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Archive for the ‘Life @ Moon Tree Ranch’ Category

New Years tree

The large snag in the center of this pic fell sometime between our new years visit of 2011 / 2012 and our visit back in April.  It was something I noticed as soon as we arrived.  Being in tune with your surroundings is something many folks miss.  A good example of this is the phase of the moon.  Ask any random person in the office or on the street and I think the far majority of them would not have a clue.  They would however be able to tell you who is on the current cover of  “People” magazine.  To me this is just sad.  When we live at the cabin we are always more in tune with nature.  I think some of this stems from having to go outside more, just like at home we go out to get firewood, but there we also go out to use the facilities  ( our sawdust composting toilet)  and to retrieve items from the cooler.  While most folk spend entire days sitting on the couch and stare dumbly at a TV.

Fallen

 

A Void in our southern horizon.

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Some possible firewood for the summer roundup.

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The fallen tree was upwards of 2 feet in diameter at its base.  Its age is still a mystery, as well as how long it has stood silent and naked waiting for its turn to return to the earth and nourish the next generation of patriarchs.  This Ponderosa was one of a handful we have on our land.   In the southwest corner of our ranch we have the “Four elders”, who are still alive and going strong, as well as the “Moontree”  from which we named our ranch.

The four elders

The four elders on the horizon and 2 youngsters in the foreground.

When we trimmed some juniper on our driveway, I cut some cross sections of the limbs which were about the size of my wrist.  After looking over them with a magnifying glass  I was seeing close to 100 growth rings per inch, putting the age of these limbs at 100 to 150 years old.  The big Ponderosas may be 500 to 1000 years old or more.

When I was building the cabin Gil stopped by one day,  as he walked past our picnic table he picked up and handed me an arrow head.  He says he has found many near our land, and along the ridge of the bigger canyon nearby.  Our little canyon is about 40 to 50 feet deep as it exits our land, the nearby bigger canyon is close to 100 feet deep.   Thousands and thousands of years of erosion,  and perhaps thousands of fallen patriarchs.

In august of last year I took my girls back to my home state of Michigan and got to visit some of my old stomping grounds.  Some of the trees we planted in my old front yard are now quite big and no longer resemble the scrawny sticks I remember.  We also visited the Nature Center where I spent many summers as a camper and, later,  as a counselor.  We strolled through the beech maple forest of my youth and the forest had indeed changed.  The big trees were laying about while a new crop of younger trees were reaching for the canopy.

 

 

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I took the girls down to the cabin between Christmas and New Years.  I had a load of the Blue Stain pine T&G to install and we opted for a little quiet down time.  Tori stayed home and had some quiet time of her own.  She actually roughed it a bit, as we did,  because just before I left we discovered the water heater was leaking, and I had to shut it down….I replaced it on New Years Day when I got back ( but that will be another post in itself).

The Snowy driveway

My main goal of this trip was to add some more of the siding, In this case on the back wall.  I brought down (20) 12 foot lengths, some 1x for the closet wall end, and a few bits of the cove molding.  Another side project was the “speaker” shelf.  Here I joined some blue stain 1 x 6 into a shelf for holding the iPod speaker sound system in the dining / sleeping nook.

We got down to the cabin a bit after sunset and the cabin’s passive solar was once again doing its thing.  Temps were in the low teens, but it was a balmy 48 inside when we opened her up.

Sunsets at the ranch

Thursday morning I promptly got on the siding and was pretty pleased with my progress, Friday I combined some cove trim with the last of the siding and got a temporary shelf up on the new brackets I installed Thursday moring.  I was still adding some poly to the shelf so that did not get fully installed until just before we left.

Thursday morning...Maybelle resting in the truck

Siding start on the back wall

steady progress

Totally Cool Wood grain

We got a small hike in on Friday, despite the snow and Tasha’s crappy footwear, when will the Ex and a 12 year old learn that Fashion does not beat usability.

Taking a break hiking

Shoe drying in the middle of the night

 

Speaker Shelf taking shape

In addition to the siding and shelving and cove mold, I did cut in two more windows.  These are the pair that flank the chimney pipe and provide main level viewing to the north.  The blue tarp is still in place on the north wall, so the views are not quite there…but it looks better than storing all of my nails and bits in the old window  holes.  I have just one more window to instal in the loft.  To store the nails out of site and use up some of the small siding bits I boxed in the below the seating area  in the dining / sleeping nook.

Two new windows installed

 

seat bases boxed in

 

Miss Maybelle had a good time on our hike too.

 

Our sparkling snow dog

 

 

 

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Our version of Black Friday

As many of you may have known Tori and I had planned a trip to the cabin for Thanksgiving. Our original plan was to head out Wednesday after Tori got off work (with me running errands and packing on Wednesday afternoon).  Tori was not so keen on the 6 extra hours added on to a long day, and the fact that all of that drive would have been in the dark…as the driver I could have gone either way.  Considering the fact that the views on the way there are pretty darn nice and a good chunk of the country (most actually) would probably sell their grannies to the devil for the views we experience on a typical drive there.  We otp’d for leaving Thursday, on Thanksgiving itself.  Its been a few years since I have traveled ON Turkey day and was very pleased to see not much traffic at all.  We had our our “family” Thanksgiving on Sat. ( brothers, kids, cousins etc) and a “Mini”version with just Tori and my girls on Sunday of last.  With those obligations out of the way we were refugees to the open road…and open it was.

We  hoped to grab a bite to eat at the Subway in Leadville but they were closed as were a lot of places…we hit another one further down the road in Buena Vista ( they were open until 4).  The weather was dry and clear and we made some good time.

When we got to the cabin it was a just a bit past sunset, temps were chilly and dropping.  My digital temp gun was reading 26 on the surface of the deck, but INSIDE the cabin, the tile floor and granite wall behind the wood stove was reading 65.  The completely passive Solar Design of the cabin was functioning perfectly.  Last year we brought a “fire bag” (Newspaper and kindling in brown paper bag) for a quick start to the wood stove.  This year we did not bring one or need one.  I had brought the temp gun along just to do some evaluations on how the cabin was performing now that we have some siding on two walls and have “tightened” up the thermal envelope a bit.

In the past we have tended to fire up the wood stove prematurely and create a bit of a sauna in there.  Temp control was obtained by opening a few windows.  This time we used restraint and only had to do that a couple of times.  A couple of sticks burned around 9 and then again at 4 or 5 am was ideal.  In one of the early morning burns I used a lot a kindling and it got pretty hot…in the near complete darkness of a moonless weekend the exit elbow of the wood stove was glowing red.  When I saw that I cut back the inlet and fully damped the flue.  It’s nice to know that IF we did need the extra BTU’s the little Scandia 150 can go the distance with plenty of power to spare.

By the time Sunday rolled by we had our routine down pretty good ( Saturday Night we had -5) and our complete fire wood use for the weekend was about one” mail tub” worth.  We can go through that amount in 3 or 4 hours with the big wood stove back home.

My goals for the weekend were to install the Blue Stain T&G I brought down, install some of the tile trim, install Tyvek on the east and North sides of the cabin, some hardi trim and maybe a window or two…but in practice the weather was not 100% cooperative.  Friday we woke to fresh snow and a light breeze.  The weather did come around a little later so I did get the T&G up.  Keep in mind I’m cutting these 12′ lengths outside using the chop saw…which is run off the solar system.  When installing over dining area I had to tweak one of the wiring runs for the LED’s to get things lined up.  Tori and I were very pleased with this recent lot of wood. This batch was from a different supplier and I think it is a bit better…Not quite as “green” as the other stuff since it is kiln dried and coming from Montana ( the other wood was Colorado local and air dried)   I even had a few boards left to add some more to the upper parts of the South wall. What remains is 2/3 to 3/4 of the main ceiling…the wood part of the north wall and some minor bits in the loft and above the kitchen.  I just keep plugging away as money and time allow.  All of the corners will get some cove molding and the windows will continue to be trimmed in cedar.

New Blue Stain installed over "dinning / bed" area

The weather was even chillier and windy on Saturday so I I ended up just getting the tile boarder up around the black granite, the free border tiles were not suffcient to complete the “column” that would have mimicked the black stove pipe along the back wall. So plan “b” took over and I just outlined the main field.  I’ll have to cut away the excess backer board before the wood gets installed between the two un-installed window locations.

Border tile around black granite is new

On Sunday the weather was calm and clear and I got in some shooting too, I ran some rounds through the new Springfield Champion .45 Semi auto and got to run some longer distance shots with the Winchester 1873 rifle.  The GPS had the distance from in front of the cabin to the target log across the gully at about 220 feet.  With not much wind and the open steel sights I landed a good handful on paper.  That 1873 is still my favorite. Tori finally did a little herself and plinked a bit down in our canyon at our “mini range”.

The truck and woodshed Sunday Morning

Friday morning’s snow continued to melt through the weekend, with the result producing some nasty mud.  This was one of the messier trips at the cabin and a new “Punch list” item has been added to the list…and pushed up near the top.

Get Some Crushed Rock!

Our scraps of decking used as a walk way help but they come up far short in the “keep the mud out of the cabin department”.  Granted our tile floor is easy to sweep and our grout color was chosen to be the exact match of this mud on purpose…but the sticky messy shoes (with me forgetting my slippers was the pits).  I’ll look into getting some crushed rock delivered before my next trip…then we or should I say I, as if Tori and the girls will be man hauling  tons of rock,  can improve the paths and nearby areas out front.

More time and Money….as is always the case.  Progress is moving forward but a bit to slow for Tori…To that end she might kick in some funds to finance a “working trip just for me.  With no kids to care for and entertain, and with my simple solo needs…many things could happen in short order.

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A couple of days ago I posted a link on Facebook about a tiny house project that is here in Colorado as well as a post from this very blog about my cabin adventures over the 4th of July weekend.

I was surprised today to see that my former record of “views” for the day was shattered.  A new record was set at 751 .

Wordpress Site stats

Last year I posted a blog about Boulderites and how selfish (arrogant , entitlement rich, etc) they are.  These were based on my direct observations during a somewhat minor snowfall ( 2″)  I referred to that post via the Rag of the Daily Camera,  It had 351 views…and some chert responses….oh those Boulder folks can be a bit on the testy side….

Tiny houses seem to outweigh low IQ Boulderites by a 2 to 1 margin.  No surprise in my book but nice to see none the less.  Don’t get me wrong some Boulder folks are great, and In fact I worked at a couple of my Boulder Clients home’s there today.  Its just the attitude of some that ruin it for the rest.

The track back data from here (530 views) on the cabin post came from Facebook.  I was surprised that Facebook has such a following. Tomorrow I have some minor errand s to run up here in the Mountains and then I need to run the Girls back to the Ex for Turkey Day.  Tori and I will be heading out  to the cabin for the longish weekend.  I hope to get some more T&G siding up inside, as well as some more tile work, and hopefully some tyvek on the rest of the cabin.  The tarpaper I installed on the original build did not last with out siding on top.  Getting more Hardiplank is not in the budget for this trip.

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I’m kicking back on the couch after another fine Turkey diner.  Today’s was mine cooked in the dutch oven.  It has become our household favorite.  Yesterday we had a Turkey diner down at my brother’s in Denver.  His was more traditional with stuffing inside etc. At 19 pounds his beat mine by a bit.  My dutch oven is pretty big but a bird that big is just not going to fit.  I had a little trouble getting my 12 pounder inside.  Tori and I were the only ones eating it today, even though the girls are here…for some odd ball reason they have yet to fall in love with slow roasted turkeys.  Tori and I went super simple on the secondary fixin’s with some basic cornbread stove top stuffing.  I was able to prep the bird in about 5 min…slow roasted it all day and then about another 15 minute for cranberries with honey and the stuffing.  With it being that simple we may have to do this more often.

The bird came out looking just like last time as seen in this post.

I’ve spent the last few days tweaking the Bookcases I completed a couple of weeks ago.  It seems that the powder post beetles have been awakened by the warm temps in my clients home.  They never really came to life when I was working in the shop since it is so cold down there.  I think I have got the problem squared away with some borate treatments and some additional sealing with some CA.  I’ve got just a little touch up finishing to do.

Russian Olive Bookcase

 

Tori and I will be heading down to the cabin for the actual Thanksgiving break.  Life at the cabin will be thankful indeed.  I’ve got another dozen pieces of Blue Stain T&G and hope to get some tyvek up on the back of the cabin.  The front is looking pretty good since my painting over the 4th.  Has it really been that long?

 

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Last year our 4th of July trip to the cabin was filled…filled with laughter, voices, kids , dogs, etc.  This year MY trip to the cabin was also filled but in a different way.  It was filled with peace, solitude, silence and a bit  of work.  When I was down there with the girls for Memorial day I did get most of the siding up  (at least on two walls) Boulder lumber had a minor omission on my order so a number of the trim boards were MIA.  Before I went back down I ordered up the missing bits and some larger pieces to use on the facia.

Sat Morning

When I arrived at Moontree Friday evening, the air was hazy and a bit smokey due to the fires in the west and south.  Six hours in the saddle…ah behind the wheel…had me longing for a stretch and a bit of activity.  First on the list was to unload the truck and air out the cabin, once that was done an ice cold bevy was enjoyed with the chirp of the birds.

I had spend the last few weeks cleaning up our rental property after our illegal sublet tenant bailed.  With that project I ended up painting every room but the bath, and painted all of the exterior windows and doors.  I knew there would be a little painting work here to…but when you get to work on your own place the work part fades a bit.

Trim and facia up Primed front

Saturday I got the rest of the window trim / door trim up and even caulked a good bit of it.  Sunday I got the west and south facia up and added the drip edge to the west roof.  Sunday I did some priming and tile work.  I would have completed 100% of the cabins floor tile but ran out of adhesive with about 6 sq foot to go.  The bummer there was I had  1/2 a bucket more at home that I could have easily slipped into the truck.

Monday morning I got some painting done on the front, (one coat of color an door trim)

Dry fitting the tile

End of the weekend

Moon set...at Moontree Ranch

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Yes, its been awhile.  But life is busy, and I got a wee bit injured working on the cabin.  Nothing bloody or anything like that but…pain inducing none the less. After getting a good deal of the siding up, and even part of it painted with the first coat.  The grouting of the floor tile kicked my ass…well more specifically the moving of the cabinets with the granite slab on top kicked my back, which flared up my Sciatic.  Work commitments back here at home has not allowed for a full recovery by lounging about for days on end, as is the recommended recovery route.

Hardi plank Cement board siding

The siding install went well with the girls help by holding up one end when I was working with the longer pieces.  One of the challenges was not having all of the trim pieces, When I ordered up this round of siding Boulder Lumber only had 4 of the 12 delivered which was just a oversight. Doing the siding on the front of the cabin had me using short spacer pieces.  I hope to get the front trim pieces up when I’m back down for the 4th.

Waiting for more trim

Along the painting route we also got the back of the woodshed painted with some more $5 mis tint.  The place is slowly coming together.

For a bit of recreation I brought down my “newish” rifle.  A couple of months ago I picked up a Uberti 1873 lever action rifle in 45 Colt.  This was the second addition to my Cowboy action line up.

1873 lever action

I had the trigger lightened up from the 7 pounds or so the week before,  to about 3 1/2 pounds,  this was the first shooting with the modifications.  I offered the girls some $$$ per round if they wanted to give it a whirl, Sierra took one shot and did not like the kick, but Tasha was a regular Annie Oakley, with great on target aiming and  some decent cycling of the lever…she got better and actually shot more than me….needless to say I was very proud.

Crack shot Tasha

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