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Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat in a Historic District

Late this afternoon, as I sat in DeRito's waiting for our to go chicken calzone with green chili, I had the fun of seeing the children and parents of Canon City making their Halloween Trick or Treat trek through the Main Street Historic District. For a small city, we have hordes of children; and were they ever cute! The older I get, the more I appreciate the little ones. I'll share some of the photos with you all.

That's DeRito's Roman Centurion statue looking right at home with the trick or treaters.

The old clock tower, from the Victorian County Courthouse that burned years ago, has been recreated on Main Street across from DeRito's. Some of the kids were tired from their walk and chose to sit and rest at the base.

The first settlers from further east in the U. S. arrived here in 1859, with the discovery of "gold in them thar hills". A few cabins were built, but when news of the Civil War came, most packed up and went back to fight in the War. Some were Union men and some Confederate. We still have a Confederate section in the old graveyard, and for the Memorial Day services, both sides are honored. When the war was over, they came trooping back and began making a living by selling home grown food, and other necessary supplies to the miners in Leadville, way up the Arkansas River in the high mountains, which started with gold mining and then also discovered silver. Baby Doe Tabor, of the Ballad of Baby Doe opera, married her rich miner in Leadville, and died there, a pauper, waiting faithfully for another rich vein to be discovered, as instructed by her dying husband.

The Leadville riches and later in the century, the Cripple Creek gold riches, allowed Canon City to build lovely commercial buildings along Main Street, and many grand homes, including a full blown mansion on the River at First Street. Colorado Governor Peabody's Victorian brick home on Royal Gorge Boulevard, has been restored and is now the office space for the local Chamber of Commerce.

The view east down Main Street, full of Halloween revelers. See the great old historic store buildings. Here is a close up of the old bank building with the fantastic tower, that is a favorite of mine. The bank that grew from this one has recently become affiliated with Wells Fargo after being home owned for over a century.

During the Colorado Territory years, a deal was made in the legislature, which awarded the university to Boulder and the penetentiary to Canon City. Today the old Territorial Prison is still operating on the west end of the City and the Colorado Correctional Complex, with about 9 other prisons (including the Women's Prison), is on the east side. The Colorado Department of Corrections is the largest employee in Fremont County. So, only in Canon City, would you see the Dept. of Corrections passing out treats; do you suppose they had prisoners handing them out?!

Special bulletin:

On Wednesday we got the message that granddaughter Breanne had gone into labor and was in the hospital and yesterday we got this photo from Grandma Lori's telephone. Little Adam (our 6th great grandchild) was close to 7 pounds and seems to have his mom's hair. Breanne was about the cutest newborn I've ever seen, so I'm anxious to get a good look at Adam.

Luckily, we are making our October pilgrimmage to Byers, this weekend, to celebrate the many family birthdays and our 24th anniversary in this month. And now we have another one to celebrate. Adam made it the day before Halloween and our first great grandchild, Kaylee, was born on Halloween 7 years ago. Hopefully, we'll have a better photo when we get home.

I have Noah's Ark fabric to make Adam's quilt. Brendon's top is done and now I have to sandwich and machine quilt it. Hopefully, he will receive it before he starts kindergarten.

Have a Happy Halloween weekend!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prayer for our Country

(My Mom and daughter, Michal Ann with the flag quilts I made for them after 9/11.

Given the grave concerns of those of us who are citizens of the USA, I decided to share this e-mail message from my cousin, Liz, in Albuquerque. Let us join together on what we can agree on, and not fight over what we do not agree on. The greatness of this country is that we are allowed to disagree and dialogue. Dialogue works only when we don't go for the jugular.

“In the upcoming days before the election, we are bombarded by all sorts of messages. The Prayer Committee of First Presbyterian Church , Longview, has printed an excellent way for all of us to get through this time. Prayer.”

[This was originally set up to start on October 19, but we can prayer these prayers between now and the election.]

Monday _ “Pray that the Lord will empower and enable the man of His choice in any area of weakness_II Corinthians 12:9”

Tuesday_ “Pray that the Lord will search the heart of our future president and purge him from all self-seeking motives_Psalm 139:23-24”

Wednesday_”Pray that God’s choice for our president will listen with discernment, seek knowledge, and receive wise counsel_Provers 1:5-6”

Thursday_”Pray that the man of God’s choice will be given wisdom and ability from the Lord to overcome any obstacle or difficulty_John 16:33”

Friday_”Pray for repentance for yourself and for our nation, and that God will hear our prayers_James 1:5”

Saturday_”Pray that the Lord’s choice for president will have special strength and unusual ability from God_Philippians 4:13”

Sunday_”Pray that the Lord will do something that will utterly amaze us and give His servant victory_Habakkuk 1:5, 3:2”

“Remember II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.””

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That's My Kid!

Here are links to a couple of news articles about my son, Carl, and his old Waco airplane. He and Robyn celebrated their 23rd anniversary making a trip to the north woods Canada in his Waco. We laugh that while I research our family history, he researches the history of his pride and joy biplane.

He was born just after Sputnik took to the skies. We took him flying in a friend's small plane, at Fowler, when he was just a toddler. His Dad built model planes that we flew on control lines (pre radio control days) with friends on weekends, and when Carl got old enough he made his own models and flew them. He learned to fly when he was about 14, and at 17 bought his first antique airplane, a 1947 Aeronca, in pieces from a wind storm back east, and pulled it in home in a trailer and rebuilt it, with the help of his mentor, an antique airplane pilot and real estate developer in Boulder. He then built a single engine experimental little biplane that was designed by the head of Ball Brothers in Boulder, who was a member of his flying club. Only 7 of them were ever built. He still has it, but he did sell the Aeronca to buy a modern two engine plane to fly the family in, while he was working at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California. I think getting the Waco was the fulfillment of his airplane dream.
Carl and the Skyote at Pawnee Buttes in the 70s. Look at that hair!

When he was in high school, my friends asked me if his flying didn't scare me. I answered that I would be more scared if he was running around on a motorcycle; the statistics were much better, his teacher insisted on his following all the safety guidelines, and Carl has always been very level headed.

He may not be a rocket scientist, but he is a rocket (aerospace) engineer!

When I was a girl, in the fifties, I dreamed of going to Annapolis and being a Navy pilot, flying planes on and off of carriers. Alas, I dreamed too soon! Girls couldn't do those things in those days. I was overjoyed when women were accepted at the Air Force Academy, but by then I was married with children. So now you know why I am so excited about my son becoming a pilot and having such fun with his planes. I'm also a NASA/JPL groupie, thanks to Carl.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Quilt/Our History AAQ Contest Quilts Website

Be sure and check out the new website for the Alliance for American Quilts (AAQ) that has a show of all the small quilts from the "My Quilt/Our History" contest that are going to be auctioned off on eBay soon. I fell in love with some of the quilts and especially with the stories of the quilters.

It is especially exciting to see a quilt that we all know well from watching our sister blogger, Allie Aller, create it earlier this year, "The Home in the Garden" , on the front page as the 1st prize winner!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Activities

Fall has gotten serious this weekend, in 40s and rain yesterday (brrr), and warmer (70) today with strong winds and it gets almost to freezing at night. I went out yesterday afternoon and picked all the ripe and ready tomatoes, squash, peppers, and tomatillas and then covered the plants with old blankets and afghans because I was afraid it would frost; but it didn't. It probably will tonight, so I left the covers on (forecast says 40s again the next two days). It will warm up again in a few days and I can still have veggies for a while until a killing freeze occurs.

Since I have so much zucchini, I picked up several aluminum foil loaf pans and tonight I made 2 loaves of zucchini bread. I planned to make a lot at one time, but found I didn't have enough eggs, so I'll do the big batch later. I can give some away and freeze some for later. I have enough Tomatillas to try making a big batch of Green Salsa, if there is enough I will can some. Can Salsa be frozen, does anyone know?

I also picked up a batch of this year's Jonathon Apples (my favorite) and will make a pie for us and one for Amber's family. The only time I make pie is during the short Jonathon season each fall. I love being able to buy apples that were grown by one of my distant neighbors. I see that the Corn Maze and Punkin Field is open again this year, but the girl that is earning her college tuition, so I hope we can go and enjoy again before Halloween.

Amber and her 13 year old sister, Makayla, spent Thursday night with us, while their parents attended parent/teacher conferences and had dinner out by themselves. Makayla was excited to tell me that she helped tie a quilt at school that day. She watched me sewing on baby Brendan's crib quilt and asked if she could learn to do that. So she picked out some pretty 5 inch squares of rose designs and coordinated fabrics and learned to sew a nine-patch, which we stuffed and made into a pillow for her. She did quite well sewing on the machine for the first time. The white shawl on the back of the chair is one I crocheted several years ago. She was talking longingly about Amber's black shawl, so I pulled this one out of the closet and gave it to her. I think she liked it because she wore it the rest of the evening and the next day until I returned her to her mom.

Last Saturday night was the Homecoming Dance at Florence High School. Amber and her friends didn't want to pair up, so they decided to go as a group and dance and visit with each other. She bought a new dress with her Burger King paycheck and Joe and I took her and her friends, Bre and Brendan out for dinner and then dropped them off at the school to meet the rest of the gang. Luckily, we were not the ones that had to pick them up and take them home after the dance. Amber is on the right, she won't smile because she doesn't want her braces shown on a photo. She really is having a good time and they are laughing all the time when the camera is not aimed at her.
I love having the young people around, whether birth or adopted grandchildren. Without them I would be completely out of touch with what is going on in the culture these days; they teach me about cell phone usage, music, and current slang. I try to pass on a little knowledge about the history I've seen or read, and the music, movies and books that I think they need to know about. I try to give them a foundation and they try to keep me young.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains

We went for a drive to see the Autumn colors today, in spite of the cloudy skies and weather prediction of snow in Cripple Creek and Victor, which are north of Florence and Canon City, on the flanks of Pikes Peak. We looked out of our windows and decided that we could see the Peak so the weather could not be too bad up there, picked up Mom, went to Big Daddy's for lunch and then drove north of Canon City, through historic Garden Park (where the historic dinosaur quarries are located) and up the Shelf Road, along Four Mile Creek (also known as Oil Creek as there was an oil spring on the bank of the creek in

pioneer times, and the first oil well west of Pennsylvania was drilled here before anyone thought of drilling in Texas and Oklahoma).

Shelf Road was built as a stage coach and wagon road to the gold mining towns of Cripple Creek and Victor in the last decade of the 19th Century. It is a narrow, rutted dirt road built as a shelf on the canyon wall. When 2 cars meet it can be kind of scary until one or the other finds a slightly wider spot where thay can get past each other without falling down into the canyon. But the spectacular scenery makes it worth the effort.

Be sure and click on this one to see the hole in the
top of the rock wall.

When I was taking this panorama of Cripple Creek it was snowing on us. The palest mountains in the back are the Sangre de Christos, about 50 miles away. The medium blue line of mountains are the Wet Mountains, just south of Florence, then comes the Arkansas River Valley, where we live, and then in the foreground is the Pikes Peak Massif, with the Peak behind us.

After decades of economic recession, when most of the gold mines had shut down, Cripple Creek is now humming as one of the legalized gambling towns in Colorado. The fronts of the lovely old Victorian red brick commercial buildings on Bennett Avenue have been spruced up while retaining their authentic architecture, but the backs have huge modern looking additions added to make more room for the casinos. I have never been a gambler, and when I see how much money people have to be losing to pay for all those brick monstrosities, I am glad I am not tempted to lay

my money down there. In the old days it was a fun place where you could stroll the streets to look at the old building, browse antique shops, and visit an authentic old soda fountain at the drugstore. Now it is pretty much wall to wall casinos, cars and people, not to mention the buses that bring people from many Colorado towns and cities.

I have been driving below this mine tailings log shoring for at least 55 years and it must have been there for 50 years before that, but in spite of my misgivings, it is still holding back the tailings.

At the top of this Aspen covered mountain you can see an old mine edifice and old mine tailings, and behind that you can see the modern mine tailings gi-normous mine tailing pile. Now instead of digging the gold out of the ground they are processing the old mine tailings with new technology that rescues the gold that couldn't be gotten out of the ore in the old days. Who says you can't build your own mountains?!

Just down the road is the town of Victor, which did not choose to become a gambling town. It has the same old flavor and lots less money to maintain the great old buildings. They do still have a real community spirit and the street corners were decorated with straw bales, pumpkins and scarcrows.

We found a small cafe and ice cream store in one of the run down old buildings, where we had floats and malts, admired the old photos of the mining days, and listened to music from an antique player piano. There was an original theatre curtain painted with an Italian lake scene and surrounded by ads from local businesses. Joe liked the ad for a Florence gas station with "bronze gas for 18 cents a gallon. (Of course, back then, Florence had oodles of oil wells and 2 refineries. With gas prices the way they are, we have had an oil company drilling exploratory wells south of town again, for the first time in decades. Hope they are successful!)

We drove home down Phantom Canyon on the road made on the bed of the historic Florence and Cripple Creek Rail Road, which at the turn of the 20th Century, hauled gold ore to several processing mills in Florence. In July 1912 a huge flood roared down the canyon, ripping out track and 12 bridges. The mines were not producing as much now as in the past 2 decades, and there was another rail road to Colorado Springs, so it was not economically feasible to rebuild the F&CC RR. This is now part of the BLM's Gold Belt National Scenic Byway, so the road is in fairly good condition and the bridges have been rebuilt. 55 years ago, the Phantom Canyon road was horribly primitive, when I originally went there with my parents.

Because of the beautiful gold color of the Aspen trees in the fall, this area is very popular for outings each autumn. A few of the groves have a more red color, the scrub oaks turn tawney, and the woodbine vines are brilliant scarlet. In the lower canyons, the narrow leaf Cottonwoods and Willows are also gold. Toward the bottom of Phantom Canyon there were sections of the rock walls and trees that were covered with wild grape vines.

This is such a spectacular canyon, but my battery went dead and there is not enough room in this blog to show you all the wonderful things we saw.
It was evening by the time we made it back to Canon City to take Mom home, and she was very tired, and a little car sick. She has wanted to take this drive since she moved here but I'm afraid it is getting to be too much for her and our future jaunts will need to be shorter and on paved highways, rather that rough gravel with lots of tight curves.

It becomes quite frustrating for a photographer on a drive like this. Every turn reveals another gorgeous scene which is next to impossible to frame or get a clear photo from a moving vehicle, and the battery goes dead too soon. Joe is great to stop when there is a wide spot, but many of these scenes don't have a place for stopping and it would take us weeks, if I stopped for every photo opportunity. Now I understand why my brother, Steve, goes on most of his serious photography trips alone. We drive everyone else crazy!