“Are you planning to stay?”

“Are you planning to stay?”

I’ve been here for three years now and yes, I plan to stay at the Bar B Ranch.

People continue to ask me this question, some because they’re incredulous that someone would want to live in a snow bowl and wildfire zone that needs refurbishing and a lot more work. Others want the property for themselves. They think because I got the property for a song that those savings will be passed along to them. It’s nice to know people still dream.

I still have a real estate broker’s phone number in my phone but I can’t make the call to put the Bar B on the market.

Where would I go? Back to Lakewood? Pine Junction? Denver? Highlands Ranch? Though I miss the house in Highlands Ranch I was depressed there; I struggled with family dynamics and a windfall for me was both a blessing and at times, a curse. But the house was so beautiful and I loved the incredible view of the mountains.

My philosophy: Better to live in them than to look at them.

This place has been a money pit at times. Bad contractors and shoddy work followed in the financial drain’s wake. I’ve fired contractors and paid to have work re-done. I’ve learned that the contractors that boast about their construction curriculum vitae the loudest usually overcharge the most for their marginal work.

Sometimes I run out of energy for all the projects around here. What’s hardest is when lots of energy goes into something and it’s still not done or done right. Walls are a big bug-a-boo these days because they’ve been painted once and construction has left newly painted walls damaged. Cracks in the drywall caused by heavy, heavy snowfall needed numerous repairs.

The new floors have made all the difference in how the house feels now. From white-painted plywood to finished oak floors has revived how I feel about the Bar B.

Summer 2013 is winding down and construction season is drawing to a close. The snows of winter will start around the beginning of October making access impossible for large trucks to safely get access to the house.

Neighborhoods are made up of people not houses and I’m surrounded by some good neighbors and some ‘interesting’ neighbors including ‘Mr. I’m-An-Engineer’ who doesn’t realize how much work it takes to live up here and ‘Mr. I’ve-Got-a-Gun-and-a-Lighter,’ the man who has an ongoing battle with another neighbor and recently threatened death and destruction over the issue of barking dogs. Good fences make good neighbors and a neighbor’s recent run-in with an uncontrolled pit bull reinforce the idea that boundaries help people co-exist.

Fences also help control the wildlife that own the land we only live on. Bears, mountain lions, raccoons, foxes, mice and birds are the real neighbors up here. Put out a bird feeder and you’ll not only draw birds but everyone else shows up for the picnic as well. Everything done up here begets a ripple effect. Cut down trees and deer come in droves hungering for the fresh needles off the trees. Put out the trash becomes a block party for the local scavengers. Something dies and the crows show up and all this goes on without your supervision and permission.

Until something in the wind catches my attention and I see greener pastures somewhere else or I get tired of driving through several feet of snow each winter, I’ll stay up here surrounded by trees, animals, crazy neighbors and a strong sense of community.

Home, sweet Bar B Ranch.

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