Fall is here. Winter is coming. And fast!

Dear friends,

I can’t believe we’ve been back in Colorado for over two months already. I guess time flies no matter what altitude or time zone you live in. This is especially true when you’re staying busy and we haven’t slowed down since we arrived. Too much to do before winter gets here. And she’s coming in fast!

First Snow of Fall

In fact, we had an unexpected snow blizzard come through last week! Dumped about three or four inches of snow. It was the first time (ever!) that I had to drive in true snowy conditions. So, if you ask two Charlestonians who’ve lived in the south their entire lives, well… we’d say winter is already here! But to the locals, this is still fall in all it’s colorful Colorado glory, and I must say, watching the myriad of summer greens pop into the bright reds and golds of autumn has been spectacular. But that doesn’t change the fact that Neil and I are about to have a challenging lesson on what defines a “real” winter. You know, by Colorado standards.

Aspens Bursting into Gold

So what else is new? A lot! We have so many new and exciting things to share that I’m not quite sure where to begin so I’ll just jump right in!

Wilson and Pancho

Unleash the Happiness

We started a new traveling pet care business called, you guessed it… Unleash the Happiness! We offer an all-inclusive array of in-home pet care services including pet sitting, dog walking, grooming, training and pet photography. Hey, working with animals is what we do best and after twelve years, why stop now? We love animals. Animals love us. It’s a natural fit.

The only real difference between what we do now and what we did before is we cut out the brick and mortar bits (i.e. cut the fixed expenses, and therefore, most of the overhead) so we wouldn’t have to work soooooooo many hours just to pay the bills. But most importantly, we wanted more freedom to choose how we spend our time. Life is too damn short to work 60-80 hours week after week. We want to hike, climb mountains, and be adventurous. It’s good for the soul! And the mind and body, too!

Please, if interested, check out our new shiny website at unleashthehappiness.com to learn more about our services and what it means exactly to be a traveling pet sitter. Oh, and bonus! There is also a blog feature on the new site where I plan to post all kinds of fun and useful pet related info. So yeah, follow that blog, too… especially if you have furry friends in your life. Please and thank you!!

End of the Rainbow

Speaking of Writing

Okay, okay. I know I have totally slacked off these past two months with my writing. We’ve been crazy busy. Wait, scratch that! I’ve used that excuse one too many times. Life is always busy. No, the truth is that I haven’t been focused. With so many changes happening at once and so many uncertainties still ahead (insert… how to adequately prepare for a Colorado winter), I haven’t had the headspace required to digest recent experiences into share-worthy posts. But damn it! I came here to write and I can’t wait until I have it all figured out first. Besides, we never really get to that point in life! No, life is all about the journey, the trials and errors, the mistakes made and lessons learned. And that’s where all the good stories are anyways!

So plan on hearing more from me. I have to actually write if I want to call myself a writer. Stay tuned for my next post where I will be writing about what I want to write about. This is where Neil would roll his eyes at me, and I can understand why, but I have a direction for this blog, one that is very important to me, and I want to share that vision with anyone willing to read it. Plus this blog was never intended to be a super personal long-winded saga of my daily affairs and so far that’s more or less what it’s been. Well, that changes… let’s say after this post. Lol.

The Red Cabin

The Red Cabin

Six months ago, Neil and I sold or donated 95% of our possessions and then packed the other 5%, along with our two mastiffs, into the Honda and drove across the country to Colorado to experience the unknown and chase new dreams. Apparently we didn’t get enough of the Rocky Mountains in those two short months so we returned in August and plan to spend at least a year here. But for the past six months, we’ve been living in other people’s homes, usually while taking care of their pets. It’s been fun and there are definitely components of living the vagabond lifestyle that we enjoy, but traveling with two 120+ pound mastiffs, one of which is ten years old, is a bit more challenging that we originally expected. Plus, sometimes you just want a place to call home… a place that feels cozy, comfy and welcoming. And we’re happy to have found just that. A little red cabin to temporarily call home.

The Red Cabin

Neil has poured a lot of labor and love into helping our friend, Kevin, get this place ready and we are looking forward to settling back down for a short period of time. This house is truly one of a kind. The artistry and imagination that Kevin put into remodeling this cabin is really something. I can’t quite find the word to describe it, except to say, it’s a work of art. The entire home is remodeled with reclaimed and repurposed materials. Eccentric! That’s the word. But also beautiful. And since we came with little to no possessions to our name, we decided to fully furnish and decorate the home with only repurposed items as well. So far, we’ve spent about $200 at yard sales and thrift stores, and we just about have the place completely furnished. Most of the items were generously given to us… either unused items donated by friends and neighbors in the community or listed online for free. We certainly feel blessed.

I’m also learning to become quite the homemaker. I’ve recently learned how to sew and even how to cut, process, and pack roadkill venison! Crochet is next on the list.

Neil, too, is acquiring all kinds of new skills. He’s been helping Kevin remodel the red cabin and work on other interesting projects such as building fish habitats along the creek. He also learned to operate a crane… and not just any crane, but a 1980 Dodge crane with no legible labels intact! Yeah, kinda scary, but Kevin is alive and well and they successfully removed two aspen trees doomed to take out a neighbor’s house.

Phil and Janelle's Cabin

More recently, Neil’s been helping our buddies, Phil and Janelle, work on their new house. They are building a 2000 square foot off-the-grid cabin from start to finish on their own. Talk about some awesome learning experiences! In no time at all, Neil and I will have acquired the skills and resources needed to build our own tiny homestead and that’s our ultimate dream!

But for now, we are stoked to be settling down and getting cozy in the “red cab”, short for red cabin. And boy, do we have a lot of wood to cut and chop if we plan to stay cozy through the long winter.

 

Taking a Break

That’s all for now folks. Can’t wait to share more soon.

Xoxo, Heather

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Fall is here. Winter is coming. And fast!

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  1. Just want to know…does the red cab have electricity?
    Great update on what you are up to. As a New Englander, born and raised in RI, you and the dogs will love the snow! A new experience for all. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, yes! The red cabin does have electricity. And hot running water. Even has a dishwasher (although I prefer hand washing dishes and have yet to use it). We have a fridge and stovetop oven as well. For heating, we have an awesome wood burning stove and as soon as the owner gets the control panel installed, we’ll also have radiator heating for the bedrooms and in-floor radiant heat for the kitchen, bathroom and sunrooms. Life of luxury! We have decided to forgo a microwave and TV b/c we prefer slow cooking our food and we have endless other hobbies we wish to utilize our time on (writing, photography, reading, music, and crafts to name just a few). We also spent more time flipping through channels and watching commercials anyways. Tell Greg we said hi and give the girls a big hug for us. Hope to see you over the holidays when we return for a few weeks. Date still TBD. Xoxo πŸ’œ

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      1. Your new digs sound luxurious! You will need those extra comforts when the really heavy snow arrives. Thanks for the update and please keep in touch. Enjoy your adventure! Love reading about your Colorado experience.
        Hugs to you and Neil!
        Holli and Greg

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  2. Love reading your blogs! I love how y’all have just “let go” of things! I wish I could be more like that!! What was behind yall’s decision to do this?? All the beautiful picks make me just want to pick up and go!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda! Hmm, what’s behind this decision? Desperation and deliberation! Chronic stress and anxiety (and even bouts of depression) left us feeling desperate for change. While our chronic longing for a simple adventurous life made us (finally) act more deliberately towards that goal. None of these decisions or actions have been easy to make or do, but at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “Am I living the life I want to live?”

      If the answer is no or not really, then at some point we have to take actions (big or small!) to get closer to living the life we desire. Our health and happiness depend on it.

      But it’s certainly not all rainbows and sunshine. Change is also challenging and brings about it’s fair share of stress, but we’re now moving in the right direction and the new obstacles feel worth the struggle. And honestly, we still have so much to learn, but that’s all part of the journey!

      Thanks for following along. I’m so glad you enjoy the stories and photos. Wishing you and your family all the best! 🌻🌲🌻🌲

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