Further Up! Further In! Poudre Canyon and North Park.

Illinois River. 
Took a day in the high country today. Started out early. There never quite seems to be enough time. Might have to go up and spend a few nights sometime soon.
Drove through the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge. Pretty quiet except for these White-tailed Prairie Dogs.
Took a long walk through the extensive Sage Brush Steppe country hoping to find Greater Sage Grouse and White-tailed Jackrabbit. 
All I found was these.
 And these.
 Along Willow Creek, Illinois River and other riparian areas are thick Willow Carrs. 
I need some of this willow for projects. But it sure has lovely color in winter.
 This very old sign was in a State Wildlife Area near the old Kinnikinik Store.
Look closely. Only one bullet hole. That’s pretty amazing.
 I can always find Townsend’s Solitaire’s here. Always singing.
 Further down the canyon, along the river I stopped and meandered along side roads where there were big  stands of pines, fir, spruce and junipers.
Found this cutie – Brown Creeper.
And Oh Happy Day!
Golden-crowned Kinglet. Three of them. Look at the back of it’s head. There is a tiny bit of red.  
I spent a delightful half an hour with these beauties that never stopped chit-chatting to each other. They were quite curious about me too. This was my first opportunity to photograph these little gems. An absolute treat.
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I Should Go To The Woods

I should go to the woods
And breathe the fresh air
Walk along old dirt roads
Then drop all my cares
I should revel in sunshine
Or kick around leaves
Watch woodpeckers hammer
At cracks in the trees
I should sit down for a while
On a stump or a rock
Forget about time
Ignore all the clocks
Just listen to the silence
To the birds while they sing
To hear what God’s saying
Oh the peace that will bring
I like to watch leaves fall
Hear their crunch underfoot
See a weasel run swiftly
Then dash under a root
Take a deep breath of pine scent
Mixed with rich spruce and fir
Damp earth, rocks and wood
Fills my senses for sure
The quiet it calms me
His presence directs me
Reminds me He’s got it
And I’ll be okay.

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Working Towards Recovery #1

I am still amazed at how much damage the tremendous force of water can do. 
Here is the front yard garden, berm, and native grassland before the flood.
During the flood – waters are low and receding.
The same area after the flood. The fence and four cords of wood were behind the stacked flat rock.
The berm, washed out and covered with driveway gravel.
How it looks today after about 8 hours of bobcat work. I’ve re-planted 3 trees that we removed on the right edge.
 Here is my backyard pond before the flood.
After the flood. No fish were left in the pond, but the 3 wild frogs were still there.
After Anna, Mom and Lauren helped me clean it out. Only one of the 3 large decorative stumps I had were still around. The little Bosnian Pine is left from the berm.
I am so thankful for the help we’ve gotten in putting things back together.
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Summertime Fun

This morning, day two of our Tile Job, I was able to go upstairs since the floor dried, look down, and this is what my new floor looks like before grout. Oh. My. Word. Lovely.
Here is a close up of the detail work done around trim, heaters and such. Nice.
Manuel begins applying the grout. Divine I tell you, simply divine.
 Most of the living room was grouted today. 
 After many days of our house being out of sorts waiting for this to happen, and now that it’s happening, it’s good. But it is amazing how tiring it is living on the patio and having your fridge and freezer keep you company out there. Maggie and I went for a drive, we saw this tree. There were many, many LIVE trees. But this dead cottonwood caught my eye. Al? Are you listening?
 Here she is, concentrating, driving, keeping us safe. Far, far from any traffic. Note green pastures and pasty skies – smoky skies.
 Here I am teaching my eleventh child how to drive.
We had a nice dinner at Asian Cafe and when we got home the guys were gone. The bathroom took most of the time today. How many angled cuts out of the tile on the right of the heater?
 Five angles on this cut tile.
 Back in the living room, mostly grouted. 
 A close up. Such cool stuff Saltillo Tile.
 Inside the “closet” next to the fire place in the living room.
Maggie and the dogs and I grabbed some ice cream and settled in for a session of Heartland. Who wants ice cream??
 Kevin loves watching TV. Which we are doing upstairs, because everything is out of the house down stairs.
That’s all. Goodnight.
Al will be home from Albuquerque Friday. He’s missing all the fun!
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Chicken House!

It’s been a long time since I’ve had chickens.
We have this huge wood pile that was left here when we moved in.
My wonderful husband sorted, de-nailed, and stacked.
 Reclaimed wood ready to go.
We raked out and leveled the spot. The building has begun! The house will be 8 x 12.
 Walls are up!
Al’s getting some help with the siding. Look how awesome! The roofing was left here too.
Eeeeeee! Check out the inside.
My turn – floor painted with 3 coats to seal it.
 We covered the windows in heavy duty wire and hung them on hinges with chains to hold them open and this nifty latch to keep them closed.
 The birds are in and settled, they love it!
I painted it. Every time I catch a glimpse of it I think the UPS truck is here!
 Boidies enjoying the sunshine.
 Yard fenced, trees trimmed, wow! Between the kennel panels that were here and some from a friend I was able to make a great yard for them.
BAWWK! 
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Birding With "Lucky Al"

Al and I went out to Pawnee National Grasslands recently – he’d never been out there. It was time, so we went. Here is a lovely Lark Bunting, our state bird.
This little camouflaged beauty I believe is a Brewer’s Sparrow.
The ever present Horned Lark. Speaking of Horned Larks – we got to witness a very cool thing – part of their mating dance it seemed. Male chasing female, both in a low, running crouch, round and around and around the bushes. So fun to see bird behavior.
Oh my – Lucky Al! A stunning male Chestnut-collared Longspur, we saw four.
The beautiful McCown’s Longspur.
And. AND! We saw Mountain Plover. Lucky Al got all three grassland specialties on his first trip out. 
Lovely Swainson’s Thrush.
We drove down to Lower Latham and spotted this pair of Northern Harrier’s. The female is on a nest!
White-faced Ibis and Willet.
Close up of the Willet.
What a great day we had early spring on the prairie. I went out a few weeks later and couldn’t find any Chestnut-collared Longspurs, which was interesting. I wonder if they nest further north. 
Been out birding on the prairie lately? What did you find?
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Some Fun Utah Birds

La Sal Mountain Loop road is a great and interesting tour. The road was open and we did not see another person. 
But we saw this lovely male Dusky Grouse.
 This Crow was on a fence post in Castle Valley, part of the loop, and was making clicking sounds as he danced up and down. We couldn’t see any females, but he put on quite a show.
A Rock Squirrel, soaking up some sun.
 This bird we found in Canyonlands and I really enjoyed seeing a small flock. Only one cooperated for a photo, but it was enough. Black-throated Sparrow. Lovely.
This little interlude was very fun. Two Common Ravens being pegged by Pinyon Jays. Looks closely, can you see the jay’s mouth open in a SQUAWK?
 The Raven wasn’t to concerned, with me or the jays.
 Pinyon Jays are amazing.
 And very loud, constantly.
An amazing view off of Dead Horse Point.
If you have never been to Moab, you should go.
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Lovely Visit To Moab, Utah

Al and I recently took a mini vacation to Moab, Utah. Have you ever been there? It’s lovely. 
We stayed at Red Cliffs Lodge, see it down there? Right where the Colorado River meets the road.
We went for a one hour horseback ride and saw this sign at the stables. 
Loved it.
Our rowdy and rambunctious steeds await. Mine is the one on the far left. Sundance.
Some of the beautiful scenery we enjoyed.
Al – Cowboy Man of the West on Harley. Whoa Boy!!
Our guide Jill expounding on the wonders of the west. Check out that view, will ya?
My trusty mount again, Sundance.
 We did some driving around too, here is a pic of Castle Valley.
 And me taking photos of the wide open spaces in Canyonlands.
Of course I loved this fencing made up of dead juniper trunks and branches.
 You can’t even believe the magnitude of this scenery. 
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I Can’t Help It. More Dachsing Through The Snow Photos!

As most of you know we have received a great spring snowstorm here in Loveland.
We have 12+ inches of snow.
“Um, well, thanks for digging us pathways”
 To plow or not to plow, that is Kevin’s question.
 Plow.. I guess.
 PLOW! Says Cowboy!
 “Yee HAW! Giddy-up! GO!
 Here comes the DOG!
 Leapin’ Lizards!
 Cowboy and Greta snow racing!
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Spring Marches in at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Well I did my monthly visit to Denver Botanic Gardens in March. It was lovely.
I “discovered” these lovely ducks in Marnie’s Pavilion, but have yet to figure out what kind they are. Very cute and about the only birds I saw or heard there!
 Lovely Crabapple tree full of last seasons fruit. No robins partaking though.
And the conifers….oh my are they lovely. Speaking of Conifers, I’m taking a class there April 20th, taught by Pat Hayward. Conifers Class. I can hardly wait.
There were a few sneaky crocus flowers that I enjoyed very much.
 Such teeny exquisite beauty.
 And here is a midget kind of an Iris. Amazing.
 Little tiny spots of glory here and there.
 In some places they had names which I appreciated.
 I love this – I think it’s Little Bluestem grass – the pink stuff and more crocus coming up.
More lovely bunches.
A rather brazen group here. Makes one want to lay down next to them and have a conversation.
Snow drops I think. Wow.
 Birch and Pine Trees. Does life get any better than this?
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