Our ceiling is finished! It’s been quite the project. Back-breaking, heavy lifting, hours-on-end, 3 weeks long, thank-goodness-we-had-beer, sort of project. We now really look like we live in a barn.




Totals: 36 panels – 18 long, 18 short.  27 trim pieces. And the panel that encompasses the chimney. Lots of screws and nails. We’re so glad it’s finished. The pictures say it all!





The current state of our storage loft.

Wouldn’t be complete without an obligatory picture of the mutt:


“I can balance. I can do it. I’m such a good boy.”



If you’ve been keeping up since the beginning, you might remember that we not only moved here with a dog and a duck, but there was a cat in tow as well. When we lived in Utah, Zeppy was basically an outdoor cat. He’d come inside for maybe an hour a day to eat some food and hang out with us for a minute, before sitting at the front door meowing to go back outside. Rain, snow, wind: didn’t matter. Kitty wanted to be outside. He was born a feral cat after all. So when we moved, I was stressed. Keeping him inside never made for a happy cat.



We managed to keep him inside for a few days before he was just unbearable and we started letting him out for short periods of time. He was doing SO well. He wouldn’t wander far, he’d come inside at night, things were going well. Then, we had a few friends come visit to help us with some initial house projects (stairs, insulation, etc.), and our friend’s roommate brought her two dogs. Zep had a hiding place inside and I figured with all the excitement he would just stay there. Well, he decided to creep outside, the dogs saw him, chased him around the outside of the cabin, and then Zep scaled a big Ponderosa – got about 30 ft into the air.



He was all fluffed up and growling, but he was up the tree, and we could see him. The dogs were wrangled and I kept an eye on him. But with all the house work I got distracted, and maybe 30 minutes later went to check on him and he was just… gone. He had apparently climbed back down the tree and bolted. I posted his picture everywhere. Got one call about him; a lady spotted him like 9 miles away from our house. We went back several times calling and calling for him, to no avail. This was several months ago. Winter has come and gone. There’s a part of me that still is hopeful that he found some place to hunker down, or someone else is taking care of him, and that he survived. He does have feral blood in him, after all.



I should’ve just kept the front door closed. The dogs should have been controlled better. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. I’ve never been much of a cat person until Zeppelin came into our family. And now I’ve found myself kind of missing having a cat around. We need a mouser anyway around the homestead. I miss Zeppy and I hope he’s found his way, but for now, for our pack/flock, there’s a cat at the humane society that might fit right in. More on him in a near-future post. I guess I just have finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never see my big gray tabby cat again… Who knows, maybe he’ll show back up at our old house in Utah. I’ve heard crazier things.



Springtime is the best time! The weather is crazy, the sun is shining, and little green plants are poking up out of the ground. Chilly mornings turn into calm, warm afternoons, which give way to blustery cold winds into the night. In Colorado, that means dressing in layers to an extreme. First thing in the AM is hot tea, beanies, and sweaters, to cold beer and tank tops in the afternoon, to hunkering down next to the woodstove at night. I love it. Unfortunately the winds have kept us from having bonfires in the evenings, but I know that sometime in May the winds will die down and we’ll have a whole summer full of campfires to enjoy.


Jerusalem artichoke popping up!


Dirt supply. One of many piles.

R has been busy building more raised garden beds and soon we’ll start planting some early season crops, such as: kale, spinach, and radishes. Last week I was doing some stuff inside the cabin when Loki started whining to go outside, so I went to the door and, luckily, glanced outside before opening the door. Six does were standing around in our driveway and by Amelia’s enclosure. I told Loki to sit and stay while I quietly opened the door and walked out onto the porch. I snapped a few pictures, then you could tell Loki really needed to go to the bathroom, so I let him out onto the porch with me. He stopped and surveyed the deer situation for a moment, everyone just stared at each other, until his urge to pee overcame him and he jumped off the porch, at which point all the does bounced off.




Chewed up garlic.

Soon after I walked down to the garden beds and nearly all the garlic sprouts had been eaten down to the soil. R is not pleased. Apparently the new name for our ranch is, “Death to Deer.” But so far, it looks like the garlic will survive. Even though they are munched on, they’re still growing. Now the newest priority is fencing around the garden beds, and for now we set up strategically placed tools and fishing line around the beds so hopefully the deer won’t walk through it again.




Future firewood.

The ceiling is almost finished (4 more panels to go!), we have a door to the bathroom, and we took apart Loki’s old dog run (it was busted through anyway), and we have another ordered and on the way. Things are coming along at the ranch.



We got ourselves a new toy!


Ok, we know it’s not a toy. But it is fun to run.


Only dropped $450 on the saw, safety gear (we totally know what we’re doing), and accessories. Seriously though, we both worked for the Forest Service and were at one point chainsaw certified, so we should be able to not cut our legs off. It’s so nice to cut with a new saw: sharp chain, everything is clean, runs like a beauty. Now we’re just killing trees!



Loki. Helping. “I’ll kill trees too, guys.”

R fell a big Ponderosa that wasn’t looking real healthy and was crowding two other big trees. Now we have a more open view and our other trees should be stronger. It was a big tree to come down (it only smashed a few scrub oaks on the way), and it should provide us with quite a bit of firewood. Win-win-win! I basically stood back with Loki and made sure R wasn’t going to kill himself and took pictures while he did all the hard work. It was a pretty sweet deal.








One cool thing I learned: Juniper trees have this bright red center. Like, BRIGHT red. So when we cut down this very unhealthy juniper the other day, I was so amazed at how beautiful it was I had R cut cookies out of the stump. I don’t know what I’ll do with them yet, but something creative will be done! The next day I was a little sad to see the open air had faded the bright red to a brown color, but they are still really cool-looking. Gloss them and make little drink tables? Hang them up as decoration? Also, we need to name the chainsaw. Yeah, you read that right. I sort of want her (yes, her) to have a very queenly name, but haven’t come up with anything yet. Ideas?!


Garlic. Part 2.

When we first moved here, back in late August, R spent a lot of time building a half dozen or so raised garden beds and planting garlic. We had been given a bunch of garlic of different varieties from a friend of ours in Utah, and since garlic takes almost a year to grow (you plant in late fall, and harvest the following summer), we wanted to get it in the ground as soon as we could manage. To be honest, we had no idea how they were going to turn out. Then it snowed 3 feet and the ground had been frozen for several months.

About a week ago, finally, most of the snow had melted away and we were able to see the beds again. And… sprouts!



We had garlic planted in 3 of the garden beds, and now we can see little green babies poking up from all of them. It’s very exciting to see that they survived the harsh winter! The time is getting closer and closer when we can plant some other greens and veggies, but we need to put up some fencing before we do that. Lucky for us, not a whole lot of wildlife will mess with garlic, so we’re not terribly concerned about it not being fenced in. Loki is a pretty good deterrent too.



The winter onion is coming back to life too!

We got a light dusting of snow the other day, but it was still 40 degrees that day, so it didn’t stick around long. Now the weather is back to being nearly 60 and sunny all day. Perfect. Also, although the ceiling project is not finished just yet, we’re almost halfway done. Here’s a picture to give you an idea of what it’ll look like when it’s complete. Barn style!


6 months.

As of leap year day, we’ve been here 6 months! 6 months off the grid, living without things like microwaves, internet, and generators (all things people are shocked we can live without)! Granted, I’m sitting at a coffee shop right now using the internet, but we don’t have it at our house, which blows peoples’ minds. The miserable part of winter seems to have passed by, and while snow is still on the horizon for springtime, the really cold days and nights appear to be over. It has been a steep learning curve and an amazing experience so far. Both the humans and the animals are no worse for wear. Looking forward to all the days to come!



I like mud and leaves.

We managed to drop several hundred dollars at Lowe’s last week to get a bunch of materials to finally finish our ceiling. It’s coming along nicely. We also got a medicine cabinet for the bathroom, and it is starting to look more and more like a real bathroom! Do you have any idea how exciting a toilet paper holder is?!


Ceiling panels!


Coming together.


Bathroom cabinet, also notice the light!




We’ve been busy clearing brush, having bonfires, getting rid of trash, drinking beer, and generally enjoying the nice weather. Rain is in the forecast for next week, so it’ll be nice to get a lot of this stuff done with before the mud returns. I can’t believe it’s March already, which means soon we’ll be able to start planting veggies, herbs, and flowers. A greenhouse is coming soon on our to-purchase list. Also a duck/chicken coop. Also a pond. Also moving the cabin. Also getting more gravel for the driveway. Also, also, also… Never a dull moment. Now to finish my breakfast burrito and take a soak in some hot springs (never said we didn’t make time to relax too).


Ahh, nice soak by the river.