Living Life in the Mountains, Mountain Glow For Body and Soul

A Morning at Lions Camp

My life interests seem to be intersecting…and I’ll write about that in more detail in another blog. But I’ll tell you now that one of my life interests will always be individuals who have special needs, due to our two children, now in heaven, who had special needs.

So this morning, my husband Mike and I were privileged to bring our three goats to visit Lions Camp. Here is a link to their website: Lions Camp  Lions Camp offers a camp experience for individuals, both children and adults, who have various special needs. And the camp just happens to be close to our new home in the mountains!

I thought I would share just a bit about our morning and share some pictures 🙂

SONY DSCWe arrived relieved that our three goats, Lucy, Sadie, and Miriam, handled the car ride very well. Thank you, if you prayed for that, for I asked several friends and relatives to do so. And they didn’t mind heading for the grassy field, even though it was new territory for them. And it was a picture-perfect day.

 

SONY DSCMy friend Anna also came with her dad.  Anna is a full-time caregiver for her daughter who requires complete care, and for her dad who had a stroke.  Anna and I, along with the daughter of the executive director of the camp, couldn’t resist running with the goats through the spring-like open field.SONY DSC

Following are some pictures of some of the weekend campers as well as camp staff and volunteers.

 

SONY DSCAnd then we took some mighty tired goats home in the dog crate. On the way over they made a lot of noise, being unsure of what was going on. On the way back, they just snuggled up, contentedly, having had a fun day, and rested!

Living Life in the Mountains, Mountain Glow For Body and Soul

Life After “The Big Plunge”

In my last blog, The Big Plunge, I shared what led us to decide to quit Mike’s city job, depend more on our home business, and move to the mountains.

Indeed moving from our stable home to an unknown life in the mountains, and having to down-size over 50% has felt a lot like jumping off a cliff. I think of Bethany Hamilton (the young woman who lost her arm to a shark), and her now husband, who on their first date (this was after her incident with the shark), jumped off a 40-foot cliff into the ocean. I’m sure the experience helped to build the bond that they now share.  And this life-change experience is building bonds as well, into Mike’s and my 37 year marriage!

But here I will share what the first month has been like. The life itself isn’t that much of a challenge, but the dramatic change of lifestyle into something so unfamiliar, is a bit like jumping off a cliff into the unknown.

Whoever heard of Florissant Colorado?

The official population count for the town of Florissant Colorado (pictured above) is 104. Of course, that doesn’t count folks like us who live in the surrounding mountain area and use Florissant for our address. But still, it is a very small town.

We have been amazed, however, at what this little widening in the road on Highway 24, on the way to such places as Breckenridge, has to offer: a spacious, efficient post office (essential for our online business), two super-great restaurants (one being more of a coffee shop, quaint and unique; the other offering “by scratch” food only), a cozy library with a fireplace (we got a library card and plan to use it. We long to feel real pages of paper turning at our fingertips!), and amenities like grocery stores pretty dog-gone close and convenient

We feel right on the boundary between civilization and wilderness

IMG_2958As for the wilderness part, wow! what a dramatic change for us! Here is our driveway where the moving truck so nearly tipped that the guys who were directing the truck ran for their lives to get out of its way. The owner of the moving company even showed up to make sure everything was going to go without further hitch. And, by God’s grace, all went well from there. The owner apologized for the incident, but it didn’t seem to me to be anyone’s fault, except the hard-to-maneuver driveway. Although, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy sailing

IMG_2936We also transported Mike’s workshop up that driveway from Colorado Springs! Are we crazy? At times it has felt that way, but we were determined to get here, and we did. Here’s a pic of Mike’s shop leaving our former driveway, and it made it all the way up the mountain and to our front door.

Are we now hermits?

Are we hermits out here deep in the Rocky Mountains? Far from it. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps we were hermits living in the city without realizing it. I thought that “neighborly” was a concept long-gone, but not here. For example:

*next door neighbor, Todd (yes, everyone lives on approximately 5 acres, but we’re still neighbors) hopped the fence to help Mike lift his air filter into his wood shop, and stayed an hour giving Mike the scoop on everything from what kind of wood to use in the wood stove to who’s who in the general area.

*neighbors Kari and Terry invited us over into their home and gave us the information on getting good phone reception. This couple lives here only in the winter, believe it or not, to get away from the snow of Michigan!

As far as real neighbors, that’s it. Our street hosts 3 families, us and two others.

We get the feeling that we are not in the middle of nowhere, however, but whereas in the city, we were surrounded by people, here, we are involved with people…like it or not. But we do like it.

*Mike, the UPS man, welcomed us heartily, even though he has had to drive up to our door almost every day with move-in and business related stuff! He knows all the names of everyone in the surrounding area, including all the dog’s names and their personalities.

*Church. We ventured off to church last Sunday. The 70’s jingle “little country church on the edge of town” came to mind as we drove up. The thing I noticed when we walked in was that people were laughing and joking with each other during the first part of the service. I liked the feeling of joy, but wondered if they ever got serious. And yep, sure enough, they did. The sermon was short but right from the Word of God, part 3 in a study of the book of Philemon. (When it comes to sermons, I sometimes think of what Mark Twain reportedly wrote to a friend, “Sorry this letter is so long. I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Sometimes, not always, with sermons, I wonder if less might be more.)

At the end of the service, everyone in the little church held hands across the aisles and sang, “Till we meet again.” Then we were invited to the following potluck by more people than I can count. Yes, we liked it.

IMG_3046edWe learned that the third Sunday of every month, the men make a hearty breakfast for the entire church family before the service begins. Mike plans to participate in that next time, and I plan to enjoy the food and fellowship.  Here’s a pic of the church. Some of the cars are a little dirty.  That’s because it is an exercise in futility to wash a mountain car.

Those are some of the neighborly highlights.

Adjustments

You can bet that these city people are experiencing some adjustments up here in these hills!

Peaceful Mountain Walks?

I mentioned Mike, the UPS man, knowing all the dogs. But dogs are not entirely a positive for someone like me who walks every day. Most of the dog owners up here are responsible, but some just let their dogs roam free.

Our first week here, Mike and I took a walk and two dogs charged us down a hill and were bearing teeth and lunging at us. Mike scared them off with our walking stick.

I often like to walk alone, and so I went on Amazon and ordered some HALT spray, reportedly the same stuff that mailmen use. It doesn’t hurt dogs, but does disorient them.

And sure enough, a few days later, I took a late afternoon walk by myself and the same dogs charged me, snarling and lunging.

I had my plan to transfer my walking stick and my right glove to the left hand and to reach into my pocket for the mace.   It worked, and I sprayed the most aggressive dog right between the eyes. I’ve never used mace before! He did an instantaneous about-face and charged back home barking as loudly as he had approached. The other dog barked from the side of the road, but I left him alone.

And guess what? I’ve not seen hide nor hair of those dogs since!

No tractor for Bevy.  

The temps here are about 10 degrees colder than Colorado Springs, from whence we have come. And there is more snow.

So I thought I would take advantage of the situation and point out to Mike that we need a little tractor to move the snow, etc. It snowed last night and I brought up the tractor idea again in the morning. Mike said, “Bevy, I’m going out with a broom and sweep the drive because the snow is so light a fluffy, that’s all it needs!”

IMG_2976He’s right. The snow falls like light, sparkling crystals that shine in the moonlight and sunlight.  Here’s a picture of the moon shining in the early morning after a snowfall. This is basically our front yard.

Maybe I’ll try again for the tractor this spring when the snow is wet and hard to move. I’ve always wanted to drive a tractor.

Not so convenient

There are definitely inconveniences.

If you forgot to get the cereal at the grocery store, too bad. You’ll have to wait till the next trip to the store, and that takes at least 30 minutes one way.

We have well water and a 1500 gallon cistern. That is great except that the investor who sold us this property “fessed up” when we mentioned that the water smelled like a swimming pool, and told us that he had accidentally gotten dirt in the cistern and then poured bleach in the water to disinfect. So the water, at first, tasted like a combination of dirt and bleach. But we have been doing exactly opposite of what you are used to in the city when you conserve water. We have to get that contaminated water out of the cistern, so we flush toilets many times, let water run, do tons of laundry. And sure enough, after a few weeks, the water is now starting to taste more like pure well water that runs into the cistern as it empties. But that has been a small inconvenience of moving in…we have been drinking lots of bottled water.

IMG_3062edI think the biggest inconvenience we feel is having no garage. We have a barn! We asked a contractor if we could convert the barn into a garage, His reply: “Not only would I not recommend that, but if there is a heavy snow, I suggest that you don’t go into that barn as the roof could easily cave in!” Well, that took care of that idea.

So, in the not too distant future, we will knock down this old barn and build a garage. But it will still be a good distance from the house.

I was recently reading an article written by a young man who noted that older people who live in the mountains tend to be more robust. He wondered if robust older people tend to move to the mountains, or if the mountains make older people more robust.

Maybe a little of both, but I vote for the latter.   It’s a bit more challenging to live here, and although we sometimes long for the conveniences, it’s probably good for us to have some daily physical challenges.

Overall, a good life

Overall, it’s a good life living in the mountains. A real good life. We love that we only use our furnace at night, and that very little. The wood stove keeps us warm, and a couple electric heaters supplement when needed. Mike has taught me to make a fire, which I’ve always wanted to do. The Campfire Girls failed me on that point when I was growing up.

But here is our fireplace, not the best source of heat, like the wood stove is, but very cozyIMG_3015ed_edited-1 and fun. We look forward to sitting in front of it when our son Ricky and daughter-in-law Emily visit for Christmas, and again, when our former neighbors from the Springs spend the night on New Years Eve. Mike and I also cozy in front of it sometimes and watch Rick Steves who takes us to Europe.

We look forward to many good years here on our four acres, should God bless us with good health and protection for the land. We just memorized Psalm 91 together, and so we expect His good care for us, no matter what circumstances may bring.

IMG_2628edWinter here has its own charm, but we do look forward to summer. In fact, before we knew that we were moving here, last year in late summer, Mike and I visited the Platt River, which is just a few miles from our home  now, and went tubing! As you can see, this portion of the Platt is a “lazy river,” just right for tubing…just a little bit of gentle rapids and a nice relaxing float. Our tubes are in the barn, and we plan to use them again when the summer magic happens here in the Rockies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Glow For Body and Soul

The Big Plunge

Mike and I are at a unique place in our lives. When he soon leaves his current job to focus on our business Rocky Mountain Glow, we are free as two birds. I think of the closing scene in the movie Castaway when Chuck Nolan, having just freed himself from a desert island, is standing at a crossroads, with complete freedom to go any direction he chooses. This is where we are in our lives. It has never and may never happen again.

We have two broad-stroke choices: the safe, comfortable way, and the more risky and scary way.

Seth Godin recently wrote a blog comparing life to jumping off a high dive:

Diving boards

The leap at the swimming pool is obvious 

Ten steps up the ladder.

The wait at the end of the board.

The moment in between not-diving and diving.

The leap is clear. We can see it and we can feel it.

In day to day life, we have worked to eliminate that feeling. Organizations and marketers and friends work hard to have it happen gradually instead. An incremental, almost invisible creep along a slippery slope, until the next thing we know we’re in a rut, or bored, or ill.

We’ve constructed a life where we rarely leap (new job!) and most of the time, we coast or fade or increment our way forward.

It might be worth investing the effort into turning some of your decisions back into leaps.

Good advice, and Mike and I feel the urge to hold our nose, close our eyes, and jump into that beckoning water. That’s not to say it’s a blind leap, just as jumping off the high dive as a kid was not foolish. It’s safe, really. It just feels so dog-gone scary!

Our first “leap” is Mike leaving a good secure job and making our home business more of our livelihood. The second leap is leaving our beautiful home in the city of Colorado Springs to move…to the mountains of Colorado. We have always had a “hankerin” to have some land in the Rockies, now we have the freedom to do just that..if we choose to be in “leap” mode.

I told Mike before we went to look at properties that I wanted to experience that magical feeling that some places inspire in me. Water usually does that…a creek, a stream, even a lake. So we looked at a small home that sat right by the Poudre River in a little mountain village called Red Feather Lakes. You could hear the water from the deck, from open windows, and the master bedroom had a little patio from which the sparkling river was in clear view and the magical sound would put the occupants of that room to sleep at night.

But the magic quickly faded when we found out that this property did not have the usual well and septic tank of most mountain homes, but rather a cistern and some sort of waste vault that has to be dumped regularly. Good-bye magical house by the river! The search must continue.

We really liked the Red Feather Community, but after sleeping on it, it seemed a little too remote with harsh winters. We had to rule out that wonderful little village.

We had heard that there was a little mountain community up a canyon from Golden, CO. Golden is one of our favorite places in the world. Quaint and old-fashioned in some ways. But the biggest draw is the roaring Clear Creek stream right down the middle of town. Yes, it is magical.

So since Mike had to work, I took it upon myself to visit Golden all by my lonesome, and to explore this canyon full of mountain homes. We have a canyon by our house that leads to a mountain city called Woodland Park. But our canyon is two lanes on each side, and not terribly curvy. But this canyon! One lane on each side that seem too narrow, steep canyon rocks to the right and the left. And unlike our canyon, every once in a while there is a memorial sign at the side of the road, in memory of someone who died while driving the canyon! Lots of people live up there, but I was happy when I got to the top and turned around to get on safer ground. I just don’t think that’s how we want to travel on a regular basis.

So I felt a little woeful that we might not find our mountain home after all.

Our original goal was this: to sell our current home and to find something much less expensive to help financially while we adjust to our new situation. We wanted some land and were willing to down-size significantly to achieve our goal. Still we could not find exactly what we were looking for. And everything with land seemed to be snatched up fast.

So yesterday, I took a prayer walk and got quiet and listened for God’s wisdom. It came to my mind that I should go check out a listing I saw in a little town just beyond Woodland Park called Florissant. I thought, “No! Not that one. It’s a pre-built home and the pictures look dry and dusty.” Not exactly magical. But I kept feeling like I should just check it out. I invited Mike to come, so he left work early.

On the drive over, we noticed how beautiful everything looked. We have been exploring new areas, and this area is near home to us, but it looked so much more gorgeous than anything we saw elsewhere. And then as we drew near to the home that sits on four acres, I had this memory of Anne of Green gables exclaiming “Oh Mr, Cuthbert!!!” the first time she laid eyes on Prince Edward Island. I had that same feeling of breath-taking beauty as we drove down the gravel road to our destination.

Yes, the home itself is a step down from what we live in now, but still really nice. And there is a dry and dusty area right around the home, as I saw in the listing pictures, but there are also four acres of pines and aspen groves, and the ambiance of the place has its own magic, though there are no rivers or streams.

So to make a long story short, we have put a contract on this home! And I’m rather looking forward to making it as cute and homey as can be.

Following are a few pictures with comments:

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After a mountain drive on a two-lane but somehow spacious feeling road, we arrived at the entrance to the neighborhood. This bull greeted us, and we knew we were not in the city anymore.

 

 

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This is the turn into the subdivision. Of course, four acres is the smallest piece of property, but I suppose you could still call it a subdivision. Our street is Piute Circle, so there is definitely an Indian theme.

 

 

 

SONY DSCIt’s difficult to capture the awesomeness of the roads (some of them dirt roads) that lead to the house. This is a little glimpse of what it looks like. This is aspen country! And we make aspen products. Hmmmm….might be great to just walk out the door and find our standing dead aspen treasures needed for our work!

Oh, I know, it won’t be quite so magical when the snow is blowing sideways in the winter! But many winter days offer their own kind of magic in Colorado. And we’ve already decided that the house could use so much improvement that if we’re snowed in for two days, great! We’ll put in a floor or some other home adventure.

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This is one of the residents of the place, checking out the new neighbors, us. I’m sure there are more fierce animals that visit now and then, but actually, we got used to that in Colorado Springs where it wasn’t uncommon to see bears, coyotes, and an occasional bob cat in our yard. So at least we’re used to those kinds of guests.

 

 

SONY DSCThis is Mike in front of the house. There are several things that we intend to do with the house before we ever move in. But one thing that I will look forward to is getting rid of the ramp and building a front porch. Modular homes look kind of “straight.” A nice covered front porch will do wonders for our new abode.

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This is me in the back part of the house. Again, it’s hard to capture the beauty of four acres of pine and aspen trees, but let me tell you, I was enraptured by it! It brought tears to my eyes. The previous owners had horses and so there are fences all over the property. Those have to go! I have at least once asked Mike to play this song at my funeral: “Give me land, lots of land, neath the starry skies above. Don’t fence me in!”  Yes indeed, the fences have to go!

 

 

highdiveSo, like a kid on the high dive, we have butterflies in our stomach, and sometimes wonder if we should just go back and jump in the shallow end. We have a steady income and a nice familiar home. But the intrigue is too alluring to do that. So here we go!

Mountain Glow For Body and Soul

Sore Muscles, Pinched Nerve Relief…and more!

I created Mountain Balm when I had a pretty severe pinched nerve that laid me up for 6 weeks. During that time, several times a day, I did so look forward to applying the balm to my back. I found it to be cooling, soothing, and I believe even healing.

This balm packs a punch! It is made with 10 soothing, healing, reviving essential oils including peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, orange, rosemary, fir needle, ylang ylang, and clove.

The cream base includes no additives or water, just rich shea butter, organic extra virgin olive oil, and organic virgin coconut oil.

All ingredients are whipped together into a soothing whipped, creamy balm.

Mountain Balm Set: So many injuries, aches, and pains are in our backs, and it is difficult to apply any treatment to one’s own back. When I was injured I used a rubber spatula with a washcloth wrapped around it, secured with a rubber band! But the washcloth absorbed most of the balm and was clumsy.

So in this set, I have included a balm applicator. It is wrapped in a soft flannel cloth, not as absorbent as a washcloth and so won’t waste the balm, and can be used with or without the cloth. The patterns on the fabric include both feminine and masculine choices.

Also included in the set is a rice bag, affectionately called a “comfy bag” in our house, which can be placed in the freezer for a couple hours and then applied to cool inflammation, or it can be heated in the microwave to soothe aching muscles.

The set makes a perfect gift for a woman or a man and comes wrapped in festive cello wrap and ribbon or jute twine.

To purchase Mountain Balm or Mountain Balm Set click here.

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