Saturday, February 2, 2013


We went up to our cabin for the past two days. We haven't been there since before Christmas, because we are getting to be 'wuss-ier' as we age. (Is that a word? If not, it will be when you reach my age!) When we first got the cabin, we were 30 years old. In the winter, we have to climb a very steep hill on cross country skis (then) or snowshoes (now.) We also have to carry everything we need; water, food, clothing, books, dog food, etc. My husband pulls most of that on a sled, but I try to haul up my own 'stuff.'
When you're 30 years old, that hill (which is about the length of a city block) doesn't seem so long or steep, even if you are hauling for a family of four instead of just two, and if you are also hauling a couple of toddlers. But now, 30 years later, that hill can be quite a challenge, which is why we have switched from skis to snowshoes.

Also, when you are 30, 3 1/2 feet of snow and cold weather is nothing, except a lovely playground for you and your kids and dog. It still is a lovely playground, but....  When it was below zero every day for the month of January, we would consider going to the cabin, then we would think of sitting huddled before the fire, trying to get warm, and we would (I shame-facedly admit) choose to stay home. 
The cabin is a large one-room A-frame with two open lofts, all heated by a woodburning stove. When it is below zero, it never gets really warm inside. In fact, even this weekend, it took a long time before it was as warm inside as it was outside in the sun. I spend a bit of time in the sun-warmed truck, sketching, waiting for the stove to get hot. We do know how to layer up and dress warmly here in Colorado, though! That, and the huge need for sunscreen, is the first thing you learn when you live here.

 This is the pile of wood we cut last fall, supposedly 'drying out' to be used next winter.

Click on image to enlarge

One of my favorite pastimes in the winter at the cabin is watching the birds we feed. You know this about me already, if you have seen all the birds in my tapestries. Many of them have come from photos I have taken at the cabin. Booker loves to keep an eye on the birds, as well.

We have the 'regulars,' being the chickadees, nuthatches, and jays (as seen in the Winter tapestry.) And we have the 'occasionals,' such as the gold and red winged blackbirds, the woodpecker (who likes to come with small flocks), and the grosbeaks. But yesterday I looked out the window and saw a flock of PINK birds! Pink birds in Colorado! We had never seen such a thing! They came and went, seeming to be a bit skittish when the bigger jays were anywhere near. I checked our ever informative bird books, and couldn't find them. They have a beak that looked like a grosbeak, so, when I got home I looked for 'pink grosbeak' online, and didn't find anything that looked right. I finally discovered that they are "Black Rosy Finches," or Leucosticte. They are related to crossbills and grosbeaks. If you do a Google search for them, and look at the images, you will see how varied and lovely they really are!

A few years ago, I shared with you the phenomenon of pink snow that Colorado has, and now I have discovered that we also have lovely pink birds! Maybe that is one of the reasons our state nickname is "Colorful Colorado." We have colors for everyone - even for those who love Pink!


hockeygirl said...

Beautiful! I miss that snow SO much! I have some great memories of having so much fun at your cabin. I loved it there.

By the way, perhaps you should train Booker to be a sled dog. Then he could haul some stuff too. ;-)

K Spoering said...

I was thinking of those sledding parties we used to have when we were up there yesterday, Emily! Fun times!

Booker would haul stuff, but who knows where it would turn up. He takes the long route, as he loves jumping in the snow.

Mary said...

This makes me appreciate the temperate climate I live in even more! The snow looks beautiful but it also looks COLD. And your description of waiting for the fire to heat you up is not that appealing. Maybe if I were 30 it would appeal more but I suspect not. The birds are beautiful. I saw some zebra finches at a local zoo this week and there are definite similarities. I love the bird that has its wings open, ready to fly.

K Spoering said...

We don't live here, Mary. The cabin is a get-away about an hour up into the mountains from where we live. We live in a usually temperate desert valley, though it has been record-breaking COLD this year. We've not had a lot of snow down here though.

I do enjoy visiting your blog for a dose of summer when it's cold here!