North Ranch: Winter Morning

A winter morning.

woods and cottages in winter white

A new day begins at North Ranch, with a fresh snowy mantle and crystal clear skies. The brisk temperature is noted before starting the day’s work.

Occasionally, the wildlife will make an appearance later in the day. They are well accustomed to the snow and cold, and well experienced in foraging.

passing through: deer on a snow-covered trail


The Week

It is back to work this week.

Both Laurie and Andrea returned to work early Tuesday morning, arriving at their usual time. The first day back since moving to the ranch, they timed their commute – about 50 minutes. Staff who live in the far northeast suburbs have commute times of usually an hour or more, depending upon traffic volume and weather. Their new commute route has Laurie and Andrea traveling a highway, exit to a main arterial, then surface streets. The commute home, the time was a little better at 47 minutes. A few nurses and techs asked them both how is living on the ranch. Answer – “there’s nothing better.”

still boxed: the home office waiting to be unpacked

The moving in part is nearly finished. Most of the furniture has been arranged, but is subject to be moved around. The dinnerware, tableware, cookware and utensils have found their way to the assigned drawers. And, the maze of boxes has substantially reduced in size, much to the chagrin of the kitties. But, their most favorite boxes will be saved.

most favored: cat-approved boxes

It is safe to say the days of living out of a box and suitcase are numbered. The closet organizers are fairly straightforward in their assembly. It seems a third of the folded instructions are for safety. The girls, when they return from their equestrian business trip, will be pleased. The cats have found their clothes make for a comfortable bed.

closet organizer: three-level drawer in Deborah’s closet

closet organizer: the level test in Tara’s closet

Plenty of work is on my desk also. Analytic work on data from two projects, and proofreading a report on a third. While it seems demanding in time, it is not. It is keeping all the work, errands and other activities balanced. And, an eye on the clock.

How is it all? Without hesitation, “There’s nothing better.”

Hail & Farewell

The last 2½ hours of the year is quietly slipping away. No worries or thoughts of what should have been, or could have been. It is always about looking ahead. Today was good, tomorrow will be better. With the excitement building for the coming year, new adventures, new hopes, new memories are waiting to be discovered.

After our family celebration, the sharing of kisses, our home will quiet and settle for a winter’s night. The year coming to a close was a good one. We, hopefully, met and passed many of the tests. We were made the better for them. The coming new year brings new promises. We believe we’re ready.

May the new year be a good one, and one for good memories.


Christmas Night

Chocolate wafted throughout the house in the morning.  In the afternoon, the scent of a rib roast.  Boxes moved around, furniture hastily arranged. And, careful not to step on a stray kitty jingle ball.

Our dinner table was a little tight, but we managed. With the open design of our kitchen, Laurie, Andrea and I ate there. Occasionally, the three of us got to laughing too much. Andrea’s parents, my dad, Bella and our daughters got to wondering what us ne’er-do-wells were laughing about. “Nothing …”, followed by more laughing.

With the lights low, our home begins to quiet amidst the crackling fire. Laurie, Andrea and I softly talk of the past few days, how good they have been. And, how good this Christmas has been. “Tom and Judy were right,” Andrea begins. “Only a few days here, I love it so.”

We hope your Christmas was joyful and blest.

Christmas Eve

A maze of boxes and furniture is all about the house. The kitties love the arrangement. It’s a playground. In place, their food and water stations, and litter boxes, of course. And, Andrea’s piano. The barn set-up is almost finished. There are certain priorities after all.

boxes and furniture: the living room maze

Tara’s temporary nightstand: a dual-purpose wooden crate

After a late breakfast, it was a day of moving around of boxes and furniture. Though most of our dinnerware, tableware and cookware remains boxed, enough is out for everyday use. The refrigerator is full, and we can make meals.

breakfast time: French toast

breakfast of champions: French toast drenched with syrup and a slab of butter

After dinner, it will be a crackling fire in the hearth. A few songs around the piano. A few, unexpected presents found under the tree.

later: preparing the Christmas Day checklist

To all our friends, may you have a merry and blessed Christmas!

Snow Day

With the 2017 MLB season beginning, it is very appropriate to have challenging springtime weather. (The Rockies’ home opener is Friday, April 7.)

snow-covered: in the neighborhood (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

tree-bending snow: winter white (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

measuring the snow: 6+ inches (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

The snow ended in the late morning, followed by partial clearing in the early afternoon. With temperatures climbing into the mid-40s, the melt off began in earnest.

snow free feeder, nearly dry street (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

In the forecast, sunny and warmer (nearly 70) by Friday.

A Night of Candles

“I left Florida to avoid tropical hurricanes. I didn’t know Colorado had ground hurricanes.”

A friend of my sister, Ginny, told her that during Monday’s brutal windstorm. The winds were not the 15-25-35 mph variety, but more of a Category One hurricane kind with gusts into the 85-95-105 mph range. The usual effects of the wind storm could be found everywhere: downed trees and fences, downed power lines, damaged cars and closed highways.

Undoubtedly, most schedules also fell victim to the wind. Our schedule was caught by the wind. The plan was to complete the veterinary certification for Lilith, Captain Andrew, SAM and Happy Girl so they may compete at the National Western over this coming weekend. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it because of a closed highway. Dr. Burrell, our horse veterinarian, couldn’t make it either – a fallen tree in her driveway.

A power failure all across the region, it simply complicated matters. We lost power shortly after 7:30 am. While we had plenty to do, the lack of power dampened much of the day. By evening, the fierce winds were more than a nuisance. The utilities department could not estimate when the power would be restored after saying mid-afternoon for most of the morning.

With it becoming dark in the late afternoon, a little light was needed. It is good the daughters have a strong sense of romance. They brought out their stash of candles they use while soaking in the tub or the Jacuzzi in the master bath.

candles: from romance to basic light

A pizza and soda dinner by candlelight. It works.

Our power was restored at midnight. The veterinary certification was completed this morning. Today’s afternoon practice session, compressed but intense.