Gator Farm – Sand Dunes 2016

I mentioned in my other Sand Dunes post that we went to the Alligator Farm located about 15 minutes away.  The history of this place revolves around the hot springs that are present and capable of supporting this sort of gator-friendly environment.  They have over 300 gators there and lots of rescued reptiles that live happy lives.

One of the most hysterical things we learned is that earlier on the day we visited, the farm had run out of bananas.  Apparently, the turtles were rioting in anger since they didn’t have any bananas to eat. It was hysterical – who knew little turtles had such big attitudes. The running joke for the rest of our visit was – ‘DO YOU  HAVE AN UPDATE ON THE BANANAS?’ It was a great place and we got to see a lot of very amazing reptiles in the San Luis Valley!

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they look like they are telling each other jokes.
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albino gator
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come on! come stand by us!
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i’m gonna save this for our engagement announcements if the day ever comes (haha!)
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there was a clear sign that said ‘don’t put your finger in i bite!’ but the bird looked so friendly…..
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this way to gator town!

Here is the full history from Colorado Gator Farm:

Erwin and Lynne Young moved from Post, Texas to Alamosa, Colorado in September, 1974 with their four children, Mark, Mike, Sherri, and Jay.  Erwin learned of the geothermal water resources available in the Valley and wanted to grow Tilapia, an African perch that requires warm water and is very good to eat.

In 1977 they purchased the 80 acre farm that is now Colorado Gators Reptile Park.  It wasn’t until 1987 that they purchased 100 baby alligators to dispose of dead fish and the remains of filleted fish.

Those baby gators grew quickly in the warm geothermal water (87° F) and the locals wanted to see them, so we opened to the public in 1990.  Soon we were in the spotlight of many media programs and articles.  Individuals with overgrown alligators and other reptiles such as large pythons, tortoises, iguanas, and more started dropping them off with us.

We have become a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets and we care for them as best we can.  We display them for the public to understand the dangers in owning these pets and we take them to schools for educational programs.

 

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Diabetes Ride – Tour De Cure 2016

Some of you may remember my Diabetes ride last year, well, it’s that time again to start fundraising!

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at mile 20 on then 2015 tour de cure.

The Tour de Cure is a GREAT event to ride to raise money to help fund diabetes research.  Each year they raise over $29 Million to support the American Diabetes Association.

Why do I ride?

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I ride for my grandpa Dan DeNeice. He had Type 2 Diabetes as a result of always being a huge (tall/250lb+) guy.  He did make radical changes later in his life and got moving by riding his road bike all over the neighborhood. But, the great changes he made were too late for some things and he struggled with complications from Diabetes in his last years and sadly passed away in 2007 from heart failure. His absence has always been felt in our family and I wish that I would have gotten the time to ride more with him. I ride for him because I know if this race had been around when he was healthy he would have kicked everyone’s butt.  Coincidentally, the first Tour de Cure took place in 2007 and that year the ADA received $13 Million from riders.  I ride for him, because I don’t want anyone else in my family or yours to get their life cut short or diminished by having Type 2 Diabetes. I strongly support advocacy and education in the hopes that others can make the changes before it’s too late for them.

And….well you also guessed it. I NEED YOUR SUPPORT! I’ve set a goal to raise $750 in order to ride the race.  That means I need to raise it all to be allowed to burn out 50k in late September! You can donate on my page here if you would like.

You may wonder where your money goes – well ADA does a great job prioritizing the money raised from Tour de Cure – take a look!

RESEARCH

Since the American Diabetes Association launched its Research Programs in 1952, it has funded nearly 4,500 research projects, investing more than $700 million in diabetes research.

In 2014 alone, the Association funded 376 new and continuing research grants and made nearly $30 million in diabetes research funding available through its four major grant programs: the Core Research Program, the Pathway to Stop Diabetes? Program, Research Co-Support, and Collaborative Targeted Research. These funds supported 364 investigators at 143 leading academic research institutions across the U.S.

INFORMATION

The Association provides the public and health care professionals with the most up-to-date information to help take a stand against diabetes through our Center for Information and Community Support (1-800-DIABETES) and two web sites, www.diabetes.org and www.stopdiabetes.com, as well as via consumer and professional books and periodicals. The organization has offices in communities across the country and serves the public through a multitude of programs and activities including American Diabetes Association Expos, Diabetes Camps, and outreach to high-risk populations through its Por tu Familia, Live Empowered! and Native American initiatives. In 2014, 5,400 youth attended one of the 50 Association Camps hosted in 24 states.

ADVOCACY

The Association fights on behalf of the diabetes community to increase federal funding for diabetes research and programs, improve comprehensive health care and insurance coverage, and to end discrimination against people with diabetes. Explore the Advocacy section on our main ADA website and learn what is being done on a local and national level to support people with diabetes, and also learn how you can get involved in those efforts.

I had a great time at the event last year, riding solo – BUT this year I get to ride the 50 with my uncle! I’ll again be riding on my single speed KHS and I’m super excited.  This year I am changing up the race location – I’ll be riding the Parker Tour de Cure instead of the Boulder/Ft. Collins Tour de Cure.

I’ll be updating here as I train, and prep for the race.  I can’t wait!

And if you would like Donate here! 

 

 

 

Alien Sightings at the Dunes

About 20 minutes from the Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley, sits a UFO observatory deck. There have been 111 UFO sightings since the official UFO observation deck has been installed and there are references to UFO sightings in the area as far back as the 1600s.  I certainly don’t think we are the only beings in the universe – but it’s always interested me that the little green dudes love desert areas in CO and NM. You’ll remember our trip to Roswell last year – the dude is a huge alien fan so we naturally had to stop here.

The owner was a very nice gal and explained to us all the interesting things about the property and some unusual activity and notable sightings. If anything they had one of the best views of the mountains in all of the valley. No wonder the green men love it there.

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amazing view from the observatory deck
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the vortex garden where people leave trinkets for energy (the dude is eating gator jerky – no respect for the vortex)
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babes and aliens – no big deal. 
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the dude and his people. 

The Great Sand Dunes

This weekend we kicked off the camping season at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It’s only a 4 hour drive from Denver and has great campground accommodations. Although the wind was pretty brutal from 10am-8pm we were able to secure or tents and venture off to do some fun stuff.  We visited the Colorado Alligator Farm and a UFO observation point. It was a great weekend and I am very excited for the 3 other trips we have planned throughout the summer!

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the dude and i on top the dunes
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he hiked barefoot!
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none of us wore shoes
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a view from the top
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enjoying the view with some coffee
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roasting wieners
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dusk campsite
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roasting dinner

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What do you grow in your garden?

For the first time ever, I have space for a garden!  So of course, I’m embarking on full homesteading! My dream come true – You know two summers ago I got to help my buddies at IGLOO – Sustainability Group plant their garden so I’m so excited to have my own! Here are the tentative plans for this upcoming season.

Space: 

We will locate 2 – 4x8ft garden beds on the west side of our house which gets full sun exposure.  We also know this part was used as a ‘garden’ before and was not used for some weird renter parking lot*.  We also know that if we have success and want to expand forward we can do so on this portion of the house.  Further, I HATE grass – so using the space would be not only beautiful, but help make less wasted lawn space. Sorry Lois, I know you are sad you raised someone who doesn’t love a green grass yard as much as you ;).   *see photo below

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What Will We Grow?

Cold Season Crops:

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Broccolini (tiny broccoli!)

Warm Season Crops:

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Chives, Rosemary, etc. herbs.

Materials:

We are going to be using Douglas Fir wood for the beds (not Cedar due to small savings in cost).  Yes, we will probably have to replace these in 5-10 years, but oh well – who knows what our garden will look like in 5-10 years anyways.

We are going to install a drip irrigation system on each bed that will be attached to a spigot timer.  We will also install some PVC frames for UV/Shade/Hail protection covering. Since it is Colorado this is a must not only for our location of the beds in full sun, but also for those freak hail storms that can ruin months of work in one afternoon.

We plan on getting underway with the garden on April 30th so expect a mapped out update for grid placement in the beds before then!

Of course I’ll also start my SCOBY/Kombucha up again and possibly dabble in some mushrooms if not too intensive.

Some other cool things will be all the canning, cooking/recipes – that will follow this summer/fall.

Anyways – any tips or advice to this newbie are MORE than welcome. Can’t wait to share what I discover.  What do you grow in your garden?

 

 

 

Farm House Update: Week 3

Well, we are 3 weeks underway of getting the farmhouse – livable.

Here are the things we have done:

  1. removed all bathrooms that were not supposed to be there
  2. re-did the main bathroom on the first floor
  3. removed all debris from the yard/house
  4. starting painting
  5. hung window treatments
  6. got all new appliances
  7. installed new well system
  8. installed washer & dryer
  9. repaired all rusted windows
  10. removed paint from all window sills
  11. installed new furnace and water heater

It’s been A LOT of work.  Thankfully, Lois has been a huge help with most of these items – the yard looks 1000% better due to her. On the days we were able to tackle things together it felt like we got a lot more done than I would have ever imagined.  My Pops has been a major help in figuring out what we can/can’t do electrical wise and prepping for Connelly Power Co to jump in on some things.  We still can’t live there until we resolve the electrical issue for the water pump/well system. That is the most frustrating part, since we really can’t live there without water, but everything will be easier to work on, continue to deal with once we live there.  Right now, every moment over there has to be utilized 100% so I think I speak for everyone, but I’m tired.  I love working on the house and it is really rewarding and exciting, but it’s just hard to not have a bathroom to use there, or water to use – and it’s hard to drive back and forth to our apartment in Broomfield (30 minutes away). Eh, but why am I bitching? I fought super hard to do all this – just at a different pace I think, but oh well in a months time or less it won’t feel ‘so close, yet so far’.  Plus, a lot of the things I had planned on spacing out over 2 years will now just be done. So when we do move in we can literally just start enjoying it instead of prolonging some of this fun.

Moving forward I’ll being doing more ‘before and after’ shots on our progress – now that there are some really impressive ‘afters’!

Thanks again, Lois, Pops, Uncle Mark (MD Services – my HVAC/plumbing hero), Aunt Lori, and everyone else in their virtual support so far in helping us get this fixer upper livable!

Here are some photos of the recent happenings:

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Lois cleaned up the front yard and what a difference! So clean and pretty!
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just some of the yard debris we cleaned up – broken glass/car parts?
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it’s the simple things although it is still un-used due to no water at the house. 

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Leopold was in love with the house – and so cute on his house tour.
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A sight for sore eyes – new well jet pump and tank (note no longer in the crawl space under the stairs).
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‘oily beau hunk’ installs my cellular ikea blinds also Sixteen Candles joke. 
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new washer and dryer – thanks pops and cym! 
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window sill- i’m blue da bo dee ba de dow….. 
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look at the sexy new copper plumbing for my washroom…. rawwwr!
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before: yard cage for former tenants that didn’t pay rent…..
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after: bunny coop/chicken larvae den removed. just a nice space for appropriate plants.

 

 

J Cole at Red Rocks 

Last night I got to check out J Cole at Red Rocks. The venue is of course one of the best in the world, but J Cole was actually a top notch performer. He said his goal was to make Red Rocks feel intimate and somehow he was able to do that with witty storytelling and great songs to perform for us. He played his entire 2014 Forest Drive album and one or two older songs ‘from day one.’ Apparently that is a huge statement in hip hop ‘from day one’… BUT it seriously was a great show I had a blast.