First Snow on Mt. Abram

First Snow on Mt. Abram

Living high in the Colorado mountains, I have a myriad of wild and domestic animals right outside my door, often right up on the deck.  I’ve spent the summer watching birds of all kinds along with ground squirrels, chipmunks, Pine squirrels, Rock squirrels, deer, raccoons, bears, fox and Bighorn Sheep just hangin’ out like it is home.  Our town is totally inside  a National Forest and our land adjoins the actual woods, so we are blessed to see things many people never have or will, especially on their front deck.





Most of the summer, a beautiful long-haired black cat with amber eyes has also been hanging around and I call him Hunter for obvious reasons – he’s here to hunt.  He kills and eats one of the small critters once or twice a day and I hate to see it when I happen to glance outside at the wrong time.  Apparently, he has no real home and we have big decks under which he can get to stay out of the weather or hot/cold temperatures.  He doesn’t panic when he sees us, but he’s also ready to run if we step outside, which he does expertly and often.  This morning I was blessed by sleeping in a little later than usual and was up after the birds and squirrels had been fed, so I asked my husband if the Grim Reaper had been here yet, meaning Hunter, of course.

Gray Fox Turning White for Winter

Gray Fox Turning White for Winter

One day, after I’d gone out with my daughter, my husband was anxious to tell me he’d talked to a starving dog that he’d stumbled upon in our driveway near the house.  As it turns out, this is a gray fox that is black except for a white tip to its beautiful, bushy tail.  Now that we have snow on the mountain tops, the fox is getting a lot of white hair since they turn white to blend with the snow in winter. In this picture, it’s licking water off the deck after a rain.  It also comes here to hunt, which is not something it seems to be very accomplished at.  I suspect this is a female because when it checked out the bird feed pan and didn’t like it, it urinated on it using the stance of a female.

Young Black Bear

Young Black Bear

The deer seem to be rapidly turning to their dark gray winter color instead of their summer reddish coat and the velvet has come off the antlers of the bucks.  All in all, it would appear we are going to have an early winter, though my daughter-in-law, born and raised here, says the early snow on the mountains indicates a beautiful, long Indian Summer.  However, I have been here 36 years and have never seen so many acorns, growing in huge clumps, as are on the scrub oak trees right now.  The birds and squirrels have been very busy cutting them down and also cutting young apples off the trees in our yard.  Some simply sit and eat them and others seem to be storing them for what’s to come as the seasons change.  Does it seem to you like summer lasted about five minutes or is it just me?

Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

Jackie Taylor Zortman is the author of the award winning fiction novel FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST and her non-fiction book WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW.  Click on the ABOUT button at the top of this page to see links to where both can be purchased. 


About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief and first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
This entry was posted in animals, Colorado, fall, Jackie Taylor Zortman, summer, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ron Corbin says:

    What a wonderful experience. It’s like having your own zoo. I would love to live in a place like this so my grand-kids could get a first-hand education in animal life.
    Ron Corbin

    • jtzortman says:

      Yes, Ron. Four of our five grandkids are Ouray natives and grew up in this same scenario. They have a different outlook about animals than city kids have because they grew up in their midst. Our fifth grandchild does live in a city, but has enjoyed seeing the animals when she’s visited our house and also loves them. However, you do get used to having them so close after a few years, though we still give them a healthy respect, especially the bears and mountain lions.


  2. Peggy says:

    That is quite the managerie you are getting there. You wonder if that cat may have dumped by someone a long time ago. He is very pretty. I am fascinated with your fox. I hope you are right about the Indian summer. I have heard it is going to be an especially cold, hard winter.

  3. jtzortman says:

    Hi Pegs, Hunter looks very well groomed for a long-haired cat and he isn’t thin, so I don’t know if he was dropped down on the road or if he lives somewhere close. He is beautiful. The fox is fun to watch, though it doesn’t linger very long – just a quick attempt to catch some food. I am fearful that what you’ve heard is correct and we’ll have a cold, long winter. The signs are all there, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out what is next.


  4. Sounds like heaven to me! Love the photos 🙂

    • jtzortman says:

      Well, you live in quite a heavenly place yourself. We both are lucky…and animal/bird lovers, too. Not to mention our superb writing abilities. (Just joking, folks….or am I?) 🙂

  5. Olivia Milton-Piatek says:

    We are so lucky to live where we do! Written beautifully! Thanks for sharing.

  6. jtzortman says:

    Yes, we are very lucky to live among the wildness, not to mention the beauty.

  7. Mr. DAVE says:

    I’ve read your Jungle out my door several times and each time I seem to enjoy it more and love the Photo’s that you posted. Ouray is a special place, I first visited it over 40 years ago and still have a longing to return and you make it hard to stay away. ENJOY ENJOY a little bit of Heaven there.

    • jtzortman says:

      It’s always great to hear that someone enjoyed my blog. Yes, we have quite a collection of critters, big and small crossing the decks. While ago, there was a clap of thunder (which is loud in this canyon) and that fox took off like it was shot. I didn’t even know it was out there until it streaked past the window. Thanks for letting me know you stopped by. I appreciate your support.

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