10/31/2013 Last night strong winds brought lots of clouds and temperatures dropped. It snowed about 1.5 inches. Today the high was 49 degrees with beautiful blue skies and bright sun that melted the snow by mid afternoon.
10/15/2013 Fall is in the air with temperature in the high 50′s.
9/10/2013 Charlyn was sitting in her chair around 2:30pm by their “open back deck door” and looked over to see the Cub staring at her. She jumped up and shut the door. She then looked out and saw the Cub going down their deck and at the bottom was the Mommy Bear watching and waiting.
9/5/2013 5:20 PM Mommy Bear and Cub visited our place again. The mommy Bear was Limping that evening as she was NOT limping that morning!! During the day I had heard shots fired. Since this Author left the next day and will not return until October I am hoping that others will check on the Mommy Bear to be sure she is okay. Her CUB is still too small to survive on his own! These Bears are afraid of us and will run away if you rattle pans or slam doors. I was on our balcony and the Mommy Bear saw me and turned around and “limped” down our driveway….
9/4/2013 The Beautiful Dark Cinnamon Mommy BEAR and Cub went through an open window about 5:20pm and ate two steaks, fritos and trash. They were scared off when ?? shot his gun a few times.
And the CULPRITS:
8/23/2013 A Beautiful Dark Cinnamon Mommy BEAR and CUB visited our Squirrel/Chipmunk feeders around 11:47PM. We watched them for about 15 minutes from our upstairs open windows. It was the neatest thing hearing the Mommy BEAR talk to her CUB giving her instructions on climbing up one of our feeders. After the Mommy BEAR started walking up the back of our mountain and the CUB followed jumping and playing. About 28 minutes later a Fox came to the same spot.
8/21/2013 A light brown BEAR visited our front porch around 10:15pm. The picture below is where he tried to access our kitchen window. I hadn’t been closing the kitchen window for the past few weeks at night but for some reason I had that night before bed and 45 minutes later we heard him! We also saw the same BEAR again the next evening walking up our driveway.
Late May 2013 the Barkers took this picture of a Bear in their driveway. Notice the “mole” or “tumor” or?
Copper the brown Horse died the first of August a year after Nacho the Donkey died. Copper was 36 years old and lived a wonderful life. We will miss seeing him running around with Rocky in the Canyon.
7/15-17th Rain, rain and more rain in the Canyon. Much cooler temperatures. The Burn ban has been lifted around the Sangre de Cristo mountains. More dead trees are falling but all is very green and beautiful.
7/13/2013 The July monsoons are here although the Canyon has not had lots of rain we have had much cooler temperatures with the cloud cover. Yesterday we had loud thunder that shook the canyon with “very little rain”. Although the Canyon smells “like butterscotch” says my 8 year old granddaughter, their are many, many dead trees that pose a threat for a forest fire. High fire dangers remain in effect. Nina has taken down her “no 4 wheelers” sign.
This author does not believe that 4 wheelers cause forest fires (also per 10 causes of forest fires), however, if the 4 wheeler DOES NOT have the stock pipes then I can see them posing a problem. (Stock pipes are those that came stock with the 4 wheeler when purchased new. Some people like the sound of the “off market” pipes which will get very hot).
6/30/2013 Nice rain about an inch to end the dry month of June. We are hoping to get more rain tonight and lots of rain in July.
6/26/2013 Hiking around our place yesterday evening we came across some fresh “bear droppings”. During the night about 3 a.m. the “lost dog” alerted me to a noise. I grabbed our spot light and a Black Bear was climbing our deck. Two nights before this we spotted an Elk in our yard.
Letter to Property Owners of Christmas Tree Canyon:
May 18, 2013
Like many of you, Cary and I have been wondering what would happen in Christmas Tree Canyon once the Hanks family does not maintain a constant presence. For many years we enjoyed the wisdom, leadership and friendship of Fran and Ralph but we all knew that a transition would eventually become necessary. With Ralph still in Albuquerque and with his return to Christmas Tree Canyon uncertain, I think we are upon this transition no matter how much we wished that this time would never come. Understandably, we all have considerable anxiety and uncertainty about the future. Are any changes are going to be made? Is the Hanks family going to remain personally involved with Christmas Tree Canyon? I do not have a crystal ball and I am not speaking for the Hanks family nor for any of our fellow property owners but I do believe that Cary and I have a responsibility to offer some suggestions given our long time respect and love for the Hanks Family (in Cary’s case—a lifetime of love and respect) and our 40 plus years as Christmas Tree Canyon property owners.
So here are our thoughts.
1. The responsibility for the subdivision roads needs to be transferred from the “owner/developer” to the property owners as soon as possible. When Ralph was selling lots, there was a financial incentive for him to maintain and oversee the roads. That financial incentive is no longer present and the time has arrived for it to become our collective responsibility. I will ask the Hanks family to consider such a request and transfer the roads to a new legal entity (like a Road Maintenance Association that we as property owners can form under New Mexico law) or even to me personally if the formation of a new legal entity proves to be too difficult to be accomplished in a reasonable period of time. I know that some owners hope that Mora County will ultimately assume the responsibility for the subdivision roads but I think that possibility is, at least for the present time, remote. County responsibility can still be a future option, but, in the meantime, I think we should ask for the transfer of road responsibility to a property owner individual or group as soon as possible.
2. Once road responsibility has been transferred, we can set up proper conditions for all of us. We can also acquire liability insurance regarding the roads. If the developer can restrict ATV or other non-street legal vehicle usage, than we can similarly require liability waivers from all who want to use non street legal vehicles. Obviously we would also want safe and responsible road usage by all. I am not a traffic or civil engineer but I do not believe that sensible use of an ATV on subdivision roads is more damaging than a street legal vehicle or is a greater fire danger. I personally believe that ATVs have a place in Christmas Tree Canyon as a transportation vehicle when used in a manner that doesn’t disturb the natural peace and quiet. But as subdivision property owners, we can discuss and agree what use and restrictions make the most sense. We would also need to share in the expense for future road maintenance. I can see many valid opinions on how to do this but I think we can reach a collective agreement for the common good. Cary and I personally will provide funds and labor to this common good as I know many of you will do so as well. Furthermore, in return for transferring the responsibility (including the related liability and cost of future road maintenance), we could negotiate with the Hanks family for initial and/or ongoing financial assistance for needed upgrades or future maintenance. This would all need to be discussed and negotiated in further detail.
3. There is a new “Posted-No Trespassing” sign at the canyon entrance. I do not know the intent of this sign nor its legal significance. I will ask the Hanks family for more information about it. I understand that each of us (including the Hanks) can allow only invited or specific visitors to our property and, similarly, we can restrict access to our private property. I will seek to clarify, however, that subdivision roads are always accessible to all property owners and invited guests.
4. I know many of us have, over the years, enjoyed access to the back of the Canyon. Ralph promoted and encouraged this access for many years as it was a positive selling point. Regardless, I have always viewed this access as a privilege that could be withdrawn at any time and could be extended to some and not to others. I will ask the Hanks family to allow the continued access to the back of the canyon for those property owners who sign proper liability release forms and agree to abide by common sense rules. I think access should be restricted when fire danger is high. Perhaps foot travel is only allowed when conditions are very wet or very dry. I think we all understand the significance of fire risk and minimizing that risk will always be our highest priority. So I accept the need to restrict access when conditions are dangerously dry. That said, however, Ralph also built the roads in the back canyon to provide emergency fire firefighting access and allowing subdivision owners conditional road access is a way for us to remain familiar with the land and perhaps better equipped to respond quickly to a fire risk. I will also ask the Hanks Family to clarify what property is Hanks property and what property is owned by John Spake so if access to the back canyon is permitted (on foot or otherwise), we can understand the means to reach the back canyon without encroaching upon John’s land.
Sorry for the long letter but Cary and I have had several calls and emails from property owners asking about our thoughts on various issues so we felt we needed to share our views. I will ask the Hanks family to meet with me and Cary in the near future so we can discuss and collaborate on some of these common issues. In the interim, if you have concerns or suggestions, please email or call us. (firstname.lastname@example.org 512-327-3880 or email@example.com 512-346-1590) Cary and I hope to see as many of you this summer as we can and mark your calendars for Saturday July 27 as that is the date we will host our annual (20th year?) bar-b-que. See you this summer!
Sincerely, Cary and Toby Tobleman
June 10, 2013
Although we have had some rain it is still not enough for our Canyon. Fire Danger remains High!
We have gotten some rain the past week but not enough to make a difference, even though the Loblolly Pine Trees smell so wonderful, “like butterscotch”. The pond is the lowest I have ever seen in the past 12 years. No picture will be posted because it looks more like a mud hole. Story Lake is very very low and looks like a pond. Fire Alert remains HIGH per the State sign at mile marker 8 on Hwy 434, 4 miles from Christmas Tree Canyon.
Pictures above show the Canyons 3 year drought. We spotted a nice Buck coming down from the mountain to get water at the pond while hiking around. Let us hope and pray for a wet Spring/Summer as the pond is very, very low and no snow to melt and fill the pond.
March 16, 2013 Rained 1 inch temps high in 50″s all week
Christmas Wonderland 2012 at Christmas Tree Canyon:
December 9, 2012 Snowed 6 inches (Main roads plowed)
December 14, 2012 Snowed 7 inches (Main roads plowed. 4 Wheel drive needed on higher roads)
December 15, 2012 Snowed 1 inch (The wind was 38 mph blowing snow off the trees making it look like a blizzard)
December 16, 2012 Snowed 1 inch
December 18, 2012 Wet snow. (4 Wheel drive needed on cabin driveways)
December 19, 2012 Snowing today.
In fond memory of Nacho who passed away in August 2012. Nacho was seen all over Christmas Tree Canyon. The picture above was him walking away after he ate out of our bird feeder. We always enjoyed seeing Nacho the Donkey up at our place and around the Canyon. We love you Nacho!
On September 18, 2012 Barbara Beal moved to Northern California selling her home in the Canyon to a lady that lives in Houston, Texas. We will miss you Barbara. Many blessings to you.
Ralph and Nina are spending the winter in Albuquerque.
December 2012 Duane and Caffey Hudson sold their home. Happy trails to you, until we meet again. Laura and Forrest Wilson are the new owners. Welcome!