Sunday, June 26, 2016

Goal: Larimer County Passport Program

Another goal we started as part of homeschool and just general awesomeness is the Larimer County Passport Program. We picked up some "passports" from the county which give instructions for taking certain hikes around the area. At each of these hikes there is a post with a plaque. You use a crayon or pencil to make a rubbing of the plaque onto your passport to prove you actually went there. Once you have completed all the hikes, you turn in the completed passport to receive prizes and be entered into drawings for grand prizes. We each already have 4 of the 16 stamps in our passport. We can probably finish them in the next week or so. The ones we have done are:

Audra Culver: Part of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. Audra Culver is an alternative route to Horsetooth Rock. It's really pretty, and I can't believe I've never previously hiked that trail. Certainly less crowded than the Horsetooth Rock trail.

Soderberg: This one was only abut 100 feet up the trail. Nice and easy to get the stamp on our way past.

Fossil Creek Reservoir: I've been to Fossil Creek Park before, but I guess I didn't even realize Fossil Creek Reservoir existed. It's a really beautiful area FULL of birds and other wildlife. We saw two snakes... TWO! We were only there about 30 minutes and nearly stepped on a 2.5 foot bull snake followed by a Gray Racer. The bull snake startled me and caused me to take a big twirling leap. I thought for sure I was about to be a snack for a rattler. So happy to find upon further examination that it was just a cute little bull snake. We took two different trails at the reservoir where we got two different stamps. One was a little farther than the other, but neither very difficult. It was a hot day though and there was a very "snakey" feeling in the air that made us feel happy to see the snakes, but also happy to be getting back in the car.

Looking forward to finishing the passport!

Next Goal: Kayaking Perimeter of Horsetooth Reservoir 25 Miles

Now that our hiking goals are completed, we have begun one of our next homeschool goals! Michael and I have decided we will kayak the perimeter of Horsetooth Reservoir (about 25 miles of perimeter). Today we did the first bit of it, and we brought Matt and Jana along. We rented a stand up paddle board for Matt. Jana rode along with each of us at her leisure. We began at South Bay near the West swim beach and circled around to the south to complete the far south end. Our next goal will be to go from the west swim beach across to the Spring Canyon Dam and Inlet Bay, then to Dixon Canyon Dam, Quarry Cove, and Dixon Cove, then Soldier Canyon Dam, Soldier Canyon Cove, Eltuck Bay, and Orchard Cove, and finally Horsetooth Dam and Satanka Cove. I think we can complete it in a total of 5 outings or less while still relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

I didn't want to bring a camera along, so these are just pictures from the shore playing around.

My dear friend DeAnna

My dear friend DeAnna has moved to Denver. This is her with Jana on her last day at work with me. She and Jana decorated the nursery and themselves with streamers.

Fishing for Bass

Some fishing. This is the first fish Michael ever caught with a lure instead of bait. Caught at Rolland Moore Park. He used a mosquito lure and caught quite a few! He went back several days in a row and had continued good luck. I tried, but did not catch anything. He said my technique is improving.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Completed

We completed our goal of hiking every trail at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. We were rewarded with a close up view of a golden eagle on our way down the mountain! What a great hike. Sorry I didn't take more pics of the hike. It was a bit remote, and we did about 8.5 miles on the final hike. We are better hikers than we have ever been and so in love with the beauty of nature!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Towers Trail- Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

This is the Towers Trail hike. After this one, we only have two hikes left in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space! This one was 7.5 miles roundtrip and took us 3 hours and 15 minutes. We are really getting fast. How was the hike? Lots of elevation. I think it was close to 1400 feet climb in about 3 miles. Wow, we are good hikers and we don't quit, but we also quit after 1 mile on this one. Michael sat down and said he couldn't do it. He had been carrying our backpack and all the water, so I took that and then he was back to running circles around me. The trail is wide, it is just steep most of the way to the top.

HA! All the pictures I took show a perfectly flat trail, but that is because we rested every time we got to a flat spot.

Here are the towers. I think these towers are a combination of radio, cell, and emergency. But I'm not really sure! There are lots of towers up there in that spot. Maybe 10?

 Behind Michael you can see Longs Peak (14er) and the snow-capped Continental Divide.

What's this? A generator?

The area around the towers reminded Michael of an apocalypse scene. He was offended by the unkempt condition with tires and things scattered around. We saw a huge jack rabbit and some mountain bikers. Don't try this hike on a hot day, or be sure to start very early. I wished we would have started a little earlier because it did get hot (sweaty) especially on the uphill.

HillBilly AutoBody

Notice Matt is balancing his right foot on a slack line tied to? That wooden ladder is one that was left behind by the previous owner of our old condo. We've had it for 10 years now, and it has always been very wobbly. So it makes sense that Matt would want to stand like this and swing a sharp ax into the engine compartment of his truck right? Shirtless?

I'm looking forward to getting our truck running, but even more so I'm looking forward to getting Matt back! He's been so busy on the truck, that he hasn't been available to do all of the things he normally does around the house. I might be forced to sweep the kitchen floor myself today. The horror!

I am so thankful that Matt is such a capable and hard working person. He's the best!

Vegetables- Community Supported Agriculture

This year we bought a CSA share. CSA means community supported agriculture. We bought our share from Blue Barrel Farm in Fort Collins, CO. For $290 a year Blue Barrel Farm will deliver vegetables to your house (enough for a family of 4) every other week for the entire growing season (June to October).

We received our first share yesterday and were so amazed! It included: lettuce, spinach, chives, edible chive flowers, radishes including edible radish greens, arugula, kale, swiss chard, mixed greens, bok choy, and parsley. I washed and chopped everything to make it convenient to eat. I have had 4 salads since yesterday morning when the vegetables arrived, and I can't get enough! The lettuce is so tender, the radishes are so mild, and I feel so good knowing that everything I'm eating was farmed locally and organically.

At lunchtime some neighbor girls came over and wanted to try everything (even the girl who is very picky). The girls tried everything, but their favorite item was the edible flowers even though they are a little spicy.

The farm also provided us with a small bucket for compostable materials. They will pick that up along with the lettuce containers when they deliver our next share in two weeks. You don't have to be home to receive the delivery. You just put out a cooler with ice packs in the shade near your front door. Every delivery will have a new variety of vegetables based on what is ready at that time. If they bring us parsnips, I will be looking to give those to someone else as they are not my favorite.