Sunday, March 11, 2018

Snow & A Big Furry Visitor

Did I tell you how much I like winter nights at my house? I mean summer nights are fine and all, but not nearly so bright as winter. And on that note, we have had a lot more snow arrive recently!

After that last snowstorm wrapped up and rolled on out, we awoke to a stunning sunny (still cold) bluebird day! And a big visitor came strolling through the woods. 

Moose do come by quite regularly, though with the very low snow for much of the year, I've seen less of them here than normal recently. They have been able to travel wherever they want without feeling a need to stick to plowed and shoveled pathways as they tend to do if the snow is really deep. 

Since this video though, another different moose came through as well. I either saw another moose twice or two different moose, and then the same mother and baby came back one evening when I was at a friends. When I came home, I found their fresh tracks right up to the porch! Like most creatures, they like to come by when I'm sleeping, not looking, or not home. :)

The view of my place down through the trees from the hill above my house.

One of the chatty little squirrels perched right outside my window. 

Grizzly does love bounding through the deep powdery snow. At least I assume she does from the look on her face and the wagging tail!

And lastly, a few more beautiful snowy bighorn sheep.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How I get around - Amazing Van/Camper/Everyday Rig & Pygmy Owl

I love night time at my house. The peace and quiet, and how bright it is when there's snow on the ground. Since a bunch of people have asked about this, I did a video on my transportation. How I get around in the wintery conditions, carry the things I need, and stay safe.

I really do like my little quirky old van.

A couple days after seeing and photographing my first ever Pine Grosbeaks, I spotted another little bird I'd never seen before!

Aren't pygmy owls just the cutest little owl ever?

I loved getting to watch this little feather ball for an afternoon and was hoping he'd stick around. But I have not seen him since, so maybe he's already moved on.

Grizzly and I have continued to enjoy spending time outside in the snow.

And the full moon through some light snow haze was still brilliant through the tree branches. It's almost daylight bright at night when there's a full moon and snow on the ground!

I am fortunate to see bald eagles most days, but getting to see one this close who cooperates long enough for me to get a photo, is much more rare.

And I've continued to see a lot of beautiful healthy looking bighorns this winter. Like this male and female pair in the beautiful soft snow filtered light. 

I know it's spring for many of you, but for those who don't have warm temps yet either, I hope you are enjoying the snow as much as I do!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Look Back at February & Where I've been

Hey all! I hope you area all enjoying your winter or spring. Which ever you are having. Sorry it's been a while if you are only following me via the blog. That's a long story which I'll elaborate on in a minute. 

First a look back at what the snow looked like around here in the middle of last month.

Then, after a very low snow year for most of the winter so far, it finally started to add up. Now it's looking more like a normal winter around my place. 

I've also spent a good bit of time out trying to capture some good wildlife photos. 

And I think I managed to get some. Like this beautiful mother and baby bighorn sheep in front of Sheep Mountain.

Or this pair of pregnant elk sparing over some kind of disagreement. They stayed balance on their hind legs for a long time. I'd never seen that before!

And then some little birdies came by for two days (and I've not seen them since) that I'd never seen before. After getting some photos, I looked them up and learned this is a Pine Grosbeak. 

Tracked down a few mountain goats. 

Check out the amazing color detail in those feathers!

I went on some hikes and snowshoes with Grizzly.

Isn't she just a gorgeous dog?

So other than all that, I haven't blogged much because I've been spending a lot of time working on videos. I feel a bit torn about that because I don't much like watching videos. I'd rather read personally. But on the other hand, I started this blog to share useful information with others. And, when I look at the amount of people I can get information too, Youtube wins hands down. Like in all the years I've been blogging, a little under 800,000 views on the blog. Now admittedly, that is a pretty huge number. And way more than I ever dreamed would be interested when I started this. 

But... when I compare that to what I see on Youtube (mostly in the last six months whereas the blog's been going for years) it's a huge difference. Videos have somehow racked up over 2,000,000 (yeah, two million) views with over 11,000,000 minutes watched. Now talk about numbers that blow me away! I thought there might be a few hundred folks interested when I started this. So that's just crazy!  

If there were unlimited hours in a day, I'd just do both. But somehow, I only have 24 of them in each day. So... do I put more of my time into the thing I prefer personally? Or the thing that reaches the most people? I don't know the answer. For now, I'm trying to do both as I am able, but I've certainly put more time into video than blogging recently. 

Meaning, if you've been following me on here, and don't want to miss anything, please know there is also stuff (as in info, updates, wildlife, etc) to be found on my Youtube channel! 

That's all for now, and I promise I'll try to get blog posts back up a bit more frequently. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

4 Different Winters

This is the 4th January I've lived here in my tiny house. And all of them have been different. I thought you all might enjoy some comparison photos. The first year, and now this year have been less snowy than average. In between, one year was pretty average, and last year was way above average. 

My first January is above. When I was still parked just downhill from my current location and before I stained Fy Nyth grey to better blend into the woods where I live. 

My second January when the winter was pretty average for here. 

Then there was last January. The year when Wyoming received more snow than any winter since recording started! 

And then we have this January. With it's way below average snowfall. I guess that's how you get averages! How average is your winter so far?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fridge Review & A Visiting Fox

When it's not pouring rain in the middle of winter like the weather has gone insane, Grizzly and I have been able to go for some walks in the woods. :)

And do some inside projects, like continue to review the appliances I'm really happy with. 

And we had a cute little visitor come by. 

We've been snowshoeing and Grizzly seems to very much enjoy being outside and getting to move around which I don't think she was able to do much for all her many months in the shelter. 

We crossed some pretty big moose tracks several times, and it would be amazing if we could find his antlers when he sheds them soon!

And then there was this amazing full moon rise a few nights ago!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Warm Winter, Generator Stuff, & A Skunk

Well this winter continues to be odd, weather wise. While much of the country has been under a much colder than normal spell, it's been the opposite here. Several sunny and somewhat cold days, and then back to warm and grey.

 Like it was 38 F. last night and rained all night long. Poured. This is the middle of January. Normally at this time of year, it's more like -30 to -40 F. So it's almost 80 degrees warmer than normal. That's pretty crazy. Now today it's snowing some, but still unusually warm. 

Despite the relative warmth, with all the grey days and the short daylight hours, this is the time of year my generator gets used. So here's a look at the how I maintain and care for this little workhorse. And a comparison between the Champion generator I use, and the similar sized Honda that I do not own, but have used on occasion. 

And then some of the downsides of life here. Just to clarify, this may not be a video for everyone to watch. Yes my goal here is to show real life off grid with all it's ups and downs, not provide a "reality tv" fantasy world. 

Like all animals, I do think skunks are beautiful and amazing to watch! When I first posted this, some people were very horrified. I didn't realize how many people were not familiar with wild skunks as skunks have lived everywhere I have ever lived. I wrongly assumed most people knew things that were basic knowledge to even a young child when I was growing up, but I do understand that many people have different background and experiences and should probably not assume anything is known unless I thoroughly explain it.

 The main issue is not that it got in the dog house, or under the house, in particular, but that it was here at all. A wild skunk that is approaching people and houses in the daylight has a high chance of being sick with rabies which is fatal and for which there is no cure one contracted for either humans or animals. Totally aside from the nauseous and eye burning smell they bring with them. And I should have clarified that.

 And as much as I love wildlife and observing nature, the sad thing that most people don't realize is that most relocated animal die anyway, usually a longer and more painful way. I see this a lot around here sadly with bears and many smaller things being relocated. They put the animal down in some other animals territory and it's usually killed by the previous resident. But the people it was originally having a conflict with don't have to look at it happening, so the general public feels better about it. :( As someone who loves wildlife and spends thousands of days in the wilderness observing and photographing, it's pretty sad to watch.

But with that all resolved, Grizzly and I are back outside enjoying the snow. Though it still really stinks outside! Hopefully in a week or so, that will finally dissipate. 

And taking drives to photograph the mountains and wildlife. Like bighorn sheep. 

Of course, none of the big rams would turn around and look at the camera, but this little girl halfway did. Grizzly handles wildlife drives very well. She enjoys looking out the window, and is very alert when we find wild things, but sits quietly and watches. 

I hope all of you who are getting really cold weather are staying safe, and I wish you could send it this way!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Popcorn on the Wood Stove & some Chores

Everything is good a white around here now, but the snowfall amounts are below average here at my place compared to last winter which was the most snowfall ever recorded in the state of WY!

I'm still doing some cooking on the wood stove thanks to still not having my replacement range. The first one sent out arrived badly smashed by the freight company so I refused shipment. The company I purchased it from, AJ Madison, I really really wanted to be able to recommend to you all as they do have a great selection of tiny house sized appliances along with all their full sized stuff. 

But after being shuffled around for nearly three weeks after the smashed stove arrived, not answering their phones, not replying to emails, saying it was taken care of, finding out later nothing had happened, etc. I can't recommend dealing with them. As of yesterday and yet another long phone call which resulted in finding out they had still not shipped a new stove, I asked them to cancel the order and they said they will refund my money. If not that does not happen, I will dispute the charge with the credit card company. I now have a new stove, same model but costing a few dollars more, shipping though an Amazon seller. It was shipped this morning, and I am hoping I will soon have a range back in that hole in my kitchen.

In the mean time, I am cooking simple things on the wood stove.

And doing other chores around the house. 

And finally, I know it's not a good photo, but this little critter startled me in a tree right beside my house one night well after dark. I'm pretty sure it's a flying squirrel, but I've never seen one before. The cute little guy scrambled up and down the tree peaking out at me for a bit before I was cold enough to want to go back inside. But it was a pretty cool experience!