Monday, a friend and I took our dogs to the Black Forest Regional Park. The park is adjacent to the subdivision where the Black Forest Fire of 2013 started and 74% of the park timber burned in that fire. It was closed until fairly recently until walking trails could be made safe for the public. Pikes Peak is hidden by the burnt, twisted pine.
In Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Library District has repurposed a former office building (Digital Equipment Company) into a library that they are calling 21c. On the ground floor are the stacks and amenities of a traditional library, but the second floor is far different. Here one can find a 3-D printer, sewing machines, a video production studio including a green screen setup, high end workstations, a conference room with a touch interactive whiteboard / video conferencing setup, and several different gaming rooms.
Jack and I attending a Sneak Peak reception on Friday night. The library has its grand opening on June 21. While we were at the Sneak Peak, we had our photo taken using the green screen in the video studio. We picked the background that we wanted to use, then stood in front of the green screen for the photo.
One year ago, as we left the office near Chapel Hills where my mother had an afternoon appointment, I looked north and saw a large plume of smoke. Since we were under extreme fire watch conditions, due to wind, heat and drought, I knew it was very bad. I also realized it must be very close to a friend’s house. At that moment, my friend called on my cell phone. She was about a mile due south of where the fire started. The next few hours were a frenzy of activity: taking my mother home, going to my friend’s place to help her evacuate her horses, and making arrangements at our place for two of her horses. She spent the first night at her house, but came to our house with her dogs, cats and chickens after her utilities were cut off.
My friend was fortunate: since she was south of the fire and the gusts were predominantly from the south that first day, the worst of the fire activity was blown away from her. This was very unfortunate for the rest of Black Forest, since the fire started in the south of the heavily timbered area.
I took this photo from the deck of our house the evening of the first day. That night, I didn’t sleep very well, and kept going out to the deck to watch the flares as the fire torched what I assume was propane tanks. Although typically fires lay down at night, this one was very active that first night.
Rion is a bit scruffy these days, but I took this photo with my new cell phone anyway.
This is the biggest sized hail that I’ve seen in a couple of years. Fortunately, when I looked out toward the barn, the other two horses had let Lily (the least pushy of the three) into the barn.
After a hail storm, I am always surprised by the sharp smell of shredded vegetation.
Here, the mountain lion is resting next to its three day old elk kill which has been covered in snow. I took this about 7:35 pm or so.
I was in the mudroom when Jack rushed by me to get to the garage. We have a neighborhood mailing list, and Jack had just received email that there was an elk kill across the road from our house, and that it was being guarded by a mountain lion in the shrub trees behind it. For a while, the only signs of action were birds: mainly magpies, though after a while I started seeing ravens as well. At one point, a very alert coyote wandered up for a snack. Here is a detail from a photo that I took several hours later, after watching the lion run up to the kill to chase off birds. The lion is behind its kill:
I don’t know if it was disturbed by me taking photos but it ran back to the shrub trees to the west back toward the National Forest. (I stayed close to the house, I promise!) Here is the larger photo from which I took the above detail:
I didn’t realize that mountain lions could down elk: I thought they stuck to mule deer and whitetail deer. Another neighbor reported that there was another elk kill a little to the east of us.
When we first moved here, we never saw elk unless we went up into the mountains. When they started coming into our valley, people would park along the road to watch.
A spring snow shower yesterday brought lots of moisture, and the mud is deep around the barn right now.