well as everyone elses, and the peonies by the laundry room have bloomed. Such a soft, pretty pink.

And a few other pretties for your pleasure.

Columbines of course, but I'm not sure
what the tall blue bloom spike is. After
breakfast I love to make the rounds all around
the park, the upper level, middle and by the river
 too, plus along the properties perimeter, which
is what we back up to.

Well, that's pretty much it for this week's going's on's, thanks for stopping by.