First Fall

It seems too early, not even in October yet, but there is a definite chill in the air and you can feel winter is coming.  So we decided to do a scouting trip to check out Fall Colors.

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It’s a strange year, as some leaves are just turning from their resident bright green to shades of pale green.  Other maples are in full color and even falling to the ground floor.

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It certainly isn’t in full color, as the leaves are patchy only in some areas.  There’s no denying it though… it has started early, with more to come.  I love the mosaic tapestries that the leaves and tangle of trees weaves.  It’s fascinating to watch this myriad of color dot the landscape.

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It’s always fun and challenging to try to capture this awesome season and convey it’s many splendors.

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Bird House Condo

What do you think of when you think of retirement?  Relaxing?  Golf?  Travel?   Not having to work!

For me, it is doing exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it.  Not having to report to someone else or appease another for the sake of work.  These days I surround myself with people I want to be around and do the projects, travel, and hobbies that we enjoy doing.

Since retirement, we have worked harder than we did at work… and not pushing paper or on the phone at a desk job.  We have built our home, and large projects which require jack hammers, cement mixers, shovels, picks, and tractors.  The back breaking type of work that yields noticeable large results… but keeps you sore and often hurt.

I have hoped for a day that we can do just this kind of project in retirement… birdhouses!  Simple, small, fun and fulfilling.

We opted to make 3 different size bird houses for a ‘bird house condo’.  We’d make them out of metal… cut them with the plasma cutter and weld them together, then paint them fun colors.  Colorful fun!

layout_IR.jpgWe started with cardboard templates and marked them onto our sheet metal.

plasma cut clos_IR.jpgThen we cut them out with the plasma cutter, along with the accouterments (flowers and hearts).

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Then we set them up..   .corner set_IR.jpg

… and welded them together

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hous_IR.jpgWe hammered out roofs….

Then painted them.  We dug a hole, poured 3 bags of cement and installed a post.

We built a ‘receiver’ and mounted the bird houses on the receiver and installed them in place.  For good measure we put a snow gage below them so we could measure the snow in the winter.

I think they came out pretty good…. we enjoyed designing and building them… and they are fun to look at it.  You know… I think we are finally starting to retire.

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Lockett Meadow

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One of the easiest and most beautiful fall color outings to get to outside of the ‘big city’ is Lockett Meadow.  It’s only 20 minutes from Flagstaff and yields awesome concentrations of full color yellowing aspens.

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The characteristic white trunks and silver dollar yellow leaves make these aspen fields stand out in their stunning beauty.  It’s a great place to go for the day, for a picnic, and just soak in nature at it’s finest.

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It’s been an early fall.  I wrote about it first here.  As such the leaves are already starting to dissipate.  Compounded by our gusty winds, the leaves are definitely falling as we are getting ready for winter.  But for now we are enjoying the last hurrah of what has been a gorgeous Fall here on the mountain.

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Seattle, WA

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We were just in Washington state.  We haven’t been in probably a decade.  It made me start to realize that irritating trait older people have… ‘I remember when’, ‘You’re too young too remember’, etc.  Yes, it’s true we are young to be retired, but here we are… we never won the lottery, we never ‘made it big’… but we saved hard, and lived a different lifestyle.  We seldom wrote checks to have others do for us what we could do ourselves.  And we are younger than most of our retired friends.. the rest just aren’t retired yet.  Why we have to endure their…. ‘just wait you’ll get there’, is beyond me.  I hope never to do that to others in the future.

But here we were in WA state, bemoaning how it has changed from the last time we were here.  I suspect that as time has passed, and time goes forward, it will forever be true.  You can’t take it back as you plow down nature, replacing it with buildings and high-rises holding the likes of Starbucks and Hard Rock Cafe’s.  As each of us see something for the first time, it is forever not the same again.

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The traffic alone in the Seattle area was enough to keep me from ever coming back.  It was worse than the worse day in California traffic, and that’s notoriously bad.  People from the area swear never to go to Seattle proper just because of the traffic.

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We remember going through Pike Place Market ever so fondly in the past, so we made a special trip to walk it’s halls yet again.  We felt like salmon swimming upstream in a sea of tourists.  It was a complete zoo.

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Sand Patterns

While I’d like to post my 3rd and final video on the pizza oven, it’s just still a long way from done.

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It’s coming along… slowly though it may be.  Here’s a pic to show you the current progress.  So many people think… pizza oven, what’s taking so long.  So let this picture give you a different perspective and a teaser until the final video details it’s many still left undone steps.. like building our own roof, our own doors, countertop border, stone facade, etc.

So this blog entry offers a distraction from the pizza oven.  Wouldn’t want anyone thinking we’re all work and no play.

We recently got back from Page, AZ.  Now there isn’t much in Page, AZ as far as charming towns, shopping, or restaurants.  But it is full of natural wonders, textures, shapes and colors.  Page is home to Antelope Canyon (see my photos posted on kritterspix.com).

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I am far from an avant garde photographer.  I concentrate mostly on landscape & wildlife.  Having said that, Page is full of interesting difficult-to-capture textures and colors.

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I love what my friend Gayle shared… now all I have to do is learn to make countertops out of my textures.  Thanks, Gayle.  You’re awesome.  You’ll be the first to get a set when I do!

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