Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

December Recipe of the Month... Elephant Stew

This time of year, we are always looking for good stew recipes.  A guest gave us this one several years ago.

Elephant Stew

1 large elephant, cut into bite sized pieces

2 rabbits

Cook elephant in large stew pot over outside fire.  Simmer for 4 weeks until tender, stirring occasionally.

This will serve 3,800 people.  If more people come, add the rabbits.  DON"T do this unless necessary, because most people don't like hare in their stew.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, all!

More welcome than Santa...
"Mare-y " Christmas (and Gelding New Year!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Less Favorite Walk. By Me. Ranger the Horse.

One of the two legged barn apes that hangs around here (Estes's human) has a contest for bad walks.  She sayed that Beel or Nita can't enter the contest, I think cause they are her parents or cause they have a bunch of bad rides that would scare people.  So Beel sayed I could tell a story.

Early one day, in the still dark, a few summers ago, I saw Beel drive away with the rolling horse house behind the stinky truck.  I thought that was kind of weird, cause there weren't no horses in it.  But peoples do really confusing stuff all of the time, so I didn't think much about it.  He came back later in another car, without the wagon.

Beel and another gal, Elsa walked up to me and caught me and another horse I knew a little bit, Coontail.  They strapped the chairs on our backs, put the iron bars in our mouths and said we were going for a LONG walk today.

I hate when that happens.

The sun had been back working again for just a few chews when we left.  We went up the trail like we mostly do, and everything was usual.  We walked a LONG time, and finally got to the far-place, where we ALWAYS turn around.


We kept walking and went down a steep trail, and crossed a HUGE, RAGING, RIVER!  It was so full, Beel's feets almost got wet while he was sitting in my back chair!  Okay, he's purdy tall and I'm purdy not tall, but still.  Then we walked next to  the raging river for a LONG time.  Finally Beel and Elsa told Coontail and me to stop, and they took the chairs off and the iron bars out of our mouths so we could eat.

We had stopped at the BEST PLACE ON EARTH!  Warm sun!  Lots of sweet grass!  A whole river of water to drink!  Beel had finally done it.  He found horse heaven.  He done good.  While we were all eating, I heard the peoples talking.  "Well, we are almost halfway there."

What?  No, you don't understand.  We ARE there, Beel.  Where else would we want to be?  You are talking like a dog.  We can just stay here and eat.  We don't have to run around just to run around, that would be crazy!  But the chairs went back on, and the bars back in after just a taste of sweet, sweet grass.  Okay, maybe it was more that one bite, but still...

We walked along the river for a long time, and then went up a cliff.  It was terrible.  It went straight up and almost hit the sun!  Beel MADE me go.  It was terrible.  I stopped halfway up and told him he was a lunatic.  He kicked and swatted and cussed, but I had made my mind up.  No. More.

He finally climbed off and led me. "Oh, okay." I thought.  "If you are willing to climb the cliff, I guess I'll follow."

We climbed for many, many steps, until finally we ran out of hill.  "That was terrible." I told Beel.  "If it was so flipp'n horrible, why did Coontail make it just fine?" Beel yelled very meanly.  "Because Elsa is very small, and you are a BIG DUMB MONSTER." I stated.

Beel climbed back into my back chair and we went along the trail at the top of the cliff for a long, long time.  Then the trail ran into a gravel road.

I HATE gravel roads.  The gravels hurt my poor bare feet.  There was a LOT of gravel road.

We finally reached a gate.  Beel got off of my back and sayed "It's locked."

His brain must have been cooked by the sun, 'cause he can ALWAYS open gates.

Not this time.

He took my lead rope and walked for EVER down the fence till he found a loose spot in the wires.

Now, let me tell you about barbed wires.  THEY HURT!  They cut you and make you blood all over your chest and they are about the scariest things ever (except for flags).

Beel stepped on the wires until they smashed to the ground, and then he MADE ME STEP OVER THEM!!!  I am really brave, so I did after a while.  Then Coontail saw how brave I was, and he walked over them, too.  Beel tied the wires on to the little posts, and we went back to the road.

It would have been easier to use the gate.

We went down the road for a long, long time until we finally got to the WORST PLACE ON EARTH.  There were houses, dogs, the gravel road, parked cars, mail boxes, FLAGS!!!  I couldn't believe it.

I stopped.  "YOU ARE THE WORST LEADER EVER, BEEL.  WE WENT FROM HEAVEN TO HELL, AND I AM NOT HAPPY."  I wouldn't ever move again.  He kicked, and swatted, and cussed.  But I had made my mind up.  No. More.

He finally climbed off and led me. "Oh, okay." I thought.  "If you are willing to walk in hell, I guess I'll follow."

We walked for a LONG time, and suddenly, the houses were gone, the dogs were gone, the parked cars were gone, the mail boxes were gone  and the FLAGS were gone!  Okay, this was better.  Beel climbed back on my back and we walked for a LONG time.

Then we got to a place I remembered!  GRASS!  NICE TRAIL!  WATER!  And suddenly we were at the rolling horse house and stinky truck!  I jumped right in, 'cause it ALWAYS goes to a good place, and it was getting dark.

That was my most horriblest walk ever, cause I thought for sure Beel had lost his mind.

I'm glad he found it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Decor

Sunday one of our grandsons wandered up to Juanita and I and said "I think the neighbor dog took something off one of the logs out front."

"Na."  we said.  "Ingrid's always bringing over balls and toys for us to throw for her." (Ingrid.  What else do you name a German Shepard?)

Looked out the window and saw she did indeed have not 1, not 2, but 3 balls at her feet.  Guarding them and wagging her tail.

Oh man, those aren't her balls, those are Christmas ornaments off the posts out front.

Kid says..."I TOLD you so."

When I was a kid, we always cut the family tree in the national forests down in New Mexico.  My parents BOTH had slightly off kilter senses of humor, so our Christmas trees were usually rather... odd.

 I attempted to keep up the tradition with my family, but could rarely talk them into a "good" tree more than every other year.  If you ask them about their past Christmas trees, they will mostly contort their bodies into a rough approximation of one mutant tree or another while trying to describe one.

This year, we had a couple friends offer to cut us a tree when they went to cut their own.  They know me so we got this...

 I love the trunk.  This poor tree survived at least 3 other attempts at killing it for decoration.

Juanita made me decorate it.  So I did.

Makes me happy.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tanks for Nuthin

The small stream our horses drink from is freezing up.  Happens every year.  So today I drug our 100 gallon Rubbermaid water tank over to the corral.

The grays watched me drag and haul the tank into the pen with great interest, and then ignored me once I quit pushing it around.

Ranger, however, flipped his lid.

"What are you doing, Beel?  That is a bigblackscareything and you LEFT IT IN MY PEN!  Are you CRAZY?!?"

So, I walked over to Ranger, took my belt off, and was going to put it around his neck and lead him over to the tank and make him touch it.

"NO.NO.NO.NO!" he says.

And I spent 10 minutes chasing him around the pen trying to catch him.

Chasing Ranger around reminded me of when I first got the old mustang.  He was 9 or 10 years old, and had never been handled.  He was pretty sure he knew all he needed to know, and one of the things he knew was I was not going to get ANY WHERE NEAR him.

I can not rope.  At all. Period.  But that was the only way I was going to catch him.  So I started to learn.

33 tosses and a catch.
27 tosses and a catch.
24 tosses and a catch.
21 tosses and a catch.

Each time I would rope the horse, I would gently touch him/brush him/give him some grass.  Then I would release him.

16 tosses and a catch.
15 tosses and a catch.
13 tosses and a catch.

By the time I could rope the horse in 3 or so tosses, I was getting pretty proud of myself.  Until Juanita pointed out that by this time, Ranger wasn't running in terror from me, but trotting slowly at ropes length holding his neck out to make it easy for me to rope him and be nice to him.

To this day, I must walk up to him swinging my lead rope over my head, and then drop the end over his neck before he is "caught" and will let me put his halter on him.

As I was chasing Ranger with my belt, I realized what I was doing.

I swung the belt over my head a couple times and he walked up to me.  I dropped the belt over his neck, led him over to the tank.

He told me "Golly, Beel.  It's just a water tank.  Why was you so scared?"

Sometimes I forget MY training and Ranger has to remind me.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rodeo 101

A Rodeo Primer

When Juanita and I get tired of watching people and animals at the lodge, we take a break and go to a rodeo.  Where we watch people and animals in an arena.  This year we were not able to go the the Rodeo National Finals in Las Vegas, missing it for the first time in years.  But we are still thinking about it.

Some of you may not know much about rodeos so here is a short description of the events.

Rough stock events: Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding.  Cowboys try to stay seated on an animal that is trying to get rid of them.  They attempt to ride for 8 seconds in a row.  Half of the points (up to 50) are determined by the animal, the other half (also up to 50, ain’t math GREAT!?!) are awarded to the cowboy.  Touching themselves or the animal with their free hand disqualifies the cowboy.

Timed events (Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Tie Down Roping, Barrel Racing) are, well, timed events.  Fastest time wins.  Penalties are given in seconds for infractions, adding to final time.

Bareback Riding:

Probably my favorite event.  The horses are smaller, and appear to be bucking harder than the other "rough stock".  The cowboys in this event look like they are being BEAT HALF TO DEATH.  

The horses seem to be having fun.

Saddle Broncs:

This may be my favorite event.  The skill of the cowboys, and the technique that they demonstrate in the spurring to the rhythm of the animals bucking is just amazing to watch. 

 These horses also seem to be having fun trying to unload the fools.

Steer Wrestling:

Quite possibly my favorite event.  Huge cowboys leaping off of horses traveling at 30 miles per hour onto the ground and grabbing the head of a 600 pound steer running at 30 miles per hour, dragging it to a stop, and twisting it over onto its back.  Sheer genius.  

The horses are having a good time, the steers, maybe not so much.  They're pretty annoyed.

Team Roping:

This has got to be my favorite event to watch, because it isn't possible.  One cowboy ropes the head of a calf (Okay, I can see how you can do that), but the other cowboy ropes both hind legs, and then they stretch the little booger out.  How in the heck can you throw a rope around both hind legs of a 4 legged critter running away from you full speed while you are sitting on a running horse.  Just can't be done.

  Horses having fun, calves... well, mostly just kinda surprised.

Tie Down Roping:

I may like this event the best because of the sheer number of things that MUST go right to get a good score.
From horseback, you rope a calf, tie the roped off calf to your saddle, as you jump off your horse, your horse backs up just enough to keep the calf from running off.  Then you run over, throw the calf down, and tie together its legs in the least amount of time possible.

Bovine bondage at its best.  The horses usually know and enjoy their job.  Calves are again, surprised.

Bull Riding:

I find I root for the animals more than the cowboys in most events, so this one is my favorite.  Smallest cowboys, largest rough stock.  Remember those little cattle in the other events?  I think the bulls are just getting even. They try to buck the cowboys off of their backs, and then turn to kill them.  
Bulls are DEFINITELY having a good time.    The surviving cowboys seem happy, too. (Maybe just glad to be alive...)
Applause to the rodeo clowns, they really save lives in this event.

Barrel Racing:

Okay, this is ABSOLUTELY my favorite.  Pretty girls and fast horses.  What's not to like?

Not much of a race though.  The horses ALWAYS win.  The barrels hardly ever even MOVE.



It's baking weekend.

Mom and Bill have left the building.

I'm not sure if that means: A) after thirteen years of baking weekends, they finally trust that we won't burn the lodge down; or B) they can't stand to watch us messing up the kitchen and they just had to leave; or C) they can't stand to watch us messing up the kitchen and they hope that we burn the lodge down so they don't have to see the kitchen.

I'm an optimist - I say it's option A.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baking Day Readiness

Am I ready for this?  Heck no!  Are we gonna' have fun?  You betcha'!

Every year for the last - oh - 13 or so years, we have had a baking day/weekend extravaganza.  I open up the Lodge kitchen to our kids and their/our friends for a huge cookie/treat baking marathon.  That's what it has turned into - a marathon.  Everyone brings an assortment of recipes and most of their own ingredients, and then my big kitchen and cookery get put to use, and it is a huge amount of fun, I get to see lots of new ideas and a tremendous amount of goodies spew forth, until both big tables are covered with entice-ables.

Wish me luck, keeping my sanity.  I'm getting better (with age) at not being quite so anal about how things are done in MY kitchen ... but it's tough!  Watch for GunDiva's blogs, complete with pics.
Bionic Cowgirl - turned kitchen  monitor for the next two days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Official Ride of the Season - long

It isn't, really, for Bill and I, but we decided to do a regular 'end of season' ride with Gundiva before delivering Estes to fat pasture.  (Estes is doing very well since her bout with sand colic, but I just didn't want her to lose ground weight this winter.)  So ....

We have a special place we like to ride before dropping the horses off, and today was the perfect day for a ride there.  It's across the road from where our horses used to go for the winter.  Sunny, sunny, in the 40's, slight breeze - it just doesn't get better for us at this time of year.
Washoe, Estes, Jesse, Beel - yes, I opted for a saddle; elbow still isn't up to hauling myself up bareback.

Welcome to Hall Ranch, home of the mountain lion - and we think we spotted a track.  We headed off on the horse portion on the trails, with a gentle climb over rock.
... down into the gully with it's natural earth bridge ...

Shortly after this picture, Beel's camera decided to quit working.  While he was playing with it, Washoe decided to have a quick bite, and while trying to correct that Beel accidentally popped the battery compartment open, sending his camera batteries flying to the ground .  Oops!  Needless to say, Beel and Washoe had to have a bit of a discussion ...
Honest, Beel, I didn't steal any grass!  You should have seen the wad Beel pulled out of his mouth! 
In the background of this next picture, you can see the horses' old hangout.
OK, here's proof ... the hand holding the camera is attached to the 'formerly' broken elbow.  I don't have full strength (Bill had to heft my 45 lb. saddle) and not quite full range of motion, but pretty darn close.
By this time, Jesse had decided it was hot and started her shaking routine.  That horse starts at the nose and shakes all the way through her tail!!!  
... and then you stroll off like nothing happened.  You just gotta laugh.

All too soon, we had to head back...
Overlooking the bluffs we had come up ...
Low hanging branch, even for short horses and riders.  LOL
Stairs!  Well, not quite as impressive as the ones we did at HCR 2 ... but still considered a trail obstacle.
Ranger got the day off, mostly because we can only haul three at a time, and he is the only one that will stay home alone without causing trouble - like hollering for the other horses the WHOLE time they're gone.  And believe me, Beel did his share of complaining about having to ride a taller horse.  Notice his feet aren't dragging the ground..
We were even nice enough to share the trail.  We noticed two 'riders' coming up toward us, so we found a wide spot and pulled over to wait.  No one showed, so in a few minutes we called to them that it was OK to pass.  They called back that they had gotten off to wait, also, only they really got off.  Actually only one was riding; the second horse was bareback and was being led.  We didn't tease them too hard about the walking part after they noticed Beel and GD were bareback.  Later we passed a hiker sitting on the trail and as we approached the trail head, we waited on a mountain biker to pass.  It was just such a beautiful day to be out.
Coming back down towards the old ranch again.
Back at the vehicle ... the victory stretch.
Proper way to get off ? or just hanging out with your horse?
Now we had to load up and go a few more miles down the road to drop off Estes.  She was sure excited to see her herd.
From L-R:  Meeker (Estes' 1st daughter), Brownie in back, Digger (Meeker's daughter), Peanut, Baby Meeker (Meeker's last year foal), Audobon (Estes's second daughter), Doc, Andromeda (black in back, the full Friesien), and Dakota (Audobon's daughter)
This next picture is GunDiva's lotto winnings, should it ever happen.
Estes' grand-daughter, Dakota.
And Baby Meeker is already sold.  She has the cutest reverse star; it's black instead of white.  She's just a yearling and already taller than her mom, beside her.  Her Friesien dad is showing in those legs.  She gets to stay with the herd until April, when her new owner is in hopes of her being a good polo pony.  Watching her move today, I don't think there's much doubt she will do well.

It was a wonderful end-of-season ride.
Bionic Cowgirl, signing off.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Blurb

Last night we only had 6 guests, so it was a one table breakfast this morning.  Time to experiment!

Juanita is calling it a  "peach/pear/cranberry crostada".  This one was made with phillo dough.
When she gets the kinks worked out of it, maybe we will post the recipe.  Tasted wonderful!

After all of the guests left, we grabbed Ranger and Jesse and went for a quick bareback ride.  It was cool, but not too bad... mid to lower 40's, but the wind was blowing pretty well, and they were concerned.  Jesse was all set to go around the block here in town, but balked a little at going up the mountain into the national forest.

I have a mustang that trusts me.  He would follow me through the fires of hell.

Ranger took one look at the snow covered parking lot at the livery, and said "No way, Beel"  I spent a couple minutes flailing ineffectually at his ribs with my heels, and finally gave it up and jumped off and led him across the parking lot.  No problem.  I remounted at the base of the hill, and rode him down to the little stream that crosses the trail.  You know, the same little stream that all of our horses drink out of, EVERY DAY, about 8 feet upstream from where we were standing.  Balking.  Not crossing the stream we have crossed maybe 500 times before.

"It has ICE Beel.  I might break through and drown!"

"Ranger, it is 8 inches wide, 3 inches deep, with a quarter inch of ice covering the edge.  You drink out of every day.  DON'T BE A MORON!"

He bent down and touched his nose to the mud.

"Nope, it ain't worth the risk Beel."

I pulled the belt out of my pants (riding in a halter and lead rope, I got no reins to "whack" him with) and tapped him with the belt (And no, I didn't hit him hard.  As a horse he's bigger than I am and as a mustang, he knows it).  Nothing.


I dismounted, led him across (and back and forth another half dozen times).  No problem.  Followed me like I was the boss.

We rode up the mountainside and got to a snowy north slope.  I stopped before Ranger could balk and make me dismount again.

We turned back and went home.

Yes, I have a horse that would follow me through the fires of hell.

"You first, Beel."


Thursday, November 24, 2011

. . . and Let the Feasting Begin

GunDiva and RCC ran the local turkey race today as a starter; we got up and put the turkey on and shoved all the casseroles in the oven that we prepped last night.  The day was much warmer and sunnier than expected, so we spent some time with the horses.  We'd saved some bread treats for them ... waiting for enough snow to be off the ground so we could toss them all over.  OK, so Ranger and Jesse got handouts from Beel; Estes and Washoe prefer the hunt and search method on the ground.  Even the neighbor dog got in on the act, but Thanksgiving is for everyone so she was allowed.
Bill carving the turkey.  Would you believe EVERYBODY forgot the camera!!!!
We packed up all the food and headed to my Mom's, to be joined by all but the youngest of our children (who is trying the trade-off routine with significant other's family).  It was a joy to see everyone together and we hope all of you had as wonderful a day.
Juanita and Bill

Monday, November 21, 2011

Novembers' Recpie, Chocolate Covered Cherries

  Yesterday Juanita and I were in the kitchen with a couple friends.  They were helping Juanita make chocolate covered cherries.  As the dippin' and rollin' were going full steam, the lights went out.

"OOO! OOO! YES!  I get to try my new generat..." and the lights came back on.


Maybe I'll get to use my new generator another day.

Chocolate Covered Cherries


2 and 1/2 cups of powered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter (unsalted is best, salted will be good, too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
16 ozs maraschino cherries, with stems, drained
2 tablespoons shortening
2 cups (16 ozs) semisweet chocolate chips


Combine butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl, knead until mold-able.  Shape into about 3/4 inch balls, then flatten into 2 inch disks.

Wrap each disk around a cherry and gently roll in hands.  Place the wrapped cherries stem up on a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet and chill the bunch.  Half an hour in the freezer, or four hours in the refrigerator.

Microwave the chocolate chips and shortening until melted, stir until smooth.  Dip the chilled cherries, holding by the stem, into the chocolate.  Let the extra drip off and place on waxed paper until the chocolate has set.  Place chocolate covered cherries in a covered container and refrigerate for a week or two before eating.

Cherries can be soaked in Bourbon before wrapping for a more adult-type treat.

 Will make about 36 covered cherries.

Here is to future power failures.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bionic Cowgirl: Very Much Alive and Doing Quite Well, Thank You

Yeah, it's me, the bionic cowgirl.  We've been receiving quite a few email inquiries about my current physical conditioning, so I thought it prudent to 'get over' my current malaise with my computer.  Many years ago we left the computer industry and I swore I would never again become addicted to the creature!!!!  So every now and then, this particular malaise hits me and I refuse to be drawn into the electronics world (except of course, the normal, everyday entering of company data, bookkeeping, and quarterly reports, etc that I can't get away from).  Besides, Beel is so much more fun to read!  Onward ...
Jesse playing peek-a-boo with me.

Again woke up to a good four inches of new snow - now 5 hours later and still coming down - but had this amazing feeling that it's now RIGHT.  It's beautiful and I love watching the horses be at peace with the weather, even like this.
Love Jesse's snowy eyelashes!

Estes, next to 'the shed'.  She sure blends in.
 We've had three weekends full of guests, and only a couple rooms this weekend, so maybe that's why I feel like maybe a blog would be good.  The physical therapist says my arm is on the fast track, healing wise, and should be fully functional within the next 4 - 6 weeks; as soon as we can get my strength back.  MY goal is to be riding next week - at the 6 wk mark.  Yesterday, before the snow, would have been a perfect ride day: dry road, no wind, sunny, mid-40's, so I brushed the horses instead.  They weren't too appreciative because they had worked very hard over the last few weeks getting their mud-coat just right and I messed it up right before a storm.
Yesterday, these two had black backs.  Now they just have sad faces. LOL

Did I mention there is a pallet load of pellets sitting on the back of our truck?  Hmmmm, good thing they shrink wrap those babies pretty well!  Right now I'm not much help unloading things like that (they weigh slightly more than my coffee cup weight limit), although yesterday, I did help bring in wood.  I'm only allowed to carry 'baby' sticks, but it's better than nothing.  Beel keeps a really close eye on me.
Add caption

I've always said that lodge work was the best kind of physical therapy.  I tell my PT that all the time.  Imagine the stretching that takes place folding sheets for 19 beds at a time (after each full weekend!), and did I mention the making of those beds?  Of course, that's just the start ... but I still enjoy my life.  How many people get to live in such elegance as the Rocky Mountains?

Although sometimes, I am envious of Mikey in AZ, having the weather to tan her own cow hide.  That is so cool.  The desert is a way neat place to live if you can take the heat.  In fact, most of you bloggers live in really cool regions.  I would love to visit everyone of you; I think I will make that a goal - or a NY's resolution, since that's the only kind of resolutions I make (fun ones!).

Due to all our lifestyle changes this year, what with my bionic-ness and the decision to keep the horses home, we have decided to forgo the WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo) this year.  Instead we will travel through AZ in a couple weeks to see a friend who lives near the Mexico border and catch up there.  I'm actually looking forward to the trip, even though certain kids have tried to threaten me to stay off any horses while away.  What fun is that?

So, you see, I am alive and well, but very, very slow.  The arm gets tired before the work gets done (typing is still a strain) and blogging has fallen by the wayside.  I promise to do better soon.

Yours truly,
The Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Latest Weekend Story

Last weekend we had a "scrapbooking" group in that had rented the whole lodge for 3 days.  These gals have been here every year for the last 11 or so years, so they knew the drill.  Dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner, crop all night, breakfast in the morning, crop all day, dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner...

Things were going normally until the last night, about halfway between "wine or beer" and "crop all night", when the lights all flickered.  The wind was howling, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but I lit some candles and ground a bunch of coffee, just in case the power blinkages turned into power outages.

Then, "LET THERE BE DARK" and there was.  Boy, was there.

We handed the gals that were still up watching movies and cropping their pictures an assortment of flashlights, and they all went to bed, giggling like it was a slumber party.  Not too much different than usual, just a little earlier.  Juanita and I stoked the fires, set up a bunch of battery operated lanterns, pulled out the frozen stuff we would need the next morning (just in case the microwave still wasn't working in the morning) and then we read for an hour or two by lamplight.  And went to bed.

When we woke up the next morning, it was still dark.  We re-stoked the fires and cooked breakfast.  We have a gas oven/range/griddle just for this sort of thing, so breakfast was wonderful and on time.  Several of the gals said when they woke up and the power was still off, they were sure it was going to be cold cereal in Styrofoam bowls.  HA!  NEVER!

We fed them and as it was their last day, they packed up and headed home after breakfast.  They went home to their houses with electricity.  We stayed at the lodge in the dark.  After a while, I started to worry about the food in the refrigerator.  The temperature in the ice box was up to 52 degrees, and climbing.  So I closed the door to the kitchen, opened the kitchen window (outside temp was in the 20's), and WAH-LAH! The temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees.  I opened the fridge door and WAH-LAH!  Cold food.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around and wishing we could do laundry, vacuum the floors, run the dishwasher... You know, all of those chores that need power.  We finally drove down to Fort Collins to bake our oldest son's birthday cake at his house 'cause, well, he had power.

After the party at his house, we drove back home, lit some more candles (fortunately we had no guests in THAT night), re-stoked the fires and went to bed early and read by flashlight until bedtime.

We woke up the next morning, re-stoked the fires, lit some more lanterns, swept the floors, answered phone calls about a neighboring lodge that was burning to the ground, and pretty much hung out in the dark.  It was becoming more of a chore than an adventure at this point.

When the lights came on a little before noon, I closed the kitchen window and started vacuuming the floors, while Juanita started laundry and the dishwasher.

If this had happened in the summer, we could have lost hundreds of dollars in groceries in the fridge and freezer, 'cause I wouldn't be able to cool the stuff down by opening the window.  The fires in the fireplace and wood burning stove kept it a toasty 65 degrees in here.  It could have been a whole lot worse.

I bought a generator yesterday.  It won't run the whole lodge, but by gum, our ice cream ain't gunna melt.

Priorities, you know.