Live From 8200

A compilation of life, writing and other occurences that come up from day to day.


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Family Heirlooms

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I’ve been thinking a lot about family heirlooms lately. The teacup in the photo was passed on to me by my mother-in-law. Someday it will go to one of my daughters along with my teapot collection that was passed down to me by my mother. I had not realized how many heirlooms I have received that I will pass on when the time comes. There are so many memories in each item that has been passed down through my family, and the items do not only include tea sets.

Our family heirlooms consist of everything from musical instruments and sewing machines to jewelry and ancient coins. The most difficult part of heirlooms is that at some point they will have to be handed down to further generations. Deciding which children get which heirlooms will be the most difficult thing to decide. I suppose this would not be hard for someone who chose to have only one child, but we did not do that. I have two daughters and one son. We also have to think about spouses of the children as well. I want to make sure they all have something to pass down to their own children, just as my parents and grandparents did.

Maybe I am still too young to be thinking about these things, but anything can happen at any point in time. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, no matter what our age. If the heirlooms are figured out before anything were to happen, even if that isn’t until I’m one hundred, I will sure feel better about it. I hadn’t thought too much on the subject, but my own mother has been making sure things are passed to those she wants them passed to now. She has decided she would rather everyone was able to enjoy the things she passed on to us while she is still here.

I think I may do the same. I would love to see the kids and grandbabies enjoy the family heirlooms long before I leave the earth if possible. I’m sure they would enjoy having them just as much whether I am gone or not. I have discussed a few things with the girls about some of the heirlooms that will be passed on, but not too many of them yet. I think I will sit down with pen and paper and figure out the best way to distribute them to the children. In the meantime, I think I will hold onto those items and family memories a while longer before passing them down.

-Carrie A. Watson


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There is Nothing Like a Warm Fire

Winter Fire

Ever since we moved to the mountains twenty-one years ago, we have used wood to heat our home. While I realize that there are more practical ways to keep your home warm, I don’t think anything comes close to the comfort of a fire in the winter. There have been a few stretches of time that we used heaters to heat our home, but they were rather short-lived. The wood stove has proven to be much more reliable and safe than the heaters that we had used. After so many years of burning wood, I find it difficult to feel comfortable without the sound of the wood cracking in the fireplace.

The children probably have a lot of memories of keeping warm in the winter with the wood stove. They would often help out by gathering kindling and firewood on cold days so we could keep the fire going. Even if the day warmed up a little, you didn’t want the fire to go out completely. A cold stove is much more difficult to start than a stove that is already warm. We also used to have the children go and sit by the fire right out of the bathtub when they were little. When the weather got really cold we would all gather around the fire together to keep warm.

Our little wood stove has provided many other services for us over the years as well. When the electricity would go out from a storm, we would make sure that there was plenty of wood for the stove and wouldn’t have to worry through the blackout. Often we would get a large pan and melt snow on the stove to provide water. This is necessary in the area we live because we have a well. That means that if the electricity goes out, you have no water. Being able to have that pan of water on the stove has been a life saver more than once.

Our stove has also provided us with meals during those winter blackouts, too. There is nothing like being able to pull out a cast iron frying pan and cooking a steak and some eggs on the wood stove to feed the family. You just don’t experience something like that every day. Over the years, I have even made soap and candles on the stove. (This was actually very recently). Last November, we even used our fireplace to cook our Thanksgiving dinner. And yes, it did turn out well.

I think there are only a few things that would be considered a ‘down side’ of burning wood to heat your home. First of all, it takes a lot of work. A lot more than you would think. Wood has to be found, cut, split and given time to dry a bit before it will make a good fire. You also need to know what kinds of wood works best during the day, and which ones will keep you warm for most of the night as well. There is also the need to keep the stove pipe clean. The risk of a house fire is much higher if the stove is not well taken care of. Oh, and the mess. I have to put that in for everyone who has to do any kind of housecleaning. They are messy, very messy, and you will be dusting much more often than you normally would.

Even with the more difficult aspects of wood burning, I think it is the best option for us. I would not want to return to a heating system if I could help it. I love falling asleep to the sound of the crackling wood, to the smell of the fire as it starts, and to the warmth throughout the house. It’s just not the same with anything else.


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Winter Olympics in Russia

WinterSports

While spending time away from my blog last week, I did something I haven’t done for a while. I sat down and watched the evening news a few times. Just as I remembered, it was very depressing. I don’t like watching the news because it is not very often you ever hear anything positive. While listening to some of the top stories though, I heard about the worries and threats for the Winter Olympic Games that are going to be starting next month. I hadn’t realized how many terrorist activities were going on in Russia right now.

The news crew was only covering a recent attack in the area where the Olympics are slated to take place. I can’t help but wonder about the many debates that are surely taking place over athletes safety in the 2014 Games. I personally feel that we should never change our lives because of the threat of a terrorist attack. Any time you have a crowd gathering in one place, there will be a chance that someone will take advantage of that in order to harm as many people as possible. I don’t believe the Olympic Games in Russia should be cancelled or changed in any way because of the possible threat to people while they are there. As far as I know, no plans to change or cancel them have been discussed and I am very glad for that.

Threats or not, I will watch the winter Olympic Games when I can. I love seeing the talent of these athletes, no matter their age. There is just nothing like watching the pride in their faces as they realize that whether they win or not, they are living their dream. The hard work and determination of athletes have always been a huge inspiration to me even though I have never been an athlete myself. Every one of those athletes always remind me that if you have a goal in front of you and you are willing to work hard, anything can be possible.

With the 2014 games beginning, I feel the need to thank all athletes out there. Every time you try a little harder, push a little farther and keep your eyes on your goal, you are inspiring the world. Thank you for showing us that hard work and dreams can take us anywhere. I will be watching those athletes in the games this year, and rooting for those who are not yet at the Olympics, but whose dreams are to be a part of them in the future. No threats to the games will be able to stop those who are determined to live their lives.

-Carrie A. Watson


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Quick Update

TheOldDoor
‘Memorial to those already lost in 2014.’

I will not be putting up a normal post today. I know I have been on hiatus for a few days this week. The beginning of 2014 has proven to be very trying for myself and my family. We have already had three losses in extended family this year. They will be sorely missed by all until we meet again. I have decided to take the rest of this week off, but will return next week.

Praying 2014 is going better for everyone else who is reading my posts. I have to make myself believe that these trials we are having so early in the year are just so we can get past all the difficulties of the year and make 2014 our best ever! I will have my next post up soon. Thank you all for understanding.

-Carrie A. Watson


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Reading in Winter

Books

Ever since I was little I have had a love for books. I would read almost anything I could get my hands on. When I was in the earliest grades in school, I even would pick up dictionaries and encyclopedias just to be able to read something if there was nothing else around. At that time, we didn’t have the internet to be able to read happily on any subject we wanted for hours on end. I had to be content with what was provided to me at home and what could be found at the local library. I can only imagine how different my life would be today if I had been introduced as a child to the endless amount of information we have access to now. I probably would have had to been forcibly pulled away from the computer screen any time I had to do something.

I have noticed that over the years my tasted in reading material has changed. When little, it was just about anything. As I reached my teen years, I found that I was only interested in things I could learn. This stage of reading lasted through my twenties and well into my thirties. Non-fiction was the only thing I was interested in. I had a need to learn everything I could, I suppose. I lived by the mantra that if you can read , you can learn how to do anything. While I do realize now that there are skills that just can’t be done by everyone, I still believe that for the most part my mantra was correct. Most of the things I have learned how to do over the years was because of someone who decided to share their knowledge of the subject in the way of a good book.
Now that I have reached middle-age, I have found that I am enjoying fiction just as much as I have always loved my non-fiction reads. I especially love those young adult trilogies. I know, I know…I have read how so many people are sick of them, or find them too immature. But, I still cannot get enough of them, no matter what many other bloggers out there are saying about them. I have a few favorite authors, but I love trying out new upcoming novels as well. I have also found a deep love for many science fiction books as well as fantasy. Books I always thought were just a waste of time when I was younger.

Talking about books, I cannot leave out the wonderful technological advances we have seen in this area. While I still feel that there is nothing like holding an actual book in your hand, with its distinct library smell, I love my Kindle. It is a book lovers dream to be able to easily carry around twenty-five books at once and be able to switch back and forth between them whenever you want. This has let me go wherever I want without having to lug around a huge bag full of books like I used to do. No more back pain for me! Anymore, I usually keep my physical books at home to read comfortable in the evenings and bring my Kindle with me when I have to go out so I have plenty to read no matter where I am.

No matter the time of year, I love being able to read happily. The cold that has whisked throughout the country recently has only persuaded me make more time to do so. There is nothing as comforting as a thick comforter, a hot cup of coffee and a good book in winter. I’m off to go read…

-Carrie A. Watson


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Beyond Christmas: Songs of Winter

Winter Music

By the time the first of January comes around, I don’t want to hear another Christmas song for at least another year. As excited as I get each December to hear those familiar tunes, by the end of the month I am completely sick of them. Through the season you hear Christmas music not only at home, but in every store and public building you enter it seems. The same tunes with different people singing them. Over and over and over until you just can’t stand hearing them anymore.

I don’t want to sound like the Grinch. I do love Christmas and Christmas music. For a while, anyway. But once the New Year arrives, my playlists quickly change. I have found that even though the season has passed, the music I listen to in the middle of winter is a lot different than the tunes I listen to in the summertime. In winter, I tend to lean toward more laid back, casual music with a ‘darker’ feeling to them. In summer I tend to turn to the upbeat bright, happy sounds.

Try as I might to find some reference to other people having the same seasonal music tendencies, I could find nothing. The closest I came was to find out that there are a couple of musical bands with a title that included the word season. I wonder if either of those bands alter their musical style as the seasons change. I would actually like to come across a band that did that. What interesting music that would make. Something with a style somewhat similar to a Pink Floyd tune in winter, more of a Greenday type sound in the Spring. Summer has to be filled with more pop style flair and fall would have to follow something akin to Metallica. That is the band I want to find. Something new every season.

After giving up my search for others with similar listening preferences, I think I have to conclude that I must be alone in my seasonal changes in music. I know many people alter their music listening choices to their mood, and I have to admit I do that to a degree as well. But I really tend to change my playlists with the changing year. So what about you? Are there any other people out there who do like I do and change what they listen to throughout the year, and with each season? What does your winter playlist look like?

-Carrie A. Watson


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Birds of Winter

Cardinal of Winter

I’ve never been a bird watcher, but watching them in the snow makes me wonder what they are and why they stick around through the cold months of winter. While putting away Christmas decorations, I noticed a great deal of birds depicted on many of them. Most were Cardinals or had Cardinals somewhere on the ornaments. I decided to dig a little further and found that the Cardinal is probably represented a lot in winter and Christmas scenes because they are usually spotted quite often during these months. Apparently they do not migrate like many other birds.

While watching for birds in my area this time of year, I have to admit that I have not seen a Cardinal here. This doesn’t mean they are not around, like I said I’ve never been a bird watcher so maybe I just haven’t noticed them. There are some little round puffy birds that are brown and white that love to hop around in the snow here. We have always called them Chickadee’s, but I don’t know what they really are. All I know about them is that they puff up into a ball of fluff and they hop around looking for seeds at the base of the pinion and pine trees on the mountain. Whatever their name, they are adorable.

Another bird I see a lot year round is the crow. From reading about them here and there, I believe some of them migrate and others don’t. I don’t know if we have more than one kind of crow here, but I do know that I see them year round out here. Most of them in the area are quite large in size, so the cold months must not bother them too much. I wonder as I watch the little snow birds how they stay warm in this weather. The past few months have already seen temperatures reaching twenty below up here. How do these little creatures do it?

The information I found on http://beyondpenguins.ehe.osu.edu/issue/arctic-and-anarctic-birds/how-do-birds-stay-warm was very helpful in learning how these little buggers keep warm around here. Apparently, those little puffy birds I am seeing in the snow are creating a warm layer for themselves. Kind of like the coats we use when we go out. I suggest reading the article above if you are really interested in how birds stay warm in different areas of the world. It was quite a fascinating read.

I think in the future I may try to learn a bit more about these little creatures around us. Maybe I will find the actual names for some of the little beauties I am seeing out here. I am wondering if any bird watchers who may be reading my blog have any suggestions for books or websites that are especially good for beginning watchers. There seem to be so many birds throughout the country and the world, that starting on an identification adventure seems almost overwhelming. I would appreciate any suggestions that anyone will be able to give on the matter.
In the meantime, I will sit quietly with a blanket, a cup of tea, and a good book next to the window so I can watch those little puffy birds looking for their treats in the snow.

On a side note: I don’t know if I ever explained the reason for the name of this blog. I chose the title livefrom8200 because I live in the mountains of Colorado at an altitude of 8200 feet. This is why I often mention ‘the mountain’ in my posts. This just refers to the land on which I live.

-CA Watson