Life In The Colorado Mountains


| 8/21/2017 9:34:00 AM


Tags: mountain homesteading, canine companions, mountain life demands, Bruce McElmurray, Colorado,

 

Mountain Life

We have lived full time in the Sangre de Cristo mountains at 9,800’ elevation for twenty years this month. In those twenty years many things have changed and some things have pretty much remained the same. What has changed is that we are twenty years older than we were when we first became full time residents. What has not changed is that we still do many of the same tasks that we had to do initially like property maintenance and cutting, splitting and stacking 9-12 cords of firewood for our long winters. We still heat our cabin with a wood stove but that too may change as we are looking at more efficient and easier methods of heat since cutting that much firewood year after year is getting harder. An inescapable conclusion is that the time went by very quickly.

Mountain Life With Canines

Even though we live remotely we currently have our three German Shepherd Dogs to keep us constant company. Our 14 year old girl just passed away and we miss her terribly. We do not deny our fur family anything and in fact they are spoiled rotten. Three of our dogs have passed away over the twenty years but all have had long very healthy lives. They have developed various minor maladies over the years but by working with our veterinarian closely they have not been slowed down because of any medical condition. What has not changed over the twenty years is the consistent level to which we pamper our fur family members. We have several games we play with them to keep them alert and challenged. They in turn alert us when animals or intruders come near the house.

Avoiding Canine Gastric Problems

Our fur family has their own elevated dining table (where they have their own space for their three meals each day. We divide their daily food requirement into three meals as we want to avoid the possibility of stomach torsion. That is a condition that needs very quick veterinary care and we live an hours drive from the clinic. We don’t know of any studies that would indicate one or two large meals per day could cause stomach torsion but we discussed same with our veterinarian who agreed three meals spread out over the day is a good precaution. After our fur family eat they immediately go to get a large drink of water. Since most of their food is kibble we have seen how it swells up in size and don’t want to risk a potentially fatal condition. We also have two who gobble down their food quickly so we feed them with slow eat bowls and the third is already a nice slow eater.  

canine feeding table

Time And Tide Wait On No One

My Air Force roommate used to say frequently that time and tide waited on no one. I’m sure it is not an original saying but it is true and 20 years for us has passed quickly. What has not changed for us is that time definitely continues to move on and 20 years later when we look back we realize just how fast.  In that time we have slowed down and have to work harder to perform tasks that we used to do without much effort. When we take on the physically demanding chores on our homestead we don’t complete them nearly as fast or easily as we used to. In fact if a casual observer would watch us working they could perceive that we were having a grunt and groaning competition. The final result is that we get the job done as we always have but without a doubt it requires different tactics, techniques, more time and more effort.

Mountain Life Can Be Tough

Carol and I were recently discussing all those individuals that in the past twenty years have moved to our area and then have left for various reasons. There is less than a handful of people left from the twenty years we have lived in this community because most have moved away or passed away. A full time lifestyle in the mountains is not an easy lifestyle which is reflected by those no longer here. People have come to try it and then for various reasons leave for city life or less strenuous living. We seem to be the anomaly for sustaining a long permanent full time mountain residency. Even though the weather is often harsh and living our lifestyle can be physically demanding we have enjoyed every minute of our life here in the mountains.

artifex41
9/2/2017 11:56:49 AM

Thank you for your comment on raised bowls. Last time I had checked the raised bowl was recommended for a more aligned posture and easier digestion. I checked this out and that has drastically changed and it is now recommended not to use elevated bowls. Ours will not be eating from elevated bowls in the future. Our vet agreed that elevated bowls helped prevent bloat which is why we went to elevated bowls. It is amazing how things change so radically and quickly. I have several Facebook GSD connections and failed to see this post so thank you for pointing it out. Even with all the information available on the internet now days it is hard to keep up with changes like this. Your comment may help save dogs who like us labor under the false belief that it diminishes bloat when in fact it contributes to bloat. Your comment is very much appreciated. A good site to review the condition and raised bowl controversy is: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2009/july/raised-bowls-and-bloat-ratcheting-controversy-risk-gdv-dogs-6861


j
8/31/2017 6:07:45 PM

I just read in a Facebook GSD group that elevated dishes are to be avoided to prevent the issue you refer to.


artifex41
8/24/2017 12:12:32 PM

There are various opinions on burning firewood. One site: http://www.alternativeenergyprimer.com/Environmental-effects-of-wood-burning.html indicates that the carbon footprint from burning wood is neutral. Using an air tight wood stove does not emit smoke especially if it has a properly installed chimney and many stoves now have catalytic converters .


ellen
8/22/2017 9:41:02 PM

Aside from convenience, another reason to stop heating with wood is that it is hugely polluting. The kind of pollution wood stoves emit has been linked in numerous peer-reviewed research studies with serious illnesses and premature deaths. Even the newest certified wood stove, properly used with perfect seasoned wood, has been found to emit more toxic fine particle pollution than 25 10-year old diesel trucks with no particulate filters.


ellen
8/22/2017 9:30:57 PM

Aside from convenience, another reason to stop heating with wood is that it is hugely polluting. The kind of pollution wood stoves emit has been linked in numerous peer-reviewed research studies with serious illnesses and premature deaths. Even the newest certified wood stove, properly used with perfect seasoned wood, has been found to emit more toxic fine particle pollution than 25 10-year old diesel trucks with no particulate filters.





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