Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice Sun

This is where the sun rises on the winter solstice. Sunrise was about 7:26 am

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Love My Bed

Yesterday afternoon I was surveying the 4 acre forest that is between my home and the road. There where a 5 beetle kill trees that I had the neighbor kid cut down and are now fire wood.  They should keep me warm for January and Feburary.

But that's not what this is about.  I noticed a few dozen ice patches in the 4 inches of snow.  It took only a moment to realize that they where made by the elk that came through a few days ago.  

Can you imagine this?  The elk must simply sleep on the snow.  Gradually, the snow melts as they slee on it.   This leaves an icy patch to freezes up after they get on with their day. 

I now have a whole new appreciation for my nice WARM, soft bed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

100 Elk on the Meadow

I took this picture of about 100 elk at about 10 mile marker on Magnolia

I wish I had a video camera to take a video of  two bucks that where locking horns in the middle of the herd.

The herd was to big fit into the picture.  The mountain in the background is Thorodin.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I've been exploring all kinds of new corners around here in the last few weeks.  I've even blogged about some of them. 

It's been fun seeing familiar sites from totally new angles.  ... and even seeing them with greater clarity then before.   My distance vision, although already fairly good, has recently improved.

I owe my new athletic energy, as well as other improvements to my health to an number of things I've recently discovered that work really well.   One of them is an antioxident called astaxanthin.

Another is a extremely potent "fish" oil called Moxxor.  I would never have believed that such a small quantity of oil could have such an energizing effect.  Moxxor is supposed to have lot's of "essential fatty acids" or EFAs.  I guess that the fats really are essential, and I've not been getting enough of them. 

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How Cute! Mommy and Kitten Bobcat Pay a Visit

I took these pictures 2 days ago, about 10 am.  I first noticed them because the walked across the entire length of the deck.

The 2 bobcats are not that easy to spot because they are camoflaged quite well.  They where making the rounds, looking for brunch.  

The kitten is almost impossible to spot in the upper picture (it's on the very upper left) because it blends in so well with the wood pile.

Is Winiger Ridge a Glacial Deposit?

On the way back from the post office, I notice a large white van parked on Lazy Z at about the .5 mile marker.  There where about 10 people standing at the side of the road.

Curious, I stopped and joined them.

The group was a geology class being lead by Ken Hopkins of the University of Northern Colorado.

I learned that IF this was a glacial deposit, then it would be between 600,000 and 1.2 million years old.  However, it is uncertain if this is what Winiger Ridge actually is.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mystery Bear: Case Solved

I met a neighbor on my way to the post office this afternoon.  I asked her about the large plastic honey bear. 

She knew all about it.

It turns out that it hidden away in the woods like that so that they could cheer up a mountain biking friend who was having a hard day.

Mystery Honey Bear

It's been an amazingly mild fall this year. It's one thing to hear scientists argue if global warming is real, but another entirely to experience such unseasonally warm weather personally.

I've been taking advantage of the warm weather by spending some time soaking up lots of vitamin D producing sunlight.

While riding around in the woods, I found a mysterious large plastic honey bear just hanging out in a dense stand of trees. It was clear that someone put it there for reasons that I'm sure was clear to them.

Also, I noticed 2 elk in the trees near there as well, but I don't think the elk were there to admire the honey bear.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Snow of the Season

Freezing rain and snow have been making clear that winter is here.

Note the thin layer of ice on the Aspen leaves. Click on small picture for a larger image.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Found Another One

I found another large puff ball today. It weighted in at 1 pound, 4.2 ounces.

Into the cooking pot it goes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Aspens are turning

A Goji Juice Project

People have been asking for the "good stuff" that is in Goji Berries for a couple of years now.

But what shocked me is when I discovered that Goji Juice cannot possibly contain the most important active ingredient from the Goji Berry, namely the Goji Polysaccharides.

Once I understood this, I had to write up about it. You can see the result at

I talked to the first person that bought from the site. He was even more excited than I was about my discovery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Puff Ball Find of the Decade

Today we found a 1pound 13 ounce puff ball. That's a really big mushroom! ... and I know from experience that it is still solid and good, not to ripe yet.

It's the biggest puff ball I've seen around here in a decade.

I also found some smaller puff balls as well. It all totalled 2 pounds, 5.4 ounces of good mushrooms. (I left the overripe ones where I found them, still rooted. You can tell by giving them a light squeeze if they are already to far gone)

What are these mushrooms?

As best as I can tell they belong to the Lentinellus family. But the gills don't look very serrated. Click on the picture for a larger view.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The 3 turkeys of Winiger Ridge

While on a late afternoon walk up on the ridge, I saw a flock of 3 turkeys. They would not let me get any closer then about 25 feet. I got the feeling that they where related, but I could not tell what the relationship was.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Organic Goji Slim n' Trim

This is a project I've been working on.

Goji berries are getting more and more popular... but not everyone likes the taste... or wants to carry around a odd looking dried fruit.

That's why I think the time is right for Goji in a bottle. ... and of course, everyone wants yet another weight loss product to try.

See what I mean at Organic Goji Slim N' Trim

What I did this summer

It's been a while since I did a post.

Well... I've been busy traveling this summer.

You can see a very few of the 1000+ pictures I took this summer here.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Dummy and the Bear

At about 4 am, I awoke from a light sleep because I heard heavy footsteps on the deck. Then I heard heavy footsteps on the ground below the deck.

My curiosity got the better of me and I grabbed a flashlight and carefully (it might be a bear!) opened the door.

Whatever it was ran off to the right and was gone before I could shine the flashlight beam in that direction.

At about 7, we saw a large, dark brown bear wandering around the yard. (So it WAS a bear that I heard!)

I got over a dozen pictures of it over about a 10 minute period before it wandered off at about 2 mph across the meadow to the west. The bear clearly knew I was there, but seemed indifferent, except to look my way a few times.

What kept the bear around for over 3 hours? Last night, I had thoughtlessly tossed a few remaining bites of rice from my cold dinner over the deck.

I won't be doing that again.

P.S. This bear was not interested in the hummingbird feeders, unlike the bear of the May 25, 2007 post. It did however bite into a plastic gallon jug that had just water in it once.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tick Resources

My neighbor Jennifer found the following 2 great resources about ticks:

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

So that's what a fresh elk skull looks like

I was taking a walk this afternoon on my usual trail, and there, right in the middle of the trail, was a fresh elk skull. It was so fresh, that the brains looked like they where still inside the skull. There was no sight of the rest of the skeleton.

My guess is that a coyotes took down the elk. They don't look like they have jaws strong enough to crush an elk skull. On the other hand mountain lion or bear would have crushed the skull to get to the brains.

Then, perhaps a dog picked up the skull and dropped it on the trail after getting tired of it.

Other random observations:
* I just heard the first thunder of the season
* a couple of days ago, I was outside heard a familiar melodious chrip. I looked over to the barn and, indeed, there was Mr. Bluebird.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Positive Handyman Reference

The following comment was added to the post I did about a local handyman. I have reprinted it here so that it is easier to find.

Bonnie S. has left a new comment on your post "Local to Magnolia Handyman Available":

Dear Neighbors,
I saw on Mike Seiler's blog a request for a post about Van Hunt's handyman work.

When I hired Van Hunt last year to do some work, I was grateful that:
--he shows up at the time agreed to

--he brings his own good ideas for improving the projects we work on as I like people who work with me to offer that
--He is skilled and when he doesn't know something is ready to acknowledge that he doesn't yet willing to discuss ways to accomplish it

I recommend him as a handyman. He charges reasonable prices and is effective in his work. He is also quite skilled at packing moving trucks and gardening help.

So if you have projects you want to tackle with someone's help, do call on him.

tick, Tick, TICK... BOOM!

tick, Tick, TICK...


Alright. I admit that above is a cheap shot.

Yesterday I found the first tick of the season on my ankle. The body was about .1 inches in size.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Know to Much

Warning - True confessions:

I was just asked a question on a social networking site, "What do you know a lot about?"

My Answer:

I know a lot about... about... a whole lot of things. Seems like I spend way to much time reading. I sometimes feel like all the stuff I know is like a all the parts in a lumber yard. I keep acquiring more "stuff" (facts, really) but don't spend enough time using it to build my success.

I guess my fantasy is that at some point my "lumbar yard" will spontaneously explode because it is sooooo overstuffed. Then, as everything falls back down after being blown sky high, it will spontaneously assemble itself into a castle of success that will put the Disney Kingdom castle to shame.

OK. Maybe I'm just weird to imagine this, but do any other overeducated information hogs out there wish that this could actually come true?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Local to Magnolia Handyman Available

I find that it is sometimes hard to get handyman type help up here. So I'd like to welcome Van Hunt (see below) to our local labor pool

The following post came through on the PUMA list today. Please leave a comment to this blog post if you use Van Hunt and let us have your impression of him.

I am Van Hunt, living on Forsythe Road, and I am available for general labor and other kinds of help - for example, house and/or pet sitting, any kind of tree and firewood work (I have my own chainsaw), outdoor spring clean-up, garage or shed organizing, hauling (I have a truck), general handyman work, and/or anything you can think of. I can provide local references, no job too small, reasonable rates.

Please call 303 449 9237 or email accoaone (at)

Let us work together for our mutual advantage

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Bears are Back

A couple of neighbors have reported seeing bear tracks in the last two days.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Birds Are Back

A swirl of clouds came through this afternoon.

What was so striking is that right after the clouds rolled in, that there was suddenly a flurry of birds EVERYWHERE.

Nutty woodpeckers, "humingbird feeder" (see previous post) woodpecker, chic-a-dees, lots of robins, and finally, "our" hawk even lighted on his favorite perch.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Plan B"

Google and Virgin Galactic are now taking applications for people wanting to help colonize Mars.

Mars, here I come!

... that's "Plan B" in case things get to weird on this little swirly blue and white marble we call home.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Moose Are Coming!

About 5 years, ago, I was camping west of the Divide, not to far away from here.

I was surprised to see a Cow Moose and her baby munching their way through a swamp at about 10,000 feet.

Now comes word from a neighbor (Jennifer) that she's spotted a momma Moose and her yearling right here in the neighborhood last night.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Excel Energy Bird Cams

As a regular reader of my blog, you've noticed that I like to keep up with natural phenomena in the Colorado Rockies area.

I just came across this cool set of birding webcams

I'm sure this is a nice little public relations move for Xcel Energy, but, as the old saying goes, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Anyway, enough blabbing, here's the link:
Birding Webcams

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Bear and Hummingbird feeder video, Part II

Linda writes:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 10:12 am
Subject: Bear in Hummingbird Feeder Photo

Hi Mike,

this is Linda Masterson, author of Living with Bear: A Practical Guide to Bear Country (

Wendy at Sinapu forwarded me your bear in the hummingbird feeder photo last year, and somehow I misfiled your info and just discovered it.

I wondered if you had any other photos of this incident (or any others) I am looking for a good photo showing a bear with a hummingbird feeder - tried looking at this one in b&w, and it does not show up very well.

I am also working on a redo of all of the Division of Wildlife's bear literature (as a volunteer) and we are collecting photos for use in brochures and fact sheets...

So, if you have anything you are willing to share and give permission to use, we'd be very grateful. I'd be happy to send you a copy of my book as a thank you if you'll send your address.

Thanks a bunch,

Linda Masterson
Living with Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country
livewithbears (at)
Practical Guide to Bear Country

My reply:

Dear Linda,

The picture looks like it came from a video I took.

You can find the video at
Bear, Hummingbird feeder

Since the video is about 10 seconds long, and I think it's showing at 15 frames a second, you should have 150 frame (pictures) to choose from. However, all were taken from the same angle. I chased the bear off right after this. I did not want him to think that coming onto my deck was exceptable behaviour. Also, and the bear broke the feeder with his bite in his hurry to get to the sugar water.

I personally do not have a bad relationship with this bear. It once watched me for about 20 minutes while I was busy doing something about a mile from my home(where the video was taken). Te bear sate uphill on a jeep track and could have charged. But it just sat there after giving a snort to let me know it was there. It seemed that the bear was just letting me know I was its' guest at the edge of it's territory.

Yes, I did have a exit to a nearby tree planned in case it charged. ...And I'm good at climbing trees.

As it was, I got done what I doing and left without incident.

However, my next neighbor has had endless trouble with bears. One night a bear used it's powerful claws to bend the top edge of the door frame away from the body of the minivan. The bear appears to have left when the safety glass suddenly shattered because the frame had been bent out by about an inch.

The year before that a bear made off with a 150 lb goat. That was a shame because I would borrow the goat to mow my lawn, thistle path and cheat grass patch. Now I have to pay the same neighbor's kid to do the same.

A bear also went right through an electric fence to make it's way into a chicken coup a couple of years ago.

If you send me the time stamp of the exact frame you an want, I can probably find it on the original video and extract a black and white version of it. A proper adjustment of the contrast should fade out the background trees so that the picture works in black and white.

By the way, this morning I heard a familiar chirping sound in the neighborhood of the hummingbird feeder. I had put it up last summer again, once it was clear that the bear was ignoring my house in favor of having a territorial spat with the neighbor.

There was still a bit of sugar water in it from last summer. The water has been frozen for much of the last 5 months. But a familiar woodpecker had to check to see if his favorite nectar was available. I'm sure he'll keep checking back until it melts.

I wonder what will happen come May when the hummingbirds will want their share.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Bobcat came by

I'm always amazed that any animal can survive the winter here without going into hibernation.

But the bobcat came through the yard today. At one point he scratched in the fresh snow, as if looking for something. Then he moved on and wandered of.

His paws where wide enough to keep him from breaking through the snow crust. He just had to "post hole" through a couple of inches of fresh, light powder.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Instant Newspaper Logs without a Rolling Device

It's been quite cold that last few weeks.

I can always tell because my normally perfectly tuned wind chimes start to sound strangely out of tune. That's because the extreme cold makes metal extra stiff and brittle. So the chimes de-tune.

Fortunately, we put in a few months stash of firewood. But, in this cold, the pile is getting smaller at an alarming rate.

That's when I learned about a sneeky trick for turning the morning's newspaper into tight, long burning logs for the evening fire.