What’s the deal with dogs and cats?

Miss KittyI’ll bet you didn’t know the second thing I ever wanted to be when I grew up, after Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke! was a psychobiologist.

Yes, I wanted to study animal behavior.

IMGP4322So when we added a kitten to our household this week, with a well established puppy named Rasta, it only took us a day or two to realize that neither one of us had ever had a cat AND a dog at the same time in the same house. We kept looking at each other as if one of us would know how this works.

Well, this is how it works from my perspective. The dog keeps expecting the cat to act more like a dog, and the cat keeps expecting the dog to act like a cat.

For example, they play in very different ways. The cat loves to chase everything around, although he hasn’t killed our car motor rat just yet as far as we can tell. The dog only wants to fetch his toys for us.

I will say our dog seems more territorial and loyal. He keeps trying to defend me against the cat!

They observe each other more with curiosity than disdain, and I can tell they basically enjoy each other, although Rasta has his moments:

IMGP4328They are both equally “lap happy.” Both love a good lap, and even more so as the weather gets colder. Rasta is only eleven pounds, so I’m curious which one will end up weighing more.

All in all we are quite pleased with our new addition and we’re hoping Rasta will feel the same soon.

Now if Charlie would just kill that nasty rat!

Sub-contractors we can recommend south of Pueblo, Colorado

IMGP3203Now that our home is finished, I thought I might share the names of the best companies we have worked with down here.

IMGP3099My first caution is to not just go with the companies the local builders use in Huerfano county. We had to remove contracting responsibilities from our builder eventually, when it became clear that he had absolutely no incentive to save us money. He just went with the good old boys down here to line his and their pockets, since he got 15% on top of the subs he brought in to do the dirt work, etc.

It seems they like to convince you that the companies in Pueblo won’t come down here to work. We have found this to be absolutely false. In fact the best companies we worked with were located in Pueblo. Companies like Pueblo Electrics, who did all of our wiring, Prutch’s Garage Door and J & J Stucco. These companies worked with us for a reasonable price on a much more professional level than the locals who don’t necessarily want to work.

We cannot recommend Cornerstone Roofing, who put on our steel roof. Parts of it blew off a year later and they would NOT even come out and take a look at it! Don’t believe their “integrity” crap!

One local man we did enjoy working with is Ron Pino, for his excellent drywall work.

IMGP3061As expensive and inconvenient as it was for us to move here before starting construction, we highly recommend it while having your home constructed. If we had not been here checking in each and every day, our builder would have made a few MAJOR mistakes in our passive solar construction project.

IMGP3968We weren’t able to find a satisfactory contractor/builder in Huerfano county, and in the end were disappointed with ours.  GOOD LUCK!

Reconnecting with nature

I see now that it is only by living in a suburban home for 60 years, that I can now see the difference in terms of connecting with nature.

Yes, I still live in a house, unlike my brother who lives outside all of the time, but in a place like this, nature cannot be ignored.

For example, in a passive solar home which is properly positioned to the sun, the solar heat is just now starting to edge into the south-facing windows.

Sleepy Rasta keeping warm in sept 2016Ask my pup Rasta. He loves the new sun on his dog bed. And yes, he does wear a jacket even in the summer, crazy pup.

IMGP4073Another example is the incredible sunsets we sometimes enjoy, like last evening.  At first I only noticed the nice light to the southeast of us.

IMGP4076It was still cloudy to the west, over Mount Mestas. IMGP4082Then I looked out a few minutes later to see this!

IMGP4080Now tell the truth, if this was happening right outside your door, could you really ignore it?

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I Still Can’t Believe I Live Here….

Walsenburg city limits signThe culture-shock continues at this end. I remember daily my surprise when we first moved here from busy, expensive Fort Collins last summer. Walsenburg is very small, quiet and poor. Back then, every time I went out to my car to go somewhere I would think, “Where the hell am I?” Ours was a move from one of the richest cities in Colorado to the absolute poorest. Yes, this was a challenge to the way I saw myself.

About once a month we would go eat breakfast at the local greasy spoon, that cafe that has been on Main Street for a hundred years. Phyllis, the owner, cook, and waitress would always ask, “Where are you from?” We would always answer, “Here.” It took her a few months to accept the fact that we would be coming back monthly.

Last time I was there, I asked her to sit down for a minute and tell me about Walsenburg. She said it used to be a nice little town, back when there were still some good jobs left. She said downtown was buzzing back then, but since the mid-1980s it’s been going downhill. Now some believe the influx of people and dollars for cultivating marijuana will save the town. She’s not so sure, but hopes for the best.

Now, after one of the most stressful years of my life because of the major challenges of moving into a very old house in a sad little town, and then completing a home in the foothills west of here, I again feel culture shock.

After a lifetime of living mostly single, extensive world travel, constant change, and relentless uncertainty, I live now in an amazingly peaceful place with my loving husband and great puppy. Sometimes this feels like a dream. I’m staying at a quiet, beautiful mountain resort, and I begin to wonder when the management is going to kick me out!

How did this happen? How did I end up in the amazing place, feeling so happy and lucky? It’s a long story, one I would love to share with you!

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Business is Picking Up In Huerfano County Colorado!

IMGP3555Ever since Mike and I “discovered” this rural section of southern Colorado in 2013, we’ve been wondering why others aren’t moving here. Come to find out, they are! The realtors in the La Veta area and here in Walsenburg are having record months lately. And why not? The beauty of this place in spring is astounding!

I asked Susie here at Acorn Realty about the local market when I saw that we had 12 home sales in the small town of Walsenburg in April, selling for everywhere from $20,000 to $200,000. She’s excited to see so much interest in our area, and attributes her improving sales figures to the baby boomers, who know a great deal when they see one!

DSCF0689Also, as the county has begun to allow more marijuana grow operations, business has certainly picked up. In fact, we should have quite a few more jobs here in the next few years, and they should pay well.

DSCF0978At present this county is such a mix of welfare cases and hard-working families, rundown and well-kept homes. But the homes west of Walsenburg have fantastic mountain views, and with land and home prices so reasonable at present, I cannot imagine that it won’t grow quickly.

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Drywall, Thunderstorms and Libre…

We experienced the most intense thunder storm yesterday in the foothills west of Walsenburg in southern Colorado. A half inch of rain in an hour and the lightening was amazing!  We have lots of great progress up at our custom home. Who knew drywall could take a few weeks?

IMGP3536We found an excellent local man, Ron Pino, to do our drywall. He started out working with his Dad when he was only six! He works alone and is doing an incredible job for a very reasonable price. He’ll start texturing the walls today and then we can begin painting the interior.

Not the most exciting part, but it all has to get done!

We have been collecting all the parts we will need to complete the interior of the house. You try to sit down and think of EVERYTHING you need to finish a house inside. It’s tough! Luckily Mike is extremely detail oriented… thank goodness!

Libre signIn the meantime we met a woman who is one of the original members of the Libre Commune north of here.  Libre was established in the early 1970s as an artist community, with lots of unusual dome homes. There are still some members in the area. If you have any interest in this topic, check out the book  Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture.

We are invited to go visit some of the original homes up there! How cool is that?

Dean's house at LibreYes, we are keeping busy meeting new people everyday, and enjoying a different view of life on the long and winding road into rural America…