Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Fall Greetings from a Colorado Cabin

It's the most beautiful time of the year here in the Rocky Mountains 
when the stately aspen trees quake in their golden finery 
and the marshy bushes snuggle under their bright orange blankets. 

You never know what you will wake up to here at our cabin at 11,265 feet.
The mountains may be dusted with snow one day 
and bathed in golden sunlight the next.

The mosquitos have moved on to warmer climes, 
students are back in school 
and families have wrapped up their summer vacations 
so it's quiet here at the cabin.

We hold our breath and listen for bugling elk. 
We've seen their signs but haven't heard any mating rituals yet
which can be pretty exciting. 

However we were thrilled to see a moose with her calf close up and personal.
(That post in the lower right corner is our front deck!)

It's perfect weather for being outdoors so we hike abut two hours, 
skirting an old 1897 silver mine
then returning to the cabin on a back road that winds through a ghost town.

If you look closely, you'll see stumps scattered on the hillside 
where trees have been chopped down for old miners' cabins or mine structures.

The mountain in the distance is one of Colorado's 14ers. 

As we walk through the woods, we occasionally view a giant mountain 
peeking through enormous green pine trees. 
This unusual formation is shaped like a horseshoe. 

It gets dark early here in October and, with no electricity, 
it's darker and colder than you can imagine. 
The temperature overnight was twenty-four degrees. Brrr.

Roxy has claimed her favorite blanket to keep her warm.
So sweet. Her nose is usually buried in the blanket.

Soon the narrow road will be impassable with snow depths of eight feet or more. 

As total darkness overtakes our little cabin,
we turn on our battery lights and fire up the small propane stove. 
(Thank God for propane!)


Monday, March 16, 2020

It's Story Time

Hi Everyone!

I'm so excited to let you know my new novel is now available in PAPERBACK!

For those of you who prefer to hold a book in your hands instead of reading it online, 
I've added the paperback option for you. The Kindl version is also available.

Just google Amazon.com and search "Secrets from the Past" or "Pat Shipley." 
I've recently found out there is another book with the same title, so make sure you order mine. LOL. 

As always, I appreciate your support so much. 
I can't tell you how excited I get whenever I see another copy has been sold! Thank you!

Friday, January 3, 2020

Exciting News from Pat

Hi Friends! Have I got some exciting news to share. I'm a published author! 
Yes, that's what I've been up to and why you haven't seen too many posts on my blog for a while.

My book is called "Secrets from the Past." 
Below is a short preview giving you a little taste of what it's all about.

"Twenty-eight-year-old Cassie Hart finds herself unemployed, broken-hearted and still feeling the emotional scars of early childhood abandonment. She channels those feelings into saving a one-hundred-thirty-year-old cottage that is slated for demolition in the old part of Denver, a city that is rapidly losing its charming old neighborhoods in favor of progress and profit. She's stunned to find out a ruthless but sexy developer has purchased the cottage and is on a fast-track to clear the lot and build condos. As she explores the property, she encounters a small child who appears to be a ghost that only Cassie can see. Why is this ghost, who mysteriously died in the house a hundred years ago, guiding Cassie to find cryptic clues about her traumatic death? While Cassie unravels questions that have plagued her for years, she begins to realize she has more in common with the developer than just real estate and finally understands why she's inexplicably drawn to this old cottage."

I published my book on Amazon Kindle; I think this is a link to it below. (This is my first attempt at self publishing so I'm not 100% sure I'm doing the link right.) Maybe you can let me know if it worked. I hope you enjoy my book and would appreciate your comments and support. Thanks so much.

Love and hugs, Pat Shipley


Friday, November 1, 2019

Capturing Winter Light

Greetings from the Deep Freeze! I awoke this morning to 10 degrees and 10 inches of snow. 
I admit I stayed in my jammies until around noon 
when I started noticing unusual shadows and highlights in the dining and living rooms.

Winter light can pose challenges as well as creative photographic opportunities. 
The sun is lower in the sky, casting unusual shadows and highlights 
where you didn't notice them before. 

Walking though your house you may notice potential shots
 that were invisible in the harsh light of summer.

This post is not about changing your white balance or stepping down your f-stops 
because I keep it simple with my Canon point and shoot camera. 
You can find some excellent tips online for these more specialized adjustments.

No, today's post is about noticing how things change in the filtered light of winter. 
My number one tip is simply to pay attention to what's around you. 
The winter sun is lower in the sky, creating a softer light, making winter, 
as some experts say, the best season for photography.

Remember how strong summer light created harsh shadows. 
Well, winter light filters the sun, turning those shadows into creative shots.

Winter days are shorter so tip number two is take your outdoor photos during the Magic Hour 
when a golden glow cast a warm tone on your photos.
This is the mountain by our cabin as the sun sinks in the sky.

 Magic Hour is the time just before and after sunrise and sunset. 
Also known as Happy Hour! Well, during sunset that is. LOL

Here's one I didn't know until I read it online . . . batteries don't last as long in cold temperatures 
so have extras on hand or make sure your rechargeable batteries are fully charged. 
That's tip number three.

Taking a photo of an object next to a window can produce a lovely soft, shot.

The main message of this post is simply to be more aware of your surroundings this winter
and you may discover a whole different look to your photos.
I like the contrast of dark and light in this photo.

Roxy certainly is aware of her warm surroundings on these cold winter days. 
She always seems to find a spot of sun. 
And, yes, she likes to keep a small plate close by in case a snack becomes available. 

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Friday, October 25, 2019

My Wild Ride

It's not often you have the opportunity to climb to the top of the world.

But that's what it seemed like when I bumped up a narrow dirt road 
to the top of the Rocky Mountains across from our rustic cabin. 

It started when I flagged down my cabin neighbor, Charlotte, (below)
and asked her to give me a ride in her ATV. 

She readily agreed and strapped me in, then snapped a net across the open doorway.
It didn't look sturdy enough to keep me from becoming a projectile into the blue sky.

I was expecting the ride to be less than an hour, 
just bopping around the side roads near our cabin. 

Boy, was I wrong!

Yes, Charlotte did point out neighbors' cabins as we chugged up higher and higher. 
We passed a remarkable old mill that the new owners are encasing in a house.
Can't wait to see the finished product. 

Then we took off across an area hidden from the county road below.

Really, it was more of a path than a road. 
Uh oh. 

The narrow road skimmed the side of the mountain. 
The view was straight down. 

I grabbed the side bar that was keeping me from sliding down the mountain,
laughing nervously. 

But what gorgeous scenery.

It felt like another world. 
We didn't see any other people or animals during the two-hour ride.

We climbed to a mountain cirque (an ampitheatre-like valley formed by glacial erosion.)
This one is called Horseshoe Mountain (13,898 feet).. 

This is what Horseshoe looks like in the winter.
It's easy to see why it's called Horseshoe. 

At the base of the cirque was a magical small lake called a tarn. 
A tarn forms when there is seasonal melting on the floor of the cirque.
This was my favorite place. 

Now, we just had to get down off this mountain!

I'm not much of a daredevil (any more)
and am not sure I would have taken this wild ride had I known what was involved.

But Charlotte was an excellent driver and I'm so thankful I got to see this side of the mountain.
It was so worth it.
Thank you so much Charlotte!


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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Early Fall Changes

Hi friends and Happy Fall. 

I hope you're enjoying some beautiful autumn weather where you are. 
Here in Colorado, the nights are cool enough for an extra blanket 
and the aspen leaves are turning bright orange and gold 
while there's snow dusting the mountain tops.

I'm enjoying a few new blooms that brighten a fall landscape in my garden.

Inside the house, fall inspires me to make a few simple changes and do a little cleaning. 
I always seem to do "fall cleaning" rather than "spring cleaning."

The foyer gets a new look for fall with some natural touches, 
an old window, a vintage silver tray and a straw-covered wine bottle. 

A view of the little "great" room. 

I love the warm look of the wooden bowl and a deer antler on the dining table.

More wooden bowls and some dried hydrangeas crown the china closet. 

The mantel in the dining room is lined with candles, warming up this space.
Wrapped wine bottles punctuate each end of the mantle. 

I've added a small table in back of the couch that holds an ironstone pitcher 
filled with cotton ball stems and another unusual wine bottle. 

Looking into the dining room from the living room. 
Warm textures, soft colors and a chunky throw bring the changing season inside. 

It won't be long before cars line up
to view the changing colors of the leaves in our beautiful mountains.  

Happy Fall Everyone!


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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Late Summer at the Cabin

Late August is a wonderful time to visit the cabin. 
The air is fresh and cool, a nice change from the 90+ degrees in Denver. 
The wildflowers are blooming and the daytrippers have left to get ready for back to school. 

The cabin is surrounded by wildflowers and rock outcroppings.

After a storm ... mist settles into the pines.
When it storms at 11,000 feet, the lightning literally bounces off the mountain tops.

We've whittled down our "to do" list.
Our front deck had too much space in between the boards, making it very unsafe. 
Here, Ron is putting 2x2s in between the boards to close up the spaces, a simple fix.

 I really like how it turned out!
We'll use this deck more often now that we won't twist an ankle.

Inside the cabin we brought a primitive bench I had up to the living space.
It makes a perfect small coffee table.

We're loving this room.

Roxy is really adapting well to the altitude.
She's our new Scrabble partner!!
I think she's saying, "What do you mean Grrr is not a word?"

'Til next time.


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Friday, August 9, 2019

Ready for a Sweetness Overload?

Brace yourself for the sweetest faces you've ever seen! 
Ready? Here they come!

Alpacas! All fifty of them on a beautiful ranch in Colorado. 

I'd met the lady rancher/weaver at a vintage market earlier this year 
where she was selling Alpaca socks, scarves and other items. 
As we talked about these adorable animals, she told me they open their ranch 
once a year to the public. I made a note to follow up and find out when it was. 

When the day finally came, I couldn't wait to see these unique animals close up. 
What made this so fun was being allowed to walk among the alpacas, 
quite a different experience than viewing animals at a zoo.

Sometimes we saw them at a distance, other times they were curious about us 
and checked us out up close and personal.

There were several yearlings that were just too cute for words.

How do you catch an alpaca?
You sneak up on them from the rear and straddle them from behind,
then hold onto their long necks.

And no, this picture is not out of focus.
That's just how soft and airy their hair is.

Alpacas are not pack animals. They're raised for their wonderful hair!

This ranch was located in an area I'd always considered the plains
but it was surrounded by giant pine trees and green green meadows.

Alpacas, originally from Peru, come in several different colors -- 
white, dark brown, light brown. black and light gray.

And when they sleep, they really rack out. 
Their breathing is so shallow, they appear to be dead.

This group had been sheered three weeks ago but they do get quite a thick coat.

I must have taken a hundred pictures but I think my favorite was these "babies."
Don't you just love their "leg warmers and top knots?"

And lest we forget . . .
this adorable farm dog eyeing a few treats while all the attention was on the alpacas!

What a perfectly beautiful day.
I think I left a piece of my heart on this ranch. 


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Thank you and enjoy your summer!