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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Quick Change

I've been messing about in Mom and Bill's blog again.  This time to add something kind of cool.  (Bill did the hard work, I just added the page and linked them together.)

For those of you who want to come visit the lodge, we now have a "Lodge Specials" page that you can get to by clicking the page link in the sidebar.  Coming up is their annual "Crafters' Retreat".  Click on over and check it out.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quiet Horse Time

We had a few minutes yesterday prior to guests coming in, so we hopped in the car with a few breakfast scraps - aka 'biscuits' to the horses, better known as left-over waffles, pancakes and homemade bread slices lovingly dried on the grill for our furry friends.  They each have their preference, but right now they just seem to be really happy to see us coming for some petting time.
"Hey, is that the treat bag you have there?"
Ranger - You got my favorite in there?  (He's the waffle man.)
Jesse - I wanna see!  (Don't you just love their fear of the plastic bag?)
Ranger - Hey, that's my waffle!
Washoe - I've been waiting; can I have something? (He's not picky - as long as he can get it in his mouth.)

 Not to disappoint Ranger, Beel had to practice his 'dead Indian' trick.  You notice the other two are getting away before he can try them.
It was a fun few minutes.  Horses are so good for the heart!
Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Haven't meant to be a lazy blogger - but things just seemed to turn hectic after the last blog.  It suddenly dawned on me the little amount of time left to get all in order for the holidays - the same stuff everyone else goes through - decorating, shopping, finishing projects, baking, (work in there somewhere), and we also added getting ready for a new baby in the family.  We are expecting our first great-grandchild in another week.  Yikes!  Did I just have to use that phrase?  Anyway, to say it has been exciting around here is not exagerating.

However, Christmas is about family and all those great get-togethers and our faith.  We had a wonderful time and we send all our love your direction. 
We had snow on the ground, but not on the roads.  It was mostly sunny and not so breezy.
 I thought I would share a couple of my favorite nativity scenes with you.  This was a gift from my favoritist hubby a few/many years back - when I was 'collecting' sets.  Yes, it is stained glass.
This one probably comes the closest to how I would have viewed the actual scene the night of the Christ child's birth.
And this one is hand made of bean bags by a very special aunt.  Each of these figurines is 8 - 10 inches tall and made of the most beautiful scraps of material and antique brooches for the kings' crowns.  These all remind me of all the love this season brings and how fortunate we all are to have almost our whole family here to enjoy....
So, from Bill and I ....
and the rest of the clan ...

Merry, merry Christmas to all our friends and neighbors !!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Hats

B-    Come on gang!  It's time for your annual Christmas funny hat pictures!

B-   Juanita's got a nice Santa hat for you, Ranger.
R-   No Beel.  Make it go away.

B-   Look Ranger, it's an elf hat!  It's got funny ears just like you!

B-   See?  Juanita isn't scared.

R-   Waneeta can keep them.  I am leaving.

B-  Okay buddy, she's got some nice antlers?

R-  No Beel.  I will go away now.

B-   Watch, Ranger.  I'll put them on Jesse.

B-   Okay, so she didn't like it, but Washoe will wear them.

B-   Let's try this again, buddy.

R-   It is time for you to go away now Beel.

B-  Say, in a couple months we can try some bunny ears!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

About a week and a half ago, we turned our horses loose on their winter pasture, about 12 miles from us.   It is at the same altitude we are here at the lodge, about 8500 feet. The day we let them go was the last time we have seen temps above freezing.  It was also the last day we saw winds of less than 20 mph.  And it's snowed a foot or so.  In fact we have had 50 mph winds with sub zero temperatures.  It has been DARN cold.

When we go visit the horses, they seem to be accusing us of sending them to a horrible place, and it's hard to explain to them that it's just as cold at home.

DARN cold.

We had a faucet left dripping in the tub on the 2nd floor last week.  We found it when Juanita heard a dripping sound near her puzzle table.  A slow drip going down a sewer pipe on the outside of a log building will freeze to the inside of the pipe.  So will the next drip. And the next.  Etc. etc. etc...  Finally the whole 4 inch cast iron pipe will fill with an ice plug from the ground floor up.  This will only happen if there are no guests in the room for a week so no gushes of water warm and melt the ice stuck to the walls of the pipe.  And it will only happen if the "heat tape" warming the iron pipe on the outside of the lodge fails.  And it will only happen if it is DARN cold.


At first I tried going outside to replace the heat tape on the pipe.  On a ladder.  In the wind.  In the sub zero temperatures.  I can not be taught, but I can be trained.  There just have to be consequences.

I froze.
(It's actually a LOT colder than it looks.)

I decided there had to be a way to thaw things from the inside.  So I pulled the toilet off the floor, ran a garden hose running hot water from the tub down the sewer pipe and used a shop-vac to suck up the return water as it came to the top of the pipe where the toilet had been mounted.  Over the course of a couple days, I melted my way inch by inch down the ice clogged pipe.

SUCCESS!  The water went away without the shop-vac!  It went down the drain!  So I reinstalled the toilet. (I had to change the tank-to-bowl bolts and gasket and the bowl-to-floor bolts and gasket.  They were... elderly.)

Ah... but wait.  How about the plumbing to the room NEXT to the frozen pipe?  Sure enough, it's drainage had been plugged by the sewer pipe "down stream" so the SECOND bath had a frozen sewer pipe.

So I got to pull the second toilet and start again.

Did I mention it takes a couple of days?

In a completely unrelated event, yesterday morning at 3:am, the power went out.  Wind and sub-zero temps, you know.  It was out for about 4 hours.

Do you remember what I said about heat-tapes that don't function?  That things will freeze up if the pipe is cold and unused?  Yep, a pipe in part of a "loop" system froze.  As it is a loop, we didn't know it had frozen because water still flowed to all of the faucets.

A little after 5:am this morning, the pipe thawed.  Lying in bed, we heard water running. I said "Wait a minute.  We don't have any guests!  The water can't be running."  So I pulled on my jeans and ran downstairs and said  "Oh, dear.  Look at the water POUR down through 3 floors!  My, my, my." (or something like that).  "Good heavens!  And we have guests coming in tonight!"

The pipe had broken.  One whole joint had popped apart.  We shut the water off to the building, and broke out the buckets and shop-vac and towels.  I was out of plumbers solder, so I had to wait for the hardware store to open in Estes Park.

I fixed the broken joint and turned the water back on.  Water gushed out of another break in the pipe.  Turned of the water and fixed that break in the pipe.  Water on, water fall again.  Water off. And again.  Lather-rinse-repeat.

Four breaks in that run of pipe.  By the end of the day Juanita and I were both getting "twitchy" and jumping at any sound that was even remotely similar to water running.  But we got it done before our guests arrived.

Oh, wait.  The "upstream" room still has an ice plugged sewer pipe.

So, I went back to work on that.  Finally got that ice dam melted, only to find two more sinks that entered that pipe even further upstream from them were also frozen up.

It's almost 11:30 pm now, and I'm tired of messing with it.  I think I'll go to bed and work on it tomorrow.  No one is checking into that room for another couple days, so I'll wait until tomorrow to re-install the toilet and thaw the drains for the sinks.

Maybe tomorrow morning I'll drive over and see the horses for a bit.  You know, I think they have the right idea.

They just pee outside.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Pasture Prime

Wow!  I got lost with the time (lack of sunlight doesn't help either).  I kept thinking of all these great blogs, but just couldn't seem to sit still long enough to write them.

Let's backtrack to Thanksgiving:  I hope everyone enjoyed theirs.  We were lucky enough to have most of the kids and grandkids spend lots of time with us - and my mother made it up the mountain, too.  Last week was actually really nice weather - and I still didn't manage to get on either of my horses.  GunDiva and hubby came up on Tues. night last week; I hoped to drag her out for a ride the next day, but alas, she had a book to rewrite and get published.  OK, so Bill and I are now enjoying reading the e-version of "Hunted Lyon" and I have to forgive her for not riding with mom.

Thanksgiving dawned warm and sunny and we ended up with 18 for dinner.  I've decided keeping up with 18 family members is much more time consuming than 18 guests.  There's always so much to catch up on, even though we stay in close touch.  We had the traditional turkey and everyone brought lots of yummy stuff to add to the table!

Friday, most of us went to the Catch the Glow Christmas parade in Estes Park, to start off the holiday season.  It's been a couple of years since I was able to go and we had a grand time, including the traditional pizza at Bob & Tony's prior to the parade.  We didn't even freeze our toes and fingers this year!

We had some fun guests over the weekend and had planned on fixing fence on Sunday afternoon, then moving the horses on Monday.  We spent three and a half hours at it and still had only gotten about half done.  We just hadn't realized all the damage from the winds and flood.  We ended up spending another three hours fencing on Monday and decided to wait until Tuesday to move the horses.  I had not been watching the weather, so when Nebalee called Tuesday morning to ask if we were ready for the big snowstorm, I was caught totally off-guard.  Looking out the window, we decided we had better move the horses right now!  We gathered them up and didn't even feed them breakfast.  Being the great travelers they are, they loaded right up and off we went.  We did take a couple of bales of hay with us, even though they were going to some great pasture.  We had planned on staying in Ft. Collins for the night so we could go to a grandson's Christmas band program.

It wasn't very exciting when we dropped them off this time; since they hadn't had breakfast, they just trotted the short way to the grass and started eating!
We laughed and left them there.  The next day we stopped by to check on them and found one irritated grulla horse and two racing white horses!  There was 10 inches of new snow on the ground and -4 degrees.  I thought maybe they had heard the car and were coming to tell us they wanted to go home.  Ha!  See what I know?  When we got to the gate, Jesse came charging out of the trees, barely stopping at the fenceline.  The look on her face told the story:  something had been in their pen.  We checked the hay and decided they had indeed had help with the hay pile.  The ground was so torn up from their hooves, and the snow was dry and didn't make good prints, so we could only surmise the visitor.  However, while fixing the fences, Bill and I had run across quite a few moose tracks and some fairly fresh moose droppings.  My guess is there might be an unhappy moose thinking we brought in some nasty neighbors!  Look at this face!
Biggify this to see the real dragon face!
That is definitely her "you had better get out of my pen" face.  Washoe chases dogs out of the pen; I think he had a lesson in how to chase bigger game because he was having a great time trying to keep up with Jesse.  Ranger was just 'staying out of the way'!  Bill pulled out an apple for them to share and they calmed right down.  Ranger had to show off his snowy nose.
We checked back again today and found them happily grazing the pasture, even in the deep snow.  Their hay was scattered but hardly eaten.  We called and they came a runnin'.  (We have a really cool video, but after multiple tries, we can't get blogger to load it.)  Fed them a couple oat granola bars, got some good hugs and went on home.  Sure do miss them here, but it is far better for them where they are; they get to run and dig and act like the wild ones they are!
Bionic Cowgirl