Saturday, January 3, 2009

June 9, 2008 - July 1, 2008

July 1, 2008
Ants & Mexican sand burrs...God’s creations!
Remember in elementary school when you got to study an ant farm / colony as part of a science or social study project? (Well, truth be told, we didn't have that where I went to school but I know some people did!) Anyway, it was really cool to see how they worked & got along. This part of Colorado (maybe other parts as well) has more than its share of ants! Everywhere you look there are ants. In the country they build GI-NORMOUS anthills... they are unmistakable... and you want to steer clear of them. These are not the black ants we have in Nebraska... the ones you find in the cracks of sidewalks... or even the kind that come in thru your kitchen windows & find their way onto your counters. These are little reddish-brown (brownish-red?) ants - and they BITE... HARD! Since the RV park is dirt/sand/rock there are ants everywhere. I'm sure we're parked right on top of one of their little ant condos. We've had to invest in ant traps as they were coming in (from somehwere?) and were all over the counter, the table, sink, stove... even our bed! Jerry complained several times that he thought he'd gotten bit by ants at night. I think they're under control now, at least for a while. I have noticed that there are REALLY big anthills on the lot we're buying so I'm wondering how to get rid of them at the source. Maybe this is not ecologically a good thing to do... do the ants really have a purpose? That battle will continue I'm sure.
My other gripe this morning is the Mexican sand burrs. We had these in Kansas on the farm... I remember when my brother & I were kids we'd play on the propane tank... and he pushed me off into a patch of these things. My dad picked sand burrs out of my back & I think my brother got scolded pretty harshly. Well... these little things are just thick out here! I must pick a dozen or more out of the carpet in the camper (I know - carpet in a camper?) that come in on our shoes or Skeeter's feet. He never seems to complain about them if they're coming in with him. I suppose this is one more thing I'll have to get used to again. I'm not sure exactly where they come from because we don't get into any grass... and our lot is mostly sagebrush & cactus. Maybe they're hiding in there?
Okay! I'm done with my rant!

June 30, 2008
Well... it seems that our closing date has been pushed back due to the holiday (aka Valley Time). Next Monday at the soonest, next Wednesday at the latest... so they say.
Alex called from Iraq this morning. He's doing well considering the 110+ degree heat. He's been in school for a while so that's kept him pretty busy. It's always good to talk with him & make sure he's okay!
We had rain... hail... and more rain late yesterday afternoon. Skeeter was not thrilled with the thunder but he calmed down after he figured out it wasn't going to hurt him. He's also not fond of the neighbor kids' fireworks!
New photos added... be sure to check them out!
Have a week!

June 29, 2008 - Sunday
Doing Church! Count it all JOY!

Our Realtor & new friend, Coshi, invited me to go to church with her this morning. She goes to a Community Church in Blanca....4 miles away.... so I told her I'd go! I got to church before she did & was about to walk into the sanctuary when I was almost knocked over by Pastor Dan. As pastors go (my first impression)... he's a nice man... led an awesome service & has a heart for God! I will probably go back there since it had a very "home church" feel to it... kind of Scandia UMC meets Gates of Praise (but much smaller & without a praise band but the same kind of atmosphere!). The service began with a few t praise & worship songs - both traditional & contemporary, followed by the usual announcements then Holy Communion, joys/concerns/prayer requests & the message! It was really nice to be part of a body of believers. There were several people there that I had either just met or already known from the Forbes Park area so I was not among strangers.
I had gone to church in Ft. Garland when we were here before - a small group of people - which was really kind of a Bible study with a cappella singing. Being raised the way I was... the a cappella music was really difficult for me since I was taught to praise the Lord with instruments (not just the voice!). I also went a couple times to a larger church in Alamosa - more contemporary but I don't like having to drive 30 miles one way to go to church. Shame on me!
So for now... United for Christ Community Church will most likely become my new church home!
Be blessed!

Valley People
We are approaching one full month in San Luis Valley / Ft. Garland. Whoever had 30 days in the pool... you lose! The people we've met so far have been a huge source of enjoyment... and entertainment!
The local coffee shop (Ute Creek Station) is owned & operated by John & Myrna - a wonderful couple who have welcomed us into the community & introduced us to folks who frequent their establishment. Breakfast there is an all-morning event! We got there Thursday morning at 9:20 & left at 12:15... and Friday we arrived at about the same time...leaving at 12:45. You just get to talking with people, think you're going to leave soon - when someone else shows up & you end up talking for another hour (or two!). Ute Creek Station makes wonderful Frapuccinos & a serious Daquiri flavored fruit smoothie (no alcohol!).
Some of the people we've met have been people we've "watched" since we've been here. We had coffee with one couple, Doc & Carolyn, who have a cattle ranch nearby. We had seen them around town but John introduced us to them in the coffee shop... and they are the most delightful people! He's a real cowboy... a man's man, somewhat weathered, but a gentle man with a kind heart and great stories! She is kind of a Katherine Hepburn-type (without the shaky voice!)... a very classy lady with a grand sense of style! I've decided I want to be like her when I grow up! Last nite we had our usual Saturday nite dinner at All-Gon Pizza... and Doc & Carolyn showed up & shared a table with us! We had a wonderful time visiting & laughing with them!
Yesterday we went to the Forbes Park Land Owner's Association annual meeting & picnic. The meeting was interesting....a room full of Texans & not a lot of folks from anywhere else! The Texans claim that "Texas money keeps Colorado green". We even heard someone say that Texas wants to cecede from the Union & take back the Old Republic. Yikes! Lots of really good information was presented but there seems to be quite a division amongst the people who live there. We spoke with several people - some we'd met before, others we'd just met. The Forbes Park people seem to be the money people, the movers & shakers, most of them coming from high powered, well paying jobs! This, we've decided is most likely the reason for the division as everyone wants to be a Chief & no one wants to be an Indian!
We also spoke with the person who is now in charge of telling you which trees you can cut (for clearing a homesite)... and he was genuinely appalled that in 4 years we'd not heard a word about our request to do so on our lot in Forbes Park. He said he'd be glad to drive out with us to see what we'd already done & mark other trees (live & over the size requirement) that could be taken down. Since we have the lot up for sale it's kind of a non-issue... but I suppose if it doesn't sell... we may want to finish clearing it & build a little cabin there. Speaking of... we close on our lot Tuesday. As soon as the ink is dried we're going to go to the lot in FP & start hauling out dead trees... take them to the lot on Luke so we can start cutting them up for firewood. There's a lot of firewood cut & stacked on the FP lot, but it would take forever to load it whereas we could just throw the already dead trees in the back of the truck.
For those of you who are concerned about us not being in Nebraska for the 4th of July (how's the collection for gas money coming?) we'll most likely be spending it with the people of Forbes Park. They have a Texas BBQ & potluck but I don't know about fireworks. Guess with the fireban there won't be much! Our "lease" at the RV park is up on the 4th...we'll probably have to stay a while longer here because there's not a driveway cut onto the lot - and there's probably not enough time to get that done with the holiday weekend. That's okay... we don't mind staying here. Close to everything in town (the coffee shop is across the highway!) and hot showers in the bath house! I am rather anxious to get out to the lot & get a feel for the place... listen to the coyotes & look at the star-filled sky at night and give Skeeter a chance to run to his heart's content!
Have a blessed week... we'll be around.....

June 25, 2008 - Wednesday
Twists & Turns...Valley Time... BAD DRIVERS

I feel almost foolish writing sometimes. Believe me... it's not US who cannot make up our minds... it's the Valley!
As you know... we put in an official bid on the land on Luke Road. After a little negotiating the offer was accepted & we are to close on July 2. Well..... a friend who lives on Luke Road invited us to his place to see what he's been doing and on the way there we drove past the road that leads to the house we had previously put the offer on. At this point I'm thinking that the house is done & over with... but Jerry says: I was thinking of putting an offer of (amount) "on the table" & if he wants to sell it for that then we can buy it. I was surprised because I thought we were done with the house. So... we go to John's place & spend some time talking with him about solar panels, batteries & stuff around his place. It started to rain so we left & headed back to town. Our Realtor happened to see us so we stopped to talk with her & she said that she needed to talk with us about "the house". Curious!? So... we sit down to talk with her... she said she had talked with the owner of the house who is getting REALLY anxious to sell... and he said he'd take (amount). Jerry & I - stunned - looked at each other in disbelief. Our Realtor is wondering what's going on... so we have to tell her... that earlier in the afternoon Jerry had made the statement about the house... and the exact same number came up! Needless to say... we are in shock... bewildered... not knowing what in the world to do at this point! Right now we're just thinking about it............................
Now... about VALLEY TIME! Someone told me that if people moved any slower here they'd be going backwards. Another told me that this is "manana country" or "mucho manana". Another friend told us that they had asked someone to come out & give them an estimate for some work they wanted done... the contractor said he'd be out the next afternoon... 2 days later he showed up. No one is in a hurry here.
I just about lost my cool in Alamosa yesterday. We had gone to the Verizon store because I was having trouble with the wireless internet device we had gotten. (another story for another time) After I finally got that straightened out we went to Walmart. They didn't have what Jerry had wanted so we did a little shopping & were going to go get lunch. We got in line to check out... and stood there.... waiting.... there were 3 people ahead of me (not counting the one who had groceries bagged & in her cart - she was evidently the problem)... person 1 had groceries on the conveyor belt (belt is NOT moving)... clerk is visiting at length with the woman who has her bags in the cart...person 2 & 3 are fidgeting waiting for clerk to shut up & get to work. No one says anything. Being the timid person I am... I say to myself (or so I thought!) "Are you kidding me?". Either people out here read minds or I said it out loud! Woman with the bags in cart looks down the line of people, turns & leaves, the conveyor belt begins to move (less than 20 items on it). Person one has coupons & is paying with a check... and of course, there is a problem. The lane light flashes while we WAIT for someone from Customer Service to show up. Persons 2 & 3 each have only a couple items... and are obviously mentally kicking themselves for getting into that line! I know I was! After almost 20 minutes of standing in line (for a total of 30 items among 3 of us) I finally get thru the check out line. At this point I'm so irritated that I can't even look at the checker.
We get to the truck & head out of the parking lot... behind what has to be (remember See No Evil, Hear No Evil?) someone who does not know how to drive who is being given directions by the passenger. We creep out of the parking lot & into Burger King. Our order was taken quickly... but we waited & waitied... and it seems that in Alamosa there must have been a rash of bad behavior in the local BK... as there were no napkins or a ketchup dispenser next to the drinks. When our order finally arrived there were 2 napkins on the tray & we picked up 4 ketchup packets at the front counter. To top it all off... they were out of SweetTea! Blast! As we leave I go into the parking lot & watch a woman practically high center her Toyota Camry on the curb (taking the corner to short)... she backs up barely missing the mini-van that has come up behind her... mini-van driver backs up waving hands in the air... Camry driver obviously doesn't know "D" from "R" and tries again to drive up on the curb... slams it into reverse, gets off the curb & peals out of the driveway... mini-van driver closely on her tail. Glad to not be in either of those cars!
I'm not saying that I'm a great driver... but come on people! Then there's Jerry! Several times I've offered to drive so he can look out the window instead of crossing the center line or driving over the rumble bars on the shoulders. He's not ready to let me have the wheel out here for some reason.
Well... my blood pressure has returned to normal so I guess it's time to close! Hope everyone is having a great week.

June 23, 2008 - Monday
Another WILD WEST weekend!

Summer is officially here!
I already told you about making an offer on the lot ... we will be signing the official "offer" papers tomorrow! We spent more time on the lot in between festivities at the Fort. Fort Garland celebrated 150 years this weekend and there have been lots of people & activities going on in town all weekend.
Saturday's Schedule of Events: Parade through Ft. Garland tracing the move from Ft. Massachusetts, 6 miles to the north to Fort Garland on June 24, 1858; Raising of the Colors followed by several different speakers including State dignitaries & President of the Colorado Historical Society; band concert by the 1st Colorado Volunteers band; Cavalry drills by Ft. Garland Memorial Regiment; Officer's Wives High Tea; Drills conducted by the Artillery Company of NM, and a Regimental Ball (in period dress).
I added a new photo album with a few pix from the events we attended. The small parade Saturday morning ended up at the Fort. I was disappointed that none of the men in my immediate proximity removed their hats when the flags were presented during the parade AND when the flag was raised at the Fort! I couldn't believe it! Other than that, it was really interesting to be part of the celebration. We met new people - other "transplants", people who grew up here & moved away, people who were just passing through or came specifically for the celebration. For whatever reason we were able to visit with some folks who we would not have otherwise met.
We are finding that the people of Ft. Garland are generally very kind & helpful. We're especially thankful for our Realtor & her husband who have been absolutely wonderful & gone above & beyond the call of real estate duty!
We are really confident & at peace with purchasing the lot ... it has really grown on me. I had not wanted to build something from the ground up... but God in His infinite wisdom has given me a real peace about this... so I will trust, not just in Him, but in Jerry (that was my REALY weakness I think - shame on me!).
Can't forget Skeeter! He's becoming a regular "mountain dog". He tears thru the sagebrush... eating some of it on his way. He found a deer leg (bone with the hoof attached) today. Ick! I'm sure this will not be the last "treasure" he finds out there!

June 20, 2008 - Friday
Well crap... and other stuff...

Well crap! The offer was accepted by the seller... however he didn't want to follow thru on one of Jerry's contingencies (making sure ALL the permits were up to date - close to $1500). Then, we got a phone call from the Realtor saying the owner would follow thru on it... if it was a full price offer... only to call back saying that the County Planning/Zoning people say that the permits are only valid in the "person's name" NOT the "property address". Dumb! Anyway we really thought about everything that needs to be done in that house & the fact that we (Jerry) would be taking responsibility for this guy's previous work and another $1500 or so out of our pocket for permits for work that the owner had already started/completed or should have taken out to begin with.
We drove back by this lot up the road... the one that Jerry has really been drawn to... and decided that we would make an offer on it. So that's what we did this morning. We put the offer in with the same Realtor who has been so good to us here... (she's not the listing agent) and she called the listing agent who told her that she had shown that lot to us twice! We were shocked as she NEVER showed us the lot... in fact, we only met her on one occasion when she was out checking her FOR SALE signs & happened upon us as we were just leaving the lot. She didn't even try to sell us that lot, tell us anything about it... NOTHING... but instead showed us a lot that is WAAYY up on a cliff (yes, it has great views) but there's no chance of a well or electricity (although a wind generator would be ideal there). We're a little miffed that she would tell our Realtor that she had shown us the lot when she DID NOT!
Happenings in the burg of Ft. Garland: Ft. Garland is celebrating 150 years this weekend! The Fort is having a big presentation this afternoon and there will be a parade tomorrow along with some other festivities. I'll be sure to post pictures for all to see. Great small town living!
Hope everyone will be having a great weekend. Happy Birthday to my Mom! Love you!

June 18, 2008 - Wednesday
The OFFER is in........and now we WAIT

Well, today we finally made it to the Realtor's office... and she was there... so we put our offer on the house. It is our understanding that he is very anxious to sell and we noticed over the weekend he had some folks at the house helping (?) him clear some of the stuff off the lot - not that it made much of a dent but we could see where a few things had been removed. Our offer is based on the owner removing all the junk (cars, campers, etc.) off the lot - not to be moved to an adjacent lot AND upon presentation of all permits required by the County Planning & Zoning office for the construction. We also threw in that if he didn't want to take the dogs with him that we would also "adopt" them as they would be good playmates for Skeeter. Now we wait....
Following our meeting with the Realtor we stopped at our favorite eatery, All-Gon Pizzeria, for lunch. They have a great salad bar & soups that are equally as great! We had kidded the one of the owners that we had eaten there nearly every day since we got there (either lunch, dinner or dessert) and we should have had a punch card so our 10th meal was free. He laughed along with us and today... when the waitress brought our ticket... it said: LUCKY 13 Today is FREE... signed by the owners Ken & Lisa! Jerry told Ken he was thinking about dessert too (he really wasn't) and before we left the waitress brought over a to-go box with a piece of Banana Split Cake in it! They are just the nicest people there & we really enjoy their hospitality & fellowship!
This afternoon Jerry decided to sun himself while I went with Karen (one of the owners of the RV park) across the road to the coffee shop! We had a frappuccino & a nice visit with John, the proprietor. He's a delightful man who is quick to smile & always has a kind word!
Some of our garden has died... the tomato plants froze & I think the cucumbers may have also. The herbs seem to be doing quite well & we've eaten a few of the little radishes. Not a garden worthy of praise... but for weathering winds in the back of the truck driving out here, the altitude, dry heat during the day & cold at nite we are pleased that we're getting ANY kind of veggies!
Tonite we'll be having salmon on the grill and steamed asparagus... and the Banana Split Cake from All-Gon.
Hope everyone is having a great week.

June 16, 2008 - Monday
Happy Anniversary! Today Jerry & I celebrated another year of wedded bliss... or something like it! We were going to make an offer on the house but the Realtor's office was closed when we got there (too close to lunch time) and was still closed when we got done eating lunch so we decided to take a walk thru a local antique place. To call it a store or shoppe or boutique would be a stretch. Very dusty, disorganized & way overpriced as far as we're concerned! Anyway the nice lady who was working there said there was an auction north of town... so we decided to head up there to see what was for sale. Ended up being the rest of the day! By the time we got there all the "girl stuff" (household items) had been sold & they were just starting on the "boy stuff" (tools & crap like that). Then Jerry noticed they had guns & ammo so we HAD to stay for that! It started to sprinkle & I ducked under a little tree... and another gal had the same idea. We started chatting & discovered we had a LOT in common! She & her hubby are from Abilene, Texas but have a place near South Fork where they spend the summer. By the time the auction was over we had exchanged names, addresses & phone numbers and are hoping we can get together for Stampede the end of July.
We stopped at the RV park long enough to feed/water & potty Skeeter then we headed for Alamosa to our favorite restaurant - Trujillo's... which we discovered is closed on Mondays! RATS! We ended up going to Calvillo's - a Mexican restaurant - for dinner instead.
Hopefully tomorrow we can catch up with the Realtor & get this deal on the table! Time is ticking by...

June 15, 2008 - Sunday
Dog farts...dust...and small town living

Life in the camper is cramped to say the least. Life in the camper with Skeeter is... smelly at best! This dog has the worst farts... this is not something we didn't already know... but the stench is multiplied in such a small space. I told one friend that I wanted to hang one of those pine scented trees on his tail (like you hang on a rear view mirror)... or maybe use one of those Glade Plug-Ins. Jerry has taken to wearing ear plug so he doesn't have to listen to Skeeter licking himself... and nose plugs so he doesn't smell the farts! Yikes! The other morning he went out for his early morning play time with the neighbor's Boxer... and I heard a yelp. Didn't think much of it because they tend to play kind of rough. When Skeeter came back to the camper his paw was bleeding. The claw (toenail) on his 3rd toe is completely gone. Poor baby! This has not detered him from running thru sagebrush & cactus when we walk lots.
The wind has finally died down some as the snow melts off Mt. Blanca... but it seems that it is still very dusty. I think maybe the sand is so fine that it doesn't take much to blow it around? Every day I have to wipe everything down because there is a new layer of dust. When we drove to LaJara early last week the wind was horribly strong & the dust had to be like what it was in the 1930's (I remember my folks & older relatives talking about it). Other than the blowing dust the weather has been great! Sounds like we're supposed to get rain Monday thru Wednesday. I imagine we'll be holed up in the camper if that's the case! At least there won't be dust... but there will be more dog farts!
We've tried out all but two of the local cafes in town (there are 6 - in a town of about 500). One of them has become a favorite. The folks who own it also pastor a small church here & are just really neat people! Saturday nites are BIG as they have live entertainment! A man by the name of Sonny (I think I mentioned him before) sings & plays guitar... taking requests. It's a real family oriented place - no alcohol - and just a fun way to spend a few hours on Saturday nite. No designated driver needed!
I guess we're going to be putting an offer in on the house with all the junk around it. Jerry has been writing & rewriting the "offer" that includes all the stuff that has to be done by the seller before closing. I guess if he doesn't take the deal (or make a REALLY good counter-offer) then we're back to square one. Our backup plan is a 5 acre lot on Luke Road - not far from the house. It has dropdead gorgeous views of Mt. Blanca, lots of trees (not the tall ones - but trees nonetheless), quite a bit of sagebrush & cactus but not as much as other lots we've seen!
Hope everyone has a great Father's Day (call your dad!) and a great week!

June 10, 2008 - Tuesday
Lots of lots...

Today started out with very light breezes... and turned quite windy! We stopped to see the Realtor but she was out so we went to the Post Office to see what we'd need to do to get a Post Office Box. Everyone we had talked to here told us we'd have to have proof of paying taxes on our property or a building permit... turns out all we needed was to show our driver's licenses!
We ate lunch at the local coffee shop then went to see the Realtor after lunch to find out what she thought our lots in Forbes Park & SDCR were worth - to see if it would be worth our while to list them for sale. We determined that it would be a good idea & we'll sign the listing papers tomorrow! We also went with her & looked at some lots she had for sale... just for reference more than anything I suppose. I think we're pretty comfortable with making an offer on the "handyman cabin" (check out the new photos I added)... so we may do that tomorrow too.
We'd really like to get into that house one more time before we do make an offer as we'd like to take more detailed photos & some written notes as to what needs to be done to it - kind of a shopping list I guess. Then we can go to the "local" lumber places to find out how much it will cost to finish the house.
This evening when we got back from viewing lots with the realtor Jerry took a short nap and then we went to the Blanca-Ft. Garland Community Center for a swim! I decided to go ahead & buy a year long membership for $25.00... and since Jerry is a "senior" - he can go for FREE! Age has its perks I guess! This membership lets us in to swim in the Olympic size pool, use the hot tub, sauna, weight room, and basketball court. They are also offering dance lessons and TaeBo - but one has to pay for those classes.
We stopped at All-Gon for dessert following our swim... and now he & Skeeter are both snoring away... I suppose I should close & get to bed. Tomorrow will be another BIG day for us!

June 9, 2008 - Monday
The weekend report...
Saturday we didn't do a whole lot. We did take a short trip to LaJara to the Allpine Lumber Mill... little did we know it would be closed on Saturday (how dare they?). We'll go another time I guess. We've driven by the one house (handyman special) we looked at - I guess to see how it looks at different times of the day & if we're still that excited about it. I think we still like it more than anything else we've seen. It does have a beautiful view of the mountains to the north, the foothills to the east and the valley to the west & south. It just really needs MORE windows (it has only 2!).
We cooked out on the grill back at the RV Park then went to All-Gon Pizzeria for dessert... and live entertainment! A gentleman named Sonny plays the guitar & does a little karoke every Saturday nite there. It was kinda fun... even though Jerry wouldn't dance with me (he hadn't had anything to drink... and neither had I - but I still wanted to dance!). I looked around the restaurant & figured that none of the women there probably wanted to get out there & dance with me either (like the group back home!). Oh well! It was just as fun to sit & listen & just relax! We closed the place down at about 9:00!
Our good friends Mike & Daryla were heading to New Mexico for their anniversary & made a pitstop here to see us on Sunday. We had lunch at All-Gon Pizzeria then drove them around to see all the lots & houses we'd looked at with Realtors and took them to see the lots we already own here. On the way out of Forbes Park (gate community) we happened to see a cinnamon bear in someone's driveway. I thought it was a very large chow-chow dog... and Mike (also on the passenger side) thought it was a dog too... but we yelled for Jerry to back up so we could take a second look... and sure enough! It was a bear! He was very still... on all fours.... just watching us watching him! I dare say that we were WAY more excited to see him than he was to see us! My camera battery was about shot so Daryla got the photos & is supposed to be emailing them to me when she gets back to Lincoln. I'll post them in my photos! Mike & Daryla left this morning after breakfast at the Old West Cafe'. We think they'll be back to see us again!
We met with a Realtor today about the possibility of listing our lots in Forbes Park & the Sangre de Cristo Ranches. We'll stop by her office tomorrow to either sign the papers or not... depending on what she thinks we can get for them, etc.
Don't know yet what we'll be doing tomorrow. The good thing about being here & not having to be tied to "stuff" (like jobs) is that we can just do what the heck we want to - or not! As long as the sun is shining & the wind isn't blowing over 20 mph (blowing sand is the pits!) - it's a good day!
We'll be around..............

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