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January 2016




January 2016 Glass pony created by Peg Brocker from Walden. Cover photo by



4 Viewpoint

20 Recipes

5 Letters

22 Gardening

 Electric co-ops start the conversation about net energy metering

Go hog wild for delicious pork tenderloins, ribs

6 Calendar


24 Outdoors

Co-op News

12 NewsClips 14 Co-ops Using Drones

Colorado artist surrounds herself with her art and the horses she loves


Martin Luther King Jr. Day bill was signed by President Ronald Reagan


Writer has second sighting of elusive, unexpected visitor

25 Energy Tips

High flying drones have the ptoential to benefit co-ops

16 Horse Crazy

Seasoned garderner shares her canning secrets


Extra content:

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This month’s online extras ➤ F IND more ways to enjoy winter on the website calendar ➤T  RY more delicious pork recipes ➤R  EAD previous outdoor columns

29 Funny Stories

➤D  ISCOVER great books in the book review section

30 Discoveries

➤ F IND more book reviews to enjoy


of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February, based on 2007-2011 annual averages

$5.899 average price per pound for bacon as of October 2015

The official publication of the Colorado Rural Electric Association || Volume 47, Number 01 COMMUNICATIONS STAFF: Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor@303-455-4111; Donna Wallin, Associate Editor; ADVERTISING: Kris Wendtland@303-902-7276,; NCM@800-626-1181 SUBSCRIPTIONS:

EDITORIAL: Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216; Phone: 303-455-4111 • Email: • Website: • Facebook: • Twitter: @COCountryLife Colorado Country Life (USPS 469-400/ISSN 1090-2503) is published monthly for $9/$15 per year by Colorado Rural Electric Association, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216. Periodical postage paid at Denver, Colorado. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 N. Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 Publication of an advertisement in Colorado Country Life does not imply endorsement by any Colorado rural electric cooperative or the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Editorial opinions published in Colorado Country Life magazine shall pertain to issues affecting rural electric cooperatives, rural communities and citizens. The opinion of CREA is not necessarily that of any particular cooperative or individual.


Starting a Conversation About Net Metering Electric co-ops have much to consider as they develop NEM policies BY KENT SINGER || CREA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR || KSINGER@COLORADOREA.ORG


Here’s a test. How many of you can define the term “net energy sufficient power to offset what they metering?” I bet those of you have installed rooftop solar panels consume and not become power supplior some other type of renewable energy source at your home ers. The bill also authorized the Colorado understand the term. Even if you haven’t installed solar panels Public Utilities Commission to establish and don’t intend to, net energy metering, or NEM, still impacts rules for member-owners’ interconnecyou as an electric co-op member. tions to co-op systems. Simply put, NEM is the mechanism whereby utility customers Over the last couple of years, many receive credit for the renewable energy that they generate from state legislatures and public utility comfacilities installed on the customer’s side of the meter. In most missions have been examining whether Kent Singer cases these systems are rooftop solar panels, but they can also be the existing rules for NEM are fair to wind generators, biomass, small hydropower or other sources of both the utilities and to the customers who are producing power renewable energy that a customer owns and maintains. on their own premises. In Colorado, our Public Utilities ComOver the course of a billing period, the amount of electricmission spent about 18 months examining NEM and considered ity produced by the member-owner’s renewable generator will testimony from many stakeholders. Last summer, the combe different from the amount of electricity from the co-op mission decided not to make any changes in the rules for net consumed by the member-owner. If the metering as they apply to the investor-owned member-owner uses more energy from utilities. the co-op than he or she generates, the The Colorado Rural Electric Association apmember-owner only pays for the “net” pointed a Net Metering Task Force comprised energy used from the co-op system. In this of eight Colorado co-op CEOs. Over the next scenario, the member-owner of the co-op year or so, the task force will take a look at the receives the retail value for each kilowattcurrent NEM law and develop policies and best hour generated from the on-site system. practices for co-ops to consider as they work If, on the other hand, the memberwith co-op member-owners across the state. owner’s renewable generator produces more These positions will not be binding, but they Net energy metering in electricity than he or she consumes in a are intended to assist the co-ops as they work given period, that energy goes out onto the with their member-owners in implementing most cases is from roofco-op system and is used by other memberNEM in the co-op service territories. top solar panels, but it owners. The co-op is required to give credit One of the critical questions is how NEM to the member-owner for this excess energy can be implemented without unfairly shifting can also be from wind produced, on a one-to-one basis, until the costs from those member-owners who wish to generators, biomass, small end of an annual true-up period. One of install renewable generators to those who do hydropower or other the key questions in the NEM debate is how not. The basic question is whether or not those to value any excess kilowatt-hours at the member-owners who choose to install generasources of renewable end of the true-up period. Under current tion on their side of the meter are paying their energy that a customer Colorado law, electric co-ops get to decide share of the fixed costs of operating the co-op how much to pay the member-owner for system. owns and maintains. this “net excess generation” or NEG. There are many complicated technical and Colorado’s electric co-ops support financial issues related to the topic of net the general concept of NEM (sometimes metering and I plan to discuss more of these referred to as just net metering). Back in 2008, we worked with issues in future columns. Colorado’s electric co-ops support a group of stakeholders to pass H.B. 08-1160, the legislation the integration of additional on site renewable power sources, that establishes the NEM rules for electric co-ops. H.B. 08-1160 and we want to treat all member-owners in a fair manner while basically requires that co-ops pay the retail value for energy recovering the costs of operating your co-op’s system. that is produced to offset the member-owner’s consumption, but the co-op is authorized to determine the value of the excess kilowatt-hours in the manner deemed appropriate by the co-op. The bill also places caps on the size of customer-owned renewKent Singer, Executive Director able generators so that co-op member-owners may only produce




[ letters] Two Views of a Cover The September issue (Rockestra) was a real departure from previous issues. Is this a move toward a hip and innovative publication? Perhaps an article in February’s issue should showcase Snowdown or Music on the Mountains in July. These are all great venues in southwestern Colorado and worthy of your attention. Congratulations to the citizens of Grand Junction for organizing an energizing musical performance.

Leetra Jurkens, Durango

You sent out a magazine with a satanic symbol on the front cover! Are you so naïve as to think that your customers do not know what this is? I do object to this cover. Use better judgment in the future.

Felecia Dinsmore, Pueblo West

Support for Keeping Rates Down In your December issue, one letter writer pens how unhappy he is with (Executive Director) Kent Singer’s position on the Clean Power Plan. Somehow, the letter writer has construed that it is Kent’s job to become an activist for the alternative electricity movement now in vogue in the elite Boulder/Aspen/Steamboat communities. I could not disagree more. As director of our electric trade association, Kent works his tail off and discloses his views about how he is focused on keeping prices down for customers. I appreciate his understanding of what I want my co-op to do.

Keith Fullmer, Roggen

Thumbs Up for Books Thank you for an interesting and informative magazine (November ’15). I look forward to reading it from cover to cover every time it arrives. As a retired public school educator of 39 years, I found this month’s magazine personally and professionally interesting. The articles (about books) were wonderful and the writing was excellent.

Barbara Keltner Mountain View Electric member

Thanks for the great write-up on my pack guides in the November Colorado Country Life.

Rod Martinez, Grand Junction




January January 7-9 Vail Big Beer Festival Vail Cascade Resort & Spa January 8-10 Denver Denver Boat Show Colorado Convention Center January 9 Denver Orchid Showcase Opens Denver Botanic Gardens January 9-24 Denver National Western Stock Show National Western Complex 866-464-2626 January 9 Greeley “Rapunzel” Theater Performance Union Colony Civic Center 7 pm • 970-356-5000 January 9 Lafayette Quaker Oatmeal Festival and 5k Walk/Run Various Lafayette Locations January 12 Bayfield Author Pam Houston Appearance Pine River Library 6 pm • 970-884-2222 January 13-16 Breckenridge Ullr Fest Various Breckenridge Locations January 14-17 Ouray Ouray Ice Festival Ouray Ice Park January 14-17 Telluride Fire Festival Telluride Mountain Village




January 15 Denver Pixar in Concert Boettcher Concert Hall 7:30 pm January 16-17 Durango Winterfest Purgatory Resort 970-247-9000 January 16-17 Estes Park Winter Festival Various Estes Park Locations 12-5 pm •

January 16-17 Copper Mountain Center Village, 9 am-4 pm To support the National Ski Areas Association’s Safety Awareness Month, Copper Mountain brings you Safety Fest. This event is designed to educate skiers and snowboarders about safety on the slopes with demonstrations, discussions and giveaways. For more information, visit

January 16 Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market Opera Galleria 9 am-1 pm

January 23 Monument Ice Fishing Tournament Monument Lake 8 am-1 pm

January 18 Cortez Free Admission Day Mesa Verde National Park 970-529-4461 •

January 24 Pueblo “The Producers” Theater Performance Pueblo Memorial Hall 3 pm • 719-295-7200

January 21-24 Beaver Creek Winter Culinary Weekend Various Beaver Creek Locations January 21-24 Golden Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering Miners Alley Playhouse/American Mountaineering Center 888-718-4253 January 22-24 Colorado Springs “Buyer & Cellar” Theater Performance Fine Arts Center 7:30 pm • 719-634-5581 January 23 Grand Lake Winter Carnival Various Grand Lake Locations January 23 Lakewood Wolf Full Moon Hike Bear Creek Lake Park 4:30-6 pm •

January 27 Pagosa Springs Local Appreciation Day Wolf Creek Ski Area 970-264-5639 January 27-31 Crested Butte Fat Bike World Championships 601 Elk Avenue January 28-31 Aspen Winter X Games Aspen Snowmass January 30 Grand Lake Groundhog Gala Grand Lake Golf Course Clubhouse 5:30-8 pm • 970-627-8324 January 30 Steamboat Springs Strings Music Festival Fundraiser with Fei-Fei Dong Strings Music Pavilion 7 pm


February 2 Berthoud Colorado Precious Metal Mining Presentation McCarty-Fickel Home 7 pm • 970-532-2147

February 4-5 Loveland “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, LIVE!” Theater Performance Rialto Theater Center 8 pm • 877-544-8499 February 5-7 Pueblo Eagle Days Various Pueblo Locations 719-227-5204 February 5 Pueblo Photography Show and Reception Rawlings Library 5 pm

SEND CALENDAR ITEMS TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE TO: CALENDAR Colorado Country Life 5400 N. Washington St. Denver, CO 80216 Fax to 303.455.2807 or email calendar@ Items will be printed on a space available basis. For more information on these and other events, visit


[White River] White River Electric Is Looking for the Next Generation of Leaders BY ALAN MICHALEWICZ | | GENER AL MANAGER | | AMICH@WREA.ORG


What do 1,700 high school students, our nation’s capital and electric cooperatives have in common? The Electric Cooperative Youth Tour, of course. Youth Tour was established with one thought in mind: to inspire our next generation of leaders. Since 1964, more than 50,000 young Americans have taken advantage of this special opportunity offered by their electric cooperative. And White River Electric Association has participated for decades. It all takes place in June, when hundreds of electric co-ops across the country send participants to Washington, D.C., for a chance to learn about the cooperative business model and enjoy a full week of sightseeing. While in D.C., participants have a chance to meet with their elected officials and discuss the issues that are important back home. Without a doubt, Youth Tour has grown into an invaluable program that gives young Americans an experience that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. In November, White River Electric’s essay contest to select local students to attend Youth Tour 2016 began. If you are a high school junior interested in traveling to Washington, D.C., to

experience the trip of a lifetime, please contact the co-op for more informaAlan J. Michalewicz tion. Perhaps you know exceptional students who would be great candidates for the program. If you do, please share this article with them for the next year. The process is simple — students must write a one-page essay on “Power” and submit it to the WREA office. The deadline for the 2016 Youth Tour was December 17. Youth Tour is so much more than a sightseeing trip. Students repeatedly share that this experience helped them grow into successful professionals. It has also benefited our local communities. Youth Tour participants return home with a deeper understanding and skill set of what it takes to be leader, and, as a result, they put these skills to use right here in our community. Help us find the next generation of leaders by sharing the Youth Tour experience with a promising student. For more information about the Youth Tour program, call 970-878-5041 or visit

Investors Concerned About EPA Plan’s Effect on Co-ops BY PAUL WESSLUND


The financial industry is keeping a close eye on how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will affect electric co-ops. The plan released last year proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions largely by cutting back on the use of coal to generate electricity. And that, says one of the leading Wall Street investment rating firms, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, “could hit some electric cooperative utilities hardest: As the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association reported, these utilities rely on coal for an average of 70 percent of their energy needs, compared with a national average for all utilities of less than 40 percent.” The emission reductions are scheduled to begin

in the year 2022 and be completed by 2030. Those deadlines could be delayed by lawsuits that were filed challenging the plan. On the positive side, co-op leaders and the financial industry agree that cooperatives showed good decision making that has put them in a strong financial position. They kept electric rates low but raised them when necessary, and they took advantage of the low interest rates of the past several years to lock in low rates for the future. “From both a credit quality and management perspective, there’s a lot of strength in the electric cooperative program — a huge asset in the current regulatory environment. We’re positioned well for future

stability,” says Sheldon Peterson, CEO of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation. “Our business motivation is different. Our objectives are not to maximize the rate of return, our objectives are to minimize costs to the members. That’s very positive for us and leads to competitiveness.” The S&P report states, “We expect them to use similar methods to maintain their credit quality as the EPA finalizes regulations that could, in our view, significantly influence the cost of providing electric service — and we’ll be watching to gauge their success.” Paul Wesslund writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.



[White River] Make Your New Year a More Efficient One


It is that time of year again: time to take down the holiday decorations, reflect on the past year and set goals for the new year. Start this year on the right foot by resolving to make energyefficient choices with these tips from the Energy Education Council. When it comes to resolutions, it is important to set a clear and achievable goal for yourself to reach by the end of the year. Whether you aim to reduce your energy use by 5 percent, save $150 more than last year or compete with your neighbor for more efficient energy use, choose a goal that works for you. Then it is time to identify where your home is losing energy by contacting a local home energy auditor or conducting an energy audit yourself by making use of an online energy audit tool. Although the latter method is not as thorough as an audit done by a professional, it can still help you pinpoint some of the easiest fixes and upgrades that can be done. Once you have concrete objectives, it is time to start making energy-efficient choices, whether it’s a quick fix or a long-term investment. One of the most inexpensive ways to be more energy

efficient is to make use of a power strip or smart strip. Televisions, computers and cell phone chargers continue to use electricity even when they are off, but this can be prevented with the flip of a switch if devices are plugged into a power strip. From a lightbulb to a refrigerator, upgrading outdated and inefficient appliances can help you save as well. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 30 percent of an average home’s energy usage comes from lighting and appliances. Make the switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs or, better yet, Energy Star-rated appliances to put a serious dent in your energy use. Weatherproofing your home can reduce your annual energy use by up to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This can include such minor jobs as installing weather stripping on doors and caulking around windows or bigger jobs like sealing air leaks and adding extra insulation in your attic. Finally, check your furnace filter regularly and replace it if it is dirty. A clogged filter can slow the flow of air and reduce the efficiency and life of your furnace.

For more information on how to reach your energy efficiency goals, visit


ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 958 Meeker, CO 81641-0958 STREET ADDRESS 668 Market Street Meeker, CO 81641 970-878-5041 [phone] • 970-878-5766 [fax] [web] BOARD OF DIRECTORS William H. Jordan, president Hal W. Pearce, vice president Richard L. Parr, secretary Stan B. Wyatt, treasurer Gary H. Dunham Ronald K. Hilkey Richard R. Welle Alan J. Michalewicz, general manager

Hot Tub Tips Any electrical outlets within 20 feet of a hot tub should be equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI monitors the flow of electricity in a circuit. If there is an irregularity of electrical flow, the power is cut off, preventing an electric shock. GFCIs are recommended anywhere water and electricity may meet.

“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”

— Will Rogers






When winter temperatures drop and storms hit, it can be challenging to stay safe and warm. Winter storm severity varies depending on where you live, but nearly all Americans are affected by extreme winter storms at some point. White River Electric Association cares about your safety and wants you to be prepared. Heavy snow and ice can lead to downed power lines, leaving co-op members without power. During extremely low temperatures, this can be dangerous. During a power outage our crews will continue to work as quickly and safely as possible to restore power, but there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. ❅ STAY WARM — Plan to use a safe alternate heating source, such as a fireplace or wood-burning stove. These are great options to keep you and your loved ones warm, but exercise caution when using an alternative source and never leave the heating source unattended. If you are using gasoline-, propane- or natural gas-burning devices to stay warm, never use them indoors. Remember that fuel- and wood-burning sources of heat should always be properly ventilated. Always read the

manufacturer’s directions before using. ❅ STAY FED — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends having several days’ supply of food handy that does not need to be cooked. Crackers, cereal, canned goods and bread are good options. Five gallons of water per person should also be available in the event of an extended power outage. ❅ STAY SAFE — When an outage occurs, it usually means power lines are down. It is best not to travel during winter storms, but if you must, bring a survival kit along and do not travel alone. If you encounter downed lines, always assume they are live. Stay as far away from the downed lines as possible and report the situation to our dispatchers by calling 970878-5041, if possible. Winter weather can be unpredictable and dangerous and planning ahead can often be the difference between life and death. White River Electric is ready for what Mother Nature has in store and wants you to be ready, too. For more winter safety tips, visit Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.



Some people argue that leaders are born, not made. While it’s true that some people are born with certain traits that make them more comfortable in leadership roles, all great leaders need help developing their skills. Many others who might not be perceived as “natural” leaders can become exceptional leaders if given the right coaching and an opportunity to shine. What if a high school student in your life — a child, a grandchild or the nice kid down the road who’s always willing to help out a neighbor — had the opportunity to participate in a nationally recognized leadership program? What if previous participants of that program went on to serve as elected officials or as the CEO of one of the most profitable, innovative and highly respected companies in the world? What if that program was available at no cost to the student? For members of Colorado’s electric cooperatives, these aren’t hypothetical questions. Every summer, more than 1,700 bright and talented high school students from across rural America converge in Washington, D.C., for the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour. These young men and women represent our next generation of leaders. They are the people who will make our communities better places to live and lead businesses that will provide good jobs and valuable services. Participants in the Youth Tour spend a week in Washington, D.C., where they will: • Learn about electric cooperatives and the cooperative business model

• Spend a day on Capitol Hill, with face-to-face meetings with their senators and representatives • Visit monuments and memorials • Explore museums • Build lifelong friendships with other young leaders from across the country This isn’t just a field trip to Washington, D.C. It’s a transformational experience that shows students the power of democracy and the importance of leadership. Youth Tour boasts many distinguished alumni, including Apple CEO Tim Cook who represented Baldwin Electric Membership Corporation in Summerdale, Alabama, on the 1977 Youth Tour. In a commencement address to George Washington University’s Class of 2015, Cook cited Youth Tour as a moment that helped shape his view of the world. This experience is offered at no cost to the student or family. The only out-ofpocket expenses are for incidentals, such as souvenirs and snacks. Electric cooperatives have sponsored the Youth Tour for more than 50 years because we believe it is our responsibility as not-for-profit, community-based organizations to invest in our next generation of leaders.



[White River] Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold on Generator Safety


Those who use generators must be mindful of such risks as electric shock and toxic exhaust. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than half of the annual accidents with generators occur between November and February, the coldest months of the year. Safe Electricity provides tips on the safe preparation and operation of generators this winter. Since generators come in a variety of sizes, capacities and power sources, begin by reading and following all manufacturer instructions. Also, before you use a generator, inspect it for damage. If no damage is found, prepare it for use in an area outside of the home and away from dangerous or wet conditions. Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, always run the machine outdoors as carbon monoxide levels may be fatal within minutes in enclosed areas. Be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. If you suspect that someone exposed to carbon monoxide, move him or her into fresh air immediately. It is also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s guide for proper placement and test the batteries regularly. Carbon monoxide produced by generators is not the only hazard from generator use. If you are not careful with the preparation of a portable or standby generator, you can put the lives of others in danger because of backfeed. Backfeed is a situation where a generator is feeding electricity back through your electrical system and meter into the power lines. This jeopardizes the safety of line crews working to restore power, as well as any-

one who may be near the downed or sagging line that becomes energized. To prevent backfeed, standby generators should have a transfer safety switch installed by a professional. This device automatically separates your home system from the utility system. Portable generators should never be plugged directly into a home outlet or electrical system. Use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord to plug appliances into an outlet on the generator for power. Your generator should have more output than the wattage of the appliances you will plug into it. Be sure to keep pets and children a safe distance away. When the generator needs a refill on gasoline, first reduce flammability by turning off the machine for at least 10 minutes so that fumes can dissipate.

For more winter safety tips, visit

Energy Tip

If you only want to heat or supplement inadequate heating in one room, small space heaters can be less expensive to use than your central heating system. Source: 10






Magazine Says Goodbye to Longtime Editor/Designer


Colorado Country Life Associate Editor Donna Wallin is retiring at the end of January. For 19 years, Donna has been an integral part of publishing this magazine for your electric co-op. With a strong background in desktop design and printing, Donna came to work for the communications department of the Colorado Rural Electric Association in September of 1997. Since then, she helped plan, design and put together an average of 15 versions of Colorado Country Life each month. (One version for each of the subscribing co-ops.) Today, there are 17 subscribing electric co-ops, which creates an additional 68 pages of information, photos and articles that she is responsible for designing and/or overseeing each month. Through the years, Donna won numerous awards for her work, including awards for the covers she created and the design of the magazine. Judges for these contests have said, “These are the best covers I have judged so far in the competition,” and “Strong covers are a strength of this publication. A nice job of

design and editorial flow makes the statewide and local (co-op) pages work together.” Donna also been a pivotal part of many other projects for the communications department at CREA, including the annual directories, meeting and educational class materials, marketing programs, brochures and postcards and more. She also led the bicycle team for Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives as they rode in Pedal the Plains the last four years. And Donna enjoyed meeting many co-op members and loyal readers of Colorado Country Life during her frequent attendance at co-op annual meetings around the state. She will be missed greatly.

Co-op Power Supplier Supports Conservation Award


Colorado is looking for agricultural landowners who have showed outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources for the Leopold Conservation Award. Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which supplies electricity to 18 of Colorado’s 22 electric co-ops, is a major sponsor of the award along with American AgCredit, DuPont Pioneer, The Mosaic Company and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Applications are being accepted through March 8 for the award given in honor of conservationist Aldo Leopold. It includes a $10,000 award plus recognition for private landowner voluntary conservation. In his influential 1949 book A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.” “Ranchers are the original environmentalists. The Leopold Conservation Award recognizes a long history of caring for the land, while rewarding ranchers who are excelling in their holistic approach of stewardship,” said Bob Patterson, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association president. The award is presented annually in April by Sand County Foundation, the Colorado’s Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Tri-State G&T and American AgCredit.




Better Lightbulbs Saving Energy People switching their old incandescent lightbulbs for new light emitting diodes, or LEDs, and upgrading their washing machines and air conditioners have done more to reduce carbon emissions than all of the wind, solar and natural gas was recently added to the electricity system. That according to a study by Wood Mackenzie LTD. Carbon emissions from generators of electricity fell by 15 percent in 2013 from 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And as those who predict the demand for energy in the future look ahead, they are now taking into account this change in lighting. Lighting accounts for 5 percent of a home’s energy budget, and switching to more efficient bulbs is one of the fastest ways to cuts those costs. LEDs use 75 to 80 percent less energy than incandescents and last 25 times longer. They will account for 83 percent of the lighting market by 2020, according to the EIA. Lower demand forecasts mean utilities will need to have less power generating capacity, and that can mean costs will not go up as fast for energy consumers.


More Solar for Low-Income Families


A Western Slope electric cooperative is expanding its solar farm to benefit low-income families in its area. Grand Valley Power in Grand Junction has again joined with GRID Alternatives Colorado, the nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, to expand the co-op’s solar array along Interstate 70 in Grand Junction. Last May, GVP and GRID switched on 29 kilowatts of solar power in the country’s first-ever solar garden dedicated exclusively to serving low-income households. The goal of the project was to offset electricity bills for families in need, allowing them to be able to afford their electric bills in the long term and have more resources to take care of their family’s other needs. The project partners originally worked with eight families to utilize the capacity of the array. Ten additional families were on the wait list to participate in the program. With additional support from the HDR Foundation, the solar farm has

Volunteers install solar panels at Grand Valley Power’s solar farm.

increased 300 percent in size from 29 kW to 100 kW. This will allow 20-25 more families to participate. The goal is to save each household $500-$600 per year in electricity costs. Brenda Lange and her partner Herb Sanders were among the first participants who subscribed to the array earlier this year and are excited to see more families benefit from this innovative solar project. “Every month our energy bill seemed like it was getting higher, and when you live on a fixed income, you can’t afford that,” said Brenda. But now, the solar farm subscription helps them save about 50 percent on their electric bill. “We can apply the savings to our other bills, keep fuel in the car and buy groceries,” Herb said.

As an electric co-op, GVP is pleased to be able to bring more renewable energy onto its system in a way that benefits those members who can use the help.

More Solar Stats to Be Made Available BY STEVEN JOHNSON

Solar generation is still just a drop in the electricity bucket but the federal government is starting to measure the bucket more diligently. The Energy Information Administration is stepping up its reporting of small-scale solar generation. The EIA now will calculate small-scale solar photovoltaic generation by state and sector, no small task considering the hundreds of thousands of small residential and commercial rooftop systems in place. That will give the number-crunchers a better grip on how much solar comes from roofs, in addition to community solar and utility-scale projects familiar to electric cooperatives. The initial estimate: about one-third of the 3.6 million megawatt-hours of solar generation in September 2015 came from small-scale PV, EIA reported. “Although EIA has provided annual estimates of capacity and generation for small-scale PV systems at the national level in the Annual Energy Outlook for many years, it has not previously developed monthly state-level estimates for small-scale PV that could be integrated with EIA data for utility-scale generation and capacity,” the agency reported. Total U.S. solar generation still lags behind most other power sources, representing about 1 percent of electric generation, though it is growing at a fast clip. There was a nearly 30 percent jump in U.S. distributed PV generation between September 2014 and September 2015, according to EIA. The bulk of the small distributed PV capacity is in California, which has 3,057 megawatts, or about 40 percent of the nation’s total. New Jersey is an unlikely second at 793 MW. EIA attributed that to consistent state solar PV policies and incentives. Arizona, Massachusetts and New York round out the top five for distributed solar PV capacity. To estimate small-scale solar PV at the state level, EIA developed methods that use the data it collects from electric utilities and third-party owners in conjunction with other information. The reports will be available in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. —




Flying a drone over an area can capture detailed images of the situation and help a co-op dispatch the right crews with the right materials to the right location.

How Electric Co-ops Could Put Drones to Use BY TOM TATE


Drones are in the news — a lot. Apart from military uses, commercial applications are growing. Amazon wants to use drones to deliver your packages. There is a rumor of a northern Minnesota retailer wanting to use them to deliver beer to ice fishermen. Farmers are testing them for crop management. So, will drones someday find a home working for your co-op? It’s likely. But first, a little history. The first recorded use of drones for warfare occurred on August 22, 1849, when Austria attacked Venice, Italy, using unmanned explosive-laden balloons. Since then, military applications drove most of the advances. Drones are a perfect solution when you need to access information about areas that are either hard to reach or dangerous. Drones are more properly known as




unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, and are either autonomous or remotely piloted. Autonomous models follow a preprogrammed flight plan, whereas a licensed pilot flies the RP vehicle from a remote location. This remote location can be half a world away in military applications. For commercial use, significantly shorter distances are involved. Regardless of operation type, modern drones are either fixed-wing or rotary models.

But how can your co-op use a drone? Assessing storm damage springs to mind. A helicopter or airplane can be used instead, but these options suffer from two issues. First, they are likely to be grounded for some time following the storm for pilot and crew safety. Co-op crews are in the field as soon as possible, often in the

midst of the storm. Second, these alternative aircraft are expensive to operate. So with ground access frequently blocked by debris or flooding, getting a comprehensive assessment of damage is both time consuming and dangerous. Flying a drone over the area can capture detailed images of the situation and help the co-op dispatch the right crews with the right materials to the right location. This kind of intelligence gets members’ lights back on faster. Drones have significant potential in preventive maintenance. Programmed to fly over far-flung transmission and distribution lines using the co-op’s mapping data, a drone camera can record the route and return with an assessment of potential tree or vegetation problems. By integrating global positioning system

[industry] data, the exact areas needing attention are pinpointed and crews are then dispatched to correct the issues. This eliminates a lot of time and expense patrolling lengthy rights-of-way. Anticipating privacy concerns, drones will be programmed to fly specific routes as mentioned above. They won’t be looking at meters or the service wires from the pole to homes and businesses. Most video and other photographic data will never be seen by a human operator. It is simply too time consuming, especially when the co-op is restoring an outage. Software will analyze the imagery and identify potential problem areas for additional human interpretation. Further applications include equipping the drone with an infrared camera to search for hot spots on power lines or inside substations. Many co-ops use handheld IR devices for just such purposes today. With a drone, they could cover far more area at a much lower cost. Problems could be solved before causing an interruption to your service.

Drones have significant potential in preventive maintenance. Programmed to fly over far-flung transmission and distribution lines using the co-op’s mapping data, a drone camera can record the route and return with an assessment of potential tree or vegetation problems. The use of 3-D imaging to assess the condition of poles and towers in hard-toreach areas is a possibility. Likewise, the impact of construction on wildlife could also be monitored if required by government agencies. Once in widespread use, you can be sure many more applications will develop. Delivering light materials to field crews? Pizza? However, getting a drone in the air is

not a trivial matter. Since recreational use of drones has created some issues, the Federal Aviation Administration is regulating their use for commercial activities. The co-op needs to get approval from the FAA to operate a drone and the pilot has to be FAA licensed and backed by dedicated and certified ground support. This will keep drones out of regular airspaces and away from sensitive areas. While the FAA was directed to streamline and expedite approvals for commercial drone use (the latest approval took exactly 90 days), getting ready to apply takes a lot of time and effort. Finally, drones capable of utility tasks can be expensive, ranging from a few thousand to half a million dollars. As with all technology electric cooperatives investigate and deploy, drones — if they prove to be a feasible option — would be used to reduce operating costs and increase reliability. These amazing craft have significant potential to do both. Tom Tate writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.



Gordon and Peg Brocker stand among some of their beloved horses on their Walden ranch.


y z a r C BY H E L E N W I L L I A M S



Frostys Charmer

Peg Brocker knows she is one of the lucky ones. In love with horses, she breeds and trains them and is able to express her passion for them by creating beautiful, unique pieces of art. Her colorful and whimsical fused glass horses are the most sought-after of her varied artworks. Peg Brocker sits in her studio, where the magic begins.

“All the things I know and see in live horses I exaggerate and put in my glass horses — the variety of colors and personalities and how beautiful they are and the differences,” Peg said recently, perched on a stool in the cozy studio on her ranch. “My glass horses are each unique and I see that in live horses, too, when I’m training. Three horses of the same color look completely different to me — like a rancher can see the differences in his black cows. I want all my glass horses to have that kind of personality.” Peg has learned a lot about horses in the 36 years she has lived in the West.

Longing for the West “When I was a teenager, I always wanted to go to the mountains and the cowboy thing was really cool to me,” Peg said. “I started liking horses in high school — I had a couple friends who had horses and we used to ride a lot and I loved it. When I started college, I chose the University of Wyoming so I could get out West. I liked the wide open spaces and knew I didn’t want to live near a city. “When our vaca“I came out by train from Chicago. My dad was a huge train buff, and tion ended, I quit it was the easiest way to get out here my job in Illinois with my stuff. I was excited to finally and moved out be coming west and it was really cool on the train, watching the landscape here,” Peg said. change and those majestic mountains “I fell in love with rising ahead of us. Then in 1979, I came back to Colorado, with a girlthe area — it’s friend, a road trip,” Peg said. pretty and the “(My friend) had friends in Colopeople were rado Springs that we stopped to see, and my brother had friends in Gould friendly.” that we stopped to see. We were going to stay overnight but stayed three days, and in those three days, I got a job at the Gould Cookhouse,” Peg recalled. “I didn’t apply for the job.

My brother’s friend worked at the Gould Cookhouse and we hung out there. The owner asked me if I wanted a job. “When our vacation ended, I quit my job in Illinois and moved out here,” she said. “I fell in love with the area — it’s pretty and the people were friendly.” After the stint at the Gould Cookhouse, where she waited tables, bartended and helped with the baking, she took on many odd jobs in Walden: painted houses with an all-woman crew, worked on the town maintenance crew and did some bartending, anything to be able to stay in the North Park area of north central Colorado.

The Art of Horses Peg majored in art (and geology) in college and soon after her move to Colorado she began painting in pastels and watercolors. She noted that when she sold her first pieces in the ’80s, she wasn’t really trying. “Someone saw something and admired it and I said, ‘You want to buy it?’ I never thought much about selling it. Artists are all about the process, doing it.” It wasn’t until the Green Otter Gallery opened in Walden in 2006 that Peg brought out her paintings of cows, horses and rural scenes for public display. She discovered an affinity for fused glass art a few years ago when she signed up for a workshop put on by an artist in Lara[continued on page 18]



[continued from page 17]

mie. “It just took one time making fused glass items and I fell in love with it,” Peg said. “I went home and dreamt about it. “For a year, I went back and forth to Laramie to work with (the artist) and use her kiln and materials. Finally, I started buying my own glass. I eased myself into it.” Now, in Peg’s studio, the air is filled with light filtered through her fused glass creations. There are horses, sun-catchers, dipping bowls, plates, jewelry — anything one can imagine made out of fused glass. “I used to work the glass in the house and afterward everything had to be put away and the house cleaned up; a real pain. Then a few years ago, Gordon (her husband) built a small studio for me in the barn. Now I have a place for all my material and equipment and I don’t have to put it all away every time.” The colored glass Peg works with comes in 4-foot-square sheets, which she then cuts into 2- by 2-inch or 1- by 1-inch pieces. Different kinds of glass melt at different rates — but this glass has to all melt at the same rate. She buys it at The Glass Warehouse and it is specifically made for fusing. She cuts it with a glass cutter for straight pieces or a mosaic cutter for random shapes. Peg has her own small four-program kiln. There are different firing schedules; it’s computerized so she doesn’t have to sit and watch it. The segment she uses for glass goes up in 300 degree increments until it gets to 1,150, holds it for five minutes, and then goes up until it gets to 1,460 degrees. That’s the temperature she uses to get glass completely flat. For the horses and the plates, it then goes in the kiln at a cooler temp to make the glass slump and the legs or plate edges drop down into a mold. “A lot of my art, I’d get thinking about things, and a lot of it is subconscious,” Peg said. “Sometimes I start dreaming ideas and wake up and write them down. I had a vision, an idea, of how these horses would look, and they have turned out pretty close to what I envisioned. This beautiful landscape and the horses I paint, my own horses, are beautiful. I try to express that beauty in glass. Animals in a landscape add a lot, and it adds that Western flavor without adding cowboys. Sometimes I see a scene in my daily work that I want to capture; sometimes I get an idea of something I’d like to do and go out and look for a scene. “It’s hard to talk about it,” Peg said pensively. “That’s why promoting it is so hard. I can’t articulate a lot of this, I just express my feelings in my art. It doesn’t always make sense; weird ideas pop in my head and I have a new idea. I don’t know if there is an explanation for how it evolves; maybe that’s the artist in me. If I’m talking to another artist, it’s more about process and materials, equipment.”



Peg displays a variety of her glass art.

Horse Inspiration Peg’s inspiration for her glass horses comes from the horses she and her husband, Gordon, raise on their 65-acre ranch just outside Walden. They married in 1987 and started raising horses that year but decided to do it as a business in 1993 when they were living in Montana. They named it Brocker Quarter Horses and moved it back to Walden in 1995. Gordon works with Sessions & Sons, a construction company in Walden, but helps Peg with the horses on weekends. He is from a pioneer ranching family that homesteaded in North Park in the late 1800s. “After we got married we decided to breed one mare — Gor-

Peg’s work is available at Circle Seven Fine Arts in Steamboat and at her studio in Walden. She has a Facebook page at https:// PBArt-589181021165081, or she can be reached via email at

don had done it before — and then decided to do it again,” Peg explained. What she didn’t know about caring for horses, Gordon helped to teach her. Half of their small ranch is in hay, enough to feed during the winter, depending on how many horses they have. (The most they’ve had was 21; currently they have 13, counting the three new foals born this year, Sprite, Jingle and Red Rover, one colt and two fillies.) Generally, the mares deliver without help, and Peg and Gordon step in only if there is a problem or if the mare is having a hard time. Mares, unlike humans, don’t transfer any antibodies through the umbilical cord, so the foals are susceptible to everything until they can get the protection from the colostrum, the mare’s first milk. The first thing Peg does is treat their navels with iodine or Nolvasan and keep them clean until they get some colostrum. Mares carry for 11 months, so the Brocker mares are bred in May and deliver the following April. Peg keeps the foals penned with their mothers for the first few days, especially since the spring weather in North Park is so unpredictable and Red Rover the foals’ little bodies

don’t regulate heat well. North Park is known for its cold winters and unpredictable springs, but Peg said the climate isn’t a problem. “What we do for our horses is ideal for the horses: leave them outside. They have shelter, they have windbreaks when they need it. Makes them tough and they are meant to be outside. When they’re kept inside, horses develop respiratory problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder problems.” And when the foals are new, “We get our hands on them, because we imprint train them,” Peg said. “When they’re first born, we do a lot of handling, touching them all over, getting them used to people. You need to keep doing that for days. The first day I go out three or four times and handle them. The second day we put a halter on them, pick up their feet. All the things they are going to have to get used to we do when they’re just born. “We’ve bred back four of our mares this year,” Peg said. “They have a foal heat usually five days after delivery. Some ranchers breed them during that heat. We like the mare to have that four weeks of cleaning, while things inside get straightened up, before we breed them again.” Frostys Charmer is their stallion, a majestic red roan they bought when he was 2. He is now 19 and they plan to keep breeding him as long as possible. “We are now looking for a replacement,” Peg said. “We’re thinking about using one of ours if we get a perfect colt, one we like. In case we don’t, we’re shopping around.” It is Peg’s ideal life as she works with the horses and colts in the spring and summer and with her art the rest of the year. She knows she is lucky to be surrounded by the horses she loves and live in the West as she always dreamed she would. Writer Helen Williams, a member of Mountain Parks Electric, loves sharing the stories of her multitalented neighbors in Jackson County. This is her third article for Colorado Country Life.



[recipes] Photo courtesy of PEPCID

Pig Out on Pork Products Recipes you will go hog-wild over


Tender splendor To avoid overcooking, use a meat thermometer when cooking pork. Most pork products are ready to be eaten when the internal temperature reaches approximately 145 degrees.


Bacon, chops, ribs, tenderloin — they’re all American fan-favorites. In fact, Americans consume approximately 50 pounds of pork per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Packed with protein, zinc and B vitamins, pork has substantial health benefits, when eaten in moderation of course. In honor of the National Western Stock Show, we’re highlighting “the other white meat” with recipes you’ll want to share … or hog to yourself.

Cornbread-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin 7 slices thick-cut hickory smoked bacon, divided 3 tablespoons butter
 1/4 cup apple cider
 3/4 cup cornbread stuffing mix 1/3 cup chopped red cooking apple 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted 1 peppercorn-and-garlic-seasoned pork tenderloin

Ready or not? Let your pork sit out of the refrigerator for a bit before cooking. While getting the inside to the ideal temperature, the outside will overcook if the meat is too cold.




Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 3 slices bacon into 1⁄4-inch wide slices. In medium saucepan, cook over medium heat until crisp; drain. Leave 1 tablespoon grease in pan. Add butter and apple cider; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in cooked bacon, stuffing mix, apple, cranberries and pecans. If needed, add additional cider to moisten stuffing. Place remaining slices of bacon about 2 inches apart down center of 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheet. Cut down center of tenderloin but not all the way through; lay flat on top of bacon slices. Spoon stuffing down center of tenderloin; wrap bacon slices around tenderloin, overlapping on top. Secure with wooden picks. Bake 40-45 minutes until internal temperature of stuffing reaches 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Photo courtesy of Smithfield

Ribs With Homemade Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce 4 1/2 pounds pork ribs Salt and pepper 1 package (6 ounces) fresh raspberries 3 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the peppers 1 tablespoon tomato paste from a tube 5 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 tablespoons light brown sugar 1 tablespoon soy sauce 3 cloves garlic, peeled 2 tablespoons water Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place ribs on roasting pan and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook for 20 minutes. Flip ribs and cook for 20 more minutes. While ribs are cooking, combine remaining ingredients in blender and pulse on high. Once thick, scrape into bowl. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and baste ribs with sauce. Cook for another hour. Repeat twice, basting once an hour. Serve with extra sauce on the side. Visit for more delicious pork recipes.

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberries, Shallots & Apples 2 pork tenderloins (2 pounds) sea salt or kosher salt, to taste freshly ground black pepper, to taste 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 12 medium whole shallots, peeled 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch thick slices 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped 1/2 cup burgundy cooking wine 3/4 cup cranberry juice 1/4 cup dried cranberries Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season pork tenderloins with salt and pepper. In large skillet over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add tenderloins one at a time and brown well on all sides. Transfer to mediumsize, nonreactive baking pan. Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Stir in shallots and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer shallots to baking pan. Add apples to skillet and brown on all sides. Transfer apples to small bowl and set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in skillet and add garlic and thyme. Cook garlic until golden, then pour in cooking wine. Bring wine to a boil, scraping brown bits at bottom of pan. Add cranberry juice and cranberries. Bring back to a boil, then pour liquid over pork in baking pan. Transfer baking pan to oven, cover and braise for 15 minutes. Add apples to pan, cover and braise another 10-15 minutes, or until thermometer inserted into pork registers 155 degrees. Transfer pork to platter and return pan to oven for 10-15 minutes more, until shallots are tender. Cut pork into 1-inch thick slices and spoon shallots, apples and cranberry-wine sauce over pork.


Unplug when you can. Anything plugged into an outlet will draw electricity, even when the cord is not in use.

MORE Colorado Country Life?









Making Garden Goods Marvelous Year-Round Seasoned Highline Electric employee cans goods for good



Not many would put the words “canning” and “relaxing” in the same sentence, but Nancy Berges certainly does. Berges, who has worked at Highline Electric Association (in Holyoke) for over 51 years, cans 1,500 jars of food in an average year. “My record is 2,252 cans in a year,” said the woman who loves to give to anyone who asks and teach anyone willing to learn. Few would guess that Berges hated to help her mother can foods “with a passion” growing up, having to wash and scald dirty jars by hand. Over the years, however, family and community involvement have kindled a genuine enjoyment in the process for her, and great generosity in giving it away. Berges first began with canned fruits, when her husband, Raymond, was told he needed to reduce his sugar intake. From there, her recipe box gradually expanded to include a variety of Nancy Berges jellies, vegetables, pickles, meats, stews and pie fillings. “I can get a good meal for 10 people ready in 15 minutes,” said Berges of the contents of her pantry. And it’s an ability she takes advantage of often, entertaining friends, family and hunting parties. This year, the Berges family farm, now in its fourth generation, saw 15 friends and family members for opening day of “The absolute best hunting season, and Berges was sure to pull out all the stops pickles are when you keeping company fed. “The amount of food you go through pick the cucumbers in a weekend is unbelievable,” she stated, comparing hosting from the garden, take a hunting party to feeding a harvest crew. them in and process Her sons and grandchildren them immediately.” are avid hunters, accounting for some of her more unusual ­— Nancy Berges canned meats, such as antelope and wild boar. “One of my granddaughters got that boar with a 6-inch bowie knife,” she said proudly of the jarred meat, adding that boar doesn’t taste much different than pork. Between hunting, gardening and friends in the community with garden foods to share, Berges doesn’t have to buy much of what she cans besides fruit. Friends bring in their home-grown

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produce, she cans it and they split it, or else they share in both the harvest and the canning process. “The absolute best pickles are when you pick the cucumbers from the garden, take them in and process them immediately,” she shared. Her pickles in particular come from quite a special recipe, having been passed down from her mother in her final years. After her mother passed, Berges couldn’t bring herself to make pickles for a couple of years, and their return at the Thanksgiving table brought back sentimental memories for her siblings and family. “It’s nice to be able to pass that stuff down,” said Berges, whose sister, nieces and grandchildren often join her to learn the canning process and master her recipes. “You can’t buy this stuff.” Her recipes range from simpler sweetened fruit recipes, which only take about 25 minutes after getting up to pressure, to the lengthy Alaskan salmon, which requires 100 minutes. Some of Berges’ more challenging recipes are her most talked about, like her “to-die-for” apple pie filling or the relish recipe in which she has to grind every single ingredient. For those who might have a jar of Berges’ relish in their own pantries right now, it’s been told that adding it to deviled eggs is a real game-changer. More people may have some of Berges’ handiwork in their pantries than one would think. As for Berges, it’s the sharing that really makes it worthwhile. Whether it’s a friend or relative “loading up” after a visit from out of town, or one of the many

previous gardening columns at


silent auction baskets she’s arranged for various events over the years, Berges simply overflows with generosity and care for those around her. Living in Sedgwick County while working in Phillips County means twice the community involvement and twice the fundraisers for Berges, who over the years has been active in the Historical Society, Red Cross Society, Rural Fire District board, Conservation board, the Credit Union board, Progressive 15, the Republican Party and the Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. She also is a go-to helper for Dragon’s Wagon Preschool fundraisers, Relay for Life, the Lincoln Day Dinner and basically anyone who calls. “There’s certain people in the community that get things done, even if they’re the busiest people,” said Berges. “I’m one of those people.” Berges might joke that canning keeps her “off the streets and out of the pool hall,” but it is clear where her heart is — in her family and the community. “I’m really interested in the community in both cities,” she stressed, meaning both Julesburg, which she lives near, and Holyoke, where she works. “It’s only through sharing and volunteering that they thrive.”




Mystery of the Lone Chukar

A sighting of the elusive bird is truly a head scratcher BY DENNIS SMITH


Last November, a few days before Thanksgiving, a chukar partridge flew into our yard and began strutting around like he owned the place. He hung out for a little over an hour, scratching in the garden, pecking bugs (I presume) off the wooden bedding frames and otherwise making himself at home. At one point he flew up onto our pool cover to help himself to a drink, and then went back to pecking at weed seeds and whatever it was he found so interesting on the bedding frames. Employing all of my Elmer Fudd skills, I was able to sneak within a few yards of him and shoot some photos while he busied himself exploring the rest of the garden. Now, chukars aren’t exactly common around here. Historically, they were introduced into almost every county in the state at one time or another, but most of the plantings failed. Biologists determined the hatchery-reared birds they released probably lacked the critical survival skills needed to endure in the wild and fell prey to various natural factors: starvation, predators, weather extremes and a general inability to adapt to the environment. Chukars are actually native to Asia and the Middle East and best suited to remote, rocky hillsides with sparse vegetation. Transplanted coveys have done well in eastern Oregon, Nevada, Idaho and Utah and parts of western Colorado, like Mesa County. But no viable populations of wild chukars existed on Colorado’s eastern plains until 2014 when Colorado Parks and Wildlife planted 168 wild birds from Utah in the rugged terrain midway up the Poudre Canyon — which is a solid hour and a half drive from where I live. Every one of those birds was tagged with identifying leg bands and 60 of them were fitted with radio collars for tracking purposes. This bird had neither, so he certainly

The chukar partridge isn’t common in this part of the country but was comfortable in Dennis Smith’s backyard this fall.

wasn’t from any of the Poudre Canyon coveys. There are several private hunting clubs and upland game preserves in Colorado that release chukars, pheasants and quail for their clients and guests to hunt, so I suppose it’s possible he was one of those fortunate enough to escape the guns of the club hunters. But, with few exceptions, all of those clubs are hundreds of miles from here. I’m aware of three or four within a 50-mile radius. So where this chukar came from remains a mystery. Now the really odd thing is that this happened to us once before. In 1982, when we lived just south of Loveland, a chukar partridge showed up in our yard one day, took up with our flock of laying hens and stayed for months. He would fly up to the roof of the coop each morning and crow loudly, “Chuk, chuk, chukar, chucker!” then fly down and hang out with the hens all day. In all that time, I never thought to take his picture. This time I had the camera ready.

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[energy tips]



Colorado’s General Assembly Convenes January 13 Order copies of the printed directory for only $1 at 303-455-4111 or at or get the mobile APP now! Download CREA’s Legislative App from Google Play or the APP Store for only 99¢ COLORADO RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION 5400 WASHINGTON ST. • DENVER, CO 80216 • CREA.COOP


In the dead of winter it can be more cost effective to run a space heater than to turn up your central heating, but if you’re not careful, you may increase your electric bill. Generally, it is best to run a space heater when you need to heat just one or two rooms, or if you need temporary heat in a normally unheated area like a garage or shed. If you have a particularly coldsensitive person in the home, it can be more efficient to use a space heater in the room he or she most often occupies rather than overheating the whole house. However, be mindful of the costs that these little heaters can add to your electric bill. Nick Photo courtesy Bourne Rusnell, an energy advisor with HomeWorks TriCounty Electric Cooperative in Portland, Michigan, said, “During an energy audit, I found three 1,500-watt A small infrared space heater can heat a frequently used heaters in the room more efficiently than house of a co-op heating the entire house. consumer with a high-bill complaint. I did a cost analysis for him and he was shocked.” Do your own calculations for how much running one, two or three in your home would cost. And beware the efficiency hype around space heaters: Electric space heaters are 100 percent efficient at turning electricity to heat, but an Energy Star air source heat pump can be 300 percent efficient. If you need a space heater to keep your home comfortable, this may be a sign that your home needs insulation or air sealing, both of which can be great investments and significantly reduce your energy bills. Learn more about heating with space heaters. Visit Look under the Energy tab for Energy Tips.





[marketplace] Advertise in MarketPlace and everyone will know your BUSINESS.

Who? Who will know your business? Everyone!

Call Kris for information at 303-902-7276


Inspect your hot water pipes for leaks. The smallest drip can wreak havoc on your electric bill.



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VACATIONS GROUP ON PRINCESS CRUISES to Alaska, 7 nights, July 30. Roundtrip Seattle. Includes Glacier Bay and coastal towns. $100/person deposit to hold cabin. Call Bon Voyage, 719-596-7447. (226-01-16)

VACATION RENTAL BAYFIELD ATTIC INN – Downtown Bayfield, Colorado. 1 bedroom, ¾ bath, tv. $75/nt or $500/wk. 970-759-6957, (263-01-16) COME STAY on SHADOW MOUNTAIN LAKE! Charming, cozy, all season cabin. #699584 (274-04-16) KAUAI VACATION RENTAL, 2bdr, full kitchen. Minutes from beaches. $600/wk. 808-2456500;; (756-05-16)

AR Winner for December was Mathew Krening from Fort Morgan. Mathew is the winner of a $50 gift card. Congratulations.

D.R. FIELD or BRUSH mower. Either walk behind or tow behind. Tom, 970-531-1552 (273-01-16) NAVAJO RUGS, old and recent, native baskets, pottery. Tribal Rugs, Salida. 719-539-5363, b_inaz@ (817-06-16) OLD COLORADO LIVESTOCK brand books prior to 1975. Call Wes 303757-8553. (889-02-16) OLD COWBOY STUFF – hats, boots, spurs, chaps, Indian rugs, baskets, etc. ANYTHING OLD! Mining & railroad memorabilia, ore carts! We buy whole estates. We’ll come to you! Call 970-759-3455 or 970-5651256. (871-01-16) OLD GAS AND OIL items: Gas pumps, advertising signs, globes, etc. Pieces, parts, etc. considered. Also 1932-34 Ford cars and trucks, parts and pieces, too. Any condition. Brandon, 719-250-5721. (519-11-16) OLD POCKET WATCHES – working or non-working and old repair material. Bob 719-859-4209. (87012-16) WANT TO PURCHASE mineral and other oil/gas interests. Send details to: PO Box 13557, Denver, CO 80201. (402-03-16) WANTED: JEEP CJ OR WRANGLER. Reasonably priced. No rust buckets. 888-735-5337 (099-04-16) WE PAY CASH for minerals and oil/gas interests, producing and nonproducing. 800-733-8122 (09902-16)

FIND HIDDEN TREASURE IN THE CLASSIFIEDS Read through the ads and FIND the CCL classified explaining how to WIN a $25 gift card. It’s easy. You could WIN.

The classified ads December winner was Nancy Shetler from Berthoud. She correctly counted 30 ads.

[funny stories] When our granddaughter was in second grade, she was identified as a gifted student. Our son called us to share the good news. I told him that was great news and asked, “How come you didn’t do as well in school as your daughter?” Without hesitation, he responded, “Better parenting.” It seems our son’s gift is a quick wit. Bob Selle, Calhan

La Plata Electric member Dawn Clark visits Sweden. Jeana Johnson of Julesburg shares her magazine with grandson, Knox, who loves animal and tractor pictures.

riski eresa B ir and Thnt took th.e k r a M onume varia of M zine to Bar m ag a

John Krizmanich of Howard visits Iceland.

A friend in her final week of intense preparation for the Rim Rock Marathon near Fruita was feeling the pains of many miles of training. But, as a grandparent, baby-sitting duties also continued. After a time on the floor with her grandson, she couldn’t help but groan as she got up. Hearing this, her grandson innocently commented, “Grandma, you really ought to get in shape!” Jim McKelvey, Black Forest

We took our daughter to the emergency room thinking she may have appendicitis. I went in with her and came out to report to my husband and 8-year-old granddaughter, Katrina, that the doctors took her to get a CAT scan. Katrina was concerned about her mom and in deep thought. Finally, she said, “Do you think it could be a hair ball?” (They have four cats.) Charlotte Inskeep, Loveland

This month’s winners are John and Maria Green from Colorado Springs. They were in Belize for their 40th anniversary.

Take Your Photo with Your Magazine and Win! It’s easy to win with Colorado Country Life. Simply take a photo of someone (or a selfie!) with the magazine and email the photo and your name and address to We’ll draw one photo to win a $25 gift card each month. The next deadline is Friday, January 15. This month’s winner are John and Maria Green from Colorado Springs. They were in Belize for their 40 year anniversary.

My son was an early adventurer. He and the police were well-acquainted as he was often brought back home from many of his wanderings in their patrol car. One time it took quite a spell to find him, and I explained how worried we were that we didn’t know where he was. He looked up at me and said, “I knew where I was.” Billie F. Luchi, Fountain Hills, Arizona


We pay $15 to each person who submits a funny story that’s printed in the magazine. At the end of the year we will draw one name from those submitting funny stories and that person will receive $200. Send your 2016 stories to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email Don’t forget to include your mailing address, so we can send you a check.




No Limitations There are no limits to what you can find at Colorado Limited. From hoodies to home goods, hats and socks, this Denver company has it all. Every piece manufactured includes the Colorado flag or the much-loved Colorado “C.” In addition, Colorado Limited revitalizes its inventory throughout the year to ensure you have something new to look forward to when visiting its website or one of its stores in Vail and Denver and Denver International Airport. For more information, visit

Stick With It

Adhere your Colorado pride to just about anything with Sticker Art. These colorful stickers are made by Colorado artists and inspired by the amazing landscape that surrounds us. Choose from styles that portray your favorite outdoor activity, like skiing or camping, or beloved areas of the Centennial State. The Sticker Art company is based in Durango but the products can be found in stores throughout Colorado. Sticker Art stickers cost $12 for a pack of four. To find a Sticker Art retailer near you or to buy online, visit

CLOAKED IN COLORADO At first glance, you would think a Colorado Caliber T-shirt is simply donning a Colorado flag. Look closer because this Adams County-based company is covert when it comes to design. Each Colorado Caliber T-shirt has a theme and within the Colorado flag you’ll see what it is. Inspect the “Wildlife” design, for example, and you will locate a variety of animals native to our great state. Founded by Adam Sinclair and Will Bynum, U.S. Navy veterans, Colorado Caliber was developed with the outdoors in mind. Additional themes include “Fly Fishing” and “Second Amendment.” Camping, skiing and snowboarding options are in the works. Choose from T-shirts, hoodies and stickers. For more information, call 303-956-7640 or visit

Kind Colorado (and Beyond!) Coloradans remember the devastation that occurred in Boulder, Lyons and surrounding areas in September 2013 when flooding destroyed homes and businesses and displaced countless locals. Kind Design founder and designer Damon Baz Redd was one of those folks. On September 12, Redd awoke to find 5 feet of water in the basement of his Boulder home, which also served as his business headquarters. Nearly all his equipment and inventory was destroyed and Kind Design faced extinction, until the first full-custom hats he designed showed up at his doorstep. Shortly after, Redd posted 30



his new hats on Facebook and told his story. To his astonishment, the post went viral and support spread like wildfire. Soon, preorders of the hats started coming in, enough to save his business. ”It wasn’t just local support either. We received orders from all 50 states, which was incredible,” Redd shared. “After this happened, I vowed to make customer satisfaction my number one priority.” Kind Design sells everything from clothing to mugs and dog gear, all with the venerated Colorado logo we love so much. Order your favorite at






Colorado Country Life January 2016 White River  

Colorado Country Life January 2016 White River

Colorado Country Life January 2016 White River  

Colorado Country Life January 2016 White River