The Wildlife in My Wild Life – Photo Essay

Since I live in Colorado, I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. I’ve spotted them on hikes, while skiing, or through a car window. Prehistoric porcupines, bear, elk, common deer, bighorn sheep, you name it. But this year, my wild life has gotten wilder. Several otherwise elusive creatures have made appearances in the most unlikely of places: My home.

Bullsnakes have made their way into my home twice. A newborn made its way through a light fixture since I found it on top of my flat file. It became a pet for the winter. The kids released it the following summer. The other must have pushed its way through the doggie door. I thought it was one of the rubber snakes from downstairs carried by our Bichon, Roxy. Nope! I put it in an aquarium until the weather warmed up and then let it go. The one in the picture was full grown (about four feet long) when I found in the garage. I picked it up and released it into the garden.

bull snake in yard

Several families of owls love to perch on and around my house. As the sun sets every night, I can hear a couple hoo-hooting to each other.

owl hanging out on roof

Two weeks ago, something hit a window. I rushed to my back door to see. A baby owl sat on the stoop. I waited until he flew away to be sure he didn’t become dinner for one of several hungry predators who lurk in our yard at night.

Last week, I heard the most annoying screeching sound. When the dog went nuts, I ran to the window. A huge owl stood on a planter screeching, “Good morning.” Ha! Worst sound ever.

Click to see the video –

While in Europe after a disastrous water leak from a demon washing machine, our wood floor guy, Nick took pictures of a lynx! Yes, this is our deck.

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According to my neighbor, two bobcats hung out at the front door while we were gone. Make yourself at home, why don’t ya? Of course, I never saw them after returning from our trip. Gah!

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In April, an enormous gold “housecat” walked around the pond. Later, I found out a young cougar has made our neighborhood its hangout. Unlike the lynx in the photo above, its tail is long. It’s a yearling and still pretty small, but the doggie door is shut until further notice. Poor Roxy.

Remember Roxy and the Coywolf? I don’t trust that she’s learned her lesson. She got lucky when that beast laughed and released her from its jaws in 2015. This time too.

Roxy in the window

As I’m typing this, I’m at a desk in the window being totally distracted by the backyard view. You never know what might take a shortcut through our property…

Our family had an unexpected visit last Sunday up in Breckenridge. I’ve seen them at Brainard Lake, at the bottom of Peak 7, but not in my neighborhood!

My husband, Danny, rushed toward me as I walked out of the kitchen. He had an insane look on his face. My first thought was whatever he would say next would be completely sarcastic. “There’s a moose in the driveway!” he screamed. Yes. SCREAMED!

Stained glass windows flank the front door. I saw a massive black shadow beyond. Instead of running for my camera, I rushed downstairs and shouted to my son who talked with his girlfriend on the phone.

He ran upstairs and used Facetime to show her the incredible sight. Right outside our picture window stood a full-grown male moose complete with wicked cool antlers. A yearling grazed nearby. We trapped the dogs in the basement to keep them from frightening the pair.

When my wild life meets wildlife

Click to see the video –

After taking a few photos, we caught our breath. Minutes later, another shadow graced our front doorway. The cow brought up the rear of the little family.

Incredible!

As the sun sinks lower in the sky, I’m still waiting for my glimpse of the elusive wildcats. It’s 4:30 and owls have begun their hooting chant. Another just landed on our roof. The raccoons will scout and a pack of coyotes may send out an eerie cry.

I love where I live. There’s plenty of room for all of us.

Click for more of my Wild Ride.

Related posts:

What was she thinking?

The Moose is Loose!

Not in My Neighborhood!

Taking It to New Heights – A snake encounter…

Have you seen any unusual wildlife? Has your life gotten wilder lately?

How to Have a Hygge Life!

When I learned about Hygge and what it meant, I wanted to add more to my life here in Colorado.

Hygge is a Scandinavian word, pronounced hue-gah, used to describe an extraordinary moment during an otherwise ordinary day by being aware of the feeling of coziness and charm in order to slow our fast-paced life.

The word blew up in 2016 and was soon added to American dictionaries. Life has become more stressful for a lot of people. Hygge focuses on what makes you comfortable and happy. As the northern hemisphere slides into winter, I am all about Hygge moments.

Hygge can be experienced through a solitary or group activity. I’ve seen many examples, from wearing pajamas while sipping hot chocolate and reading a book, to small gatherings with friends.

Hygge’s definition depends on your unique lifestyle. Colorado is known for its active people.  When I’m not tapping away on my computer, I’m looking for outdoor adventures. I tend to shoot through life in hyperdrive. It’s important to slow down and enjoy its simplicity.

It’s snowing here in the mountains and I’m having a Hygge moment right now!

How to add Hygge to your lifestyle

My Colorado Hygge moments:

Some of my Hygge moments could be enjoyed by anyone in the world, others not so much.

Spend time with friends.

October Haunted book club at my house included eating appetizers in my living room. See the ghost, (Wendi) on the couch? Cooking dinner ran late so we had extra time to catch up! Our group has been together for more than fifteen years.

Haunted book club

Stop to enjoy the view.

No matter where you live, you can find and appreciate beauty. Instead of rushing down the sidewalk, check out a building’s architecture, the nature that surrounds you, or the clouds that scud across the sky. Embrace life when you can.

On the way back down from the mountains last weekend, my husband, Danny, and I drove to Echo Lake located below a 14,000-foot peak, called Mount Evans. As the sun set behind the mountains, the thin ice proved reflective and breath-taking in its texture.

Echo Lake, Colorado

Do what makes you happy like decorate for the holidays.

I have boxes filled with Halloween and Christmas decor and unpack them whether we entertain or not. Being surrounded by my favorite decorations makes me feel warm and happy.

Take time to make a meal.

Instead of inhaling food, it’s important to sit down and enjoy meals. I can smell the bacon sizzling in the pan. Okay, I’m really salivating now…

Mountain breakfast

Take a break.

To warm up and rest my muscles when I ski, I pour a hot chocolate and relax in the lodge. I prefer to sit near a window while enjoying the sweet concoction.

A Hygge Day in Colorado

Watch Memories on my iPhone.

I discovered a great new way to embrace special moments. I may be the last person to find “Memories” at the bottom of Moments in my iPhone’s photos. It’s a slideshow that includes snippets of video. Now I realize how important it is to delete pictures of my feet since it sometimes includes them. Ha!

Take a bubble bath in or outdoors.

I had a tough workout last Wednesday and took a hot tub to silence the screams of my minuscule muscles. The hum of the motor and the rush of water always soothes me.  I love watching birds flit from tree to tree and always watch for wildlife. A mountain lion and lynx have been spotted recently. Whoa!

Sometimes a friend joins me. So, I know hot tubs are no place for dogs, but she jumped in and finally lost her curiosity. Ha!

A friend in the hot tub

Light a candle or stoke up a fire.

In Colorado, most fireplaces are gas since we have a problem when heat inversions which trap pollution in the atmosphere. I love to flip the switch on my gas fireplace and mellow out in pajamas while watching the flicker of the flames. Or if the fire danger is low, have a bonfire with friends or family. Tell a ghost story or two. Surely you will experience a Hygge moment when you cuddle in a blanket and a shiver ripples up your spine.

bonfire

Meditate.

Insight Timer is a terrific app for tuning out the world to center and release stress. You can choose from guided and unguided meditations. It is good for the body and the soul. Find a warm, comfy space and peace-out for ten minutes. Enjoy your Hygge moment!

Create.

When our brains unlock creative flow while writing, painting, drawing, or when engaging in any other arts or craft activity, a sense of peace is released. Embrace this amazing feeling. Be aware of what you accomplished!

NOTE TO SELF: Start on this year’s Christmas card. Tick, tock…

illustrated christmas cards

Bake!

Ever since my kids went to college, I’ve baked a lot less. Making cookies and cakes for two can be hazardous to one’s waistline. Now that the weather is colder and the holidays approach, I yearn to bake bread and rolls. There’s nothing like the accomplishment of creating while the heavenly scent rises from the oven. Yum!

 

Cooling on the racks.

Spend time with family.

Since my son lives in California and my mom lives in Wisconsin, the moments we share are precious. Being an empty-nester, I truly cherish the time when everyone is home. I try slow down and live in the present moment, like this one.

Courtney, Grandma, and Kelly

Last night, I took a long hot shower. While wearing my favorite fleece pajamas, I made a cup of Sleepytime tea. I flipped the switch on the gas fireplace and slipped under the covers to read a book. Roxy cuddled next to me and kept me warm. After my Hygge moment, I slept really well!

I can’t wait to celebrate our family birthdays and holidays in November and December.

Lots of Hygge moments ahead! Onto that Christmas card…

 

Had you heard of Hygge? What are your favorite ways to bring a sense of comfort and coziness to your life?

Click for more adventures on the Wild Ride!

Related posts:

Join the #Blessed Project!

My 50 Faves and How to Join!

Backpacking Challenge in the Rockies

Autumn And An Early Arrival!

After a week in Wisconsin, I packed up and headed to the Rocky Mountains to see the autumn colors. What I didn’t expect was an early arrival.

Silverthorne fall color with Lake Dillon

These are drive-by shots, meaning, I jumped out of the car to shoot the picture. Don’t worry. No aspens were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Color peeks out from the trees.

The color was stunning due to the clouds and slant of the sun.

Clouds build over the colorful aspen trees

I made the unfortunate decision to stop for lunch while the clouds continued to build.

Fall color in Silverthorne, Colorado

I thought I’d head back up to hike and take more photos.

Autumn in colorful Colorado

Instead, stormclouds descended on the mountains and an icy wind blew.

And then this happened. Click on the photo to listen to the thunder snowstorm!

It’s still snowing. There’s an inch on the deck. If it lasts all night I might have to go sledding tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted.

September snow on the deck

What’s the weather like in your part of the world? Are the leaves changing or is spring arriving?

Click for more wild adventures!

Related posts:

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

Bike Hike to Bridal Veil Falls – Photo Essay with Altitude

To Hell You Ride – A Photo Essay that Ends in Whoa!

Notorious Colorado Weather – A Photo Essay

Colorado weather is notorious for its unpredictability, but I’ve never seen anything like the superstorm that arrived this week. 2017 has been a year of the unpredictable, with the death of my brother and ceiling cave-in. I keep looking for that silver lining. It’s in my nature.

A week ago, I worried about how I would get “everything” done before floor refinishers and painters take over the house for the month of June. Part of my long list included planting annuals. Not only a couple of pots placed on tables, but at least eleven urns and four window boxes. That’s a lot of plant material.

radient flower box

Usually, I check out all of the garden centers before buying in order to save money. This year, I’m under a time crunch, so I was tempted to buy everything at one place. I vibed out and couldn’t motivate. After fighting the crowds over the warm Mother’s Day weekend, I only bought geraniums on Monday. Then I looked at the five day forecast and couldn’t believe my eyes. Tiny flakes of snow were predicted to arrive on Thursday night. I figured the snow would melt before waking.

The beginning of the storm rolled in several days early with huge hail in the form of golf ball-sized snowballs on Monday. It reminded me of a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. I’d never seen anything like it. You’ll have to trust me since they melted before I could take a picture. Thunderstorms rolled through the next two days.

Thursday, 8:30 AM:

After I blogged my Twin Peaks post, I looked up from my computer to the kitchen window. “It’s snowing!” I sprang from my chair and stared at the giant quarter-sized flakes. I figured it was a fluke and it would soon turn to rain.

9:00 AM:

It’s still snowing. Large puddles are forming on my lawn. A great day for ducks. Maybe you can see the duck in this video. Continue reading

How to Be a Gaper – A Photo Essay

Gaper Day is a tradition at ski resorts. Even if they don’t have a party, the last day of the season brings out the gaper in most skiers and snowboarders. We drove to Vail for their closing day. They had their spring splash the weekend before, but it didn’t dampen the party atmosphere.

What’s a Gaper?

How to be a GaperThis term generally describes someone whose helmet slips back on their head creating the dreaded gap between their noggin protector and their goggles, revealing loads of forehead. This usually accompanies first time skier attire: Jeans, firefighter, camouflage or blaze orange deer hunting jackets… You get my drift.

On the last day of the season this is expanded to skier attire circa 1970-80’s or full on crazy costumes.

We went all out this year. Continue reading

Join The #Blessed Project!

It’s been a Wild month and the holidays are upon us. How did that happen? It can be hard to switch gears from stressed-out to happy guest or entertainer. Compounded by worry and lack of sleep, our usual energy may be zapped. We may feel far from blessed.

I have a solution for you! Sometime between now and December 17th take a break and make a blessed project list. This will remind you of what makes you happy. We can only think about one thing at a time, so this project should hip-check negative thoughts out of your cranium for a while. Endorphins will fill the space. Can you feel it?

Your post can be as long or short as you like. It’s your #Blessed Project.

Time is a commodity and I don’t want to add to your stress level. If you get into it, take as much time as you want. Include photos, videos, artwork. Or keep it simple and only write a list. You can easily jot down the first few things that come to mind. Done.

There is no right or wrong.

Ask your family why they feel blessed. It could be a sparkly distraction if things get tense over Thanksgiving break. Remember, we can only focus one thing at a time.

  1. Write a #Blessed Project article and post it on your blog.
  2. Include a link to this post. Spread the positivity!
  3. Paste your link in the comment section below by Saturday, December 17th.
  4. Stop back anytime to read other posts. You know the drill. Tell them “Susie sent me from the Blessed Project,” and they should click back to your place.

BONUS! On December 19th, I’ll blog the list of #Blessed Projects pasted in the comments, to reach out to more readers.

Don’t have a blog? Write one and post it on Facebook. Reading them is just as heartwarming as the exercise.

Here’s the start of my list. I’m sure it will grow with updates throughout the season.

I felt blessed to ski in Breckenridge with family and friends on opening weekend.

skiing Breckenridge on opening weekend with friends and family

I’m blessed to live in Colorado and

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to have found a physical therapist, so I can do this:

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving! #Blessed

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and dogs!

I am blessed for having a partner in adventure

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and for having a sense of humor, which really came in handy this month.

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To walk on moonlit nights. #Blessed

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And I am blessed for all of you!

Think about your own blessings. Make a list, post it and then leave your url in the comments. I’d love to link you up in another post on December 19th.

Need more ideas? There are some great examples in the comments section. They’re rolling in!

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

We drove up to Breckenridge last weekend, expecting wonderful weather and golden-hued fall color. I couldn’t believe it when the snow began to fly as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. I had wondered when Old Man Winter would pay us a visit, but I figured he might wait until the middle of October.

Only a day after the official start of autumn, he surprised us.

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I have been predicting an early winter. I’m gifted and talented in that way. There’s a slant to the light and the birds have been flocking together for weeks now. The perennials died back early, I’ve never seen so many owls hunt during the day, and the squirrels have been in hyper-drive. What does that have to do with an early winter? I have no idea. I’m not even an amateur meteorologist. Someone told me pinecones packed high on the tops of trees indicate a cold, snowy winter. YES! Must be a Farmer’s Almanac thing. Why would trees do that? Maybe if there is a megaton of snow, the pinecones won’t get buried and rot in the spring melt. Who knows? I’m ready for snow.

Wonder why I’m excited? This photo says it all…

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Yep. Those are ski runs in the hills out yonder.

It melted today (moan), but I think the Old Man is lurking. I bet there will be more surprises on the horizon. Winter will arrive early this year.

Are you ready for winter? Has the Old Man surprised your neighborhood yet?

Click for more Wild Colorado Adventures!