Monday, July 6, 2020

Small stone - Moose - 6

scars on our aspens from gnawing moose

moose are herbaceous and love aspen bark
most of our aspens are tattooed by their chew marks
they gnaw deep into the inner layers of the tree
a full-grown moose consumes about 75 pounds of food a day
we prefer them to keep moving when they wander onto our property

we constantly watch for them when we're hiking
they're easily camouflaged by our lodgepole pines
several times, we've gotten closer than is safe
we immediately back away

the bulls are most dangerous at rut in the fall
cows are defensive with calves that they mother for a year
they're one of our largest and most destructive wildlife inhabitants
if they feel threatened, they charge, kicking and ramming to defend themselves
moose can run to speeds of 35 mph

staying far enough away from them is prudent
you can't outrun them


This young bull is probably a two year old, wandering by himself at the edge of our property.
This was in spring so he was still shedding his coat
and just starting to grow his rack.


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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Small Stone - Rain - 5

after quenching rain
Nature sighs in green contentment

the gray-green leaves of Chiming Bells along Lehman Creek 


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Small Stone - Happy 4th - 4


Bubbles is always happy. (So is Waldo.)
When I see them, I tend to smile, too.

We hiked early after rain in the night.
Wildflowers were spangled with drops.
The air was cool, the forest fresh.
Now, at midday, it's storming.
We're sitting by the fire, content.

Happy Birthday America!

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Small Stone - Memory - 3

passing by a small pond deep in the forest, I remember
thirty years ago, my old red dog and I
sat on the bank sharing a PB&J
listening to spring peepers sing


thinking of my Irish Setter, Tyler, as I passed the pond today
a good friend, still missed

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Small Stone - Breathe - 2



hiking
early morning light
leaking through old growth pines
warming the chill of night
stop a moment in the quiet
breathe

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Small Stone - Begin Again - 1

A small stone is a brief, mindful observation that might take the form of poetry or journaling. I normally greet the New Year by doing small stones in the month of January. I've decided (maybe only occasionally) to write small stones through the month of July. Perhaps committing to the stones will make me more mindful and more appreciative of all my blessings.




dappled sunlight
old teapot centerpiece
breaking the fast

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

A High Altitude Summer

It's finally summertime in the mountains of Colorado.
The trails are clear of snow and wildflowers are blooming.

Globe Flowers - some of the first to bloom in the spring when snow melts

I'm outdoors as much as possible.
Unfortunately, I'm not hiking with friends.
Luckily, Bob often goes with me.



At 76, I notice some changes:
I'm slower.
I must be more conscious of my footing.
I need to use my hiking poles for balance.
Carrying water for hydration is necessary.
(Formerly, I could hike 5 miles without carrying water - no more!)
Crossing streams is harder.

I was able to jump Lehman Creek - but barely...

Even at home, we encounter wildlife.
There are sometimes porcupine quills at our back deck steps.
This means the porcupine has gone under the deck and could be busy chewing.
We discourage this by stomping on the deck.
If it comes out, we spray it with the hose - they don't like baths.
Moose amble onto the property, and we make loud noises so they leave.
(Often, they just look at us like we're a nuisance - disturbing their peaceful chomping on our trees.) 
We've had 2 large male bears visit - luckily they kept moving.

Cress in a boggy area along the trail

Our biggest nemesis this summer are ravens.
(Where are the foxes when I need them?)
We think a construction dumpster across the street attracts them with discarded garbage. 
(That could also be attracting bears.)

Pansy box at sunset

There are 3 resident ravens (male, female, and fledgling).
The fledgling is especially loud, crying loudly and pitifully every time the parents leave it.
(The fledgling is as big as the Mama - I can't tell them apart when she's with it.)
The fledgling can fly just fine, but the parents apparently tell it to stay on Barb's roof while they hunt.
It sits crying by the chimney so that it seems to be in the great room with me.
Neighbors are trying to figure out how to dissuade the ravens, but they seem quite content here.
Ravens usually don't hang out this high in altitude, but this summer they seem right at home.

Back deck - no ravens allowed!

When you live next to wilderness, there are positives and negatives.
Luckily, for  me, the pluses are greater than the minuses.

Brook Cress on a little island in Lehman Creek

We only venture among people for groceries and errands.
We know quite a few people who tested positive and were very ill.
There is no reason to expose ourselves unnecessarily.
We miss family and friends but stay in contact by phone or text.
Occasionally, our sons come to the house, and we sit on the deck to visit.

beaver pond with Peak 10 in distance

All in all, our life continues much as it normally does.
I want to thank those of you who have e-mailed me, inquiring about our health.
Spring and summer are always busy, and I find less and less time for the computer.

sun flair in forest

Please stay well.
Find One Good Thing to make you smile.

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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Birthday Girl


I came upon this scene yesterday during my morning walk.
Do you see the black bear sitting on the snow?
It was aware of my presence because it turned its head to look at me.
It was busy eating garbage it dragged from one of the trash cans.
Showing no aggression, it just kept snacking as I moved past it.
I've been seeing signs of bears for weeks, so I was exhilarated to spot it.
I decided it was my first gift of my birthday weekend.


Today (May 9th), is my actual birthday.
How did all these years go by and make me 76?
I've been hearing from family and friends all day.
In this time of isolation, I smile to connect with them.


Early this morning, while the snow was still frozen, we took a walk.
It was the first time since fall we could venture into the wilderness without skis or snowshoes.
Walking with Bob on my birthday into the solitude of the forest was wonderful.
Though it was cold, sunlight warmed our shoulders.


I noticed the seat of the swing was partially snowless so I sat a minute.
Unfortunately, it was impossible to actually swing!
But, day by day, there is more melt, so someday soon I'll sit there with my Kindle.


Last night, Bob cooked me a delicious dinner of crab legs, veggies, and salad. 
Tonight, we'll snack on small plates -
AND - chocolate cake with enormous strawberries...


When it's your birthday and you're 76, it's OK to be spoiled.

I'm thankful for our health and grateful for the love and friendship bestowed on me.
Every day I look for and find many good things.
I hope you do  too.

Thank you for your visit.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Greetings from Breckenridge at the End of April

We're having spectacular weather at the end of April.
There is no snow in the immediate forecast.

dawn from our front deck

Of course, we can't go too long without some moisture.
With a warming trend, we hope it comes as rain.

Breckenridge Ski area - still lots of snow

The snow in the forest and on the mountain becomes very unstable in the spring.
For safe exercise, I walk the streets in my neighborhood.
It feels good to wear a lighter jacket and walk in my trail shoes.

Mount Baldy in morning sunshine

Others pass me infrequently - I rarely have to pull up my mask.
We wave, and one of us crosses to the other side of the road.

no lift lines (melting snow at base of Peak 9)

Bob and I go 3 weeks before grocery shopping.
We tried on-line shopping and pickup at a nearby store last week.
It worked fine, so we'll do it again.
We went into Whole Foods to pick out our produce and fruit.

Blue River still low in its banks

Colorado and our county/town are lifting some of the isolation rules.
Next week, salons and small businesses can open with restrictions.
Restaurants and bars remain closed except for takeout.
People cannot gather in crowds.
No short term rentals are permitted.
People are asked to wear masks in public.

where you can find me most mornings waiting for dawn

This Covid lifestyle  isn't too much different from our normal way of life.
We tend to be stay-at-home, quiet people.
However, normally, we don't spend so much time disinfecting! 

Today, Bob and I teleconferenced with his urologist about his prostate cancer.
He must go to a lab tomorrow for bloodwork.
That exposure is a bit scary, but he'll wear gloves and mask.
He'll shower, and we'll launder his clothes when he returns.

We won't relax our own isolation and social distancing for awhile.
Though we feel healthy, we have friends with the virus who are very sick.
One of our acquaintances died.
In our mid-70's, it's up to us to limit our exposure.

swing still buried in snow

I know that during this time, people are suffering physically, mentally, and economically.

We do what we normally do to stay healthy and sane:

stay in touch with family and friends electronically
go outside or open a window to breathe fresh air
meditate/pray and think positive thoughts
limit the news
eat healthy
exercise

it will snow in May, but I'm not encouraging it

Bob took this photo of me today.
My hair has grown from a short dandelion puff to an unruly tumbleweed!
Don't worry - I'm putting that pillow away - no use tempting fate.

Stay well!

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Tenuous Spring at High Altitude

For about a week, spring took center stage in Breckenridge.

the Blue River is ice-free flowing into Maggie Pond

Some days it went 20 degrees above freezing.

Maggie Pond reflects a quiet day at the base of Peak 9

Coats were unzipped as snow and ice began to melt.

Mount Baldy from Peak 9

Now the forecast says snow is on the way.

hiking on my snowshoes toward Peak 10

During April and May we usually have changeable weather.

the Continental Divide and Keystone Mountain in distance

Spring can never really get a foothold until June.

on my morning walk, this 4' (1.2M) frozen puddle looks like a giant's footprint

Bob and I continue to isolate here at the edge of wilderness.
We try to keep trips to resupply to a minimum of every 2-3 weeks.
We speak to family and friends electronically.

we speak to the fox just outside our windows...

We exercise daily and are thankful for the beauty around us.


This month through May, the foxes give birth.
If we're lucky, we'll catch a glimpse of the kits when mama brings them out of their den.

Please stay well and find something that inspires you daily.
May moments of hope uplift you.

Thank you for visiting.
Barb

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Stay Safe and Well


All is quiet here at the edge of the forest - 


very peaceful.


Some days, the morning sun spreads golden rays through the trees.


My amaryllis glows with light.


Other days, clouds and snow obscure the sun.


A white beauty surrounds us.



Animals visit.


Waldo smiles.


We continue to isolate at home.
We escape into the forest for exercise.
We count our blessings.


Wherever you are in the world, stay safe and well.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pandemic

I'm sure all of our worlds have changed dramatically since I last posted.
The Governor of Colorado issued a state of emergency earlier in the week.

dawn

In Breckenridge and throughout Summit County, CO, places where people congregate are closed.
This includes schools, shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, rec centers, and ski areas.
People are asked to keep away from others, staying in their own homes.
Outdoors we should keep a safe distance from others and avoid crowds.
Some popular parks and sledding hills are off-limits.
None of our shuttles or buses are operating.
Short term rentals and hotels are closing.
Tourists and second home owners are supposed to leave.

the fox is curious - what's happening Barb?

Bob and I hunker down in isolation.
Even prior to the government edict, we asked our family not to visit.
Before the emergency, we stocked some groceries and supplies.
Unlike families with children, our supplies last a long time.
Meals are simple - we don't eat a lot.
We can exist on what we have for awhile.

the pine marten visits - he abides by social distancing

We maintain a similar schedule to our normal one.
I wake early and give thanks for another day.
I answer e-mails and do some reading.
We work around the house and property.
We get fresh air and exercise.

exercising on snowshoes

We discuss what's happening here and around the world.
If we get sick, we'll care for each other just as we've done for over 53 years.
We don't feel panic though we've never lived through quite this kind of situation.

Each morning we ask each other, "How are you feeling?"
So far, so good.

Perhaps we all can get outside and breath fresh air.
Keep in touch with family and friends electronically.
Smile and remember happy times.
Let ourselves believe that this too will pass.

deserted ski trail

I hope wherever you are, you're well.
If you're able, offer help to someone in need.

May peace and love abide with you.

Barb

A friend sent me this meaningful poem:

Pandemic
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

sunset
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