Saturday, August 30, 2008

Deer in the Hood

I am slowly but surely moving our belongings in to the new house - tomorrow is my GO day, I'm planning to work non-stop and get IN!

Here are a few photos of our neighborhood deer, as well as our love plant, Agnes, enjoying her new view again...

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Camera!

Agnes is home and enjoying her view!

View from kitchen

Just the nice view from the deck, come see us :)


Butterfly Surveys

Hi Everyone,

We have been doing butterfly surveys this week in the Trumball/Deckers/Hayman burn area. Here's a little about the Pawnee Montane Skipper we are surveying -

This butterfly is native to only one area of the Colorado Front Range. Its habitat is southwest of Denver, where the South Platte River drainage meets up with its north fork. It tends to inhabit dry, open Ponderosa Pine woodland with sparse groundcover at 6,000-7,500 feet. As of right now, it only has 37.9 square miles to call its home as noted by the Denver Water Department. This species' roaming area was bigger in the 60's and 70's, but with the advancement of housing developments and the expansion of Denver's boundaries, the skipper has lost its range and some of its food sources.

The skipper has two main plants that it feeds on. The larvae feed on Blue Grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and the adults get their nectar from Prairie Gayfeather or Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya). The adults have been spotted on Musk Thistle, but it is not their primary food source. Both plants are native to the front range of Colorado as well as most of the Midwest.

On September 25, 1987, the Pawnee Montane Skipper was listed on the Federal Endangered Species List as a "threatened" species. The reason for this listing was caused by habitat loss over the last 120 years of fire suppression as well as the growth of conifers and loss of grasslands containing their feeding plants. In 1990, the proposed construction of the Two Forks Dam and Reservoir was not approved by the EPA, because of the immediate threat that would impose on the skipper's habitat. If the construction of the dam had happened, 22% of the skipper's habitat would be lost, which would cause a 23-42% loss in population.

In June of 2002, the Hayman Wildfires charred 138,000 acres of land. This resulted in a 40% decrease in the skipper's habitat. Two previous fires in 1996 and 2000, Buffalo Creek and Hi Meadow, wiped out an additional 10% of skipper habitat. In 1987, Denver Water Department conducted a survey of the Pawnee Montane Skipper population and it was estimated that there was 116,000. Because of the loss of land and feeding plants, the population is estimated to be at least 50-60% less than the previous survey in 1987, but no official survey has been conducted since then.

The recovery plan for the Pawnee Montane Skipper was placed into effect on September 2, 1998. The recovery plan includes monitoring its habitat and removal of less than 5% loss of skipper's habitat to developments such as roads, housing, or recreational. A heavy planting project of the Blue Grama Grass and Prairie Blazing Star (density of 150 or more flowering stems/acre) is planned for. Along with the planting of feeding plants, the project is also aimed at eradicating noxious weeds like Mullen, Knapweed, Russian and Canadian Thistle, Hound's tongue, or any other noxious plant that will compete with the skipper's nutrient plants. The recovery plan is set to end in 2010 and the total cost for the plan is $330,000.

I'm really enjoying this & we have had really progressive results so far, with m the recovery of the skippers looking positive. And no, the butterflies do not actually sit down and fill out surveys for us on how their day was, how they are enjoying their habitat and how many of them there are :) If only it was that easy! We observe how many of the 2 species we see, observe the blue gramma and laitris plants, dead trees, live tress, etc.. The terrain we are traversing each day is pretty steep and we are walking through many snags, dead trees, thistles, and..bees! Unfortunately I was stung on my and a few days ago - my hand has been swollen for the past 2 days now and you can't even see my knuckles!

I have the next 4 days off and will spend my time working on moving & doing things at the new house! I just spoke with Jason for a whole 2 minutes and was able to fill him in on about 10 % of what I had wanted to tell him, I heard a few "mm hmm, ok"'s from him, then he had to go! They are still in northern Nevada on a fire - he did say they may have rains next week and will either change locations or come home :)I miss him so.

Lots to do today, I better get going! Incase you are wondering why I've been slacking on photos, my camera was left at a friend's house in Littleton back in June (after Widespread Panic weekend, go figure), and I have yet to get it back. Perhaps I'll treat myself to a camera for my birthday!

Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Closing Day, Hooray!

Jason & I took today off in anticipation of our closing at 2 later this afternoon. Unfortunately, Jason was called out to a fire in Nevada on saturday morning, and won't be back for another 2 weeks! Wish me luck :)


PS - Josie, if you read this - please email me at ! I do not have your email and really want to catch up with you, miss ya!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Days

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.-
Emily Dickinson

Especially blogging :)

Hello out there!

Jason returned last Friday from the Quincy fire and we have been busy with making closing arrangements on our new home!

We are calling it The Rosalie House, because we have some great views of Mount Rosalie in the distance. "Excited" is putting it lightly when trying to put in to words how we both feel right now! This is such a wonderful house with great land as well. I really can't wait to have family and friends out here to share this home with us. Our door is always open.

Lastnite we went to Red Rocks amphitheater to see one of our favorite bands, My Morning Jacket. Aside from the fact that we were in one of the most beautiful places in the world to see a show, the band completely blew us away! It was our first MMJ concert, and was everything we hoped for and more. The crowd was full of energy, which the band absorbed and played off of late into the evening. Lots of dancing, smiling, and good ol' rocking out!

A little about My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket is an American rock band known for their reverb-heavy sound, their eclectic mix of country rock, indie rock, funk, psychedelic, and southern rock styles, and enthusiastic and energetic live shows. Formed in 1998 in Louisville, Kentucky, the band signed with ATO Records four years later.

The band's moniker comes from a discarded coat lead singer Jim James found while sifting through the remains of his favorite bar after it burned down. The coat was embroidered with the letters "MMJ". Their musical influences include Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and the Velvet Underground.

Before I close this blog entry, I need to let you know that I hiked through 6 inches of freshly fallen snow last week at work. That's right, it snowed on Guanella Pass and other CO areas last weekend! Snow, in August! That makes me want to say "Now I've seen it all" but for some reason, I have a feeling Colorado will hold many more chances for me to speak that phrase...

Much love.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Rich Fire

Here is a little about what's going on with the fire Jason is at. It's about 20 miles west of Quincy, CA - northern part of California.

Rich, Plumas NF. IMT 1 (Hoff). Twenty miles west of Quincy, CA. Timber.

Smoke in nearby valley bottoms is a result of the burnout operations that are currently being conducted to strengthen fire lines. Fire officials report good progress is being made with the construction of line around the fire's perimeter and with the burnout operations.

10 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand have been assigned to the Rich fire after cimpleting an assignment on the Butte Complex.

Highway 70 been has re-opened to public access; Cal Trans is providing 1-way traffic control with pilot car escort from 2 miles east of the town of Rich Bar to 6.5 miles west of the Jct. Of SR 89 (Butte Co). Evacuation orders issued by the Plumas County Sheriff's Office remain in effect.

• Power transmission lines that feed the Quincy area were re-energized yesterday as fire intensity decreased in the vicinity of the lines.

• Firefighters will be conducting burnout operations on the north and south sides of Hwy 70 today and on the north side of Hwy 70 this evening. Expect to see additional smoke due to the burnout operations.

RICH FIRE STATUS: 5,199 acres, 15% contained, $2,204,000 costs. The Rich Fire was fairly active yesterday, spreading to the northwest and challenging existing fire lines. Fire managers reported that shaded fire breaks created by the Plumas National Forest helped to slow the fire's advance. The fire was particularly active in Deadwood Canyon.

Last night's operations: Firefighters took care of 2-acre "slopover" that breached the line on the portion of the Rich Fire that is south of Highway 70. On the portion of the Rich Fire that lies on the north side of Hwy 70, firefighters constructed dozer line on the east flank, improved and held line on the northeast corner, contained numerous spot fires on the northwest corner and prepared and completed a successful burnout operation on the west flank.

Today's operations south of Hwy 70 (south of the East Fork of the Feather River): Today, crews and equipment will complete ongoing burnout operations and begin mop up efforts.

Today's operations north of Hwy 70 (north of the East Fork of the Feather River): Crews and equipment will continue will mop up and complete control lines, prepare the 22 Road from Deadwood Saddle to the 67 Road for burnout and burnout the 22 Road as necessary on the southeast flank. Dozers will continue to construct line at the head of the fire on the NE corner with support from engines. Crews, dozers, with support from engines, will focus on establishing dozer and handline down the No Name Ridge. Engines and dozers will work the unburned area above Hwy 70 on the southeast flank. The structure protection group will continue with perimeter control actions to protect structures along Hwy 70 and the Rich Gulch area and make further evaluations on needed structure protection along Hwy 70 to the east.

Tonight, crews and equipment will provide perimeter control structure protection and coordinate the continuation of suppression efforts with today's operations, including burnout operations on the north side of Hwy 70 and the east flank of the fire.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Introducing, Holt!

Congratulations to my twin brother Schuyler and Katie - introducing, our new nephew, Holt James! xo