November 18th, 2017

The weekend of November 11 – 12 we took an overnight trip to eastern Colorado to look at potential retirement homes. Pam had seen a few candidates and printed out descriptions and maps to aid in locating them.

Some of the town names will be familiar to people who have kept up with this blog over the years; properties near or in Como, Cripple Creek, Lake George, Woodland Park, Florissant, Cascade, and Green Mountain Falls were all on the list. Lets get started.

I took quite a few photos this trip. Here are the houses we drove by and looked at; the most likely one is at the end of the list. It is located in Cripple Creek.

First stop, first day: Como.

Home for sale in Como

This place is overpriced; Como is not much of a town and the surrounding properties are quite run down. A big plus is it would be within a half hour of our lot at Sanderling Court. If the price drops we may revisit this one.

Lake George had this listing:

Lake George house

Located on a narrow lot with neighbors fairly close, the main trouble with this house was access and distance from amenities. Several miles of unimproved road (mix of dirt and gravel) lie between this house and the nearest paved road. We decided to pass.

Florissant had a few listings:

Mesa Drive, Florissant

Listed at a half-acre, the lot is very steep and mostly unusable. Not what we had in mind.

House on Beaver Creek Drive

This place was large but the commute, oh my. Off the side of a side road. Given we will need to work part-time in retirement and commute, this place would not be a prime purchase. We did like the lot and trees.

We arrived at our lodge in Woodland Park around 4:30 and decided to call it a day. With the sun setting at around 5:00 PM we planned to visit the rest of the properties the next day.

The new morning of the second day — after a breakfast of waffles and fruit — we headed out and began looking at more properties.

Woodland Park had this listing:

Potlatch Drive home

Again, no garage and no place to build one. Newer and with nice views, it was in an area with upscale homes around it. A bit of a drive from any services though.

We drove by a few other properties  in Cascade, Green Mountain Falls and Florissant (one had a lake view but already had an offer) that I did not photograph as they were not even in contention. Realtor descriptions can get quite imaginative and only a visit can serve to confirm potential as a retirement location. The houses were either on very steep lots or required extensive repairs and updates to bring them up to our standard. Disappointing.

The last town for us to visit in the two-day tour was Cripple Creek, where we made a few stops.

Prospect Avenue home in historic district

With lots of architectural features, this place is appealing to Pam in particular. Unfortunately it is right across the road from a large casino and very close to neighbors on either side. Another drawback is steps all over the place, and with Pam’s bursitis steps are a major drawback. The lot did have a one-car garage accessible from a rough “alley” (more like a cart track) and the current owners appear to be cat friendly.

Garage off alleyway

Cat on victorian house porch

The best house of the day was also the last. Located at 409 South First street, this brick home sits on a somewhat larger lot:

409 S. First (Tulley House)

Tulley house and yard

Smallish but on the edge of town and not in the historic district, this place features trees and a larger (for town) back yard and few neighbors. I have since spoken to the town about building a garage and other aspects of town living. An alley runs behind the lot and could provide access to a garage. An “antique storage building” (realtor comment) is present as well –picture a leaning shed with old barnboard.

Given the house’s smaller size and no storage building or garage, the challenge would be to fit all of our stuff, inside and out. Still, it is in town (Cripple Creek has a few services including a grocery and hardware store) and the bigger community of Woodland Park (big box stores such as Walmart and City Market) plus all services is about 30 – 45 minute away, similar to what we now have in De Beque.This could be a winner, but there would be hoops to go through to make it so.

On the leg home [after our last stop in Cripple Creek] we visited The Lot. Here we distributed some old bread products for the chipmunks and squirrels and let out dog Jo to stretch her legs. The weather both days was great with lots of sun and decent temperatures. There was very little snow on The Lot and the stop made for a nice break. Then it was off for the long ride home.

Trips like this help us define what it is that we are looking for in a retirement home. Our wish list includes at least one bed/bath on the main level, a lot big enough for the dogs and cats to run and still be safe, a garage or storage building (sadly lacking in most properties we’ve looked at) and access to services such as grocery shopping, medical and veterinarian services, and good access to job markets. And last, affordable on a retirement income. We have yet to find a place with all of these features but we will keep up the hunt.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Trips like this help us define what we can afford in a retirement home. I’ve pretty much given up on a lake, pond, or stream view.  Homes with that feature are definitely out of our price range, both in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest.

While driving around the last house in Cripple Creek (South 1st Street) we did hail and talk to the near neighbor of the property.  She was so kind as to give me her e-mail address once we struck up a conversation (that included her cat rescue efforts in Cripple Creek).  I’ve e-mailed her several times with questions we didn’t think to ask at our initial drive-by. Nice.

Happy Trails.

PS:

Since I wrote this post the house has disappeared from the market listings, reason unknown. Bummer!

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Posted in General |
November 10th, 2017

Big news in our part of the world…the new Grand Avenue Bridge opened for traffic last Tuesday.

Monday afternoon saw a “pedestrian walk” event scheduled as the grand opening; all area workers and residents were invited to walk across the bridge before it opened to auto traffic. Scheduled for 4:00 PM, I made plans to attend.

I don’t know how many people the organizers planned on but an estimated 3,000 people showed up for the walk. (I heard a couple hundred was the expected turnout.) Brief remarks were scheduled followed by a ribbon cutting; the walk was to begin at about 4:10 – 4:15.

I finally started walking at about 4:35, still don’t know what the hold-up was but it was getting dark and a cold wind was blowing. I saw several people heading back off the bridge rather than wait any longer but eventually all the walkers did get across.

Here are a few photos of the event plus the front page of the local newspaper.

Headline – Local Paper

People gathering on bridge before opening. (Charles Engelbert)

View of march from bridge level.

Having the bridge functioning, particularly during the morning and evening commuting hours, is a great relief for anyone who has to work in Glenwood Springs. Commuting times immediately returned to normal, eliminating the (often long) backups on the side roads that had served as detour routes. It helps make our commute much easier and quicker and we are very happy the contractors were able to open the bridge 10 days ahead of schedule. Generally good weather and a $25,000.00 per day contractor bonus for every day the bridge opened ahead of schedule undoubtedly helped!

Looking ahead, we are planning an overnight trip this weekend to the Woodland Park area of Colorado, not that far away from Colorado Springs. Pam has located a couple of interesting properties  in the area that we will drive by and look at. On the way home we will stop by The Lot and check it out. More on this trip, with photos, in my next post.

In a few unrelated events, here are a couple miscellaneous photos that don’t really belong to any large topic. The first is the back of our RAV4 after a shopping trip showing how convenient it is to have a small wagon, and the second is Laax, Switzerland, where daughter Felicity concluded a 5-week house sit.

RAV4 after a shopping trip

Laax, Switzerland (stock photo)

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Thanks for birthday greetings.  Another year – yippee.

Heard from Toby.  His first week working for the Tribe is going OK; there is an employee cafeteria to which he has access for a minimal fee, definitely a bonus. Full benefits and a retirement program makes us happy. He is [finally] “adulting.”

Felicity’s current house sit in England (she flew there after the Switzerland house sit) is near the ancient site of Sutton Hoo. Which is on her “to visit” list, but actually getting to Sutton Hoo using the local bus system will require a walk of a little over a mile from the last bus connection. Felicity contrasts British transportation connections to the Swiss transportation system – Switzerland wins.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
November 5th, 2017

It has been a quiet week and I’m at a loss for words to make into an interesting post. Here is a rundown on the routine and mundane that makes up a large part of our lives.

This weekend saw the second major leaf clean-up for the fall. Taking care of two lots, ours and our snow-bird neighbors, takes some effort and time. Some of the leaves went into flower beds as mulch, the rest taken to the drop-off point provided by the town. There is one last push to do for the season but the bulk of the leaves are off the trees so the last push should be just a tidy-up job.

In kid news, our son Toby is starting a new job with a Native American casino opening in his home town of South Bend. The job (shipping and receiving) is full time with benefits, benefits Toby has not had since he moved to Indiana. We hope this works out OK for him.

Felicity is currently in the United Kingdom and will be there for the next few weeks. When she does return to the States she has a couple more house-sits arranged in the Portland, OR area and will not be back into her Vancouver, WA digs until mid-January. Felicity reports it feels comfortable being in England again and the town where she house sits has at least three good pubs including one that serves very good food. Sounds like she is enjoying herself.

My mother has reduced her in-home care down to days rather than 24 hour care. This saves her a lot of money without a great loss of coverage; she does wear one of those “emergency call” buttons to summon help if something does happen that she cannot handle. Mom would like to stay in her own home as long as possible. We’ll have to see how long that might be but for now she is doing OK.

Closer to home, most people who read this blog know Pam and I commute a long distance to work. The commute has been complicated recently by a bridge replacement project in Glenwood Springs (which is where both jobs are located.) Good news: The replacement bridge is scheduled to open for limited traffic this coming Tuesday, 10 days ahead of schedule. The opening should help reduce the commute time, both into and out of town, by at least 20 – 30 minutes in each direction. We had changed our schedules to try to make the best of the situation but are getting pretty tired of the seemingly endless delays the construction project has caused.

Opening the bridge will not be the end of it; the associated interchanges, roundabouts, signage, and even putting the lines on the roadways is on-going and will take another year to complete fully. The bridge will be surfaced with a new type of polyester concrete that requires warmer temperatures to install so we can look forward to periodic bridge closures running into next spring or early summer. Still, opening of the new structure will help ease the constraints imposed by the project.

City of Aspen folks are looking at the early bridge opening with hope as ski traffic into the resorts will use the new bridge through Glenwood Springs for access. There’s a lot of money on the line for the resorts and businesses that depend on easy access. Without traffic flow up valley the area ski industry will suffer.

Here’s an artist representation of what the bridge and intersections should look like when completed:

New bridge across Colorado River in Glenwood Springs. (Colorado Dept. of Transportation.)

Life moves ahead but — absent our trips into the high country — the weeks get pretty routine. Hopefully next week will have a bit more news to report!

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in.

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

My mail order tulip bulbs arrived last week. All 100 were carefully placed in “The Mary Lynn Garden,” a corner spot in memory of my best friend who succumbed to cancer in August.  Extra soil blankets the bulbs, plus lots of leaf mulch. The corner should bloom spectacularly in the Spring.

Outside flower beds and yard look tidy but sad.  Everything tucked away for the winter, brown leaves mulched into flowerbed cover, bare trees – unsaid but anticipated is the “s” word (s-n-o-w).

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
October 29th, 2017

Last week I took a trip back to Wisconsin to visit my mother. I can’t say the trip was very exciting but one has to keep the family fences somewhat mended.

My mother is living at home with caregivers helping out. The caregivers make meals, do laundry, and generally help Mom with tasks she can no longer do on her own. This arrangement seems to be working well but is expensive. Mom said she will reduce her care from 24 hours to a lower level, probably days only, now that a routine has been established and she knows what she can and cannot do on her own. My sister Sienna lives in the area and also stops in frequently to keep an eye on Mom.

The trip (2,597 miles in total) was just a lot of miles on the road. Good thing the CD player was working! Weather was not bad but was cold and windy the entire trip. There were only a few hours the first day that I did not have heat on inside the car. On the way home I ran into some rain around Des Moines and there was fresh snow in the Denver foothills and eastern slope.

Mom has decided to sell some of the land she still owns. There are two river-front lots (Black River) that are within the Greenwood city limits that have been surveyed and are ready for sale. My brother Jon (whom I visited at his house in Stoddard, Wisconsin this trip) made this sign for the first lot:

Jon’s Lot for Sale sign

Proceeds from the sale of the lot(s) would go toward Mom’s care and ease the settlement of the estate when she passes. We hope the lots sell in the next few months.

Other than driving and family visits the trip did not yield much in the way of entertainment. I did make a quick stop at a museum I had passed many times during previous trips; the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington, Nebraska. I found the museum contains more than vehicles; the museum also has uniforms, munitions, small and large weapons (mortars and howitzers, for example) and would be of interest to anyone interested in WWI and WWII history. They also has a couple Huey helicopters that were used in Vietnam. There is a lot to see as the place is much larger than it appears from I-80. Here are a couple photos:

Part of the munitions collection

Crawler tractor pulled large weapons and supply wagons

The rest of the trip was uneventful with few slow spots due to construction or accidents. The one exception was an accident on the interstate going through Omaha; I had stop-and-go traffic for several miles until a 3-car accident was pulled from traffic lanes.

As this trip began on Monday and I arrived home Friday night there isn’t much of anything else to report. At home there are Fall chores such as raking leaves and cleaning out flower beds. Pam did buy a new lot of tulip bulbs that will be planted later today. Grocery shopping, a routine weekend task, is also on today’s To Do list.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Penny’s Worth:

In many respects, the past week was actually my vacation for the year.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
October 21st, 2017

Last Tuesday I drove up to The Lot and brought The Box home for the winter. Weather was perfect for Fall, sunny, high in the 60s, no wind, blue skies. However there was measurable snow on Hoosier Pass and ice was rimming some of the streams and lakes. Summer is very definitely over.

Our snow-bird neighbors, Jim and Jolene, left for their Winter home in Arizona last week. The Box sits in the spot Jim normally parks their Class A motorhome. We still need to get all the dry food items out of The Box and finish winterizing it but that will be a weekend day task. It’s getting dark so early now that when we get home around 6:00 PM there isn’t much time to do outside tasks; weekends are busy getting all the various jobs and chores done.

I will be driving to Wisconsin this upcoming week to visit my mother. Just an out and back, no side trips planned. I’ll leave on Monday and be back home on Friday or Saturday. I hope the weather cooperates!

A couple of posts back I included a photo of a badger. After I took the still shot I recorded a short (32 seconds) video clip of the little critter. Like the photo, the video was taken from inside the car at maximum zoom on my iPhone so the quality is not the greatest.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

(Looks better if you view it full-screen.)

The new Mac computer has a different version of iMovie on it with a different interface so it is taking me some time to re-learn the program. The new Mac renders and saves video clips much faster than the old Mac which is a greatly appreciated feature.

There is not much else going on right now, probably a good thing as we transition from Summer to Fall chores. We have had a few below-freezing nights where we covered most of the outdoor plants and they seem to have survived OK. It would be nice to get several more days or weeks of Fall-like weather, at least through Halloween and perhaps beyond.

The manuals have arrived for the Oliver OC-3 crawler. To my surprise the parts manual is a factory original 1959  version; the owner’s/service manual is a good copy and I had expected the parts manual would be a copy as well. Nice surprise. The manuals contain basic and advanced information such as what oil to use, recommended spark plugs, lubrication points, and other basic maintenance stuff as well as more advanced repair procedures. They will be good guides as I move along on trying to get the Oliver to run.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Bru (middle dog) suffered through a dental cleaning + extractions at the vet on Thursday.  This is the dog with high anxiety at the vet during a routine exam, so Bru had a pretty rotten day.  A total of eight teeth were loose in her gums.  Also a fatty lump was removed on her leg.  It’s always something.

I found the house of my dreams!  Take a look and you will know why I love this house.  The idea of living in Cripple Creek?  Not so much – especially in winter.  This lovely home has a beautiful front porch where one can sit and look at — the back of the casino.  Fields says we cannot buy it.  But I can think about it…

117 Prospect Avenue, Cripple Creek, CO

Attractive house in Cripple Creek

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
October 15th, 2017

Although the temperatures have been a bit cool, this weekend has been a great Fall weekend. We have had lots of sun, a light breeze, blue skies, and the Fall colors are still present along the Colorado River and tributaries.

I did fire up the furnace for the first time this season as overnight lows dropped into the upper 20 degree range. (The outside cat water dishes froze pretty solid last night.) Even though I had vacuumed out the vents and put a new filter in the furnace, the first time or two it runs we get that “dusty” smell out of the vents. It can’t be helped, I guess.

Yesterday afternoon I took an ATV ride into Wild Horse Mesa (after completing various routine chores). Here are a couple photos from that ride:

Rock formation – Wild Horse Mesa

Colorado River Valley from Wild Horse Mesa

It was a very pleasant, if cool, afternoon to go for a ride.

All the Sanderling firewood for the season has been delivered to our local friend.  She reports she’s already heating her rescue pet building with it on these cooler nights.

Closer to home, I have begun some preliminary work on the OC-3 crawler tractor. I removed, cleaned, and rebuilt the carburetor but have not yet reinstalled it; that will be one of today’s tasks. I have a set of manuals on the way which should help me move ahead on repairs. Some general clean-up is about all I have done for far, but I did remove the spark plugs and put some penetrating oil into the cylinders. This should help the engine turn over a bit easier when I get to that point.

Pam’s retirement house hunt has turned up an interesting listing: there is a small church for sale in an out-of-the way Washington town.

Church for sale in Wilkeson, WA

Here is the link to the full listing which includes 13 photos. On acreage with a stream, the building is 1,200 square feet (rather small) and not very ornate inside. This used to be Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church out of the Seattle Archdiocese in its previous life.  Nearest large town, Puyallup (Pew-all-up), is about a 20 – 30 minute drive away. Not exactly what we had in mind, but an interesting idea to contemplate. An internet search turned up several ideas on how to divide and decorate what is basically a rectangular box into an attractive and functional living space. We have been looking for unusual architecture…

I’m planning a solo driving trip back to Wisconsin to visit my mother. This would be during the last full week of October and needs to be a quick out-and-back visit with no side trips. Lots of driving involved (yippee – Nebraska)  but any later in the year and weather starts to become a real factor. More on this in my next post.

That’s about it. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Hey-ho, we get another ten minutes of Fall.  I’ve been scoping out pet heaters for the garage cats, quite a gang of young’uns out there this year. Time for the heated outside water bowl too, I guess.  I mentally resist this change of seasons — but — resistance is futile.

Contemplating changes in 2018, the house hunt being only one of several factors at play.  Employment issues at work appear to be pushing me toward semi-retirement earlier than I had originally planned. (I’m trying to listen to The Universe, as my departed friend Mary always advised me to do.) Watch this space.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
October 6th, 2017

Fall is here in a big way. We have had our first high desert frost of the season and snow flakes fell in Glenwood Springs where we both work. I-70 passes (Vail and Eisenhower) were closed due to snow last week. Mountain tops are now white with fresh snow.

Of course, it’s colder and snowier up at Sanderling. I had been to The Lot last weekend and pretty much shut down The Box, emptying the holding tanks and draining the water. All the “freezable” stuff like liquid soaps, canned goods, and lotions and potions were brought home. I have not brought The Box down from the high country yet, though, as we don’t have off-street parking for it until our snowbird neighbors head back to Arizona. They let us park The Box on their property in the same spot they normally park their Class-A motorhome. I did bring home the chipper, as I decided not to over-winter it on The Lot.

Here are some Fall color photos taken over the last couple of weeks.

Mosquito Range across South Park

Driveway at dusk with moon rise

Link Ridge hillside as seen from our driveway

A walkabout at Sanderling revealed some damage from a recent wind storm. We found a couple trees that were snapped off at the base, perhaps from a microburst:

Wind snapped this aspen off at the base

Elsewhere on The Lot we can now enjoy the results of our last chip-spreading activity. This inviting path leads up to The Nook:

Chips spread on The Nook footpath

It’s time to begin Fall chores at the high desert elevation, such as raking leaves, cutting the last of the firewood, winterizing the swamp cooler, getting the AC unit out of the bedroom window. Night arrives much earlier now; there are some chores that have to wait until weekends to get done. Wood cutting is one of them. And maybe I will have a chance to work on the OC-3 crawler.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Penny Worth:

I think we had maybe 15 minutes of Fall weather before it started feeling like Winter.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
September 23rd, 2017

Well. We had planned to go to Sanderling this Saturday morning but it is raining steadily here plus there is a 100 percent chance of rain at The Lot. Change of plans…do what we can around the house today and try for a one-day round trip tomorrow.

This is the peak of “color” season so we want to get out and enjoy the scenery before the leaves fall off the trees. Plus we need to get one more load of wood home, bring back the old Honda, and start bringing home tools such as the chainsaw, rakes, and other gear that we don’t over-winter on-site.

Around the house, I’ve upgraded my Macintosh computer system, replacing my old 2001 Mac Pro with a late 2013 Mac Pro. It is nice to have the higher speeds and run all the latest software. Apple stopped supporting the old system some time ago so it was time to update.

Late 2013 Mac Pro (Internet file)

Our internet speeds are dependent on the number of people in our area who are on-line simultaneously; the only area provider over-subscribes the lines and response time can get really slow. At least now the computer speed is not the bottleneck it was – but – there are times when the service is frustrating.

There are not many other projects going on at the moment. I put the utility trailer back together; a new tire replaced the one that blew out on my trip home from Omaha with the OC-3 and the stake sides have been put back in their pockets. We had work done on the new Honda; a wheel alignment appointment turned up other problems with the front sway bar and a non-Honda wheel, not concentric, was causing a vibration in the steering wheel. All these issues have been fixed but we also had to replace two tires that had strange wear patterns as a result of these issues. Not cheap; we have a good independent mechanic shop that does the work I don’t want to take on and I am confident the repairs were done correctly. Just money, right?

All told it was a quiet week, work is about normal and we are getting used to the detours required until the new bridge into Glenwood Springs is finished. If we get up to The Lot tomorrow for a one-day-quick-trip, I may have a few fall color photos to add to this post. If not, photos will be in the next post.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Routine for me as well. Bru’s 8th birthday is Monday, all three dogs go to the vet on Tuesday for annual checkups. Blondie has a lump on her neck that needs to be checked out – she had a lump on her side last year that needed to be surgically removed.

We were in the initial stages of planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest in October, but events are changing, and it looks like we will reschedule that into the Spring.  In the Spring, Felicity can come here to watch the pets/house in exchange for us using her house in Vancouver, Washington as a trip base. A bit disappointed we won’t be traveling in October, but it makes financial sense to wait. Motel prices for overnights keep going up and up, particularly if traveling with dogs.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
September 18th, 2017

There isn’t a lot of news this time but I’ll cover what there is. Main items – my mother is home and we continue to work on The Lot.

Last weekend Pam and I went to The Lot and put in a few hours of work. Our agenda was not full; all we really wanted to get done was spread chips from my last chipping session and bring home a load of firewood. These tasks were finished and I managed to work in another chipping session, chipping a pile of brush I had stacked a couple weeks ago. Those chips were also spread on a walking path.

This weekend we will be home as I have an office function to attend; our annual appreciation dinner is scheduled for this Saturday, the 16th.

My mother is back in her own home after her medical episode, but with 24-hour care. Mom seems to be happy to be home but objects to the 24 hour coverage she is getting. (Given her medical history I think the coverage is a good thing.) At any rate, my brother Jon and sister Sienna oversaw some modifications to the home, such as installing a shower in the main level bathroom and putting a bed where the dining table used to be on the main floor. These changes will make it easier for Mom to live on a single level rather than having to go up and down steps to get to a bathroom, shower, or bed. We’ll see how this works out long-term.

Good news from friends and family in Florida; everybody we know came through with no major hurricane damage although Jeff Hayes (Pam’s classmate and friend) lost power for a week. With temperatures getting back into the 90 degree range and high humidity, the loss of air conditioning made sleeping very difficult. We breathed a sigh of relief after receiving word from my niece, Jennifer, who lives near Florida’s west coast (Gulf side) and learned they had not even lost electrical power. They had some damage due to storm winds but nothing as serious as in southern parts of the state. We hope it is a long time before anther storm of this magnitude hits Florida – but – the water in the Atlantic is very warm this year.

The mountains in Southwestern Colorado received a dusting of snow the other night. Is it that time of year again? Fall colors are becoming more prevalent with the peak coming in about two weeks. Although the timing is normal for the change of seasons, it seems this summer was much too short for Fall to be upon us already!

One event that brought a chuckle, even though it was a serious accident: A load of hogs overturned on Interstate 70 near Glenwood Springs (where both of us work). Considering we are dealing with a 90+ day bridge closure into the city, it’s amusing to see a road closure of another sort. Here’s a photo from the local paper:

Accident on I-70 left hogs walking around

I’ve begun creating a Gallery page for the Oliver OC-3 tractor. Not much there yet as I’ve not had time to do any work on it, but I have assembled a few photos and old ads that I found on the internet.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Snow. Ugh. Flurries are in the forecast for next weekend’s color viewing at Sanderling. Time to start wrapping up operations in the high country, bringing home pantry items that might freeze, emptying tanks on the RV.

I wonder if the local cat population knows something about the weather that we don’t? I almost always have some wild kittens at my Fall/Winter feeders from Summer litters.  This year somewhere between 8-10 feral kittens are already hanging out in the garage at night, near the food and water center. I will try to feed as many of them as survive through the Winter plus provide warmth and shelter.  But, if they all stick around, I will need the help of the local shelter to have them spayed and neutered.  When the kittens are older next Spring, I can try to find barn or ranch homes for them.  That type of outdoor life is not an easy one for cats, and there is a high mortality rate.  But the mean streets of De Beque provide death traps as well — such as when cats climb into machinery and are injured, or are hit by cars. Feral cats have been a constant in De Beque, ever since we moved here 11 years ago.

Happy Trails.

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Posted in General |
September 6th, 2017

A while back I mentioned I would be looking for a small crawler tractor to use on The Lot for pulling around the brush chipper and firewood trailer. Well, now I have one that I really didn’t want.

I bid on this particular tractor thinking my bid was low and I would not win the bidding. Oops! I received a call from the auction house, located in Omaha, informing me that I had the high bid and when would I be coming to get it? I drove to Omaha on Sunday, August 26, and brought the tractor home on Monday, August 27.

1953 Oliver OC3 at home

Tractor, bucket, and blade at auction site

Loading OC3

Loaded up, ready to head home

Pam is NOT happy about this and has dubbed the tractor “The Spirit of De Beque”  and threatens to turn it into yard art, complete with flowers on the seat. It was not a good move on my part to bid on a unit I could not examine myself but now that I have it I am going to try and get it running.

What I have is a 1953 Oliver OC-3 crawler tractor equipped with a Ware (brand name) 3WI bucket loader and bulldozer blade. While it might be nice to have these items I don’t really need or want them; I just wanted a basic tractor. However, checking eBay I see the loader and blade selling for several hundred dollars and it may be I can sell these parts to help pay for repairs.

Loading in Omaha was accomplished using a forklift. The bucket and blade were loaded into the back of the F-150 and the tractor on my utility trailer. The trip home was uneventful, if not real fast.

Once home I used my 8N Ford tractor to pull the OC-3 off the trailer;  a neighbor who owns a skid-steer helped me unload the bucket and blade.

There is a ton load of work to be done. Biggest problem is that the engine is missing a critical part, the magneto that supplies “spark” to the spark plugs. I did not realize this when I placed my bid or I would have bid a lot less. Rebuilt magnetos are available for about $325.00, ouch. On the positive side there is oil in the crankcase and the engine can be turned with the aid of a wrench so the engine is not frozen. I think I could get it running if I had a good magneto.

Does this mean the tractor could be useful at that point? Probably not; a lot of maintenance is required for a tractor that has been sitting outside for an unknown period of time. Some of the tasks include installing a battery, rewiring the basic electrical system, replace radiator hoses, repair and adjust the clutch linkage, replace all hydraulic hoses, grease and lubricate all pivot points and rollers. These are just some of the tasks that need to be completed provided I can get the engine to fire. It will be some time before the tractor will be ready to do any work, if ever.

Work on this rig will be a common theme in future posts and I plan to start a dedicated web page in my “Toys” section on my web site. I’m sure readers of these notes will be hanging on every word…. 🙂

In other news, work continues at The Lot. We are nearing the end of the season with only a few more work weekends planned. Fall colors are already present and night time temps have dropped into the mid-40s. Normally I bring The Box home in early October by which time low temps are consistently below freezing.

More chipping has been done, pretty much finishing Homestead Acre. This weekend we plan to spread the chips from this chipping session, a job that requires shoveling and raking to finish. We will bring back a load of firewood, probably the second to last of the season. (I have more than one load stacked up.) Work on other parts of The Lot has resulted in quite a few piles of both firewood and brush stacked here and there. (I need the OC-3 running to get the chipper to some of these brush piles.)

Photos of my last trip:

Sidelight accentuates rock’s red tinge

Trees cut, now to haul out and pile

Ready to load up and take home

Large pile of wood for chipping, base of Grassy Ridge

Even with a hit-and-miss summer schedule, spending fewer days on The Lot than planned, quite a bit was accomplished. Probably more surface area was cleared than in many past years, including Homestead Acre and The Grassy Ridge. Plenty of firewood was moved out, about three cords, which is enough for our friend Kathy to get through the winter; this is about our regular annual harvest.

This time of year is the best time to be in the high country. During my last trip I saw antelope, deer, and spotted a badger. The badger photo is not very crisp as I took it from inside my car at maximum zoom with my iPhone, but I do have to say these critters have attractive faces.

Badger face

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking in!

Pam’s Two Cents Worth:

Did Fields mention The Spirit of De Beque weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 pounds? Dangerous. Unnecessary.

Fall aspen changing color in the high country is equally as beautiful as fresh green Spring in the high country. Looking forward to it.

Happy Trails.

 

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