Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Colorado Series Part Four

Bear Scat! I'm sure that's not very exciting to most of you, but I thought it was kinda cool...I don't see this on the trails in Austin!

This is part of the Apishapa River that runs back behind one of the pastures next to Lynn's house.

A field of post bloom Thistle. I bet this is really beautiful in the Spring.

Lynn and Tim bringing up the rear

Cougar fur? Maybe bear? We found it on the trail during one of our hikes.

Some wild flowers

Colorful Bee

Sisters walking back to the house after a great climb to the top of the ridge

Top of the ridge...coming through the dense brush was interesting

Tim listens intently for any signs of bear or cougar

Forest fungi

Valley View

Thick forest of new growth

Hiking a different day with my mother in law, her friend, and Caitlin

Meadow of thistle

A little perspective. The hill made for a wonderful climb

The beaver that gnawed this tree down seemed to place it in just the right place! We used this tree to get across the stream.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but this is a bear track...hind foot.

The crossing log left by the beaver

Looking into the thick quiet.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Colarado Series Part Three

These beautiful rock formations are called Dikes. They are quite impressive...the photos don't do them justice.

This is one of the Spanish Peaks...thunderstorms and lightening cropped up often in the late afternoons during my visit. I'll climb this mountain next spring...

Beautiful wildflowers such as these were all over the place!

Mule Deer were in abundance!

The hummingbirds were amongst my favorite of the wild life. Each one was so darling and we got TONS of great photos of them.

They were quite tame...

A Ruby Throat!

This excellent photograph was taken by Caitlin. She is turning into quite the young photographer!

Colorado Series Part Two

Here is the first bear I saw. Be sure to click on the picture to see him better. It stared at me and I stared back for the longest time. It finally relaxed and started eating berries then ambled off.

The first day I arrived at the ranch was branding day. It looked like hard dusty work. This is the ranch manager on horseback...he's roping calves.

Got one...they get dragged away from their mothers and are pretty terrified, but as hard as it was to watch all this, I had to realize it's the way of life on a ranch and at least these animals have it better than their feed lot counterparts.

Everyone who is on the branding team knows what their specific job is and they all work in unison to get each calf processed as quickly as possible and back to it's mama.

Even Caitlin worked on the team. Her job was ear tagging.

While one cowboy is branding, the other is castrating if it's a male calf.

Not only do the male calves get castrated, they also have to get de-horned. That's gotta hurt...but interestingly the calves don't fuss too much while everything is being done. They really bellow as they are being dragged away from mama though.

Caitlin is turning into a real cowgirl...soon she'll be roping

Tools of the trade. The bloodied knife is what was being used to castrate the male calves...blech! The shots are antibiotics. Also shown are the ear tags.

Meanwhile the kids are busy playing in the hay barn...

...and at the creek. My son is the kid on the left. The other kid is the grandson of the ranch owner.

"Sparky"...my niece. Her real name is Elizabeth.

It was a gorgeous day! This is the ranch headquarters area.

This is Jeff again...he's not single...

...But his brother is! My husband better be nice to me... ;)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Colorado Series Part One

Hi everyone! I have about 700 pictures to comb through to find the ones I like best for the blog, but here are a few to start off with...

This is me standing in the door way of Lynn's little stone house.

Lynn's house from a distance. Tim took this picture of me taking a picture of the stone house after one of our hikes. It's so gorgeous where she lives! Colorado was good to me.

This is my handsome brother in law Tim, with his son Jack.

My sister Lynn...I'll turn her into a hiker...it's just a matter of time!

I'm Back!

It's nice to be on my own computer again with high speed internet. I will be putting pics up soon!
I need to catch up with everyone's blogs since I didn't do any web surfing while at my sister's house. I probably have a lot of reading to do...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Heading Home

Well I'm about to Leave for Austin. I'm waiting on my sister to burn all the photographs on cd so I can finally get them up for everyone to see. It is going to be a long grueling 15 hours or so home. I'll get pictures up tomorrow hopefully.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ranch Rounds...Two More Bears!

Caitlin and I went with Tim this evening while he made rounds in the ranch truck for security purposes because poachers are a problem in the back country. It was paradise out there! I got to see the interior of the ranch property and it is absolutely gorgeous. We saw two bears tonight. One was a honey colored bear and it ran out onto the road a ways right in front of us before bounding up the hillside. The other bear was a tremendous size, totally black, and on the other side of the road. The legs on that thing were just massive! Unfortunately we didn't have the means to take photos. We brought my sister's camera along, but discovered that the memory card was back at the house! DOH!

Speaking of the house...when we got back tonight, my sister was totally freaked out. She was outside with the kids and got a real funny feeling as she was taking the laundry off the line. She said she felt something wasn't right and got the kids in the house. She came to the back door after getting the kids settled in the house and the family cat came running up to her with its fur all poofed out. She then heard a low growling out in the brush next to the laundry line. We're thinking cougar.

It's so scary to think that it could have been stalking her or the kids! I think that has her fairly convinced now that even her own back yard can be perilous out here. Ben came running out of the bedroom a little while ago after being put in bed for the night. The window in there is open...with a screen of course...but he was in tears and scared to death. He said he heard an animal by the window. When asked to describe the sound he heard, he made a sound much like that of a cougar. Poor kid...he won't go to sleep now. I think I'll pack the car tomorrow morning lol.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Woo Hoo! Saw a Bear This Afternoon!

I was driving down the ranch road on my way back from a scenic drive in the mountains when I noticed sitting up on a rock was a black bear looking down from its perch watching the road. I stopped the car and it immediately took off up the side of the hill. Then it stopped and came back and watched us a little while we watched it. Then it relaxed some, ate a few berries, and meandered off. Finally! I got to see a bear, not just hear one, or smell one, but actually see one. I have pictures but of course they aren't the greatest in the world since the camera doesn't have much of a zoom lense on it. The guys who run the ranch looked at the pics and said it looks like a pretty good sized male...probably 400lbs or so. Cool huh?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Elk

Last night a small heard moved through. I was in the house and started hearing this weird noise outside and it kept getting louder and louder. Finally my sister heard it too and she said it was elk. I went outside to observe them...mind you this was late at night and I could barely make out shadowy figures slowly moving across the pasture calling to each other.

It was interesting to me to be out on the porch late at night with millions of visible stars, a small heard of noisy elk moving through, then to look up and notice a plane moving across the sky. It was surreal.

Caitlin has been on horseback with the cowboys for the last couple of days helping to gather the heards from the forests and surrounding hills on the property. They flushed a mountain lion day before yesterday...but the dogs kept the lion quite busy and on the run so it didn't have any interest in bothering anyone. I wish I could have been there to see it!

I'm leaving Saturday morning for my return to Austin. I'm going to miss all this gorgeous country and hope to return in the spring.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Just Finished "A Walk in the Woods"

This is a book I've been wanting to read for sometime now and I finally got around to it. I loved it!
I'm starting on "The Monkey Wrench Gang" next...

The Hummingbirds Are So Amazing!!!

Tonight we had such a cool treat! The hummingbirds were out in force and I've never seen so many at one time in my entire life. There were at least 20 of them zipping all around us for about an hour. We stood right next to the feeder and put our fingers out for them to land on and they did! It was such an amazing moment to see so many and to have them so close to us...it made me all misty eyed. I'm such a sappy sentimental fool sometimes, but I can't help it...nature moves me. The pics we took of it all turned out so awesome! I can't wait to show you all...we are still on dial up though.

On a side note, the elk in their mass heards should be moving into the area soon...They are just a few short miles away. Caitlin and Lynn saw a large heard just before I got here, but we are not sure where they are currently. The ranchers here say it is only a matter of days before they show up...I hope I'm still here to see the spectacle.

Went on that Hike After All

Tim, Lynn, and I, went on a great hike up a good sized ridge and had a terrific time. The forest is so beautiful here and we saw some interesting things...such as bear scat, elk poop, what we think might be cougar fur, and several hawk feathers. I'm amazed by the number of game trails up in these hills. We followed them some but primarily tried to stay off of them as much as possible to keep our scent from permeating too much in order to keep the heards of elk from shying away. The ranch owners here want the elk to move in soon so they can offer good hunting for the hunters that come each season so that means we can't go hiking anymore while I'm here.

My sister had a very difficult time puffing up the steep slope, while I on the other hand had no trouble at all tackling it...which totally surprised me. I guess all my hill country hiking paid off, despite the fact that I haven't gone on a serious hike in some while. There are a few reasons for this that I won't go into now, but needless to say I'm passionate about the outdoors and miss it a great deal. It's going to be very hard to leave this place.

I hope the folks who can get high speed set up here, get it done before I leave so I can send all my pics from Lynn's computer to my computer at home and be able to post them soon. I have tons of cool pics!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Same Bear?

Lynn(my sister)and I decided to go across the pasture to the stream for a little rock hunting. The stream is engulfed in thick dense tree cover and brush and has many curved blind spots that disappear into a wild tangle of trees and brush the further one follows downstream. We didn't want to go too far into that mess but primarily stayed in the clear areas closest to the pasture.

Lynn smelled it first than I smelled it. There was no doubt in my mind it was a bear. We caught a faint whiff of the pungent odor but then the smell was gone. Now if you've ever been to a zoo and stopped in front of the black bear cages, you know very well what they smell like. The odor we caught was exactly like that. But the odor disappeared almost as quickly as it came so we didn't worry too much. I decided to venture a little further down the stream into a more brushy area when all of a sudden the smell about knocked me down it was so strong. I never heard or saw a thing but the odor was incredibly thick in my nose and involuntarily the hairs on my arms stood on end and a chill ran up my spine.

I decided not to proceed any further and felt this uncanny sense that I was being watched from somewhere in the tangled growth all around me. Lynn was only a few feet away and I told her we'd better leave the area. On our way back we reflected on the experience and put two and two together. The cattle upon our arrival weren't scattered about like they normally are, but were huddled together in a defensive circle a few hundred feet away from the area where we smelled the bear. As we reflected back on that fact we realized it should have been something more to pay attention to.

I can't help but wonder if that was the same bear we heard a few days ago, or if it was a different one. It seems there are too many bears in these woods considering I never expected to be anywhere near a bear at any given time. But then again I have to keep reminding myself that this is truly wild country...the most wild I've ever experienced in my entire life so far. Like I mentioned before in my previous post, the dirt roads, the houses, and telephone wires are very decieving and certainly lull one into believing they are in a civilized environment...nothing could be further from the truth.

I'm very on the fence right now about whether or not I want to go hiking today with Tim(Lynn's husband). Tim is about as tough as they come however and has a level head on his shoulders. If he says he isn't worried about taking off into the woods, maybe I shouldn't be so worried either. It's a tough decision to make. I want so much to explore what the forest and mountains have to offer here...I just don't want to get mauled in the process. I know wild bear attacks are rare, but it only takes one fearless bear to ruin a perfectly good day. Not to mention I don't know how afraid of humans the bears around here are. Do the bears here associate people with food, or guns? I have no way of knowing. Should I conquer my fear and venture out, or be happy playing in the yard?

Btw, I saw about 20 wild turkeys yesterday, several cute cotton tail bunnies, a few hawks, a few vultures, some Mule deer, and a huge flock of about 200 crows making a huge racket that deafened the ears. Speaking of birds...there are ALL kinds of them out here...species I've never seen before. It's a total treat. Did I mention I held a hummingbird in my hand the other day? It weighed nothing! It had gotten in the house and fluttered about in a window trying to find a way out. I gently put my hand over it and carried it outside. It was so darling and terribly frightened...poor thing. I let it go immediately deciding not to show it to the kids. I didn't want the thing to die of heart failure in my hand.

Hmmm, Tim is currently watching football...maybe he'll forget all about a long hike today and maybe I won't remind him lol. I can't wait for high speed so I can upload photos from my trip so far. Ya'll stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Never Saw Her but I Heard Her!

I had a bear encounter! Now I never actually saw the bear but I didn't have to see her to know exactly what was going on. I was hiking with three other people (thank goodness) and we accidentally got between a mother bear and her cub. We could hear the cub calling out to it's mother and we heard the mother warning us to get away....all just a few feet from where we were. We couldn't see either of the pair because the brush was so incredibly dense, but I could tell we were asking for trouble if we didn't leave right away in a calm manner, and we did of course without hesitation.

If you've never been close to an upset wild mama bear, let me just say it's a bone chilling experience. I am almost positive that the only thing that kept her from charging out after us was the fact there were four of us on that hike. It was an experience that was very eye opening to say the least.

It's easy to get a false sense of security here. There are a few houses, some telephone wires, and a dirt road, so it's really hard to believe how wild and remote this place is. But the truth of the matter is the wildlife is very concentrated here and I have seen a ton of different animals everyday. On that particular hike where we heard the bears we saw a mother hawk and her baby. The mother had something furry in her talons and the baby was begging to be fed. That was way cool. We also saw a huge male elk with a rack on it's head that would probably make hunters drool. It was so majestic but a little too close for comfort. Those things are quite dangerous, especially during the rutting season...which is now.

There are hummingbirds galore here and they are not one bit afraid of us. They have flown right up to me many times to look me over...mere inches from my face. It's really incredible and I'm loving the nature here! Last night Caitlin was standing outside while her dog was about three feet away going to the bathroom, when all of a sudden an owl swooped down out of nowhere and targeted the dog. Thankfully the attempt at snatching the dog was unsuccessful. Caitlin is now going to be sure to have her dog on a leash from now on when taking her outside after dark.

It is incredible here and the beauty takes my breath away. There is so much more to tell, but I'm beat and need to turn in for the night. I hope to get pictures up soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Where I'm Going Specifically

The ranch property butts up against the San Isabel National Forest. I'll be heading up the mountain outside of a tiny town called Aguilar. The river I mentioned is called the Apishipa. I'm hoping I can talk someone into a little backpacking trip while I'm there. I'm bringing all my gear just in case. And I look forward to doing a little fishing...haven't been able to do that in ages!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Getting Excited!

I wish I was in Colorado already. I just got off the phone with Caitlin and she was walking alongside a river a few hundred feet from the house...I could hear the rapids while on the phone with her! I can't wait to see it myself...

All the car maintenance is done...dang that was costly! Next thing I need to do is pack and stock the car with supplies. I'm leaving tomorrow night and should arrive in Colorado sometime Monday morning. I was going to break the drive up but I'm so excited I want to drive straight through...of course that could change since I don't know yet how long the drive is...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Going to Colorado

I'm leaving Austin next week with my son Ben for some much needed change of scenery. Caitlin tells me as soon as I get there I'm going to be itching to go hiking and I know she is right about that! It's been too long since I've connected to nature and I know once I see that gorgeous wilderness it's going to put a deep yearning in my core.

Lynn and her husband Tim moved to a different ranch which is more in the mountains. Caitlin saw large bear tracks and cougar tracks not far from the house they occupy now, so hopefully I will get to see one of these animals or both while I'm there. The chances are probably remote, but the elk are in the pastures now by the hundreds, so I imagine the mountain lions are not too far from their food source...I'll have to stay on the alert. The men that work the ranch do tree lions from time to time and photograph them. I can't even imagine what that must be like. I'll be keeping a very close eye on Ben that's for damn sure.

I can't wait to see my sister and her family...it's been such a long time. It will be great to see the kiddos! Their "aunty Ginny and "cousin Ben" will come bearing gifts of course. I also look forward to watching Ben interact with his cousins. I bet he has a wonderful time with them! I'll take tons of pictures and plenty of video too.

Wish me luck for the drive up there as I'm a little nervous about it. I wish I could fly, but that's not an option. In any case, I'm taking my car in tomorrow for maintenance and repairs so hopefully it will be very road worthy...plus I'll be stocking it well with emergency equipment. I'm not going to drive it all in one stretch either. It's about a 13 hour drive and I'll divide that up over two days. I'll need to be well rested and alert for driving in such mountainous terrain.

Well I guess that's about it for now...I can't wait to start posting pictures and stories of the trip so stay tuned...I love you all!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What's For Dinner?

Beer can chicken and fresh new potatoes with green beans from my garden, are on tonight's menu. I've never made beer can chicken before but am sure it will be a breeze. I think it sounds like a fun dish...better get some EXTRA beer for the cook! ;)

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Used to Be Highly Skilled...

This is my old job description courtesy of my former boss. Looking back I can't believe I did all this...but yeah I made good money and had a great career before becoming a stay at home mom. I am struggling bad with whether or not I should go back to this type of work or if I should try to change career paths altogether...it's not an easy decision and my anxiety levels are sky high right now because I'm 41 years old and have no clear path right now...

Virginia Glasser/Technical Director/Licensee Support/Training Coordinator

Technical Support:

· Perform all set up of new employee email accounts, and add new employees to the network.

· Troubleshoot and offer technical expertise when problems are encountered with the network, workstations, any technical equipment such as the digital camera, printers, fax machine, copier, postage machines, etc.

· Educate fellow employees in the use of different software applications to help them become more efficient and automated.

· Web site interface, design, and creation of site content…such as the FAQ's, Marketing Tips, various forms, etc…

· Help maintain the integrity of information being input into ACT and hunt for ways to make ACT more useful.

· Organization of files on the network and keeping them free of clutter

· Maintain the very important daily back up of data from the network.

· Perform diagnostic routines such as disk defrags and scan disk on all workstations as needed.

· Field technical questions about software when sales people need assistance with their prospect's technical questions.

· Prepare laptop computers for training…such as installing updates to software and powerpoint presentations.

Licensee Support:

Continuous Education and Training of Licensees in all aspects of their new business from technical support to marketing help.


- Train licensees in use of all software we provide in their package

- Educate many licensees in the use of their pc, (mainly showing them how to use the operating system)

- Show licensees how to effectively use the inter-net to do research that will help facilitate their ongoing education process and help them with marketing

- Show licensees how to install their software

- Register licensees APS software


- Work with licensees on a daily basis coaching them through sales and marketing activity, suggesting innovative ideas to prepare them for their encounters with prospects, guide them into a more lateral thinking process when facing marketing challenges in today's current market.

- Help licensees create proposals, presentations, letters, business cards, etc.

- Write FAQ's for the Cashflow-Doctor web site as needed.

C) Medical

- Field questions concerning the medical industry and guide licensees towards effective solutions to the frequent problems their prospects encounter during the billing process.

- Offer suggestions to licensees on how to interface with the insurance companies when needing information and direction towards problem solving.


- Take licensee's orders for marketing materials and ship them out when we are short staffed.

- Intake of all email from prospects inquiring about the business and forward it to Annette.

- Respond to daily email correspondence from licensees.

- Assign licensees id numbers and passwords for the LSS.

Training Coordination:

· Responsible for ordering of all supplies for general office use and for training.

· Keep track of all inventory.

· Oversee the day to day operations of putting training material together to make sure nothing is excluded that is supposed to be there (equipment, etc.)

· Proof read anything that goes to training (manuals, new materials, etc…)

· Train new employees how to put training material together.

· Create new training material and search for more efficient and cost productive ways to get useful information into the hands of licensees.

· Interface with trainers and make suggestions of how to improve training, based on feedback from licensees.

· Conduct software workshops in the evening, giving an informative overview of each of the software we provide in their package.

· Stay with licensees at training during their evening meal to field questions and make certain everyone has what they need and are happy.

General Office Support:

· Answer phones as needed

· Internet Research

· Keep track of employee training material, such as tutorial software and videos…checking out these materials to employees as requested.

· Any special project or assistance Annette needs.

· Document in ACT each licensee's software serial numbers for Practisoft and Medisoft

· Filing

Currant Projects:

- Researching OIG Compliance

- Creating excell spread sheet for assigning id numbers and passwords to LSS

- Creating new document to be passed out during training which will address "Important - -- Issues to Consider When Filing Healthcare Claims".

- Writing Success Stories for licensees to put their signature on (they want the help because they feel their writing skills are not so great).

- Coordinating with Sheri Baldridge to get a sales rep hired for her. Will make initial contact with potential rep, qualify him/her, make introduction to services, the opportunity, etc., help Sheri formulate a good commission structure and things she will need to add to her agreement between her and the sales rep/and or reps.

- Writing Telemarketing Do's and Don'ts for extranet.

- Add licensee Pics to ACT

- Write reference letter for licensee's doc to sign

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Garden Bounty

I picked a huge bowl full of green beans out of my garden day before yesterday. They are beautiful and oh so tasty!

What's For Dinner?

Tonight I made raspberry honey mustard stuffed pork tenderloin, baby spinach salad with a homemade tomato balsamic vinegrette and carmelized baby carrots with lemon and dill.