Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “waterfall”

The Bridges

riverwalk
A river runs through it — it being a corner of our place. Our Labrador Retrievers enjoy that feature of ranch life. But this is a story about a cat.

Beau, our male Yellow Lab, has taken upon himself many responsibilities. Some of them I share with him. For example, at the crack of dawn’s first light, he barks. Since we let the dogs sleep in the house to prevent fraternizing with coyotes, his bark requires me to get up and let him and Sadie go outside. Sometimes I return to bed, but if I slumber too long, Beau barks again from outside. This is my signal to feed him and Sadie on the back deck. I also put out food for the cats, in the elevated feeding station described in another blog. Beau is very vocal and very bossy. He has a routine. He likes all of us to follow his desired routine.

This particular morning, I did not return to bed. I gallantly allowed Sleeping Beauty aka Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, to sleep longer, and to sleep, I had hoped, undisturbed. So I fed the dogs without prompting by Beau. Nevertheless, as I was making coffee, I heard him bark again. He sounded troubled. It reminded me of Lassie, or Rin Tin Tin, or Bullet. What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy in the well? Yo! Rinty! Bullet, show me where Roy is! Beau ran to the river. He barked at something on the other side, wanting me to look. So I looked out and saw why he was barking. One of the cats was on the other side of the river. That bothered Beau. Maybe he wanted it to come for breakfast, per the routine. But now the cat was stuck on the wrong side of the deep waters. This was a job for SuperDog!

Beau believes he is responsible for the safety of the cats. I was fascinated to watch him swim across the river and come up the bank to where the cat was crying. The cat was directly across from the house, but the direct route meant swimming across the water. Apparently, the cat forgot where it had crossed the river. To get back to the house without getting wet, it needed to go to one of the two bridges, neither of which are by the house.

Beau sniffed it and then trotted toward one of the two bridges. He wanted the cat to follow him. He did not swim back across because everyone knows, including Beau, that cats do not enjoy swimming, hence the problem this particular cat was facing.

I have a lower opinion of the cat’s intellect than does Beau. I went to get my rubber irrigation boots on so that I could walk to and over the bridge, which is past the barn. I did not want to walk barefoot in order to rescue the dumb cat.

Instead of needing to rescue the cat, by the time I got to the bridge, the cat was already on the house side of the water. He had, as Beau desired, followed Beau across the bridge. Now who is the dummy? I guess it is me! The animals had solved the problem with no help from me. It seems that Beau at least is capable of critical thinking and problem-solving.
beau and cat
Below you can see the bridge they crossed. This is me riding Scamp another day. Some horses don’t like to cross bridges. I think the hollow sound of the clopping of their hooves and maybe looking over the side spooks some, but not Scamp. Beau is with us in this photo too.
scamp crossing bridge
the bridge
Above you see the other bridge, the one the county road crosses over. We don’t like our pets out on the road, so Beau made a prudent choice.
waterfall
This is one of the waterfalls about three miles downstream. The cat probably would not have enjoyed going over the waterfall. Thanks to Beau, the cat did not have to find out.

Home Building on the Range

In my previous post, I described moving two cabins from Estes Park to Cross Creek Ranch.  So, if you need to catch up, read Home on the Range first and come back to this, which is Part 2. 

So, we got the small cabin placed on its new foundation.  That was the easy part. 

The hard part took over a year.  Beginning in the Spring of 1993, Ray and Brian worked to put back together each log.  This house had a new foundation too, poured 12″ thick in order to support the heavy logs.  We used a steel beam below, under the floor where the heavy fireplace would be built.  (When I say “we,” I am referring to myself as the contractor and the people with skills who actually did the good construction work). 

One of the issues in many log homes is that they can be dark, probably because the walls are wooden and not normally painted.  To bring lots of natural light into our log house, I put in several skylights in strategic locations.  We needed a new roof anyway.  Also, the front of the house faces directly south and has eight windows, including two that are about fifteen feet higher than the floor. 

On the west side, facing the mountains, we have a bank of three picture windows totalling twenty feet wide.  We call it the sunroom.  It provides passive solar.  The floor is tiled with saltillo tiles to help retain heat.  This room was an addition to the original log house. 

Additions present another aesthetic challenge, which is that one cannot match 100 year old weathered logs.  Our solution was to do the addition with stone in order to complement rather than match the old logs.

We harvested the rock for our hearth from our own ranch, where there is a vein of what I call fieldstone.  Miss Sugar and I have made many trips to our “quarry” filling the bed of the pickup again and again and again.  We picked each rock for some dry-stacked outside walls and for a water fall and pond.  We were not willing to pick enough for the walls to the addition.  Thankfully, Mike, our mason, found stones that look like the ones we have on the ranch.  We love how it turned out.

The kitchen in the house as it was in Estes was too small and out-dated.  Miss Sugar, who is a great cook, deserved better.  So the old kitchen, which was small for that function, makes for a roomy laundry room, including the old kitchen sink. 

The new kitchen was built by enclosing what had been a covered porch.  The exterior is the same stone.  The interior is equipped with professional appliances for my bride.  Raphaelle, designed a wonderful deep farm sink of granite as well as granite counters.  Because our house is so rustic, we got cabinets made of distressed pine from a custom shop. 

We made a small bedroom into a large walk-in closet with a skylight.  We made another small bedroom into a big bathroom. 

Yesterday I wrote of the old becoming new.  That, in a nutshell, is how we did it.

By the Dawn’s Early Light

My trophy wife, Miss Sugar, had a good idea several years ago.  Her idea was for us to build a waterfall in front of our house, on a slope.  So we did.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, God placed plenty of rocks suitable for landscaping.  We have a place on our ranch that is our own personal quarry.  We made many trips with our pickup truck to gather suitable rocks and bring them back to the construction site.

I dug an artisticly shaped hole for a pond at the bottom of the slope.  We covered the pond and waterfall with special plastic liner material from a pond store where all the cool people with  “water features” shop.  We put in a pipe to carry water from the bottom of the pond to the top of the waterfall, powered by an electric pump, also available at the water feature store where the cool people shop.  We ran an electric line to the pump, which pushes the water from the pond back up to the top of the waterfall.  We covered up the liner and the pipe with rocks.  We covered the pump with a piece of driftwood.  It looked natural.  It worked well.  We were cool.  We had a cool water feature. 

We got some goldfish to add to the atmosphere.  The goldfish ate algae in the pond.  They grew fast. 

Also, birds are attracted to our water feature habitat.  Miss Sugar is a bird watcher, so she likes the extra birds.

In addition to the fish and the birds, our Yellow Labrador Retrievers, Max and Sadie, share in the water feature habitat.  Also, rabbits, drink there and, apparently, hide in the rock “cave” we created at the top, out of which the waterfall emerges.  Sadie is aware of the rabbits’ hiding place.  Consequently, she digs around and walks on the rocks and, apparently, disturbs the plastic liner, which has resulted in leaking.  We keep trying to find leaks.  We also have to add water twice a day or the water gets so low that the pump makes a sucking noise.  The sound of the waterfall is soothing.  The sound of a sucking pump has the opposite effect.

We are now on our third pump.  They get clogged up.  Even though we occasionally clean the pumps, they eventually wear out.

By morning light, I can usually hear the pump sucking so I go outside and put a hose in the water feature to refill the pond until the pump stops sucking.  Also, in the morning, I let the dogs out.  (They sleep in the house.)   The dogs and I let Miss Sugar sleep a bit longer.

We live on a road that does not get much traffic.  As a result, I have a great sense of privacy.

Confident in my privacy, I do not take the precaution of emerging fully clothed from the house.  A couple days ago, not fully clothed, I emerged from the house as is my custom, walked down the steps off the front porch, went around to the side of the house, got the hose, and put it in the cool water feature that was sucking air. 

I have always figgered that I could hear any approaching vehicle and hide behind a wall by the water spigot.  That theory depends on the vehicle making a sound.

After I went back inside, I noticed a motor home parked by the bridge.  It is not a camping spot, but I thought maybe someone parked there to sleep.  It is a pretty place.  The occupants were probably still sleeping. 

Then it quickly drove away.  It seems they were awake when I was outside.

Today there were fifty vehicles, including motorhomes, campers, pickups and several luxury cars parked on our road along our fence.  I guess they heard about the cool water feature.

How do I explain this to Miss Sugar?

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