Monday, September 20, 2010

09_20_2010 Wind + Ash = Crazy Sky

The winds were big again today: 55 mph here at the house. I am forever amazed that the trees here all don't come down during these storms. But given how frequently we get big winds, the weak trees cratered long ago for sure.

While the speed of the winds wasn't unusual, what they caused was. With all of the nearby ash from the four-mile fire, the winds stirred up and created a mess in the sky. A beautiful mess.

So much ash was in the air that citizens were calling the fire department to report a new big fire. Sitting in the house, I could taste the ash in my mouth even. There was no fire, just a lot of ash in the air.

I went outside to check it out as the light changed to weird spooky colors inside. Outside, I was treated to some amazing skies that changed really quickly. I didn't come close to capturing the best of it, but I did snap four shots with the point and shoot. Even with my poor photography skills, they look neat.

Though it doesn't look that way, this is an hour before sunset. I can only imagine how much better they would appear to you had Dave got some shots with the good camera. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

09_16_2010 The Joy of Lesser Goldfinch

Before I moved here, I'd never seen a Lesser Goldfinch. Dave had never noticed them either. But after hanging the bird feeders on the back deck, there they were. Lots of the them.

They are small songbirds (4-4.5") weighing only about 3 oz each. They may be small, but they are feisty. They take no bull from other birds at the feeder at times appearing fearless.

Their feisty-ness is matched only by their exuberance when bathing. Maybe it's because it's molting season, or maybe because it's fledging season, or maybe it's just because - but these birds are bathing fiends right now.

It is such fun to sit at the table and work and watch them frolic in the bird bath. At first they stop for a drink. But the bubbling sound and slight splashing of the water takes hold of them and they can't resist. Some flop on top of the small fountain and bath. Others hop right into the pool and get after it. I counted 11 on the bath - with 4 to 5 bathing - a couple of days ago so I grabbed the camera to get some shots.

I took the photos. This means the photos are dreadful. Though of poor quality, they show the fun happening out back. In short order the birds will be gone for the winter to be replaced by the Junco. I hope they like bathing as well - the bath is heated and waiting just for them.

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09_15_2010 Garage Renovation Update

Thought we'd show you how the garage renovation is coming along. It's looking really great. The walls have been insulated and sheet-rocked. The ceiling has been finished. All the walls and ceiling have been primed and painted. Shelves/cabinets are being installed as are the lights. It's going to be bright in there! Before we had two of three light bulbs. It was a real cave.Lots of new outlets are available and there will be eight double-bulb lighting fixtures when all is complete.

After this part, Guy will be installing the new garage door opener, making an attic entrance and blasting in some insulation and sealing the floor. We'll get some new roof vents and voila it will be completed.

Dave is looking forward to putting all of his stuff back in a neat and organized manner. It's looking awesome!

I mentioned before that we are also doing some work in the backyard. It was a disaster area back there. Heck, it is still a disaster area. Guy has been building a shed to put some stuff in - it's almost complete.

When that is done, he'll transition into replacing all the rotten wood, leveling the yard,and adding some retaining walls. In addition, we'll move the stairs to the other side of the deck and expand the upper deck a bit. Next Spring I'll be able to get some flowers back there. And with it completed, we'll actually spend some time on the lower level. As it currently is, I won't even cut the grass back there. :)

I'll update with more photos as things continue moving along.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

09_07_2010 Four Mile Canyon Fire

Labor day brought the worst fire in the recent history of Boulder. It is in it's second day and has zero percent containment. 92 structures are burned to the ground (primarily homes) and only 50% of the area has been surveyed for damage. Clearly lost houses are going to number much more than 92.

Our home is not in danger, but like all of Boulder, the air is foul. Windows have to be closed because of the smoke. And officials are warning folks to stay indoors. It's nasty out there.

Not much else to add other than we are worried for several of our friends who may very well have lost their homes, pets and all possessions. Here are some photos we got last night off of Flagstaff (where we were married).

Firefighters are doing their best. To date, nine of them have lost their homes as well.

The area burning encompasses where we frequently road ride. These homes are familiar to us. They are/were gorgeous.

Very grim.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

08_14_2010 August birthday party celebration

Oops! We forgot to put these photos up sooner. As a part of Dave's 50th birthday celebration, we hosted a party at the house for all our August birthday friends.

It was a blast. It's amazing how many of our friends are Leos.

But in a major fumble, we didn't take many photos. And we totally fouled up by not taking a single photo of of the birthday people. Doh.

But, in our defense, the lack of photos was because the party was just so fun! People brought slides of things they had been doing the last year or so. As usual, there were many very cool slides. Slides of the Olympics. Of climbing. Of Friends. Of Llama. Lots of really awesome stuff.

So, enjoy the photos. And see the fun and great friends we enjoyed at the house!

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09_04 to 05_2010 Kremmling & Steamboat Springs Bike Tour

Because of our schedules, we are able to get away for a couple of days at a time right now. We took advantage of this past weekend to do a two-day bike tour. This tour started in Kremmling, CO.

Kremmling is a small town (1.3 square miles) west of Boulder that sits at an elevation of 7,347 or 7,313 depending on the source used. The town had about 1,578 inhabitants at the 2000 census. It doesn't appear it's likely grown much since. It was founded in 1881 during the Colorado Silver Boom days, and according to Wiki, the lack of mineral resources in the nearby mountains made the town grow very slowly.

While small, it was full of character. We couldn't go 20 feet without finding a fun sign or something picture-worthy. A cow in a cup? No problem. Spelling out 'teeth' in a garden? Of course. It looks like a cool place.

We ate at the Mexican restaurant in town which touts itself as the "best Mexican food in Grand County." We think it may be the *only* Mexican food in Grand County! The serving were generous!

After dinner we headed back to our hotel to watch some bad tv. The picking were slim - the only real channel was the Animal Planet that was on a tear of ANIMALS THAT KILL AND EAT YOU!!!!

The next morning we got up and got the bikes ready for the first leg of our road ride. We were headed to Steamboat Springs via Gore Pass. Somehow we thought this leg as about 57 miles. After we started, we noted that was wrong and the ride was in fact 73 miles long. No worries, the pass was early so off we went.

The ride went nicely. There was no shoulder (and I don't mean a small shoulder, I mean NO shoulder) for a large portion of the ride. That sucked. We got to the top of Gore Pass and took a few photos. We sort of anticipated a drop after this, but what we got were a series of rollers and another climb to a second high point. After that, it was rollers virtually to Steamboat.

We passed three little towns en route. The first didn't really seem like a town at all. The second two were cool places with fun things to see (e.g., dinosaur). The dinosaur made it impossible to pass. Who could pass up an opportunity to get on this thing and not be incarcerated for it? :)

When all was said and done, we were in Steamboat. Our total elevation gain with the pass and all the rollers ended up being 5,799 feet. According to one source the max grade somewhere during the ride was 30% though neither of us were sure exactly where that was. It seemed high.

We checked into the coolest hotel: The Rabbit Ears! The sign was classic. It is named this since the other pass out of town is the Rabbit Ears Pass. We showered then walked up and down the main street of Steamboat Springs. We found an Italian restaurant and ordered dinner.

And we over-ordered. The servings were enormous. Look at Dave's pizza! He conquered half of it (which he now agrees was far more than he should have) and we gave the rest away. I had a pasta dish that was far too much as well. Still, it was fun.

In the morning, we headed out. It was pass-grades virtually immediately. Happily, there was a decent should for this section (which ended promptly at the border of Grand County). This ride was not as pleasant as the first leg. Yes, we had a shoulder for part of the ride. But then, there was no shoulder. In fact, in many places, the white line had crumbled into the dirt.

And there was wind. Heinous heinous wind. Blow us off the bikes, blow us into traffic, soul-sucking wind. We would be headed down some steep grades into these terrible head winds peddling going about 6 or 8 mph. Unreal.

BTW, I checked on and found that the winds were 29 mph winds. NOT gusts, but those were the winds. It felt every bit of that. Bleck.

It made the last part of this ride very unpleasant. We were mostly happy not to have been killed by a vehicle. In total, this was only 53 miles with a total elevation gain of 5,717 feet. We did stop to see the name-sake of Rabbit Ears pass. Two little rocks (see photo). I was actually surprised this inspired the pass name - the formations were tiny.

We were happy to get back to the car. We were wind-whipped and tired of fighting the wind. We piled into the car and got home. Always nice to be home. :)

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