Colorado Country Life June 2022

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FATHER’S DAY FEAST PG 11 / INNOVATION AT THE METER PG 20 / FANNIE MAE DUNCAN PG 26

JUNE 2022

CAVES AND CAVERNS

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Number 06

Volume 53

June 2022 THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE COLORADO RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION COMMUNICATIONS STAFF Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor mneeley@coloradocountrylife.org Cassi Gloe, CCC, Production Manager cgloe@coloradocountrylife.org Kylee Coleman, Editorial/Admin. Assistant kcoleman@coloradocountrylife.org ADVERTISING advertising@coloradocountrylife.org | 720-407-0711 National Advertising Representative, American MainStreet Publications 611 S. Congress Street, Suite 504, Austin, TX 78704 | 800-626-1181 Advertising Standards: Publication of an advertisement in Colorado Country Life does not imply endorsement by any Colorado rural electric cooperative or the Colorado Rural Electric Association. Colorado Country Life (USPS 469-400/ISSN 1090-2503) is published monthly by Colorado Rural Electric Association, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216-1731. Periodical postage paid at Denver, Colorado. ©Copyright 2022, Colorado Rural Electric Association. Call for reprint rights. EDITORIAL Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 mneeley@coloradocountrylife.org | 303-455-4111 coloradocountrylife.coop | facebook.com/COCountryLife Pinterest.com/COCountryLife | Instagram.com/cocountrylife Twitter.com/COCountryLife | YouTube.com/COCountryLife1 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. SUBSCRIBERS Report change of address to your local cooperative. Do not send change of address to Colorado Country Life. Cost of subscription for members of participating electric cooperatives is 22.5 cents per month, paid from equity accruing to the member. For nonmembers, a subscription is $10 per year in-state/$16 out-of-state. POSTMASTER Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216

“Moose Calf” by Alyson Palma, a consumer-member of Mountain Parks Electric.

4 VIEWPOINT 5 LETTERS 6 ASK THE ENERGY EXPERT 7 YOUR CO-OP NEWS 11 RECIPES 14 NEWS CLIPS

16 COVER STORY

20 ENERGY CONNECTIONS 22 GARDENING 24 OUTDOORS 28 MARKETPLACE

On the

29 YOUR STORIES

Cover

30 DISCOVERIES

Illustration: artwork by Getty Images, design by Lisa Padgett of Green Dog Graphic Design.

COCountryLife pinned: Celebrate Father’s Day by making these Lemon-Dijon Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots. Visit coloradocountrylife.coop to get the recipe.

CAVES AND CAVERNS: NATURAL WONDERS BENEATH OUR FEET

26 FOCUS ON

JUNE 2022

PINTEREST SNEAK PEEK

FACEBOOK CHATTER Colorado Country Life posted May 13: #NationalApplePieDay is today and we have the perfect recipe to celebrate! Visit coloradocountrylife. coop/recipe/easy-apple-pie-bars to get a recipe for a delicious and easy treat.

Monthly Contest

CAVES AND CAVERNS

EXPLORING CAVES IN COLORADO

This month, enter for your chance to win a Try’em All Box of Bar-U-Eat handcrafted granola bars. Read more about them on page 30. For official rules and how to enter, visit our Monthly Contests page at coloradocountrylife.coop. coloradocountrylife.coop

INSTAGRAM PIC of the month cocountrylife posted: #ColoradoCountryLife is proud to join with #ColoradosElectricCoops in supporting #4H in Colorado through this mobile #energylab. #STEM #CSUextension COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

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VIEWPOINT

D.C. LEGISLATIVE RALLY

Electric cooperatives take their concerns to Washington BY KENT SINGER

E

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

ach spring, representatives of elec-

our meetings were “only” with staff, but

tric cooperatives across the country

the meetings with staff were excellent and

fly to Washington, D.C., to partici-

extremely worthwhile. I think everyone in

pate in a legislative conference sponsored

our group was impressed by the way the

demonstrated that our members of Congress

by the National Rural Electric Cooperative

staffers listened carefully to our concerns,

are assisted by hardworking men and women

Association, our national trade association.

asked relevant questions, and demonstrated

who have a passion for public service.

The purpose of this legislative rally is to

a sincere interest in following up with

remind members of Congress how important

assistance if possible.

KENT SINGER

Specifically, we want to thank the following staff members from our Colorado

electric co-ops are to rural communities

As an example, after our meeting, Dr.

congressional delegation for taking the time

and to ask these national leaders to support

Nikki Roy from the office of Congresswoman

policies and legislation that help electric

Diana DeGette (D) reached out to us to

co-ops provide reliable, affordable and

discuss a possible partnership between

environmentally responsible electric service

our members and Subaru to install electric

to their consumer-members.

vehicle charging stations in Colorado’s four

• Daniel Palken, legislative assistant,

For many years, our team at CREA has

national parks. (Ironically, Rep. DeGette

and Rachel Starr, legislative fellow

organized this trip for Colorado co-op board

is the only member of our delegation

for Sen. Hickenlooper (D)

directors, managers and staff. We typically

without any co-op service territory in her

send a group of 40–50 folks who represent

congressional district.)

to meet with the Colorado co-op group: • Susanne Brooks, senior policy advisor for Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

• Dr. Nikki Roy, climate and energy policy advisor for Rep. DeGette (D)

many of Colorado’s electric co-ops. We work

The U.S. Senate was in session during

with the staff in the nine different Colorado

the time we were in Washington, so we

• James Thomas, legislative director

legislative offices (seven House members,

had an opportunity to meet with U.S. Sen.

and deputy chief of staff for Rep.

two Senators) to set meetings with the

John Hickenlooper (D) and two of his aides

Doug Lamborn (R)

members of the Colorado congressional

to discuss several issues of importance to

delegation and/or their staff.

Colorado’s electric co-ops. We worked with

With the onset of the COVID-19

Sen. Hickenlooper for many years when he

pandemic in March 2020, we were unable to

was Colorado’s governor and have always

have an in-person legislative rally in either

appreciated his willingness to listen to the

2020 or 2021. While we held virtual meetings

concerns of Colorado’s electric co-ops.

• Jeff Small, chief of staff for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) • James Braid, chief of staff for Rep. Ken Buck (R) • Macey Matthews, chief of staff for

with the members of Congress, those are

We particularly enjoyed Sen.

not nearly as effective as sitting down face

Hickenlooper’s story about a recent road

to face to talk about the issues. When our

trip with former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer

• Abbie Callahan, legislative assistant

group convened in Washington for the 2022

deep into eastern Colorado co-op country.

for energy and water issues for Rep.

legislative rally, it had been three years since

It was great to hear that at age 93, Gov.

Joe Neguse (D)

we last traveled to our nation’s capital.

Romer has not lost a step and maintains a

Since the U.S. House of Representatives

keen interest in his home state.

was not in session during our visit, we met

All our meetings in Washington

with the staff of the members of Congress

were useful to our members and helped

rather than the members themselves. Our

us establish and maintain contacts with

group was smaller this year in part because

our national delegation. The meetings

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

Rep. Jason Crow (D)

Thank you to these staffers for all the work they do on behalf of Colorado’s residents and electric co-ops. Kent Singer is the executive director of CREA and offers a statewide perspective on issues affecting electric cooperatives. CREA is the trade association for all of Colorado’s 22 electric distribution co-ops and one power supply co-op.


LETTERS

FROM THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Magazine pages bring people together

BY MONA NEELEY

Gourds That are More Than Gourds

EDITOR

I

just heard another great example of how this magazine brings people together. Our April 2021 cover story about a Colorado trade program working with people with autism caught the attention of Robb Sommerfeld with the National Center for Craftsmanship. He works with the center’s Education Regeneration program that collects donated building materials and distributes them to career and technical education (CTE) programs at schools. When he read about TACT (Teaching the Autism Community Trades) in Colorado Country Life, he knew it would benefit from NCC’s Education Regeneration project. He was right and NCC is now delivering muchneeded materials to TACT to use while teaching trade skills to its students.

TACT joins MONA NEELEY four schools in northern Colorado receiving waste lumber and other building materials collected from commercial manufacturers, vendors, builders, cabinet makers and others via NCC’s program. Robb would like to see the program spread. Not only does NCC divert materials from the landfill, it provides supplies that keep CTE programs going. And, NCC oversees pick-up and delivery of the donated materials. You can help this project move forward through its GoFundMe campaign at gofund. me/3fdf3ce1/. Or if you want more information, contact Robb at robertsommerfeld1@ msn.com. And let Robb know that Colorado Country Life brought you together.

NJC Young Farmers Present:

Food Vendors will be on site

High Plains

Truck & Tractor Pull Saturday, June 18, 2022, 6pm

2 tracks Logan County Fairgrounds Sterling, Colorado

for add’l information, call

Dave Lieber 970-580-1278

I just read the amazing story about luffa sponges. (Gardening, March ’21) I had thought these wonderful sponges grew on the ocean floor. Who could have known they came from gourds, plants we can grow right here in Colorado? Thank you for such surprising news and tips for the “do-it-yourselfer.” Carol Ehrlich Mountain Parks Electric consumer-member

Questioning the Actual Savings

In your March article touting the benefits of electric thermal storage heating you failed to mention the $120 annual access charge for owning an ETS unit. So much for the off-peak rate savings. Joseph Robida, Rye San Isabel Electric consumer-member

Thanks to the Lineworkers

Wanted to give a shout-out to crews working in Grand County during the April 5 early morning power outage. While it was an inconvenience for all experiencing the outage, those who needed to brave the brutal elements to provide our power again deserve a huge thank you. We appreciate you. Bob and Norman Colosimo, Winter Park Mountain Parks Electric consumer-members

In Favor of Using Renewable Resources

In regard to the April letter on EVs and gas-powered vehicles, there is no argument that oil and gas have had and still do have substantial benefits; however it is also true that our current use of fossil fuels poses threats equally as substantial to our environment, safety and way of life. Renewable energy and EV transportation on a large scale are imperatives, if we hope to avoid the worst from climate change. Kevin Grunewald, Cokedale San Isabel Electric consumer-member

SEND US YOUR LETTERS Send your letter to the editor to share your thoughts about CCL. To share, visit our Reader SEND UScoloradocountrylife.coop/ YOUR LETTERS Engagement page at reader-engagement. Mail your letter to Editor Mona Neeley, 5400 Washington St., mneeley@ Denver, CO 80216 or email mneeley@ coloradocountrylife.org. Include name and address. Letters may be edited for length. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

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LARRY MAYO 970-566-1650 DAVID MAYO 970-227-2084 mayobrothers22@gmail.com

SERVICES

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MAYO PROPERTIES LLC

ASK THE ENERGY EXPERT

What You Need to Know Before Going Solar BY MIR ANDA BOUTELLE

M

ost people don’t realize solar is not energy efficiency. Solar is generating energy. Energy

efficiency is finding ways to use less energy. In my experience, people are motivated by saving money, concern for the environment, or both. Focusing first on energy efficiency addresses both motivations.

Energy consumption Rooftop solar systems are sized based on a home’s energy needs. The larger the system, the higher the cost. Before installing solar, make sure your home is as energy efficient as possible. This means it will use less energy and allow you to install a smaller solar system, which will save money and reduce your home’s environmental impact.

Affordability

Leaders for a Sustainable Future

Maintaining Reliability & Affordability Advancing Innovative Solutions Enhancing Community Resilience

Learn more at crea.coop/sustainable-future

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

Consider your overall out-of-pocket expenses. The expected life span of a heating and cooling system is 15 to 25 years. Check the age and condition of your HVAC equipment and consider the expenses of replacement. If something happens, can you afford to fix or replace it?

Roofing Consider the age, orientation and shade of your roof. It is more difficult — and expensive — to reroof a home that has solar panels. Will the roof need to be replaced before the solar panels need to be replaced?

Maintenance A solar system doesn’t last forever. Life spans range from 25 to 30 years. As systems degrade over time, they produce less energy. Maintenance and repairs may be needed.

Electric bills and storage Solar is not “off the grid.” Unless you plan to disconnect from your electric co-op, you will still receive a monthly bill. Solar panels produce power only when the sun is shining. If you want power to your home at other times, like after dark, you need to be connected to your electric co-op or invest in a battery storage system — that comes at an additional cost.

Contact your electric co-op Solar contractors often work in several utility service territories and may not be familiar with your co-op’s offerings, rate structures and interconnection agreements. Before signing a contract, check with your electric co-op for local information rather than relying on what the contractor says. Another option may be communityowned solar. Many electric co-ops offer community solar programs. You may have an option to enjoy the benefits of solar without the responsibilities of ownership and maintenance. Miranda Boutelle is the director of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, a cooperatively owned energy-efficiency company. She also writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

LEARN MORE ONLINE Boutelle goes into greater detail about what you need to know before going solar at coloradocountrylife.coop. Click on Energy Tips under the Energy tab.


Full-Blown Flavor for Father’s Day Dole out a pinch and a dash to deliver Dad a delicious holiday just for him BY AMY HIGGINS

| RECIPES@COLOR ADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG

Celebrate Dad with a delicious homecooked meal.

WIN A COPY

Visit our Monthly Contests page at coloradocountrylife.coop to find out how to win a copy of Fresh Tastes from A WellSeasoned Kitchen® by Lee Clayton Roper.

T

he adage “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” may not always be accurate, but it sure doesn’t hurt when you aim to express feelings of affection to someone who enjoys a delicious homecooked meal. With Dad in mind, Colorado cookbook author and blogger Lee Clayton Roper created a Father’s Day menu for Colorado Country Life using recipes from her cookbook Fresh Tastes from A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®. If this recipe doesn’t suit Pop’s palate, visit her blog at seasonedkitchen.com or get a copy of Fresh Tastes for oodles of other options. Whatever meal you choose, just be sure to add a sprinkle of sentiment for the final touches.

Spicy Pork Chops with Argentine Chimichurri Sauce Chimichurri Sauce:

Pork Chops:

1 cup packed flat leaf (Italian) parsley

2 tablespoons salt

4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to 1 tablespoon onion powder taste) 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper 3 tablespoons lemon-flavored balsamic 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper vinegar (can use white balsamic vinegar) 4 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 cup lime-infused olive oil – see Note around 3/4-inch thick

Side dish: Golden Potato Casserole

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Scan for recipe

Chimichurri Sauce In a food processor, combine parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; process until the parsley is evenly chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process just until blended. Taste and add more salt if needed. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Pork Chops In a small bowl, stir together the salt, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and peppers. Coat both sides of the chops with olive oil, then rub both sides of each chop with spice mixture (around 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per side; save extra for the next time you prepare this recipe or to use on pork tenderloin). Set aside.

Side dish: Lemon Dijon Green Beans

Scan for recipe

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high. Once the grill is heated, bank the coals to one side of the grill, or turn off one burner on a gas grill. Place chops on the hot part of the grill and cook, covered, 3 minutes or until seared. Turn over and grill 2 to 3 minutes or until seared. Move chops to the cooler part of the grill, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 145 degrees. Let rest for around 10 minutes. Serve with some of the sauce spooned over the top, placing the rest on the side. Note on lime olive oil: If you can’t find lime infused olive oil, use extra virgin olive oil and add some lime zest to the sauce. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

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UPGRADE TO ELECTRICITY AND SAVE IN YOUR HOME Make the switch to electricity and keep money in your pocket with more efficient household appliances and systems. From heat pumps to electric vehicles, these proven technologies have the potential to run your home and life more simply, efficiently and cost-effectively.

LEARN MORE AT WWW.TRISTATE.COOP/BE Tri-State is a not-for-profit power supplier to cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.


ELECTRIFY AND SAVE

YOUR HOME, ELECTRIFIED HEATING & COOLING WITH HEAT PUMPS According to the U.S. Department of Energy, when paired with proper insulation, an electric heat pump can save over 30 percent on your heating and cooling bills compared to conventional HVAC systems. Here are some advantages of a heat pump: • One system to heat your home (even in sub-zero temperatures) and cool during warmer months • Eliminate potential carbon monoxide exposure from combustion byproducts • Costs substantially less to heat your home than propane or electric baseboard heat

POWER UP YOUR GARDENING TOOLS Electric garden tools can last longer and are emissions-free, meaning you’ll smell the scents of summer, not the smell of exhaust. Plus, with modern technology, they are just as effective as gas-powered alternatives. Just charge the battery and go! • Low maintenance – no oil changes or need to treat fuel, change spark plugs or filters. • No need to purchase and store gasoline • Electric models are lightweight and easy to handle

SAVE WITH AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) Sales of light-duty electric vehicles rose by 43% in 2020. On average, EVs have a lower cost of operation over their lifespan, and buyers are taking notice. • Less maintenance • Increased savings compared to gasoline • Fun to drive because of torque

REBATES FOR YOUR HOME Contact your local electric co-op or public power district to find out more on available rebates and incentives


NEWS CLIPS

Sen. John Hickenlooper answers questions from electric co-op directors, managers and staff members during their visit to Washington, D.C.

CO-OPS VISIT WASHINGTON, D.C.

D

irectors, managers and staff members for Colorado electric co-ops joined hundreds of other co-op representatives from across the country in Washington, D.C., May 2–3 for the annual co-op legislative fly-in. They spent a day learning about federal issues that affect electric co-ops and another day meeting with Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D) and staff from the office of Sen. Michael Bennet (D), as Sen. Bennet had tested positive for COVID-19. The co-ops also met with staff members from all of Colorado’s U.S. representatives. There was also a discussion with a representative of the Department of Energy on funding for projects through the recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Co-op Magazine Plants Trees

C

olorado Country Life magazine supports planting trees each month and has done so since 2018. A total of 14,395 trees have been planted in reforestation projects in North Dakota and California to replace the paper used to print the magazine. For 70 years, Colorado’s electric co-ops have sent this magazine to you because it is the most effective and economical way to share information on your local electric co-op. The magazine, which is read by more than 80% of the co-op consumer-members receiving it, provides you, as a voting member of your co-op, with information about your co-op’s services, director elections, member meetings, and staff and management decisions. And, through a verified program called PrintReleaf, trees continue to be planted.

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

Colorado Co-ops Again Bring Light to Small Guatemalan Rural Village The lights will come on in mid-August in La Montanita de la Virgen, Guatemala, thanks to a team of 16 lineworkers, including four from Colorado electric co-ops. The team, which leaves the United States August 1, will build a 19.9 kilovolt single-phase distribution line on poles provided and set by the villagers. That line will bring electricity to 72 homes, a school, a church and a health center. More than 250 people live in this small village about three hours east of Guatemala City. It sits at an elevation of about 4,500 feet with mostly pine trees, banana trees and pineapples growing in the area. About 80 students attend the local elementary school. This is the third project in Guatemala for Colorado’s electric co-ops. Watch for information on how to help send backpacks and other supplies to the students in the village.

NW Colorado Rancher Wins Conservation Award The conservation practices of electric co-op consumer-members Keith and Shelly Pankey and their children on their ranch in Moffat and Routt counties earned them the annual Colorado Leopold Conservation Award. The award is sponsored, in part, by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the power supplier for 17 of the state’s 22 electric co-ops. The award is given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold and recognizes ranchers, farmers and forestland owners who inspire others with their voluntary conservation efforts on private, working lands. The Pankey family, who raises beef cattle, has always done right by their land. That was tested when a wildfire burned nearly half of their ranch in 2018. The family then cleaned their ponds and reseeded native grasses on 900 acres. They also replaced wind-powered well pumps with solar pumps, added new water storage tanks and miles of natural flow pipelines to expand the number of watering stations and improve the ability to properly graze cattle while also creating wildlife habitat. The family’s commitment to conservation is an inspiration.


NEWS CLIPS

Co-ops Support Energy Science Colorado’s electric cooperatives once again sponsored the Colorado EnergyWise Awards at the annual Colorado Science & Engineering Fair in Fort Collins April 7-8. Judge Stuart Travis, a board member from Y-W Electric in Akron who is also on the CREA board, judged the energy projects at the fair. He selected the top energy project in both the senior and junior divisions as well as a runner-up in each division. This year’s top winner in the senior division was a project titled “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle/Station” by Centaurus High School seniors Alec Mallinger, Oliver Schmitz and Davis Cutforth of Lafayette. Second place went to Sargent High School senior Chinmay Jayanty of Monte Vista for his project on “Reversing Climate Change with Direct Air Capture.” The top winner in the junior division was a project on “Magnetic Levitation” by 8th grader Saatwik Das of Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette. Second place went to Wiggins Middle School 7th grader Skyelyn Lefever for her project on “Homemade Batteries.” The electric co-ops awarded $175 to the first-place winners and $75 to the runners up.

1st place - 12th grade - Alec Mallinger, Oliver Schmitz and Davis Cutforth all of Centaurus High School in Lafayette.

1st place - 8th grade - Saatwik Das of Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette.

2nd place - 12th grade Chinmay Jayanty of Sargent High School in Monte Vista.

1st place - 7th grade - Skyelyn Lefever of Wiggins Middle School in Wiggins.

The Steps to Restoring Power When a major outage occurs, our crews restore service to the greatest number of people in the shortest time possible – until everyone has power.

1. High-Voltage Transmission Lines These lines carry large amounts of electricity. They rarely fail but must be repaired first.

2. Distribution Substations Crews inspect substations, which can serve hundreds or thousands of people.

3. Main Distribution Lines Main lines serve essential facilities like hospitals and larger communities.

4. Individual Homes and Businesses After main line repairs are complete, we repair lines that serve individual homes and businesses.

COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

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COVER STORY

CAVES AND CAVERNS

NATURAL WONDERS BENEATH OUR FEET BY MIKE COPPOCK

E

xploring the southern flank of the Rhinehart and McFarland also hope to White River Plateau on Colorado’s use electrical resistivity to see if there are Western Slope, caving enthusiasts large voids around the cavern. The techRichard Rhinehart and Rob McFarland nique has been used throughout the West discovered an unknown cave now known for identifying known and unknown cave as the Witches’ Pantry Cave. passages and chambers. It wasn’t the first cave they discovered It was another day in 1984 when they together and it probably won’t be the last. discovered Silent Splendor within the Cave Colorado is rich in caves. No one knows of the Winds at Manitou Springs. The room exactly how many there are. held numerous rare crystalline speleothems, Some estimate there are 600, while including helictites that appeared to defy others say it is far less. In 1970, 265 caves the laws of gravity by growing in strange were listed in Colorado. But today, with directions and not being forced down by continual discoveries by cavers, Rhinehart gravity like many cave formations are. puts the number closer to 1,000. Caves offer all kinds of natural wonders. The day they were on the White River Coloradans revel in the beauty of the Plateau and found the open pit that led into Centennial state in all its various forms: a cave below the surface, Rhinehart and the hues of the Rocky Mountains, the McFarland were exploring an area marked stark landscapes of the Western Slope for development in the expansion of a lime- and the endless grasslands of the eastern stone quarry near Glenwood Springs. The plains. Yet, most miss the natural wonders two men wanted to see if there were any beneath our feet. significant caves in the area that might be at risk by such expansion. Caves pepper Colorado Excited when they found the cave, the “Given that there are caves in limestone, two brought in a group to help them explore gypsum, granite, sandstone, quartzite and further into the cavern. They squeezed even claystone, there are most likely more through a low passageway into a crevice than a thousand caves within the state at that descended deeper. Lowering them- this time,” Rhinehart claims. selves down the crevice, they found a lower Caves pepper Colorado with their chamber that seemed to go further back wonders primarily due to limestone. Once into the plateau. where towering mountains are now, there Since this initial exploration of Witches’ was a sea, its floor becoming the source Pantry Cave, the group has worked with for the limestone. Uplift sent parts of the the Bureau of Land Management on future ancient seabed — and thus a large limestone access and exploration. Plans are in the layer — up along the slopes of the Rockies works to send down a paleontologist to where snow and rain penetrated fissures in examine bones of animals that have fallen the limestone, sculpting caverns through to their death from the pit entrance, many the eons. of which appear to be domestic sheep.

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022


COVER STORY Some of these caverns transformed into underground cathedrals with massive spiral columns reaching from the floor to ceiling. Standing on the cave’s floor, a caver with flashlight in hand can see the wonders nature and erosion created. Other caves are little more than cracks in rock with a stream of water snaking through narrow formations downward into the dark. Those who enjoy the sport of caving, also called spelunking, feel their way through tight passages with a mountain of rock above them and no quick and easy escape to the surface as they follow a water stream to wherever it takes them in the dark. There are roadblocks in obtaining an exact count on the number of caves in the state.

“That information is unavailable due to natural resources’ sensitivities within and around the caves,” says Donna Nemeth, media spokesperson for the National Forest Service. But with cavers such as Rhinehart and McFarland constantly making new discoveries, we are learning about more and more caves. Popular Colorado caves Discovered in 1968, Colorado’s longest cave, the Groaning Cave in White River National Forest, is a system of domes, underground cathedrals and tight passages that go back into the Rocky Mountains for 15 surveyed miles so far. It may be longer.

The Fixin’ To Die Cave near Glenwood Canyon is the state’s second longest at 4 miles. Colorado’s deepest cave is Spanish Cave near Westcliffe, which drops downward for 741 feet below the surface. Next in depth is Hurricane Cave in Garfield County at 553 feet. But are the state’s caves and caving that strong an attraction? “We essentially get inquiries about Colorado’s commercial caves like Cave of the Winds and Glenwood Caverns,” said Carly Holbrook of Handlebar Public Relations, which handles inquiries for Colorado Tourism. “I have never encountered anyone querying about caves and caving, though.”

WONDERS BENEATH OUR FEET KARST TOPOGRAPHY is a landscape that is characterized by numerous caves, sinkholes, fissures and underground streams. Karst topography usually forms in regions of plentiful rainfall where bedrock consists of carbonate-rich rock, such as limestone, gypsum or dolomite, that is easily dissolved. Surface streams are usually absent from karst topography.

RIVER DISSOLVED JOINT

STREAM DISAPPEARS

LIMESTONE CRACKS

CAVE

CORRIDOR

CAVERN

UNDERGROUND LAKE KARST SPRING SUBTERRANEAN RIVER

STALACTITE

LIMESTONE COLUMN

FLOWSTONE

STALAGMITE

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COVER STORY

Caving enthusiasts Mostly going unnoticed, an active group of caving enthusiasts has been exploring caves going back to the 1950s, if not longer. Members even have a publication, Rocky Mountain Caving, which first appeared in 1984. Today, Colorado has five clubs or grottos, a term used to describe a local chapter of cavers in an area. The Colorado Grotto is centered in Denver while the Front Range Grotto is for cavers in the Boulder-Northern Denver suburbs. The Western Slope Grotto is centered in Glenwood Springs; the Northern Colorado Grotto in the Fort Collins area; and the Southern Colorado Mountains Grotto is in the Colorado Springs area. Why would people squeeze and struggle through rock passages in the dark, literally under a mountain of rock? It can be a dangerous sport. Cavers — and others who venture underground — can face flooded or partially flooded caves, cave ins and injuries such as a broken leg while deep in a crevasse. For that reason, many cavers are trained to assist if an accident occurs underground or if a visitor is injured or turns up missing. But as with any endeavor, the excitement

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and adventure of caving usually outweighs the dangers. “Cavers basically venture underground for recreation and the sport of exploration of the unknown, but many have interests in various disciplines,” Rhinehart said. “This includes science, biology, microbiology, hydrology, mineralogy and geology.” Rhinehart noted some cavers had spent years walking over limestone-rich sections of the state in search of caves without finding any. Other cavers work cave entrances that have collapsed or become plugged with sediment, trying to reopen them to gain entry. Nearly all cavers have an interest in protecting and preserving the caves and cave features as well as enjoying a unique sport. “In almost every instance, cavers generally do not report new discoveries to help protect the cave from abuse from others, either accidental or intentional,” Rhinehart said. Cavers’ activities and word of mouth, however, have at least led to the public’s awareness of some of the state’s caves other than the three commercial caves: the Cave of the Winds, Glenwood Caverns (also known as the Fairy Caves) and the Yampah Vaper Cave. The non-caving public has either visited or knows about the Ice Caves near Aspen; the narrow Fault Cave outside of Golden; the Fulford Cave outside of Eagle with its

bats and 80-foot-high underground ceilings in some chambers; and the Spring Cave near Meeker, which has a subterranean river running through it and, like Fulford, serves as a winter hibernation chamber for bats. Protecting caves Continuous lobbying by the cavers’ group and by the National Forest Service led to the Colorado Cave Protection Act signed in 2004 by Governor Bill Owens. The law makes it a misdemeanor to damage or deface a cave. A White River National Forest ranger discovered someone had sprayed graffiti on the walls of Spring Cave, and both Glenwood Caverns and Cave of the Winds suffered from souvenir hunters and vandalism through the first half of the 20th century. “History tells us that several chambers along the cave’s popular commercial route once were as well-decorated as Silent Splendor, but abuse by visitors since 1881 destroyed these beautiful places forever,” Rhinehart said of vandalism at Cave of the Winds prior to the passage of the 2004 law. Vandalism is not the only concern that may cause limited access to caves or their closure to the public. Recently, biologists have been monitoring the spread of white-nose syndrome within Colorado’s bat


COVER STORY

Cavers basically venture underground for recreation and the sport of exploration of the unknown, but many have interests in various disciplines. This includes science, biology, microbiology, hydrology, mineralogy and geology.” — Richard Rhinehart population, which can prove deadly, and its spread by certain fungi. The fungi can be tracked into caves by way of cavers’ clothing and equipment. Finally, biologists simply want bats not to be disturbed during their winter hibernation. “All known cave hibernacula [where creatures seek refuge] are closed during the winter hibernation period,” Nemeth said. “In Colorado, this includes caves on the White River National Forest. The White River National Forest also has caves that are closed year-round to minimize disturbance to bats.” Nemeth underscored that caves that are not closed year-round do have a registration system and decontamination guidelines which must be signed and followed by those entering the caverns. (whitenosesyndrome.org) So, when thinking about exploring Colorado’s rich abundance of natural wonders, remember that the natural world extends beneath our feet into the caverns and crevasses of Colorado. As a freelance writer, Mike Coppock writes a variety of articles for magazines and newspapers throughout the West.

INTERESTED IN REGISTERING TO

EXPLORE A CAVE?

Registration involves submitting basic personal information online such as name, email address and ZIP code as well as the date of the trip, cave name, national forest and number of participants in the party. After the information provided is processed, an approved registration form is provided to the person making the request. The requesting party is required to print and sign a copy of the approved registration form with each participant signing the form. The registration request is then reviewed and processed by the National Forest Service. The process usually takes two to three business days. Questions about the registration process can be emailed to SM.FS.r2wns@usda.gov. The Rocky Mountain Region Cave Access registration form can be obtained through the Rocky Mountain Region’s public website: tinyurl.com/2p8ztydh. For most caves in national forests and grasslands, complete and save the cave registration form and email it as an attachment to: SM.FS.r2wns@usda.gov. Written requests for the cave access registration form may be submitted to the Rocky Mountain Region at USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, 1617 Cole Blvd, Building 17, Lakewood, CO 80401, Attention: Cave Registration Request. There is no registration fee.

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ENERGY CONNECTIONS

Innovation at the Meter From turtles to AMI, electric co-ops lead the way

BY PAUL WESSLUND AND AMY HIGGINS

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n amazing gizmo hiding in plain sight just outside your home is innovating your electric service with quicker responses to power outages and more effective use of renewable energy sources. It’s your electric meter, your digitally advanced meter. Advanced meters make up more than half the electric meters in the country, and electric cooperatives are leading the way. A total of 73% of co-op consumer-members nationwide are using advanced meters compared to only 58% of utility customers in general. In Colorado, 100% of the state’s 22 electric distribution co-ops utilize advanced meters and have for years. Southeast Colorado Power Association, headquartered in La Junta, has been using automated meter reading for roughly 20 years. Those first meters seem somewhat archaic when you compare them to today’s meters. Nicknamed “turtles” for their super- slow readings — 27 hours, according to SECPA CEO Kevin Brandon — turtles were still a step up for electric co-ops at the time because they limited the number of trips needed to physically obtain readings.

In Colorado, 100% of the state’s 22 electric distribution co-ops utilize advanced meters and have for years. 20

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“When Empire Electric Association switched to AMI [advanced metering infrastructure] meters in 2018, I was surprised at the number of calls we received concerning what will happen to our meter readers,” says EEA Member Engagement Manager Andy Carter. “EEA [based in Cortez] had been using an automated meter-reading system since the late 1990s, the last time we employed people to walk/drive around and read meters by looking at the dials.” Two features make advanced meters different. One is the ability to monitor energy use with the kind of detail that can give both the co-op and its members information to make more efficient use of electricity. The other is the ability to instantly send information back to the co-op either through low-power radio signals or through power lines. Those two capabilities have created entirely new ways to improve your electric service: • Outages can be detected and repaired faster. Advanced meters can let the co-op know of an interruption, pinpointing the location, without waiting for someone to report it. This is especially beneficial to electric cooperatives based in rural areas with larger swaths of land and hard-toreach meters. “SECPA’s system collects 15-minute interval data on all meters, and you can do on-demand reads for things like kWh (kilowatt-hours), voltage, current, power factor, and other values, and have those reads within just a few seconds,” Brandon explains. “This system also allows us to remotely connect and disconnect meters, which saves


ENERGY CONNECTIONS on truck rolls. The meters also automatically send in many types of alarm conditions like power fail, brown out, meter tamper and over current.” • Electricity can be used more efficiently. Advanced meters can report unusual energy use, showing appliances that might be faulty or could be replaced with a more efficient version. SmartHub has become a popular application for many electric cooperatives as it is a win-win for both the consumer and the co-op. Consumers can see their usage data, which gives them insight into information such as spike periods, so they can adjust how and when they use energy to save money. • Alternative energy can be better integrated into the electric grid. Advanced meters can help cure one of the headaches of renewable energy when solar energy disappears at night or wind power stops in calm weather. Data from advanced meters can be instantly analyzed by computers and coordinated with power plants, rooftop solar panels and wind turbines. • Advanced meters can save consumers money on their electric bill. Several electric cooperatives are implementing time-of-use rates, which charges for electric use based on off-peak (when electricity costs less) and on-peak hours (when electricity costs more). AMI provides detailed data so consumers can track their energy usage. “If they dig down into the hourly data, they can get a good idea of when they are using the most energy,” Carter says. “Depending on what was being used, they may be able to shift that energy use from on-peak to off-peak time and save money.” • Consumers can get the most out of their rooftop solar. AMI shares with the consumer and the cooperative measurements such as net energy used, energy delivered to the consumer and the energy put back on the grid. “This gives the consumer a better understanding of how they use their appliances relative to their rooftop solar system’s generation,” explains Sarah McMahon, chief administrative officer with SDCEA, a Buena Vista-based electric co-op. “If the consumer is on a time-of-day rate, this capability informs the consumer on changes to their use behavior that may result in significant savings on their bill.”

• Co-op members can be involved in a more decentralized electricity system. Rooftop solar panels and electric vehicles make complicated additions to a utility network, but those can be turned into benefits by analyzing the data provided by advanced meters. For example, as EVs become more popular, electric co-ops are exploring special rates to encourage charging at times when energy use is lower. • Co-op operations can be streamlined. Faulty equipment can be detected before it fails. Some individual consumer-members have opted out of using these technology-based advanced meters. Concerns include health effects of their radio signals and privacy. The health concerns have been addressed by the American Cancer Society. “The ACS suggests that because the amount of radio frequency exposure from advanced meters is much less than those from everyday devices, it is very unlikely that they could pose greater health risks,” says Tolu Omotoso, director of energy solutions for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Omotoso cites studies that show the strength of advanced meter transmissions is far below those from a cellphone. They’re even less than a TV’s remote control. Advanced meter signals also weaken with distances of even 1 foot. Omotoso says advanced meters aren’t even on all the time: “They transmit data back to the co-op only a couple times in a day, and each transmission takes milliseconds.” Other concerns include privacy. However, electric co-ops have a long tradition of protecting the data of their members, Omotoso says. “Load is load and we do not have the ability to differentiate,” Carter adds. “It can’t hear what you say, it doesn’t have a camera — it’s just a kWh meter that can send data and receive commands to turn itself on and off.” Electric co-ops adopted digital meters to avoid traveling long distances through rural areas just to read an electric meter, Omotoso says. Co-ops kept up that progress, adding other devices to create a new concept of the electric utility grid from a one-way delivery of electricity to an interactive network of power and data between the co-op and its members. “In the utility industry of the future, you’re looking at decentralized energy use and generation, digitization and decarbonization of the grid,” Omotoso says. “Advanced meters will help utilities and energy consumers transition into this new future.” Paul Wesslund writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Amy Higgins is a freelance writer for Colorado Country Life and CREA.

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GARDENING

Gleeful Gardens in Grand Junction Western Colorado Botanical Gardens offers array of summertime fun BY VICKI SPENCER

MASTER GARDENER | GARDENING@COLOR ADOCOUNTRYLIFE .ORG

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rowing up in Colorado, our spring and summer vacations were devoted to camping road trips. My parents introduced us to interesting landscapes from the Northern Plains, across the Mountain West to the Pacific Coast. The Arizona Petrified Forest, California’s giant sequoias, Yellowstone’s geysers, and the Dakotas’ Badlands made indelible impressions. Botanical gardens were not destinations for many families in the 1950s, but times have changed. Today, there are hundreds of botanical gardens across the country that collect and conserve plants while providing the public with a means of enjoying diverse species. Botanical gardens are no longer restricted to major metropolitan areas but can be found in small cities and towns as well. We have at least 10 botanical gardens and arboretums in Colorado, located in diverse areas ranging from the eastern plains to the high mountains to the Western Slope. The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, located in Grand Junction, allows visitors the unique experience of enjoying the beauty of the Colorado River Basin and Plateau while exploring various gardens. It had a modest beginning in 1994 after the city of Grand Junction offered a long-term lease on 15 acres of land. Volunteers devoted thousands of hours to remove debris and prepare the site for construction. Thanks to their commitment, the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens now includes a tropical greenhouse and butterfly pavilion along with a cactus and succulent garden, antique rose garden, Japanese garden, the Children’s Secret Garden, the Western Heritage Garden and a gift shop. Since the outside gardens are connected to the Colorado River trails system, plan on visiting for a few hours to allow time to explore both the botanical gardens and the Colorado River’s natural habitat. You will enjoy the stark contrast of a tropical greenhouse featuring

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Pacific coastal plants, koi ponds and whimsical structures with the trees, shrubs, willows and grasses that grow along the riparian zone. Wandering through the butterfly pavilion is always a thrill, especially if you discover different butterfly species and catch them in their various stages of development. Although many organizations had to cancel events due to COVID-19 restrictions over the past two years, the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens has remained open for private events. It’s a lovely site for weddings and special occasions. This year, the Gardens is holding a Summer Concert Series that includes the Boys of Summer on July 22 and Peach Street Revival on August 26. All concerts are from 6–10 p.m. Purchase tickets in advance or at the gate. If you are looking for a fun activity in the fall, put the annual Harvest Illumination Festival on your October calendar. The display of pumpkins and lights is spectacular and shouldn’t be missed. Currently, the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens are open Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. by appointment. This requirement may change, so it’s a good idea to check its website, wcbotanic.org, or call 970-245-9030 for up-to-date information. Gardener Vicki Spencer has an eclectic background in conservation, water, natural resources and more.

LEARN MORE ONLINE Read previous gardening columns at coloradocountrylife.coop. Click on Gardening under Living in Colorado.


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Perplexing Fly Patterns Adults and children in the isolated, mountainous village of La Montanita de la Virgen in Guatemala are currently in the dark. The village has never had access to electricity before, but its story will soon change. The Colorado-Oklahoma Energy Trails team returns this August to Guatemala to bring power to this village. Show your support and help the local families by making a donation today. To give online: Visit crea.coop/ community-outreach/current-causes. To send a check: Make it payable to Colorado Electric Educational Institute with School Supplies on the memo line and mail it to CREA/Guatemala, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216.

Colorado’s electric cooperatives established the 501(c)3 not-for-profit, CEEI, to support causes like this. All contributions are tax-deductible. Visit crea.coop/communityoutreach/current-causes to learn more. This project was made possible by NRECA International, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, whose mission is to increase individual and community access to electricity in all parts of the world.

Peculiar names, peculiar results BY DENNIS SMITH

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| OUTDOORS@COLOR ADOCOUNTRYLIFE.ORG

aving arrived at that place in my fly-fishing career (if you could call it that) where catching fish no longer seems nearly as important as it used to, I’ve taken to playing around with some old, forgotten and oddball fly patterns instead of relying on today’s scientifically proven fish-getters. Fly fishing has been in a perpetual state of evolution since 1496 when an aristocratic nun named Dame Julianna Berners wrote the first book about it. And today, rods, reels, lines, technique and the ridiculous assortment of gadgetry associated with the sport are in such constant flux that it’s impossible for anyone to keep up with it. That’s especially true of fly patterns; there must literally be millions of them by now, imitating everything from freshwater plankton to saltwater squid and whatever else a fish might conceivably put in its mouth. Hundreds more are marketed each year with no end in sight. Flies are typically modeled to mimic some prominent physical feature or behavioral detail of a specific aquatic insect or organism. Size, color, shape, wings, legs, fins, tails and eyes all figure in the mix. Some anatomically correct models look as if they could crawl across your desk and fly away; others are so odd-looking they defy description. Many classic fly patterns date back to the 1800s, are crafted from rare or exotic materials, have unusual histories or backstories, are of foreign origin, or wear unlikely names. The latter are the ones I’ve taken a liking to lately, and for no other reason than that they’re curiously weird or appeal to my latent sense of nostalgia. Age probably has something do with that. After all, I don’t think you can be nostalgic about much of anything when you’re 20-something. And it’s been more than half a century since I was 20. But never mind about that. The thing is, I like to fool around with old fly patterns. Late last summer, the boys and I were float-tubing on the Delaney Buttes Lakes and catching the occasional trout on tiny, suspended midge pupae and small leech imitations. Both were recommended fly patterns for that time of year, all of the major insect hatches having been over for quite some time. Still, the fish didn’t seem interested, so I tied on a Hornberg and a fly called the Gray Monkey. The Hornberg is an old classic originated in the 1920s by a Wisconsin game warden named Frank Hornberg, and I learned of the Gray Monkey from a Scottish fly tyer named Davie McPhail. Neither was appropriate for the location or conditions, but I began catching fish on both flies almost immediately. A fisherman who was floating nearby noticed my luck and asked what I was catching the fish on. When I told him a Gray Monkey, he wanted to know “…if it was legal to use live bait up here and how, exactly, do you get a monkey to stay on the hook?” Dennis Smith is a freelance outdoors writer and photographer whose work appears nationally. He lives in Loveland.

MISS AN ISSUE? Catch up at coloradocountrylife.coop. Click on Outdoors.

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FOCUS ON HISTORY A LASTING LEGACY

Fannie Mae Duncan She was a changemaker during her lifetime, and Fannie Mae Duncan left a lasting Colorado legacy. Born in 1918 to Oklahoma farmers Herbert and Mattie Bragg, Fannie Mae came to Colorado Springs in 1933. She thrived during her school years and became the first in her family to graduate high school. She graduated from Colorado Springs High School, class of 1938.

Early Entrepreneurship

Though schools were integrated during that time, much of Colorado Springs had segregationist policies. In 1942, Fannie Mae and her husband Ed managed the soda foundation at Camp Carson’s Haven Club, a facility for Black soldiers. During that time, they petitioned the city manager for a business license to operate the USO café in downtown Colorado Springs. They earned a reputation for their friendliness and generosity. Their customer base quickly spread from soldiers to the Colorado Springs Black community.

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WHERE TO SEE THE STATUE?

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Making Moves

In 1947, Fannie Mae and Ed opened Duncan’s Café and Bar on the ground floor. And Fannie Mae created her dream — The Cotton Club — on the top floor at 25 W. Colorado Avenue . The nightclub hosted Black celebrity entertainers including Louis Armstrong, Etta James, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and BB King. Since hotels wouldn’t always rent a room to Black Cotton Club performers, Duncan bought a mansion in Colorado Springs to house these headliners after their performance.

Everybody Welcome

Thanks to Fannie Mae’s tenacity and slogan of “Everybody Welcome,” the Cotton Club was the first racially integrated business in Colorado Springs. Duncan was also the first Black woman in Colorado Springs to succeed as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist. She earned a place in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Colorado Springs further memorialized Fannie Mae with the bronze statue of her likeness at the Pikes Peak Center (near the former site of her Cotton Club) in 2019, more than 100 years after her birth.

The life-size statue of Fannie Mae Duncan stands outside the Pikes Peak Center at 190 S Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.


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CONGR ATS Our May winners are: Barbara Humbracht of Cortez won a set of C-BITEs. Barbara is a consumermember of Empire Electric Association. Mercedes Hickey of Colorado Springs won a copy of the Forager’s Guide. Mercedes is a consumer-member of Mountain View Electric Association.

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

ENGINEERED AND BUILT Assembled in the USA using domestic and foreign parts.

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YOUR STORIES

READERS’ PHOTOS

FUNNY STORIES

My granddaughter, Macey, has

WINNER: Women With Altitude and Ski Miesters visit the Elephant Camp in Victoria Falls, South Africa. Shown in the picture are Anita Fowler, Erik Hanson, Pamela Hanson, Mike Lindig, Mary Lindig, Jim Mulvany, Janice Mulvany and Susan Niles, all Mountain Parks Electric consumer-members in Grand County.

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 submit it on our Reader Engagement page at coloradocountrylife.coop. We’ll draw one photo to win $25 each month. The next deadline is Wednesday, June 15. Name, address and co-op must accompany photo. See all of the submitted photos on Facebook at facebook.com/COCountryLife.

READER POETRY Memories of the Old Brown Suitcase

Evening Showers

My favorite toy, there is no doubt; was the old brown suitcase that I carried about. It was not much to look at, others would say; but to me it was special; — part of my “everyday play.” It carried my treasures, whatever they’d be; and very secure with its own lock and key. To me it looked like genuine leather; the inside was padded, and soft as a feather. It had room to carry books, dolls and toys; or an afternoon snack for the neighborhood boys. I’d take it along, wherever I’d go; it could come in handy — one could never know. It wasn’t until later that I would see, what other people had been telling me. Instead of being leather, it was pressed cardboard, and the handle was made from a frayed piece of cord. The lock and key that I saw as a kid, was a safety pin, attached to the lid. But it will always hold a special place in my heart; those sweet memories will never part.

Rough towels from the clothes line fold around the children like boxes, then melt against them.

Pam Cook, Fort Collins Poudre Valley REA consumer-member

They sit on the cement floor, hair dripping, quietly staring. Then clothes and combing. Covers. Prayers. Crickets chirp in the lawn. One last, little yawn. Kendra Hicks, Briggsdale Morgan County Rural Electric Association consumer-member

Submit your best works to our Reader Engagement DO YOU WRITE POETRY? page at coloradocountrylife.coop or send via email to info@coloradocountrylife.org.

quite an imagination. She is always thinking! One day last summer, when she was barely 4 years old, after playing in the sandbox she came running in to the kitchen and told me to hold out my hands. As I held them out, she began to fill them with sand from her shaker bottle and proudly announced, “You need some SANDITIZER!” Nadene Gaynor, Kit Carson K.C. Electric Association consumer-member

I was flying from Ohio to Colorado

Springs to visit my daughter and family. At the last minute as I walked out the door, I opened the freezer and grabbed some of my homemade, gluten-free banana bread to put in my carry on. On the plane I was seated between two elderly women and as we talked I told them how delicious my banana bread was. They were quite interested, so when I pulled out my foil wrapped bread to share with them, imagine the laughter and surprise when we discovered I had brought a pound of frozen hamburger with me! Cheryl Boys, Colorado Springs Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member

My son was teasing my husband

by stealing tomatoes from his plate while he wasn’t looking. In an attempt to distract my husband, my son says, “Dad, look at that dove out on the tree.” My husband wasn’t fooled (although I was). I look at my son and said, “There is an easier way to get tomatoes. Use your manners.” That is when my younger daughter pipes up, “Dad, PLEASE look out the window!” We couldn’t stop laughing for a while after that! Sarabeth Kluksdahl, Briggsdale United Power consumer-member

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. Go to our Reader Engagement page at coloradocountrylife.coop to submit your funny story. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022

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DISCOVERIES

“Sunset over the Courthouse” by Donnell Allen, a consumer-member of Mountain View Electric Association .

Nature’s Calling! Take your adventures outdoors with Colorado products

Food with Fortitude

Fired Up

When you need fuel to face your next outdoor challenge, grab a Bar U Eat bar or bag of bites to nosh. These snacks are full of organic ingredients — no artificial preservatives or pesticides — that will energize and satisfy. The Steamboat Springs-based company uses ingredients such as nuts, dates, oats and seeds to create a delicious fusion of flavor you will relish with every bite. Bars cost $2.69 each and bites are $7.95 per bag. For more information, visit barueat.com.

One of the most important components to camping — when sites allow — is the fire. Colorado company Outdoor Element gets your flame fired up fast with just a flick of the EverSpark Wheel, featured in the company’s Firebiner® and Fire Escape carabiners™. Additional features, depending on your choice of model, are a bottle opener, screwdriver, utility blade, seatbelt cutter, window breaker, wrench and more. Costs range from $14.95 to $26.95. More information at outdoorelement.com.

Jot Down Your Journeys Log all the things you love — and the things you don’t love — about your treks throughout the U.S. as a token of your travels in the 50 States Traveled Journal. Created by Coloradans Taylor and Tanner Barkin, this journal includes two pages for every state to record adventures so you can look back on your many excursions, such as cities visited, favorite foods, special moments and more. Cost is $30. More information at uncommongoods.com.

Happy Campers Explore the beauty of the Centennial State in multifaceted ways with help from RockyTrax. Book a camper and the Glade Park-based adventure company will deliver it and set it up so all you have to do is show up and make yourself at home. RockyTrax also offers dual-sport dirt bike rentals, self-guided rides, and offroad riding lessons, as well as base camp lodging at Glade Park Ranch. Contact Andy Hanks at info@ rockytrax.com or visit rockytrax.com to get started.

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COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE JUNE 2022


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