Sunday, May 14, 2017

This is the video for the previous page that I couldn't figure out how to correctly insert.

video
This is from the previous page :D

Hiking the hill to the east of home.

 This is a view of the hill to the East and just a smidge south of the house. I decided to walk there.


 I like this little tree sentinel that is standing all by itself on the hill in the morning sun.


 This is looking toward the volcanic basalt rock flow that heads west and onto our property.


 This is a little view to the South as I was heading up the hill. Lots of fun views all around.


This is looking back toward home as I was heading up. The twins are a landmark for us.


 One needs to always stop to smell the flowers, in this case a cactus that's just about to bloom.


 Way up on the hill the Indian Paintbrush are just starting to bloom, this one is all prepped for beauty.


 This is a look down the vertical side facing the south, a short step to a long drop! Gotta watch out.


Here's a video of the 360 degree view from the top of the hill (the one on the south side of the two). On the hill that is on the North side of the two there's a little jar with paper and pencil for folks to put their name and location on. Several of those are on hills around here, it's kinda fun. I was the first person to put a name on it for this year.


Here I'm coming back down the hill, looking toward home again. This side is really steep!


 This is a view back up the hill I just walked/stumbled down. I sure wouldn't want to go up this way!


And finally a view of the hill I climbed up, after coming back down. The light is sure different here.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

TSA Pre-Check

Last week we accomplished the TSA Pre Check procedure.

To do it you go to: https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/programs/precheck

It's 4 or 5 pages that you fill out online, then it directs you to a appointments page where you select a TSA service location, and you set up an appointment. Here's an important tip, we set up our appointments for an AM time. A person might want to set an afternoon appointment instead, as the location we visited also did drug tests for businesses. This tends to clog up the morning shift. The nice lady in Colorado Springs told us that, "in an hour it'll be all cleared out". SO, do yourself a favor and set up for the afternoon, go have a nice breakfast, shop a bit etc.

If you have a valid drivers license and a passport for ID, that's all you need. That and the $85. I'd suggest getting the passport first, as that can be a bit more of a hurdle.

At the appointment, they check your IDs, check through your submitted info, and finger print you. And it's not like the old finger printing with the ink and stuff. This is new, fancy stuff with a scan pad. Then they take your money, non-refundable so don't apply if you have felony's. :D

It took a total of 4 days to get the result, which they email you. There's no card or anything, it's an assigned number that you have to have handy when making reservations and such. Most airlines will use it and the number gets cleverly implanted into the bar code of a given boarding pass. Often, if you're a frequent traveler (or belong to a rewards program) they'll keep your number on file for future travel.

It's a little extra work to add your numbers to existing reservations, but South West makes it easy and even our little local airline (Boutique out of Alamosa) can do it if you're patient and have your info handy.

The website makes the point that have a KTN does not mean you'll never get strip searched and anal probed, but it's much less likely.

Hope that's helpful. :D

Saturday, April 22, 2017




Happy Earth Day to one and all. This is the view from our front window this morning. The sun is just coming up, starting to strike our solar array to power the batteries that keep us humming. The coffee is perking on the stove and there's a soft tick.... tick..... tick..... from the wood stove as it warms the house on a chilly morning here in the San Juan mountains of southern Colorado. I've been out to let the chickens into the pound yard so they can scratch around doing their chicken thing. The cottonwoods are starting to bud and it looks like several of the fruit trees we planted last year are going to have made it through the winter. At my feet on the coffee table are several starter plants Crys got to make hanging baskets for out in the yard and the bright orange poppies look pretty cheerful. The coffee's warm, the creek is starting to sub up, and the birds are chirping. Guess I'll build that second chicken coop today, and maybe heat up the wood fired sauna for this evening. Here's hoping your day is as good as ours.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mt Vesuvius in a Barrel Sauna

Sometimes...... I amaze even myself. Today a friend of ours is coming out to hang out. (Being in the middle of no where this is a rather rare occurrence). So we're getting the place ready for hanging out. Got some beers on ice, got the sauna going, put a fire in the fire pit down by the creek, untangled the hammocks. The usual for a gathering.

The amazing part? I decided to use the hose to fill the hot water tank that hangs on the front of the wood fired sauna heater. Now we saunaed yesterday..... and there were still coals in the wood chute when I got up at 4:30 AM so I just put in some wood to keep it going at a soft, warm glow. It was about 9 AM when I decided to fill the tank. ..... there I am filling away with the hose....... a burbling sound starts up..... I keep filling, it's cold water coming to temp against a pretty hot stove after all.... it'll make some noise.

I keep filling...... it's starting to sound angry now...... then, all of a sudden the entire filling envelope starts to sound like the angriest set of pipes in history. It's knocking, burbling, belching...... I back up.

A second and a half later the entire width of the filling envelope (about 18" wide and an inch across) ERUPTS in a shower of rust flakes, steam, hot orange water and this incredible sound!

I was standing far enough back. Thank goodness I had the hose to wash out from having shit my pants when it went off.

Safety tip? Take your time filling the water jacket. It gets angry.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

We're back home. :D Went up to Denver on Friday for my Local 111 IBEW Executive Board meeting, followed by the 2017 Policy Committee meeting for the same good bunch. My business manager suggested we look professional. Here's a hint for everyone, I do NOT look either comfortable or better dressed up. One really never should wear either shoes you can't run away in, or clothing you can be choked to death with.
BUT, they would accept my showing up in a kilt if I had a button down shirt. I went to SportKilts and bought their formal kilt package, found a good shirt and a diamond point bow tie to go with, got all the accessories and went that way.
It was fun. Friday's meeting went well (always difficult because Xcel Energy wants 72 take aways in their opening letter for negotiations and it causes us to feel ...... less than valued. But I've decided my job is to help folks feel less attacked and more happy despite the assholes we're dealing with). Friday night was a reception where we got to meet, gather and chat. We personally followed that with a trip to the Station 26 Tap Room a block or two away. I recommend it, that was a lot of fun.
Saturday morning, I had to learn to tie a bow tie. That's uTube :D. I did get it done. Seems folks liked my outfit, and I had fun wearing it. The meeting was from folks from units from all over Colorado and one from Wyoming. As usual, it's supportive to find that the challenges are the same just about everywhere. I met nice, new folks. They all care about working hard, and being treated in a humane way with decent compensation while you help a company and its shareholders make millions. Seems fair to us. Saturday night Crys and I walked a mile or so to Casey's Irish Pub and had a great dinner, I even found a sports store on the walk back and got a nice new wooden bat. (much more quiet than a gun, and as long as you carry a glove with it, it's a nice thing to have in the trunk of your car).
Sunday we got up early and drove home after breakfast at McCoys on Federal and I-70. We love that place. And now we're home and setting in. Marian S. took good care of our kitties and we've now lit a good fire to warm up the house. I got to spend the weekend with folks I admire, respect, and in some cases just flat out LOVE. We will find ourselves telling stories and sharing the joys and sorrows of the folks we've worked and fought with. Crys remarked that it's pretty fun to watch us. She says it's kind of amazing in her words, "no one there is acting tough, because every one of you simply IS tough". I think that says it well.
In a year or so we may all be leaning on each other if we have to go on strike for decent treatment. I like knowing that if I have to battle (?) I have the best battle companions I've ever met. And the best partner in the world to go through it with.
It's good to be home. I don't really socialize well. I manage it, and with this bunch that accept me (not that easy to do) it's much simpler, I even find myself enjoying it from time to time. I do love the quiet though.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring snows

This morning we woke up to an inch or so of delightful snow. It was chilly in the house, and the wind was blowing, gently.

Thanks to our climbers from Los Alamos, NM, we had some beers for the sauna. (Sauna day had to move from Friday to Saturday due to work and the Friday night concert in Buena Vista). We had a nice time chatting with them. They were camped in Pentitente Canyon last night. I'm betting it was a chilly morning in camp. They're here again today, and I see that they have a pop up camper so it might have had the heater kick on last night. We told 'em they're welcome to set up here if they wish.

The sauna was good, started out at 140 degrees F. and went down as we enjoyed sitting in the wet, lovely heat. We've really enjoyed that thing, it's a nice addition to the mix of stuff to do around here. It's also helping me work through the slab wood we bought several years ago and never really used for the wood stove. It's kinda cool having a ready bunk of well sized wood for the fire box. I just have to chainsaw it to length a little bit. And who doesn't love getting to use the chainsaw?

Last weekend we set up for our summer visitors. It's nice to have that all set.

We'll probably get moving around before too long, but there's no rush. It's chilly and windy out. Ain't nobody got time for that.