Single Digits

Two mornings of single digit weather. Making chili while waiting for 1pm to go walk. Today it is red chili and tiny cornbread muffins and apple pie. Living the good life with a wood fire, smell of food and the promise of a sunny afternoon.

Bison

The bison stand in groups facing away from the wind. Yesterday the wind came up with gusts of 50 miles an hour. Today it is calming down, but not giving up.

This year there were more than eight bison born. Two I saw were white like the one on the far left in the photo. The babies are sheltered behind the group.

Thanksgiving Yaks

Usually I’m in the car when I visit the yaks. Today I’m walking. I’m excited to see what may be two families. The only problem is they look a lot bigger when I’m out of the car and the fence looks really weak.

As I focus on the picture I notice the yak really don’t seem to care about me in a good way, in a bad way, not anyway. I’m thankful for these yaks on many levels.

Coming home

 

Driving I70 towards Evergreen west from Denver becomes a treat when you reach Genesee. You pass under the overpass at Lookout Mountain and suddenly the Rocky Mountains are in front of you.

Along the highway before Genesee you see beautiful glimpses of the mountains that are coming. But when the actual bigger than life sight hits it is more than you can take in at once. Your eyes can’t scan the horizon fast enough.

Elk

 

School is in session and most of the elk are happy to share the soccer field.

A couple of large males roam their section of females; walking and bungling during rutting season. Usually you see groups of females, babies and young males, but the big guys. This is the time of year we see the large males for a couple of weeks before the herd moves to higher ground.

Eagle

Last year an eagle showed up at Evergreen Lake. If you were lucky you’d see him fly past patrolling the lake. You might even see him swoop down to the water and carry off a fish.

Speculation about where he came from and why he appeared never brought answers and now that he appears to be a full fledged resident.

Hummingbird Greeter

At first you may not notice the quiet little hummingbird as you enter the trail to Meyer Ranch Park. Quietly sitting on top on a tall PVC pipe she has the best view. She can watch any water running in the little creek just a few feet from the pole. She can see the fields around her as the grasses and flowers ripple in the breeze. And she can watch hikers walking up the winding incline to the park.

She is the first thing to greet me as I leave the dusty parking lot to hike trails that allow me to see flowers and wildlife. Here the man made trails allow me to glimpse what the surrounding land looks like without the heavy hand of concrete and urban life.

She is the last thing I say goodbye to. Leaving I’m happy. I’ve recovered a little bit of the dreams of childhood in my wandering adventure. I leave excited too, because I’ll soon be back. Being outside I realize the price I pay for my house is the feeling of being disconnected with nature. At home I how walls that contain me. The hummingbird has as far as she can see.

Plants on the Deck

Every June the first outside plants of the summer join the items for sale at local stores. For the past two months weather has teased me with intermittent hours and days of warm, but snow and cold doesn’t leave easily, and hail comes in spurts joining in the weather battles. By the time the first plants arrive my hunger for color is high and trying to decide what to buy while fighting the urge to binge is no easy task.

The stores put plants outside with little fear of cold or hail, but the challenge from lack of moisture is year round. Visiting the stores I see clerks regularly doling out precious water. Most stores give up the battle quickly and within weeks the temporary white tents will be gone. The image of vivid green in the mountains is misleading, trees can hold their own in the high altitudes and rocky soil, but tender plants dry out within hours.

During the winter I read about plants from plant catalogs. Checking for ones that can withstand some drought, and the deer and elk will avoid.

Generally the plants are safe from the deer and elk because they have a variety of things to munch in the backyard. Sometimes the inquisitive elk challenge me, pulling out the plants and gently sitting them by the bed. The flowers and roots left completely in tack so I can replant them and the game can continue.

This year chipmunks that normally sun on the rocks in the backyard decided to share one of the herb pots I place by the back door. This morning my beautiful parsley was turned into green spikes and the basil was taken whole including the roots. It happened so fast I found myself staring at the black dirt while our lab sat at the gate staring off the deck.

The chipmunks did not find the strong scent mint of herb in pot number two appealing so a search for recipes begins. And by next winter as I search for the perfect mountain plant I’m sure my criteria will continue to grow.

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