Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cats by the Fire - Our 2-Year Mountain Anniversary

WAFFLES:  Is the snow melted yet, Boss?

KATIE:  What do you care, Waffles. It's not like you're going outside. 

WAFFLES:  Yeah, but Glogirly's been outside ALL weekend. What am I supposed to do? 

KATIE:  You're doing it, Waffles.

Mountain Milestones for our Girl
Glogirly thought she'd be a city girl forever. But two years ago this weekend, she and her Gloman closed on the sale of our Minneapolis townhouse and the purchase of our Rocky Mountain forever home. It was a leap of faith (on Friday the 13th no less) that has become an adventure, a whole new way of life, and a magical, beautiful dream come true.

Glogirly has learned a LOT over the past two years.

  • She learned how to build a fire to keep us warm. 
  • She's stacked 100s of pounds of firewood. 
  • She knows how to keep the toilets flushing with melted snow if the power goes out. 
  • She planted her first ever high elevation perennial garden. 
  • She built a flagstone pathway. 
  • She learned how to make nectar for our hummingbirds. 
  • She's seen and photographed deer, fox, chipmunks, squirrels, hummingbirds, and BEARS right here by our house.

And she's learned what it means to live in a place where wildfires and a very real and serious risk.

Last fall she began a large fire mitigation project. Fire mitigation involves performing a variety of tasks, big and small, to ensure our home, our family and neighbors, and our beautiful canyon is as safe as possible from the unthinkable. The goal for us was to create a safe zone around our home that in the event of a wildfire, could potentially stop or redirect the fire from reaching our house. Part of this involved weed whacking 50 feet out from our house, removing young trees from the same area to keep the forest from encroaching on our home, removing large pine trees that were too close to our house, thinning other large groups of trees, and limbing-up trees (removing branches 6-8' up from the ground).

All of the tree work left us with what's called "slash." Slash consists of branches with needles, limbs, and smaller trunks of the trees we took down. Many people haul this stuff off to recycling and sort yards to dispose of it or have it chipped into mulch. Because the majority of our property is on a very steep slope, that wasn't an option for us. So we created what are called "burn piles" of our slash. Once we get a burn permit from our county and we have at least 6" of a snow base, we can burn off our piles. Last Friday we got almost 15" of fresh snow!

These are what burn piles look like. They measure about 6' x 6' x 6'. In addition to these four, we had about 24 more.

It sounds scary, but it's actually a very natural and ecologically responsible way of getting rid the slash created by our mitigation. Fire is, after all, a natural and necessary way of forest regeneration.

TOP LEFTt:  Lighting up our first burn pile.
TOP RIGHT: What it looks like after some piles have completely burned.
MIDDLE: The view from the trail that runs around our house and where we stacked the burn piles.
LOWER LEFT: Lighting a pile with a drip torch.
LOWER RIGHT: Glogirly's first snowshoe experience

Don't worry, Glogirly didn't go outside with her box of matches and start lighting everything up. She hired professional help. Our fire mitigation and tree specialist is also a certified firefighter for our local volunteer fire department. He lives here in our canyon and is passionate about keeping our forest, wildlife, and the people and pets who live here safe. He did the heavy lifting. Glogirly did assist though. She worked alongside him, but at a safe distance, to make sure the piles kept burning, add more debris when necessary, and help to completely snuff them out with snow when the day was done.

AND she got to do it all while wearing snowshoes for the very first time!

This concludes your Mountain Living 101 class for the day.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Meeting of the Minds

KATIE:  You're late, Waffles. 

WAFFLES:  Late for what, Boss? Are we having a party or something?

KATIE:  You're late for our meeting. It's time for your year-end purr-formance review.

WAFFLES:  But it's New Years, Boss. How can it be over already? 

KATIE:  Fiscal year end, Waffles. Are you ready?

WAFFLES:  Fiscal? You mean like a physical? We're not going to the vet, are we?

KATIE:  So I'm giving you a score of 70.5 which puts you at the low end of Meets Expectations. The dangerously low end of it. 

WAFFLES:  Meats expectations? Do you mean like Chicken Expectations? Turkey? Beef Expectations? Maybe ribs and hot dogs. That sounds good, I'll have that.

KATIE:  I said MEETS, not MEATS. 

WAFFLES:  But meats IS meats. 

KATIE:  Not that kind of meats.

WAFFLES: This meeting is so not MEAT-ing my expectations. 

About Today's Photos
Wherever Glogirly goes in the house, so too do Katie and Waffles. That is if they're not sleeping. So when she was on the phone with Gloman today and wat down in the office, it took only a minute or so before she had two office mates joining her.

It's pretty rare for Katie and Waffles to sit or lay down really close to one another. But that's exactly what they did in those last two photos. Glogirly had to put Gloman on hold so she could grab a couple of pics with her iPhone.

From behind, they SO looked like they were having a meeting. She got up and walked around to the other side of them to get a photo of them from the front. The expression on Waffles' face reminded her of many a corporate meeting. Kind of like that look when you realize the meeting is going long no one remembered to bring the donuts.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Invasion of the Robot Vacuum

WAFFLES:  Help me, Boss! I'm trapped! 

KATIE:  What do you mean, you're trapped???

WAFFLES:  The Mr. Robot Roomba guy is chasing me. Look! He's got me cornered!

KATIE:  He's not chasing you. He's just cleaning up after the big mess you made by the litterbox.

WAFFLES:  Well he better hurry up on account of I think I need to make another mess.

About Today's Photos
Glogirly got a new robot vacuum for Christmas and she's been trying to teach how to navigate through the house. For some reason, it likes to spend a LOT of time in the bathroom. Perhaps because that's where Waffles and Katie's preferred litterbox sits.

Oh, and in case you're wondering...Glogirly LOVES the new vacuum. It's not perfect, but overall it's doing a very good job in-between deep cleanings. And she giggles every time she claims to be vacuuming and doing anything but cleaning at the same time. 

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