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Who’s Got the Best Burgers in Durango? A Primer on Horse Ownership: What You Need to Know Ideas for Great Day Trips from Durango Family Matters: A Ranching Family with Community Spirit Since 1883 Living Large in Small Spaces: A Mountain Cabin Goes Cozy & Chic Plan a Natural-Looking Waterscape For Your Home Remodeling Your Nest? 6 Tips on Choosing a Contractor In the Garden of Eatin’: Tips for Organic Gardening

Publisher Richard Ballantine Marketing Manager Dennis Hanson General Manager Sharon Hermes Design Manager Brady Sutherlin Magazine Editor/Designer Dave Ohman Advertising Design/Prepress Mitchell Carter, Brady Choate, Jennifer Dickens, Terry Swarbrick, Michelle Uhl, Linda Vona, Tracy Willbanks Account Executives Cyrilla Cass, Darryl Hunt, Karolann Latimer, Shawna Long, Debby Morgan, Susan Wright Account Assistant Larissa Lopez

Advertising Department The Durango Herald uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its magazine publications. However, all general information comes from a variety of sources and may change at any time for any reason. To verify specific information, refer to the organization or business noted. To see the online version of this guide, click the link at: On the Cover: Taking in a trail ride is a great way to enjoy the equine experience. Photo by Hal Lott

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The Best Burgers in Durango A Visit to Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez A Primer on Horse Ownership Ideas for Great Day Trips from Durango Family Matters: The Tyner Family Serving their Community Since 1883 Living Large in Small Spaces: A Cozy & Chic Mountain Cabin Landscape Design: Case Study 1 Designing with Water: How to Plan for a Waterscape Landscape Design: Case Study 2 How Collaboration Between Designers and Clients Creates Successful Projects Thinking About Remodeling Your Nest? One of our Leading Homebuilders Offers Six Tips on Choosing Your Contractor Focus On the Arts: A Local Photographer Translates Native American Archeological Sites into Fine Art In the Garden of Eatin’: Growing Your Own Food for Better Health and Fun

This water feature is part of the overall landscape design for Doug and Annie Simonson by landscape architect, Paul Wilbert and built by Azteca Landscape Inc. See page 40 for details on this project. Photo by Dave Ohman

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Welcome to the Spring Edition of Durango Living hile we continue to showcase examples of home & garden concepts, the magazine now features the essence of the Durango lifestyle, especially our Food & Wine section. For this topic, we chose two distinctly disparate directions for each. “The Best Burgers in Durango,” a not-so-scientific, readers’ survey came up with our top five vote-getters. Who would not enjoy researching that subject? Find out who won! Then we visited The Sutcliffe Vineyards where John Sutcliffe and his team produce world-beating, premium wines in a surprisingly grape-friendly, remote canyon west of Cortez, and all within an easy drive from Durango. Wine tasting, anyone? Since we’re living in the heart of horse country, you may have a hankerin' for a horse of your own. In our primer on horse ownership, experts offer their suggestions on to get the most joy from your equine relationship, including how to buy and care for your new family member. A continuing popular subject over last year has been, Living Large in Small Spaces. Excellence in design is not confined to large homes as you will see with this log home tucked away in the mountains near Lake Purgatory. This home was built on time, and on budget to create a charming ambience in its mountain setting. Two landscaping stories tell us how to plan your waterscape project and how to collaborate with the designer for a successful landscape project. As homeowners opt out of trading up in the real estate market, remodeling what you have is becoming more popular. Troy Dyer, president of Classique Bilt Construction & Development, offers some great tips on how to find the right contractor to remodel your nest. With the increasing popularity of day trips in Southwest Colorado and the Four Corners area, we offer some suggestions on how to spend your time without spending a fortune. Family Matters continues our focus on people and families who’ve had a positive influence in the Durango area. In this edition, we feature the Tyner family whose Durango roots date back to 1883. With their family traditions of working the land and giving back to the community, it seemed only natural to share their history and family values with you. The arts are celebrated with images from photographer, Dave Manley, who translates ancient Native American architecture and rock art into a powerful visual essay. A book of his images is due sometime in late 2010. Organic gardening is gaining momentum across the country and we’re not about to stand in the way. With “In the Garden of Eatin’, we take you further into the realm of growing your own healthy food. It’s also good economics. We hope you enjoy the transitions taking place in Durango Living and we look forward to your feedback.


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AND THE WINNER IS, OLDE TYMER’S CAFE! Congratulations, Durango! Not one vote was cast for anything remotely referred to as “fast food.” Clearly, Durango is home to a lot of burger gourmets.

Story by Dave Ohman Photography by Hal Lott

Master Chef Victor Longinotti presents the Olde Tymer’s 1/2 lb. Beef Burger

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n this edition of Durango Living, our Food & Wine section looks at one of the great inventions of gastronomy: the ubiquitous hamburger, which never seems to lose its popularity in any economy. As any college student will tell you, this is an essential food group. Regardless of which generation one claims as their own, there were, no doubt, favorite burgers that went along with burger joints and drive-ins dominated by hot rods (think, “American Graffiti”). The combo du jour was usually a burger with fries and a malt or milkshake. And our survey respondents told us in no uncertain terms, they were picky about the meat and, in most cases, where it came from. No mystery meats, thank you very much. Well, speaking of ‘mystery meats,” the origins of the original hamburger have a rather convoluted “history” worth noting. And because of its sketchy past, I feel compelled to share a few very short stories among the many claimants to the invention of this compact meal. If you “have no time

for instant gratification,” you may skip straight to the survey results. Anthropologists tell us that even ancient Egyptians ate ground meat and that the practice of chopping meat and clumping it into a single serving was rather common in several parts of the world. During the mid-1200s, Genghis Khan and his horde of happy warriors found little time to dine whilst burning and pillaging. So they brought their own goats and sheep along as a sort of “meals on heels” company benefit. What they ate was a minced raw meat (a sort of patty) made from the leftover scrapings from those condemned goats and sheep. The pressed meat was then kept “warm” under the saddle (sort of portable warming oven, I suppose) so they could continue on their rampage without having to stop to eat. Who knew the infamous Khan had such culinary and time-management skills? As immigrants from Europe were arriving in America during the 1800s, they also brought along a tough, somewhat tasteless,

Other enthusiastic votes: Rachel: ‘I’m casting my vote for Cosmopolitan for having the best burger in the world! Kevin: The Sow’s Ear. I’m a big mushroom fan and they’re always very generous with the portions so sinking my teeth into the “Shroom Burger” as I call it, is a tasty treat indeed! Fred: I vote for the “Lost Dog” for the best burger. The buffalo is one of my favorites also (with blue cheese). However, I also like the Bacon Swiss burger on Friday. I like the quality of meat and the bun. The sides are fresh and the fries are fresh and crisp. Alisha: My friends and I make it a point to eat at Christina’s Grill & Bar every Tuesday night for their juicy, over-sized burgers for only $4.

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minced meat called Hamburg meat, an idea from, you guessed it, Hamburg, Germany. By the 1870s, 15 year-old Charlie Nagreen of Seymour, Wisconsin, was selling meatballs from the back of his oxcart at the local county fair. Young Charlie noticed that eating meatballs was a twohanded operation and, apparently, a messy inconvenience while walking about a county fair. This must have been a large meatball for a two-hander. At any rate, in a flash of brilliance, young Charlie deduced that by flattening a meatball and inserting it between two slices of bread, one could eat it with one hand. Years later, Seymour grabbed the limelight and declared itself “The Home of the Original Hamburger.” One would hope Charlie received a Key to the City for his efforts. Not to be outdone, the family of Frank and Charles Menches from Akron, Ohio, claim that the two brothers invented the “sandwich between two slices of bread” while working the Erie County Fair in

I’ve only lived in Durango for five years and during that time I have tried almost every burger in town. By far the best burger I have found is at Olde Tymer’s Cafe. It’s always cooked fresh to my order and served with a smile. Olde Tymer’s is the best.” - Darryl

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Hamburg, New York during the 1880s. They were selling pork sausage until, because the heat of the day was turning their pork into a science project, the butcher had to switch to beef as a substitute for the event. The brothers ground the beef, pressed it into patties and, since they were in Hamburg, they called it a “hamburger.” Today, this simple meal comes in seemingly infinite variations including beef burgers, buffalo burgers, lamb burgers, turkey burgers, salmon burgers, elk burgers, and veggie burgers. Depending on where you get your burger, it is either a grayish and warm food assigned the task of simply filling a void, or a compact gourmet meal admired by the true cognoscenti of fine dining. I should note right here and now that, not one vote was cast for anything remotely referred to as “fast food,” leading one to deduce that Durango is

home to a significant number of qualified food critics. So what makes a great hamburger great? To be fair in our completely unscientific survey, “quality” was in the taste buds of the beholder, and respondents were equally effusive about their buffalo burgers as well as the beef versions. Regardless of beef or buffalo, whether grilled, flamecharred, or broiled, there were key expectations most devotees demanded. You told us that a great burger was off to a good start when the server asked, “How would you like that cooked?” To paraphrase Dave James of the James Ranch, “If a burger is cooked to the consistency of a hockey puck, toppings of any sort will not save it by any stretch.” But, if prepared to your

requested specifications, there was every confidence that the bun and toppings would be equally as fresh for a great experience. Everyone who cast a vote for their favorite restaurant’s burger extolled the virtues of taste, juiciness, and the freshness of the toppings and the bun. Value for the price was also a big hit. Some diners’ choices were based on a specific preference for locally grown, grass-fed beef from the James Ranch. Reasons for preferring grass-fed meat included better taste and knowing that the cattle were raised without hormones. Not all restaurants serving up great burgers use James Ranch meats, but many do get their meat from the same processor as James Ranch: Sunnyside Meats. As Sunnyside’s plant manager, Chris Fuller, explained to me during a recent tour of the facilities, that because James Ranch beef is grass-fed and finished, their meat is

The Five Best Burgers in Durango are: Olde Tymer’s Café Cosmopolitan Diamond Belle The Sow’s Ear The Lost Dog Grill & Lounge Honorable Mentions in alphabetical order: Ben’s Best Burgers Christina Grill & Bar Gazpacho New Mexican Cooking & Cantina J. Bo Pizza & Rib Co. Purple Haze Vallecito Country Market

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leaner than grain-fed meat. That’s not a slam on grain-fed methods. It’s all about preference. In fact, Fuller also noted that the family-owned company also processes grain-fed-and-finished cattle and that they are extremely selective about whose cattle, pigs and lambs go through their plant. “Sunnyside’s customers,” Fuller said, “expect the best and we deliver on that promise every day.” Overall, with so many votes spread around so many dining establishments in Durango, and as far away as DMR and Vallecito Lake, I felt compelled to indulge in some research myself. Each place had its special burger and, I must confess, it was difficult to choose only one favorite burger. But some burgers definitely had an edge when the chef gave the taste of the meat a higher priority over the toppings. Of course, a burger is not complete until you add the toppings. And readers had their favorite toppings, as well, such as, green chilis (especially jalapeno), bleu cheese, bacon, salsa, or just the classics of mustard, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce, and onion.

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As we counted up the votes, we came to the realization that marketing had as much to do with the vote count as the customer loyalty and the product quality itself. Some restaurants apparently trusted their customers to send in their votes without any urging, while others were implored on site to cast a vote for the home team. It was a bit like being true to your school. That did not diminish the enthusiasm for each reader’s vote and their comments. Despite the high number of votes, we finally narrowed the count to our Five Best Burgers in Durango. With passions and loyalty running high for each and every vote, we have also included five “Honorable Mentions.” And frankly, the high quality of so many burgers suggested that it had more to do with individual tastes, rather than quality. But, hey! Other than counting votes, this was not scientific research. There was also an occasional hint of the tongue-in-cheek election-day advice: “Vote early and vote often.” However, with a town hosting a ribald event called “Snowdown,” fun is the operative word around here.

Now, we want to thank you for participating in our informal survey. The response was nearly overwhelming and we are grateful for your input. We hope you had fun doing the research while shouldering the “burden”of being food critics. The votes cast told us that there are great burgers throughout Durango with reasons for loyalty nearly identical across the board. And so, with the success of our first Best Burgers Survey, we are giving you advance notice that the Fall Edition of Durango Living will feature the results of our next survey: Durango’s Best Pizzas and local beer. You now have several months to do your research and we look forward to your critical reviews from now till the end of summer.

Our special thanks to Olde Tymer’s Cafe general manager Ryan Danford and the entire OTC team for making the photo shoot fun and successful. You guys were great!

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Sutcliffe Vineyards Story and photos by Dave Ohman

Springtime means getting the vines prepared for the new season. With all of that work ahead, John and Nor Sutcliffe take a well-deserved break on the patio.

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The dining room in the house where the Sutcliffes host guests throughout the year. The blue doors lead to the arbor covered patio.


hen it comes to fine wines, most aficionados will speak volumes of the wines from Europe or California. The states of Washington and New York have their fine wines. Australia and some countries such as Chile and Argentina in South America have also entered the fray with some decent wines of their own. Yet, ask a wine snob from Napa what their favorite Colorado wine is and you’ll likely get some quizzical head-scratching followed by a bewildered harrumph. But tucked into an edge-of-the-wilderness road in McElmo Canyon west of Cortez, and literally a stone’s throw from the entrance to the Canyon of the Ancients, you will discover the epicenter of sublime winemaking: Sutcliffe Vineyards. This is not hyperbole. These wines are the real deal. In less than two hours drive, depending on your starting point, John Sutcliffe's vineyards thrive in what would appear to be a most inhospitable area of extraordinary canyons, buttes and rock formations. Amidst this sagebrush and reddish earth with its winters of snow and ice, and hot summers, these vines are thriving. And since 75% of a wine’s success is based on the quality of the grapes on the vines, Sutcliffe effusively credits much of the success to his vineyard manager, Jesus Pancho Castillo for producing the extraordinary grapes that meet the stringent requirements set by Sutcliffe and his winemaker, Joe Buckles. March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 13

Right: Since 75% of a wine’s success is based on the quality of the grapes from the vines, vineyard manager Jesus Pancho Castillo (left), and owner John Sutcliffe (right) precisely calculate where to prune each vine to assure the best grapes for harvesting.

I asked about the seemingly hostile terrain in which Sutcliffe has planted his vines. After all, how could wine grapes survive, let alone, thrive in this rugged outpost? I was told that, beneath the topsoil layer is a mineral-rich red soil into which the roots of the vines find exactly what is needed to produce each and every wine they sell. If it were only just that easy. Sutcliffe and Castillo demonstrated the task, and art, of pruning the vines. This allows a fresh start for what will be tons of excellent grapes ready for the big crush in the fall. When you meet Sutcliffe and chance to chat with him for several hours, as I did, you realize he is, arguably, quite the renaissance man, and that his wine business is more of a calling than a career, and he revels in every minute and every labor of it. Born in Leicestershire in England and raised in Wales, he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Britain's equivalent of West Point, spending seven years in an elite regiment of the Queen's armed forces before arriving in the U.S. in 1968. After working on a large cattle ranch in Carbondale, Colorado, he attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, (as did 14 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other luminaries). Along with his summer cowboy jobs in Elko, Nevada, and a restaurant job, he found new friendships at Reed that led him, in the 1970s, to assist in the opening of Tavern on the Green at the western edge of Central Park in New York City. The year was 1991 when Sutcliffe purchased Battlerock Ranch to farm hay, and to raise livestock. The house and offices were designed and built to reflect the rustic environment of the land. The first vines were planted in 1995, and by 2001, the 1999 vintage was released. Sutcliffe has not only launched and sold numerous restaurants, he’s also been a world class polo player. His non-stop success has allowed him to see the world and, in his business and personal connections, he can count among his many friends, an international who’s who of dignitaries, royalty and business leaders. And it’s not uncommon for many of them to make the trek to Colorado from Europe, South America, Canada and Australia to attend, say, a birthday party and various wine tasting events. When it comes to the sales side of the business, Sutcliffe has a remarkable gift for creating affinity links with everyone he

meets, wherever he goes. But you can’t clinch the sale at such high echelons of the restaurant business with mediocre products. Which is why John Sutcliffe creates the wines that he sells. Factor in the attention to every minute detail in the winemaking process and it becomes obvious why Sutcliffe wines are the only Colorado label shipped to customers throughout the world. The consumer, after all, will determine the success or failure of a wine, purchased at a restaurant or at retail. When asked what drives his wines, Sutcliffe replied, “I create wines from the restaurant perspective, not the chemist’s.” He was referring to a process adopted by some wineries that purchase marginal grapes, or even a wine concentrate, and entrust the bottled end product to “chemists.” With their 13 years of finely tuned collaboration, Sutcliffe, Castillo and Buckles continue to produce great wines competing successfully against other premium brands anywhere in the world. And what is astonishing is the reasonable price point against the other premiums wines, domestic or foreign. What John Sutcliffe and his team have accomplished is to

Pruning the vines means pruning shears and muddy boots for everyone. So Sutcliffe and Castillo toast to the season ahead.

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bring an extraordinary selection of fine wines within reach. Now one would therefore assume, at first blush, that these wines would easily sell themselves. Not necessarily. In my first meeting with Sutcliffe, he quoted the owner of an up-scale restaurant in Albuquerque who had relocated from New York City. They noted that there is a definite “five-step response” for accepting Colorado wines. 1. Stark terror (at the prospect of buying a Colorado wine) 2. Relief (that it is of such high quality) 3. Surprise (when drinking it) 4. Loving it (and wanting more) 5. Disciple status

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Very few wines from anywhere make their way to Step Three with those who know their wines. Sutcliffe’s selections, on the other hand, have made a habit of creating disciples. And after sampling these wines at the vineyard, I am happy to report that I, too, have reached disciple status. Sutcliffe wines are available at many of our fine local restaurant including Seasons, Ken & Sue’s, Cosmopolitan, The Glacier Club, Cyprus Café, East by Southwest, Guido’s, Lumiere Hotel (in Telluride), Dunton Hot Springs, The Peaks, La Marmotte, Hongas, and 221 South Oak Street (in Telluride). Locally, you can also purchase Sutcliffe wines at The Wine Merchant (next to Nature’s Oasis).

Visit for more information on their wines, tasting room schedules, and directions.

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One of the joys of horse ownership is getting out on the trail with like-minded souls. These riders of varying skill levels were among 66 others at the Lost Canyon Ranch Competitive Trail Challenge to benefit Cadence Therapeutic Riding and various horse rescue groups. The event was one of many promoted around the country by the American Competitive Trailhorse Association (ACTHA).

a primer on buying and owning a horse Story and photos by Dave Ohman 16 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

living in Durango, I have had the priviledge of being with, and working with, horses and the people who love them. It remains one of life’s great experiences. as an advocate for horses, this story celebrates the joy of horse ownership with important tips on how to make it a decision you will not regret. My grandmother, the youngest of six daughters, was born in 1882 in the little town of Ellendale, Missouri, just west of St. Louis. Her father, a rather successful inventor, taught each of his daughters how to ride horses and handle firearms with the best of the boys in town. It wasn’t an option in those days. And having their own horses meant they were responsible for the care and feeding of them before going to school, and after school. It was a great lesson in responsibility and growing up. Then, as a century died and a new century was born, the first automobiles began to chug and chunk along dirt roads at the “perilous” speed of 10mph, they also sometimes sat lifelessly along that road with the driver standing to the side scratching his head while someone on horseback would suggest, “Get a horse!” A lot has changed over the past 100 plus years. What used to be the default method of getting anywhere is now a baseline measurement for engine power. Today, from trail rides to equine competition events, the horse continues to prove its exceptional versatility including its use in physical therapy and emotional healing for physically and emotionally disabled children and adults. The men’s penitentiary in Canon City, Colorado, teaches gentle horse training to inmates as part of their rehabilitation program. And it’s been very successful, not only in preparing horses for adoption, it’s also been extremely valuable in redirecting the inmates for a more meaningful life in society. Owning a horse can be one of the greatest experiences one could imagine. And according to Pamela Jones, owner of the J-Bar-J Ranch in Durango’s Animas Valley, who has trained horses and riders and currently provides horse boarding, “It’s like adding a child to the family. So it’s incumbent upon anyone thinking of owning a horse to do their homework.” From my personal experience, I would suggest, as a first step, purchasing some informative DVDs from any of several top trainers known for gentle horse training and horsemanship for the owner/rider. Some of my favorite training DVDs come from the horse-whisperer, Monty Roberts, including his “Join-Up” techniques. I have spent a lot of time at his Flag Is Up Farm near Solvang, California observing his “Join-Up” methods in the roundpen, trailer loading, water crossings and more. You can also attend some excellent horsemanship seminars and training clinics held at the fairgrounds in Ignacio, including the Horse Expo put on by the Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen. And, of course, subscriptions to the magazines catering to horse owners will provide invaluable information on riding skills, equine healthcare, and training your horse to meet your expectations. So here are some top tips from the experts to enhance your horse experience. March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 17

Scotty Cox, the ranch foreman at Lost Canyon Ranch near Dolores, truly enjoys being outside at his “office.�

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The boys of summer, part of the Rapp Corral herd, seem to enjoy relaxing and grazing in a lush pasture under warm summer skies.

How to Buy a Horse If you have ever purchased a used car, you probably thought about why the car was for sale. Are there any problems you can’t see from the outside? Buying a horse requires the same scrutiny. According to Jones, “Anyone who has had little or no experience around horses needs to understand a wide range of issues before writing out that check.” And she is adamant about urging anyone contemplating this decision, to do their research and lots of it. As she notes, “A horse is a herd animal looking to you for attention. You are his alpha leader and he looks to you for leadership and care. He cannot be treated like an RV that sits in storage for weeks and months on end without being taken out for a spin, as it were.” What will you pay for “the right horse?” If the price is “too reasonable,” why? “One way or the other, if you want a good trail horse, you will either buy one that has been properly trained, or you will have to train him yourself, or hire an expert trainer to do it for you,” said Jones. As life-long horse owner/trainer, Ron Tyner, notes, “They don’t have CarMax for horses.” Therefore, understand that proper training does not come cheaply. If you buy a horse that is trail ready, someone spent a lot of time and/or money to train him. So don’t expect to get a great horse cheap. To revisit the metaphor about cars, if it seems too good to be true, exit the deal and keep looking. Horse rescue groups such as, Spring Creek Horse Rescue in Gem Village near Bayfield, can be a great place to find a horse because these people love horses and are very selective on who will adopt one of their horses. Is he the horse for you? The health of a horse may not always be apparent to the novice. Hence, when you are interested in buying any horse, imagine you are buying a used car from a private party. Of course, you would take along your favorite mechanic to look at the car in question. Therefore, it is advised that you take two important people with you when examining a horse to buy. First, you will need a “large animal” veterinarian to check his general health. Blood tests should also be conducted for the existence of rather ordinary equine diseases. Second, through word-of-mouth recommendations, take along a qualified horse trainer with “gentle-training” credentials to review that horse's personality and behaviorial condition. Maybe they like you, but don’t “play well with others” in the corral. Maybe they are hostile to the farrier. Just like children, it is important that the horse's socialization with people and other horses begin from the day they are born. Otherwise, it will be difficult, albeit very expensive, to train them. It's a lot like early childhood development. Grazing and Feeding If your horse does not have the luxury of a lush, grassy pasture for grazing, you should plan on feeding him three times a day. A bale of hay can cost between $6-9 per bale. There are also supplements and specialized formulations of grain to promote bone, joint and muscle health, while reducing the chances of worms and intestinal stones.

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For performance horses, such as polo ponies, a special grain mixture infused with molasses is offered to help the horse regain energy after a day of hard play. Shelter: When it comes to providing shelter for your horse, you either have the property to keep him at home, or you will need to board him at a reputable stable with indoor stalls, as well as outdoor facilities. Boarding your horse with the full-service package will mean shelter, feeding, mucking the stall, replacing the bedding of straw or wood shavings, and turning him out for exercise. Your horse can get “cabin fever” just like the rest of us so he needs to be turned out to a pasture or large arena where he can run and romp for some exercise. All of this TLC comes at a price, too, with fees of $600 and more per month. Indoor shelter is especially important. When the weather is clear and warm, we all like being outdoors, and horses are no exception. But when winter comes, if they can't migrate to warmer pastures like wild horses, we have to either

move them to another site or provide extra measures for their comfort and safety throughout the winter. Veterinary Care Even though you will be needing the services of a large-animal veterinarian, you will want to familiarize yourself with basic horse health issues. Problems with the digestive system can crop up including worms, and intestinal stones. Hips and other joints require a proper diet for joint health, especially if they are ridden hard. Working and performance horses should be examined now and then to make sure their joints and cartilage remain healthy. Supplementary equine pharmaceuticals for de-worming and other potential maladies should be budgeted as a normal expense.

A ferrier service (horseshoeing) Imagine what it’s like having a pebble in your shoe digging into that soft flesh of the arch. There is an old saying: “If your foot is sore, your whole body is sore.” Hoof health is one more component in your horse’s Local farrier, Gwen overall health. Gold, trims and We all know what it's shapes the hooves like to have a sore foot. of this mare. Pretty soon we’re limping resulting in some muscles having to take more load than normal resulting in pain to the musculo-skeletal system. Since a horse has four feet, you can imagine how they must feel if their feet hurt. Which is why your horse will need the services of a highly recommended farrier (horse shoer). Gwen Gold, a wellrespected local farrier, advises that. hooves that are cracking, flaking and splitting can result in other costly veterinary treatment. So keeping those hooves trimmed and shaped is extremely important to the rest of his body. Along with trimming that hard outer hoof, the center of the hoof, called the “frog,” is the tender

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part of the hoof that should be checked often to clear pebbles, stones and hardened mud and dirt. If ignored, the pain can alter his behavior. Tack Tack, if you haven’t heard of it by now, consists of saddles and blankets, halters, lead ropes, lunge lines (for training), bridles and bits, and harness (if he is being driven for wagon and cart pulling). Though you may get excited about the prospects of a horse of your own, do not purchase a saddle or bridle and bit until after you get your horse. Tack is not a one-size-fits-all purchase. The saddle needs to fit you and your horse comfortably. A saddle that fits improperly can cause the hair from his withers to the hips to wear away and cause horrific wounds requiring expensive care and medication. You need a comfortable fit, as well, especially for those longer rides. Though bridle headstalls are adjustable, buy this to fit your horse. Bits come in various sizes and configurations for specific reasons and are sold separately. If you’re not sure what kind of bit to buy, ask your trainer or veterinarian for advice. Or, ask the former owner what they used. They may even sell their tack collection with the horse. Transporting your horse(s) If you intend to transport your horse(s), you’ll not only need a good horse trailer, you’ll need an SUV or pickup truck with the horsepower to pull the load. (Pick-ups are better for hauling hay.) If you already have a truck but it’s been used primarily to haul groceries and kids, plan on hauling horses to get things a bit dirty. But this is part of the fun. So don’t get prissy over the dust and dirt. It comes with the territory. Building Trust Between You and Your Horse Finally, take the time to build up the trust between you and your new horse. Remember, he’s been in someone else’s care until you came along. So he’ll have to get to know you from scratch. Because he’s not only a herd animal, he’s also a prey animal, which means he is looking for an alpha leader he can count on for protection and solice. And that’s you. He is also a flight animal preferring to run

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Horses have personalities and Stevie is no exception. Though he’s not the alpha leader, he is the class clown, a pick-pocket, social director, peacemaker and roving ambassador of the corral, welcoming new horses to the herd. He’s also a great ride. Everyone loves Stevie.

from perceived danger than wait around to see if the danger has passed. And there is where all of that trust pays off. After you and your horse have established trust in each other in the corral or arena, you’ll probably want to take him out on a trail. As you and your horse get more familiar with varied terrain, you may eventually want to enter one of the many “competitive trail challenges� promoted by the Texas-based non-profit, American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA). These events, usually set for 6-8 miles, are a great way to enjoy your horse, meet other horse owners and, if you have children, to get out for a great day of family fun. Proceeds from those events go toward promoting local non-profits and horse rescue groups. And here are a couple of options if you don’t think you’ll have a lot of time to share with your horse. For people who can’t afford their own horse, you can offer to lease him to another rider by the month. Your horse will get some exercise while maintaining his “social skills.� Or, loan him to a local equine group such as non-profit Cadence Therapeutic Riding where your horse can become part of the healing process for disabled children and adults. Returning veterans in need of physical and/or emotional healing will also benefit from your generosity with the Cadence Horses for Heroes program. We hope this information has provided the basic tools you’ll need to make owning a horse one of the most rewarding decisions you have ever made. Happy trails!

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GREAT DAY TRIP IDEAS FROM DURANGO Story and Photos by Dave Ohman


e all know the feeling. There are times when “itchy feet” tell us to hit the road, or a trail, or a lake for a day. Maybe it’s the winter-driven cabin fever, or work-related stress, or something akin to the “bucket list” of things to do before we get the “2-minute warning.” With the economy in the state that it is, and with seemingly less time and money for a fullscale vacation, a simple day trip in or out of town can be just the thing to recharge our batteries. When spring and summer arrive, the opportunities for fun multiply dramatically. You can go it alone and let serendipity rule the day. Or consider any of our local tour operators offering river rafting, horseback rides into lush forests, Jeeping into remote and difficult-to-reach mountains and canyons, or hire a guide to lead you to where the fish are jumpin’. Other factors on how and where to spend the day would have to include what the kids would love to do. Budgeting for gas has also been a factor. Currently, the price of a gallon of gas is around $2.80 per gallon, significantly lower than it was in the summer of 2008 when a gallon of regular hovered around $4.50. But as we all know, that can change very quickly. Just how many miles can you afford to drive? What will you do when you get there? What will “there” mean? Driving, more or less … Perhaps the destination itself is not that far away allowing more time for something besides driving. Or, you may 22 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

see a side road or hiking trail just begging for your undivided attention. If the road is calling you for a scenic tour, don't forget your trusty digital camera. With various social networking web sites available, you can share your day's photos with friends and family in the virtual world, hours before you return home. Simply stop at a WiFi-enabled coffee shop or public library to upload photos and share your experience. When the journey trumps the destination, it's hard to beat the San Juan Scenic Skyway. Or head to a local lake and campground for a day of hiking, fishing and campfire cooking, to get away from the daily grind. If relaxation means putting your mind and body into absolute neutral, there are geothermal-heated pools at Trimble Hot Springs in Durango. Or, if you feel the need to get out of town, drive east to Pagosa Springs. Either choice, thank Mother Earth for preserving a bit of her past. Wine tasting tour, anyone? For adults looking for an unexpected treat, driving to Cortez and heading westward toward the historic Hovenweep sites, you will not only discover exquisite red rock arroyos and cliffs, you will find wine vineyards “the middle of nowhere.” Visit the Sutcliffe Vineyards and Guy Drew Winery and you’ll know you’re in the middle of somewhere very special. Surrounded by sagebrush, it seems a wonder how anything will grow here, let alone grape vines. Be sure to call ahead for wine tasting schedules. Drive time is about 1.5 hours from Downtown Durango.

Guest ranches such as Wilderness Trails Ranch have programs available for a day visit with trail ride and,dinner. Make reservations in advance.

Fishing Other than getting your fishing license, Southwest Colorado is your oyster. Then, head out to the mountain lakes of the San Juan National Forest for some fishing, or just to enjoy the ambience of sky converging with water. Vallecito Lake is a relatively short drive from Durango which means that leaves you with a lot of daylight to rent a boat at the marina for a day of fishing, or just explore the nooks and crannies that make this place a great family day trip. The Cowboy Experience: The Quintessential American West If you and your family feel like letting a horse do the walking, you have lots of options. In the Vallecito Lake area,

you'll find three guest ranches from which to choose: Wit’s End Ranch at the north tip of the lake, Colorado Trails Guest Ranch to the south (closer to Lemon Reservoir), and Wilderness Trails Ranch just east of the lake. Accommodating the needs of families seems to be a specialty no matter which you choose. Most offer activities such as, trail rides, clinics in horsemanship, fishing excursions, and a host of activities just for kids. Famous for their week-long packages, some ranches have created new activities and packages to accommodate tighter budgets and schedules. For instance, Wilderness Trails Ranch not only offers their usual 6-day/6-night package, last summer they added a 3-day/3night package and a 2-day bed & breakfast experience. With the economy in such

uncertain times, this was a bold stroke creating a very busy summer season. This summer WTR will include a sort of “ride and dine” package expressly for day-trippers, but you’ll still need reservations. Guest ranches can also be found in Mancos, and all the way to the Utah border. The East Pines Ranch at Dove Creek is a great “city slickers”experience. This is a working cattle ranch and according to the owner, Al Heaton, “As a guest wrangler you're going to work for your supper and have a lot of fun in the process.” Guest ranches in and around Mancos include Echo Basin Ranch, Lake Mancos Dude Ranch, and Rustlers Roost Ranch. Another horseback riding experience can be found by driving north out of Durango on the 550 “Million Dollar Highway.” At the intersection of the

Haviland Lake turnoff is the Rapp Corral where, with an experienced guide, you can ride for an hour, or for hours on end into the backcountry of Haviland Lake, Chris Park and beyond. If combining a day at or near Durango Mountain Resort, you can include a trail ride with Buck’s Livery located just north of the entrance to DMR. Not all guest ranches have lodging. But many offer activities centered on what kids and families love to do. One thing seems abundantly clear: a day trip to one of these ranches will not only be a trip back to the old West, it will also be a tough act to follow. Just be sure to call ahead before dropping in. Reservations are usually required. March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 23

Spud Lake is easily accessible on foot and a beautiful place to spend the day.

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Trail adventures Hiking is a favorite of families and individuals around Southwest Colorado. And with countless choices on where to hike, I would suggest picking up a book that explains our trail systems in informative and easy-to-understand detail, most notably, “Hiking Trails of Southwestern Colorado” by Paul Pixler and John Peel. If you enjoy a day on the trail, keep this invaluable resource in the car or on the coffee table. You can drive to many accessible trails in less than an hour, some within minutes of downtown Durango, thus leaving the bulk of your day to enjoy the hike, plant a tent, have a cookout and just relax. A few favorite trails include Purgatory Flats near DMR. This eight mile (round trip) trail starts at a high elevation and takes you down to the Animas River where you can stop for a picnic lunch before heading back. Or try the Spud Lake trail. Once parked at the base of the trail, it’s a fairly easy mile up to the lake and a great place to spend the day (see photo at left). Native American History The Four Corners is rich in Native American history and well worth the drive. Each of the following historic sites, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Crow Canyon and Chaco Canyon, allow for plenty of walking and exploring. As sacred ground of the Anasazi, Ute and Navajo Nations, some of the exploration is strictly managed with a National Park Ranger as your guide. When visiting

Whether you drive to historic Silverton or take the narrow gauge train, this is a great place to spend the day.

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The history of the Native Americans is rich in culture, architecture and art, as in this photo of Chaco Canyon. With National Park Rangers and tribal members sharing the stories, you and your kids will never be bored. Other historic sites include, Mesa Verde (between Mancos and Cortez), Crow Canyon, Canyon of the Ancients and Hovenweep.

these sites, take your camera, be respectful and leave only your footprints when you depart. Special Events Then, of course, each town in Southwest Colorado has its slate of fun events for the family. The event season usually runs from spring throughout the summer and into the fall. All of these hometown events make for a great day trip. One family favorite is always the 4th of July. Unlike big city events, you’re up close and personal where parades feature local groups (Scouts and such), antique cars, fire trucks and farm equipment, local farmers, and families on horseback with their horses decked out in red, white and blue. And then, there are the fireworks displays.

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Floating on a quiet section of the Animas River is not only a relaxing family activity, it’s right here in town.

One cautionary note about the fireworks: babies and dogs may not enjoy the noise and bright flashes in the sky. These suggestions represent the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” In fact, one could write a massive tome on the subject of day tripping and still not mention all of the great ideas and places to in the region. But, remember that you don’t have to get in the car for a fun day. The Durango area has plenty of biking and hiking trails, not to mention a scenic river with multiple personalities of its own to satisfy your cravings for fun in the water, all within easy reach. So pack up the kids and the family dog and spend a day exploring the region's countless outdoor attractions. And don't forget the sun block and insect repellant.

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 27


THE TYNER FAMILY: Serving Their Community Since 1883 Story by Dave Ohman

Ron Tyner Photo by Dave Ohman

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Mary Ellen Holly Tyner and George Henry Tyner,Sr. (1923)

The Tyner Family gathering at the wedding of George H. Tyner, Jr. and Elizabeth Banks Tyner.

Tyler izzie Bank L d n a r. J r, r) enry Tyne Ron Tyne George H (father of rt e b o R son with their

Historic photos courtesy of Robert and Calla Mae Tyner.

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 29

Many names fetch fond memories for locals whose families have a lengthy history in Durango. Since homesteading here in 1883, the Tyner name has been synonymous with ranching and community service.


iving on a portion of his grandparents’ ranch where Ron used to climb the trees, ride horses, and help chop the ice out of the horses’ watering troughs, Ron and Katie Tyner look at what they have built together, dedicating their lives to giving to others. Actually, the family’s sense of community spirit began in 1883. It all started when George Henry Tyner Sr., and his Irish-born wife Mary

Ron Tyner, an expert in gentle horse training, offers assurances to Bob who was born late last May. Photo by Dave Ohman

Ellen Holly, whom he met in Leadville while he was completing the rail line there. They arrived on the Florida Mesa in 1883 where George worked as the section foreman for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. They lived in what is called the “Section House,” which was built for the section foreman. Back then the northern edge of the Southern Ute Reservation was about 500 feet north of 30 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

that Section House. The railroad bridge is still there but is now used for vehicle traffic. After about three years with the railroad, they bought a ranch about ½ mile from the section station. As a consummate disciplinarian, as well as a natural leader, their children learned about hard work and responsibility at an early age. In 1903, as a sign of his self-discipline, George rebuilt their home in 4-5 months after it had burned to the ground. That house still stands near the intersection of

Banks, a woman with a similar background in family values. From that point forward, along with the day-to-day demands of their dairy and Hereford cattle operation, George Jr. also organized and coached baseball teams, was a water commissioner for 47 years, and an arbitrator for both the Animas and Florida districts, covering the territory on horseback until he acquired a Maxwell automobile in the early 1920s. A member of the school board, he still found time to teach Sunday school.

Four years ago, Phillip Cordova was hit with cancer, a stroke, and hip replacement and shoulder surgery, all in one year! As a lifelong cowboy, Phillip told the doctors he had “had enough of the stationary bike.” He was sent to Ron Tyner and Cadence Therapeutic Riding where he made remarkable progress. Photo by Dave Ohman

County Roads 222 and 510. George’s early community spirit was clearly evident when he volunteered to help build the Florida schoolhouse where the El Rancho subdivision is today. Refusing to help a neighbor in need simply was not an option. In 1885, with the birth of his son, George Henry Tyner, Jr., the torch was passed. Upon adulthood, he married Elizabeth

Robert Henry Tyner, was born on the ranch in 1915. After graduating from Durango High School, he went to Fort Lewis College and Colorado State University. Along the way, he married Calla Mae Baird. A native of Marvel and raised on the Florida Mesa, Calla Mae, born of sturdy stock, rode her horse to school and attended Durango High School. Her community-

oriented activities have been a perfect fit for the Tyner tradition of giving back to the land and the people. Together, they carried on the family tradition of helping local ranchers and farmers. With boundless energy and a desire to help others in need, they founded the La Plata Eye and Ear Foundation, a program to provide eyeglasses and hearing aides to those who could not otherwise afford it. One can only imagine the importance of this program in the classroom for students who are vision and/or hearing impaired. Robert also volunteered with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and was on a task force for the U.S. Forest Service. Calla Mae and Robert are still active in Kiwanis and the La Plata Eye and Ear Foundation. Their son, Ron Tyner, a life-long par-

Ron Tyner’s community activities include coaching baseball, soccer and basketball teams; president of Cadence Therapeutic Riding; as a Certified Horse Specialist; president of TherEx, another organization he started to empower others using horses; working with special-needs kids through Peaceful Spirits, Southern Ute Boys and Girls Club, and La Plata County Youth Services.

icipant in the Durango area, soldiers on with the community activism that has driven the family before him. His wife, Katie, a registered nurse equally driven to humanitarian endeavors, has been an ideal partner in their various community projects. Reflecting on all that they have accomplished and what remains ahead, Ron and Katie Tyner look at what they have built together, dedicating their lives to helping others. As Ron told me recently, he knows his grandfather would be proud of how the family land has contributed as a hub for community, charity, and philanthropy. Some traditions are worth preserving and the Tyner’s have kept the spirit alive with children and grandchildren already sharing the baton.

Katie and Ron Tyner pose with two of their prized paint horses. Photo by Kyla Jackson

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 31


COMPACT & CHIC ON A BUDGET Story and photos by Dave Ohman

A well-renown Pittsburg psychologist and her husband, a retired scout for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, knew they wanted to retire to the mountains near Lake Purgatory. After purchasing the land some years ago, they hired local contractor, Bob Rule, who had built several homes in the area including some large “trophy homes.� This particular log home design was chosen for its compact size, efficient use of space, and for their concerns about keeping within their budget.

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The living room and dining area combine as a great room with plenty of light and space.

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 33


ith a tight deadline while the couple were still home in Pittsburgh, Mr. Rule ordered the logs and all of the cabinetry, poured the foundation while the summer weather permitted, and built the house in time for his clients to move in for the holidays, on time and on budget. The couple has been overjoyed since they opened the front door for the first time, and everyone agreed that, Mr. Rule’s experience combined with two-way trust and long-distance communications were key components for the successful completion of this house. The master suite is upstairs and designed as an open loft to open the space while exploiting the view and the day-long natural light. Two guest bedrooms and a guest bathroom are located just off the hallway near the kitchen. With the kitchen and combined dining and living room areas, the interior still measured out to a cozy and efficient 1,800 sq.ft. The generously-sized, wrap-around deck is accessed from sliding doors on both sides of the fireplace. When the snow is gone, the deck is where most of the action takes place, especially with candlelight and a canopy of stars to warm the evening for the owners and their guests. The decor is a combination of some furniture they shipped from Pittsburgh plus, to give the home a decidedly Southwest theme, new furniture, lighting, fixtures and home accessories were purchased locally at La Bodega de Mexico. The couple has already become active in the community and looks forward to making this cabin their ultimate retirement home.

For construction details about this cabin, or to inquire about building a mountain home of your own, call Bob Rule at (970) 385-9118.

Above: This hand-painted ceramic sink and many other decor items were purchased from La Bodega de Mexico in Durango. Left: The stone fireplace is does a nice job of warming up the room on a cold winter day or evening. Above right: The dining area takes advantage of the natural light streaming in from the deck. Right: The loft master suite includes a full bath plus two reading areas with ample natural light flooding in. 34 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

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CASESTUDY: 1 DESIGN WITH WATER Story and photos (except as noted) by Chad White

Whether it’s the trickle of mountain stream headwaters, the turbulent roar of spring runoff eroding rock and cascading over falls, or the serenity of lily pads in a pond, many of us are drawn to the sights and sounds of water. Along the rocky riverbanks and muddy shores, most of us have contemplated the ubiquitous nature of water, its cycle and our own place within the flow. The presence of water in our environment can offer meditative balance.

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This waterscape is just one of the water features at this home overlooking Electra Lake. The cast bronze grizzly bear on the edge of the pond is one of several metal scuptures accenting the landscape including a couple of Dave Claussen’s giant metal pinecones. Photo by Dave Ohman

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 37

This pond on the edge of the stone patio, is integrated into a trickling waterfall along the steps to the patio. The combination of a quiet pond with the sounds of falling water create an inviting serenity.


ater, with its sounds, captured reflections and moods, is a dynamic element and one that brings a richer depth of life to any landscape. There are many ways to incorporate this element into your own landscape, from fountains, small reflective pools and Koi ponds, to larger ponds, streams and waterfalls. These waterscapes can aesthetically enhance your outdoor living area, while creating micro-environments, and even wildlife habitat. When planning to incorporate a water feature into a landscape, we should ask ourselves what we wish to achieve with the creation. Are we looking for a shady bench with a meditative fountain? Do we want to commune with fish, turtles and other wildlife around a pond? Are we trying to buffer the sounds of the busy world around us with a waterfall? 38 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

We should also consider the water budget and maintenance associated with a particular type of waterscape. Before you let the cost of water deter you, a water feature can be designed to use less water than required for some landscapes of an equal area. With wise design, engineering and construction, a waterscape can be created to meet any and all of these needs. However, the inverse is true as well. An

improperly designed and constructed waterscape can constantly loose water and grow excessive algae, with little or no chance of an easy fix. Managing running water in a technical and aesthetic way is a challenge to even the most experienced landscape designer. As with all crafts it is the hard earned years of experience that helps one avoid the many potential problems. Thankfully there are a handful of local retailers and builders qualified to help with the creation of a successful waterscape. The “pondless� water fountain is becoming one of the more popular backyard waterscapes. This is a fountain which appears to spring from nowhere and return to the ground below. This system often having a rock fountain as its centerpiece can be beautifully simple. A rock can be bored to issue water from the core. Rocks can be stacked or arranged to create a particular feeling. The fountain will set upon a bed of clean stone covering the water well and all

mechanicals below. This type of waterscape is one with the lowest maintenance. These fountains should be created to have as much interest as rock art with or without the water flow. This allows you to operate the fountain as desired and still have an interesting landscape element when the pump is off. The backyard pond, stream and waterfall is a desirable landscape element for many. These are dynamic systems requiring proper design for optimal aesthetics and maintenance. When creating small ponds and streams, it is beneficial to mimic nature both for aesthetics and for water quality. Use native, geologically appropriate material. Build your own rock outcrop. If you want a bend in a stream, provide the catalyst for that bend such as, a large rock, shrub or tree along the bank. Avoid the well-defined, swimming pool-style perimeter, allowing river rock to find their way onto land and plant material to migrate into the water. Creating the natural topography for a waterfall can be one of the biggest challenges. Avoid the barren perched pool. Provide context with a backdrop of elevated trees, shrubs, rocks and berms. When it comes to controlling water quality, these systems require some special measures. Avoid pools that are too small or too shallow. Create more vertical walls and less shallow pond edges, doing so can lend itself to fish habitat and aquatic planting pockets while minimizing a warm, shallow, algae breeding ground. Avoid stagnant water areas by creating a good flow of water throughout the system. Most importantly, provide the proper filtration. One of the most successful ways of filtering water in these water features is with a wetland or bog filtration system. This type of system allows you to filter the water while keeping the pump free of debris. This system utilizes both small rock as filter media and wetland plants as nutrient users. This combination can play a pivotal role in water quality and low maintenance. Waterscapes do not have to be an element to simply gaze at, but can be an additional way to interact with our environment. This can take place with the shady bench next to the fountain, a pathway and bridge over a stream to pull us through the landscape, a patio along waters edge or even raised stepping stones through a pond. The interaction with our waterscapes can be more utilitarian, as well. Often irrigation systems and ponds are interconnected. Rainwater and drainage collection and storage systems have the potential to be linked to waterscapes. For each individual situation there are advantageous and appropriate ways to interact with our waterscapes. With smart design and creative construction, a water feature can add value to your landscape and the home itself, as well as provide an aesthetic quality and the sense of natural harmony to our lives.



DURANGO, CO 970-247-0164

Chad White owns Genesis Land & Waterscape, Inc. in Durango. For more information, call (970) 259-5557 or, visit

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 39



“The mind is like an umbrella. It only works when it’s open.” - Anonymous

40 March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition

WHEN DESIGNERS AND CLIENTS COLLABORATE WITH OPEN MINDS, THE RESULTS ARE SPECTACULAR. Story by Paul Wilbert Photos by Dave Ohman When the owners, Doug and Annie Simonson, bought this historic property in the heart of the Animas Valley, the original farmhouse was still there. Rather than tearing it down, they kept it as a theme and, through their company, Classique Bilt Construction & Development, built the new house over and around the original. And since the property was no longer a farm, the Simonsons wanted to create an inviting landscape design that would provide an outdoor living space with privacy without losing the sense of space and views. So I was hired, along with Dave Schultz of Azteca Landscaping to convert the existing landscape into an experiential outdoor living environment while preserving the views of the valley, the cliffs and distant Engineer Peak. Along with the creative energy from all involved, the project’s success was also a result of the cross-pollination and unfettered collaboration. Here are some point-by-point examples of why the project was such a big success. >

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 41

When Doug and Annie Simonson bought this historic property in the Animas Valley, the pond was already there, but it neededmajor updating. Creative energy and open minds drove this project to its successful completion. Above: I suggested building this stream connecting the existing pond with other water features. The Simonsons easily visualized the changes and eagerly agreed to the idea. All the water for irrigation is pumped and filtered from the local ditch that runs through the property. Right: The existing pond was kept, with additional sandstone and plantings used to add color and soften the edges around it. One of the family’s two golden retrievers, Rufus, offers a welcoming smile on the new patio beside the redesigned pond. A dog’s life can be very good indeed. Opposite Page: The Simonsons agreed that the original waterfall was “contrived and dorky.” So it was demolished and rebuilt as shown here.

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he existing waterfall was totally contrived and dorky, so it was demolished and rebuilt. The existing pond was kept, and additional sandstone and plantings were used around it. Before the project, there wasn’t a place to hang out and enjoy the commanding view of Engineer Mountain. So a good-sized patio was located a reasonable distance from the house to take advantage of that view, as well as the pond and waterfall. The new patio now provides a spectacular view from the living room window while emphasizing the design of a symmetrical patio. The sitting wall was designed with a “double-bracket” configuration, allowing the view of Engineer Peak to slip between the two wall sections on the axis from the living room. The outdoor fireplace was placed at the pivot point between the pond and the axis view of Engineer, thus creating a good focal point without blocking the view. The pond and patio are surrounded on three sides by approximately two acres of irrigated turf creating a park-like atmosphere. No berms were used because they look like “mice under the carpet.” A mix of conifers was located to screen views of neighboring properties. Deciduous trees were planted to provide interest with spring flowering, fall color, and summer shade. Shrub beds were planned and planted so that views would be directed away from neighboring properties. These trees and plantings integrated perfectly into the waterscape and patio design so that one didn’t overpower the other.

The entire project was designed by landscape architect, Paul Wilbert, in collaboration with the clients, and constructed by Azteca Landscaping, Inc. of Durango.

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Our great 30-day reach of 86% is available to any business that runs their advertising in The Durango Herald weekday edition, Sunday edition and CM&B local market survey, June 2009.

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 43



S Sttoorry y aannd dP Phhooto to bby y

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Basic Tips On Choosing a Contractor

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oday's economic climate has presented you with the best possible time to improve your home and in doing so it most likely will improve your lifestyle in these trying times. Americans are spending more time at home now so improving your investment while adding comfort to your life and pride in ownership just might make sense. You’ve assessed your economic situation and weighed your options and thus determined that building your ultimate dream home from the ground up is probably out of reach, despite the fact that, locally and nationally, we're experiencing the lowest building costs in over a decade. Now that you’ve managed to budget what is appropriate and financially safe for upgrading your current home, where do you go from here? You’ve watched the HGTV network religiously for six solid months and, reflecting on one of last summer’s do-it-yourself projects, you've decided to let a professional turn your dreams into reality. But how do you start the process? There are two great ways to find the builder that’s right for you. Word of mouth remains one of the most reliable methods. Yet, with or without the referral, the internet has become a great tool for finding a local builder you can trust. A good homebuilder has built their

“brand” with consistent marketing and delivering on their promises. Overpromising and under-delivering has killed more businesses than an economic slowdown. Therefore, a builder's web site should not only have nice photos of nice homes, they should also include references you can contact. After all, your home is the single biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. This doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. Instead, it can, and should, be a positive one that can easily be achieved with proper planning, shared communication, and collaboration with your builder. With that in mind, here are five fundamental tips that should never be overlooked when committing to create a better home for you and your family. 1. Gather and organize your thoughts and ideas: Establish what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you’ve been collecting magazine articles and photos of what you like. Put those examples in a three-ring and, depending on the

project, label those sections for Master Bedroom, Kitchen, Bath-room, Family Room, Patio, etc. Add some sticky notes to tell your builder what you like about those particular photos. 2. Establish your budget but allow for wiggle room for the “unexpected”: Whether it’s a patio deck, a new kitchen makeover, or expanding the size of your home for an expanding family, allow for unforeseen conditions. Flexibility is important. Depending on how old your home is, the unexpected may arise such as a leaking roof, a crumbling foundation, dry rot in floor or ceiling joists, the discovery of leaking pipes and faulty electrical. This may sound daunting, but building safety codes have changed over the years so you’ll want to invest in those improvements, especially if you plan to sell your home someday. Allow for the unexpected. An experienced builder understands current building codes and can accurately estimate those costs as needed. So keep an open

mind and don’t let your expectations trump the reality of budgets and timing. 3. Select the right builder before designing: Your bank’s loan department, insurance companies, and local building officials can all point you in the right direction in selecting safe and stable teams to interview. Another great source is, the “Ask the Builder” column under Dear Hammer Head at the Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado web site at: 4. A few important questions to ask potential build teams: How do they select and contract subcontractors? How do they protect your property while on site? How do they bill their customers? Are they financially stable to cover the project’s costs without needing a check from you every week? Your builder will advise you along the way on how the project is working with the budget. Have they ever been taken to court?

March 28, 2010 - Durango Living Spring Edition 45

This recently completed bedroom addition and large rear patio required a garage roof to be surgically removed in just three weeks with four men with no weekend work allowed. Though it’s not rocket science, we just took the six weeks ahead of the start day to have the roof trusses and specialty custom beams and windows ordered and sitting on the local loading docks ready for delivery to the site. Before any of the construction process began on this fast-track project, cabinets, paint and other finishes, and flooring materials, were selected and ordered, while all approvals with the County and design review committees were signed and ready to go.

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And, ask for a “snap shot” of their business model and philosophy. Don't be afraid, or intimidated, to talk about fees and contract methods or preferences. These are not “secrets of the reef.” So, of course, check their resume and references. Ultimately trust your decision and then trust your builder like you would your doctor or mechanic. His goal is to diligently shop for you. After all, your positive word of mouth may mean another project for him in the future. Whether you go with an architect, or choose a design-build contractor, bring your building contractor into the project at the beginning. Architects and designers are generally up to speed on current construction technology and costs. But, when it comes to eliminating unnecessary “surprises,” it’s all about collaboration and communication between the homeowners, designer and builder. Choose your contractor wisely based on the recommendations of several clients. They can tell you about their experience with him. Unfortunately, choices made solely on the lowest bid usually translate into unnecessary cost overruns, and you don’t need those surprises, during, or at the end of the project. 5. Planning, Planning, Planning: When a great idea becomes the approved idea, you don’t want to experience any cost overruns due to a lack of planning. The dynamics of planning and building a successful project rely on the convergence of expectations and design coordinating with the budget and building costs. 6. Be diligent and flexible with the finish selection process: The right builder will have a detailed list specific to your design that will outline all the owner selections that need to be made. Depending on your terms with the builder, he may or may not help with this process. Most firms are offering their services to minimize this sometimes daunting task. From stain and paint colors to wood textures and species to flooring and door knobs, the options are endless. Sometimes you may have a friend that has offered their help here but understand the absolute key to a successful project is having every detail and product selected and ordered before you start the construction process. We are most certainly disrupting your life if you live in the “construction zone” of your home so help us help you. The right builder will take you through the entire process, but if you take an active roll in the collaborative process, you are assured of a successful project.

Troy Dyer is President of Classique Bilt Development & Construction. For more information, call (970) 247.3333 or, visit

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THE OTHER SIDE OF DAVE MANLEY Story by Dave Ohman Photographs by Dave Manley


Above: Pictographs at Grand County, Utah (circa 2000BC). These images at Crow Foot Ledge were actually painted onto the rock using crushed hematite, a material that has defied erosion for more than 4,000 years. Opposite page: A Montezuma grainary located high above the valley floor.

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ave Manley is best known for his wizardry with stonemasonry. While acknowledged by his peers as one of the best in the business, he has also been nurturing his talents as a photographer. His photographs of historic Native America archeological sites have been getting a lot of attention over the past few years, or so. And now, a coffeetable book is in the works to be produced by the same printing company that has printed books, posters and calendars featuring the works of Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Dorothy Lange, and The National Geographic Society, to name a few. One would rightfully conclude, Mr. Manley is in good company. His current collection for the book covers sites in the Southwest and is on exhibit at the Dead Horse Point State Park Gallery in Utah. There was also a 10-month exhibit at the Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum. The ancient rock art is basically divided among petroglyphs (images “pecked” into the rock face), and pictographs (images that have been painted on the rock surface). Often, those pictographs have incorporated colors which have resisted fading and damage from the elements for thousands of years. Many of Mr. Manley’s photographs are the result of developing working relationships with the tribal nations and the National Parks Service which have granted him access to normally forbidden areas in the sacred sites.

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Story by Cody Reinheimer

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ow can we grow our own fresh food, providing an abundance of delicious nourishment? How can we create a beautiful “Garden of Eatin’” and have fun in the process? These are questions that may run through your mind if you are interested in growing your own food. While farming and gardening is often perceived as a solitary function, it can also be a wonderful social activity with family and friends outside in the fresh air. Lately, it seems like nearly every person I meet holds the ideal of "getting back to the land" and growing food. As a family or other group activity, many hands make for light work. So with a little cooperation we can be feasting on our homegrown salads in no time. That is why some friends and I have created a gardening cooperative. It all started with some neighbors coming together to say, “Hey, we all like gardening. Let’s share our energy and create more abundance together.” Then, other friends came on board and they, too, got excited about the possibility of learning about organic land stewardship, and having the opportunity to experiment together with friends. In the near future, we are also planning to host a Seed Exchange Party, inviting any and all who have seeds to exchange with one another, whether their seeds were purchased or collected. (For information on how to attend, contact me through the number or email listed at the end of this article.) The group is meeting weekly and very soon will be putting some of those seeds into pots to grow indoors until the snow melts and the soil thaws. In the meantime, we will plant the remaining space in our greenhouses and cold-frames. Much of that space has been growing cold-hearty greens. It is part of our goal to grow food year-round,

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which means planting the greenhouses in late summer and watering them through the fall and winter. Once spring warms up, we will be planting “starts” and seeds outside in established garden beds. As active composters, we’ll be planting in beds that we amended last fall with horse manure and finished compost. In some beds we added cardboard and woodchips in a sheet-mulching method, aimed at inhibiting weed and grass growth. Some weeds are actually amazing nutrient-rich food sources in themselves. We like to harvest and eat, or brew tea and juice with dandelion, mallow,

purslane, lamb’s quarter, thistle, and more. Generally, we like to harvest those weeds and put them to use for ourselves, or feed our chickens with them. Our egglayers have an insulated coop with a light on a timer that has kept them warm and happy, producing eggs for us all winter. We also feed the chickens compost from our kitchens. They, in turn, help us produce high quality, nutrient-rich, finished compost soil that we use as an organic fertilizer along with our own brew of compost tea in a project called, “GrassRoots Organic Lawn & Garden.” The methods I’ve outlined have cre-

ated an efficient and healthy food source for our families while adding to the fun of building our own “garden of eatin.’” And you can, too. We are committed to sharing our knowledge of organic gardening with you through education and implementation of organic land stewardship practices thus providing a world for “Healthy kids and Happy Honeybees.”

For any information or questions concerning anything in this article, please feel free to contact Cody Reinheimer at (970) 247-1773 or

A meal of organically-grown vegetables. Photo by Jerry McBride

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27 Alpine Lumber 19 Aspen Design Studio 46 Bank of Colorado 2

Bayfield Gardners

19 Budget Blinds 45 47 Closet Plus 15 Creative Heating Solutions 39 Custom Touch Builders 21 DirectoryPlus 24 Durango Door & Cabinet 13 Earthscapes 3

Economy Nissan

37 Endless Energy 25 For the Birds 25 4Core 37 Genesis Land & Waterscape 39 Green Acres Lawn & Landscape 53 Home & Ranch Show 47 La Plata Electric Association 51 La Plata County Business Report 51 Lewis TruValue Mercantile 10 Little Paradise Landscaping 24 Louisa’s Moviehouse & Electronics 55 Mantell-Hecathorn Builders 15 McCormick Tile & Stone 7

Pagosa Home Furnishings

35 Phantom Screens 13 Purple Haze 35 ReDeau Furnishings 17 Waste Management 19 Water Works 11 Skywalker Construction, LLP 43 Sleep ‘N’ Aire 17 Vivid Color Painting

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Of Note


Mantell-Hecathorn Builders will host the 2010 Sustainable Building Education Program

In 2009, the Sustainable Building Education Program of SW Colorado was created and managed by Greg and Tara Mantell-Hecathorn, owners of MantellHecathorn Builders, Inc., with the generous support of local sponsors and administrative assistance from the local Homebuilders Association and the Four Corners Office for Resource Efficiency (4CORE). The Governor's Energy Office (GEO) provided matching grant funds through the Energy Star for New Homes program. The program featured over 29 green building training events with over 1400 attendees in 2009. The goal of the program is to increase public understanding and demand for energy efficient, durable, healthy residential and commercial buildings. 4CORE is administering the program in 2010 and the first half of 2011 through a matching grant from the GEO Energy Star program. Numerous local sponsors are continuing their support for the program, and 4CORE has gained the support of new sponsors to build upon the success of last year. 4CORE is expanding the program to hold events in Archuleta, Montezuma, and La Plata Counties. Continuing sponsors include MantellHecathorn Builders Inc., First National Bank of Durango, Alpine Bank, La Plata Electric Association, Home Builders Association of Southwest Colorado, and Alpine Lumber. New sponsors include Twin Buttes, Animas Drywall, Empire Electric Association, La Plata County.


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Durango Living Spring Edition 2010  

While we continue to showcase examples of home & garden concepts, the magazine now features the essence of the Durango lifestyle, especially...

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