Monday, November 26, 2012

The Start of an Annual Tradition

Yesterday was a much anticipated day.  Long before we moved to Colorado we had visions of the day we'd spend cutting the first Christmas tree at our new home.  We envisioned walking through the forest in freshly fallen snow, with just a few big snowflakes fluttering to the ground around us.  There would be birds in the trees and squirrels hopping amongst the pines chattering at us as we walked through their home. And then we'd find the perfect tree.  We'd cut the tree telling it how it was the chosen one and then take it home and decorate it with all of our treasured ornaments, while we cheerfully sipped at hot chocolate and munched on freshly baked treats and listened to holiday tunes by the crackling fire...

And guess what? The day didn't go quite like that.  First of all there was no snow-not even a flake tantalizing us as it melted on the warm ground. No sir,  it was probably about 60 degrees and sunny.  Nevertheless a great day for tree cutting.

Kt and I set out to Beaver Creek with our tree permit, and saw safely stashed in the back of the car and followed the many cars blazing a trail to the tree cutting area.  Happily there is room for many,we chose to turn off the main drive and make a stop first, to meet a very famous forest spokesman. Guess who we had the pleasure of meeting? None other than Smokey the Bear!

Selena and KT posing with the famous bear!

 There were some mounted trail volunteers who were dressed in the spirit of the season. Here Kt gives "Mrs. Claus a pet"

And then the search for the perfect tree began. We found a spot all to ourselves and began the hunt:

KT points toward a prospect!

Upon further inspection by her and Selena it is decided it is not the one...

There are trees of all shapes and sizes...even ones that would be perfect for a Charlie Brown Christmas show,

This prospect is too small...
 And then spotlighted by sunlight, in a glade (it really was) we see it.  The perfect tree.
Me, cutting it down ,

Dragging it to the car (it was light)

KT tieing the back of it down (she actually did and it didn't come undone)

Christmas tree hunting is hard work, we had to squelch our appetite at Zoka's -a local dog friendly  restaurant.

We obviously weren't the only hungry tree cutters. This is the parking lot at Zokas.

 And then it was homeward bound where in the evening the true show started....putting up the tree.  This tree has a mind of it's own.  It was happily standing in the stand quite straight so I ceremoniously found the tree topper star and went to put it up top.  Of course it didn't fit.

Me in my sheep pj's trying to get the star on..

  Meanwhile the tree decided enough rough housing and made a break for it. It lurched and shiver me timbers there she went!  And so did I...with a bumpity bump (Frosty would be proud).  Not to be defeated by a tree I got my stool and tried again but KT and I were laughing so hard, this time I bumped my head on the stone mantel. Ouch!  We pushed and shoved for about a half an hour, and the tree was just not having -it refused to stand any more.  We'd get it nice and straight and then it'd begin to sway and we'd grab it quickly before it toppled right over again (which I believe it did several times).  Finally I decided it must be subdued and I hogtied it with some ribbon.  I swore I heard it sigh.  And then we were able to decorate as planned except we had no fire as really was quite warm, no hot chocolate (though half way through I did decide the occasion merited a  ceasar! (or maybe that should be a seizure..)

Kt puts the first ornament on...
The little reindeer are all tired out...watching is hard work!
This one's tired too!

I can hardly wait until next weekend to put the outdoor lights up!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 PDSS Cyber Sheep Show

Look what came in the mail the other day: A certificate for our 2012 Cyber Sheep Show placements!

The PDSS does a great job with this show each year and it's a lot of fun.  Best of all you don't have to haul your sheep anywhere because it's a CYBER show-the show is judged on photographs of your sheep. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A House fit for a King..on a Paupers Budget

Wow. I've been a very negligent blogger this year. I can't believe it's October and I have only eighteen posts this year. So much for documenting the whole move and settling in process. The leaves have all fallen from the Aspens and Jack Frost is threatening to release his frosty winds and cover the ground with his ice and snow. This posed a problem-what to do with Jasper?

 Jasper has not been a good dog this year (yes Santa Paws are you listening-not a good dog). At the end of June he did a dastardly thing-he killed and ate one of our little call ducks, and mortally wounded Harry the rooster. That event has earned Jasper a lot of time tied on a chain. I don't like to tie up a dog but I will not put the lives of my ducks and chickens at risk to the whims of a dog. He probably started off just playing but playing led to death.

 Fencing Jasper out of the chicken coop is not really an option as jumping into the chicken coop isn't Jasper's only misdoing. He has also taken to jumping our perimeter fence. If he feels like going for a swim, one hop and he's over the fence and off he goes to romp and play in the creek. He also has an accomplice-our tenants pup is infatuated with Jasper and follows him wherever he goes, including over or through the fence.

 Last month they took off and didn't return. We searched high and low but the two dog had vanished. A missing dog here is extremely worrisome. We border thousands of acres of forest land and if they disappeared in there, we would be luck to find them again. Happily, a phone call to animal control found the delinquents -they had run down the busy road behind us for about two miles before being picked up. I bailed them out the next morning, and swore an end to their adventures.

 Hence more chain time for Jasper. I felt bad (even though he earned his sentence). Basically he has to be tied dusk to dawn unless I am there to supervise him. And then there was a matter of shelter? I can't leave a dog tied without shelter. I searched on local buy/sell forums but couldn't find a suitable house for him, so we opted to bite the bullet and build him his own mansion.

 Hubby was up for a week and I put him to work. We scavenged a bunch of scrap wood from piles on our property accomplishing two things; cleaning up eyesores that needed to disappear, and best of all sourced materials to build the frame of the dog house. A trip to the local hardware store proved fruitful, they had a bunch of scrap cedar siding they sold to us for 1/2 price. A few hours and many slivers later-Jaspers doghouse was born:

Framing Starts

Size Check

Using the fine woodworking tools


It's taking too long

Setting the house in place...with supervision

The finished product...yes he has a deck!

Cost breakdown:

2x4 lumber-free, scavenged from scraps
Pole skids-found on property
Cedar Siding-$25.00
Cedar roof-$25.00
Misc hardware-about $8.00

Total cost: $58.00!

And just one more thing to add...I've ordered Jasper Christmas lights to adorn his house.