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Bent’s Old Fort

Celebrating the Santa Fe Trail








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Volume 52

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September 2021 THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE COLORADO RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION COMMUNICATIONS STAFF Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor Cassi Gloe, CCC, Production Manager/Designer Kylee Coleman, Editorial/Admin. Assistant ADVERTISING Kris Wendtland, Ad Representative | 303-902-7276 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 2021, Colorado Rural Electric Association. Call for reprint rights. EDITORIAL Denver Corporate Office, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216 | 303-455-4111 | | | 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 $4.44 per year (37 cents per month), paid from equity accruing to the member. For nonmembers, a subscription is $9 per year in-state/$15 out-of-state. POSTMASTER Send address changes to Colorado Country Life, 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216

On the Cover SEPTEMBER 2021

Bent’s Old Fort

Celebrating the Santa Fe Trail

Jake Koch of the U.S. National Park Service tends the trade room at Bent’s Old Fort. Photo by Matt Vincent.

“A Country Storm” by Bob Dickey, a consumer-member of Mountain View Electric Association.
















FACEBOOK CHATTER Colorado Rural Electric Association posted: Yesterday, 13 students representing co-ops from across Colorado participated in the Bright Futures web conference sponsored by Colorado’s electric cooperatives. Students had the opportunity to hear from Sen. Dennis Hisey and Rep. Dylan Roberts, plus a brilliant cast of leadership speakers. Each student will receive a $500 scholarship.

Monthly Contest Enter for your chance to win a basket full of Coloradomade apple based products and a copy of Apples: 50 Tried & True Recipes by Julia Rutland. For official rules and how to enter, visit Contests at

PINTEREST SNEAK PEEK COCountryLife pinned: Apples are a versatile and beloved fruit. This fall be sure to try the Apple Butter-Bourbon Sauce from Apples: 50 Tried & True Recipes by Julia Rutland.

INSTAGRAM PIC of the month Colorado Country Life posted: Check out #ColoradoStateParks in August’s #ColoradoCountryLife. #agentsofdiscovery #hikeapark COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE SEPTEMBER 2021




Renewables are replacing coal in Colorado, despite some headlines BY KENT SINGER



n this column, I frequently discuss the energy transition that is taking place in Colorado. Over the last 10 years or so, Colorado’s electric co-ops have been moving toward a much more diversified approach to how electricity is generated with the integration of higher amounts of renewable energy. This transition has not been easy or without controversy. But in 2021, Colorado’s electric co-ops are moving quickly toward a power supply portfolio that will incorporate far more renewable energy and create far less greenhouse gas emissions. Both Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Xcel Energy Colorado, the power suppliers to 21 of 22 electric co-ops, will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from their power generating resources in Colorado by 90% from 2005 levels by 2030. This is a watershed moment for the

We are in the midst of the most dramatic departure from how electricity has been produced in rural Colorado for the last 80 years, moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. 4


electric industry in Colorado. We are in the midst of the most dramatic departure from how electricity has been produced in rural Colorado for the last 80 years, moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Yes, the co-ops are moving in this direction because the Colorado legislature passed laws requiring it, but they are also moving in this direction due to the concerns expressed by many of their consumer-members. In addition to the changes being made to the bulk power supply resources of the electric co-op providers, co-ops are also working with their end-use customers to increase energy efficiency and integrate more renewable energy into the grid. Utilizing community solar farms, microgrids, distributed energy resources and other innovative technologies, Colorado’s electric co-ops continue to reduce their impact on the environment while still maintaining reliable and affordable electricity for their consumer-members. Given the dramatic changes happening in Colorado, I was a little perplexed by the headline of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal: “Renewables Are Fast Replacing Coal, Except in Rural America.” It may be true that in other parts of the country there is a more deliberate pace to the integration of renewable energy, but Colorado is on the fast track to a cleaner electric grid. The article in The Wall Street Journal focuses on the energy transition taking place in Colorado and the political and financial challenges that are associated with that transition. As the article states: “Co-ops are different from their investor-owned counterparts in a number of ways. Because


they are owned by customers, rather than shareholders, they can’t raise equity and instead rely mainly on debt for financing needs. They are exempt from federal income taxes and therefore can’t use renewable energy tax credits. And many of the regions they serve rely on coal plants for jobs and tax revenue, making the prospect of closing them politically challenging.” That’s all true. The transition to more sustainable resources has put pressure on electric co-ops and their power suppliers. However, Colorado’s electric co-ops are moving quickly toward their goal of an 80% reduction in Colorado power generation emissions by 2030 while working through the challenges. This includes supporting Coloradans and their local communities that have relied on the jobs provided by coal-fired power plants and coal mines that are being closed. The electric co-ops are also working with the state legislature to provide support for rural communities during this energy transition. The bottom line is that renewables and other sustainable resources are fast replacing coal, including in rural Colorado. Maybe a better headline for Colorado’s Wall Street Journal readers would have been “Renewables Are Fast Replacing Coal, Despite the Challenges Facing Rural America.” Kent Singer is the executive director of CREA and offers a statewide perspective on issues affecting electric cooperatives. CREA is the trade association for your electric co-op, the 21 other electric co-ops in Colorado and its power supply co-op.



Where were you when the towers fell?




t’s been 20 years since the date September 11 was indelibly MONA NEELEY imprinted in every American’s memory — 20 years since the World Trade Center towers fell. It was a horrible, devastating, incomprehensible day. It is also my husband’s birthday and, in our family, we celebrate birthdays first thing in the morning. Therefore, we didn’t have any radios or televisions on that morning. It wasn’t until I started my drive to work that I learned that our nation had been attacked. I was numb the rest of the day. At work, we wandered the halls, talked with coworkers about how unbelievable the attack was, and watched television footage. How could this happen? Then, in the days and weeks that followed, there was an incredible coming together across the country. Americans united across political divides, across old animosities, across so many divisions. We were Americans working through our grief and our outrage together. That gave me hope. Now, 20 years later, we have seen divisions among us return — political, religious, ethnic, racial and other divisions. But I still have hope for this great nation and, as we look back on September 11, 2001, I pray that we all reflect on what unites us. I pray that we pause, reflect and remember that, despite our differences, we are all in this together. Mona Neeley is the statewide editor of Colorado Country Life, which is published in coordination with your local electric cooperative. Its goal is to provide information from your local electric co-op to you, its consumer-members.

DRAMATIC CHANGES ARE TRANSFORMING ALL ASPECTS OF THE ENERGY INDUSTRY. Colorado’s electric cooperatives present the hybrid 2021 CREA Energy Innovations Summit – bringing both live and online audiences together to discover, engage and connect to learn more about how electricity is the answer for a sustainable future.

OCTOBER 11 • HYBRID EVENT 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MST In-Person & Virtual Event Grand Hyatt Hotel, Denver

REGISTER TODAY Scan for more information and to register or go to


Clean Energy = Jobs

Keeping carbon in the ground is not just about the climate crisis; it’s also about jobs. Job growth in the oil, gas and coal sectors is down; job growth in wind, solar and storage is up. According to a 2021 Rocky Mountain Institute report on the impact of renewables on rural economies nationwide: “The 54 GW (gigawatts) of wind and solar projects slated to come on line in 2030 will employ roughly 40,000 workers during the construction phase, delivering $2.3 billion in annual wages. Meanwhile, a long-term operations and maintenance workforce of 38,000 will be needed to support operating wind and solar projects in 2030, delivering $3.7 billion in annual wages.” Daniel M. Kowalski, Lyons Poudre Valley REA consumer-member

Planning for Waste

My letter (April ’21) regarding waste for renewables, which was truncated during editing, apparently confused readers. It’s not a matter of comparing waste from different energy sources; it’s a matter of generating a huge amount of waste from wind and solar without a plan to manage it. I don’t think anyone wants to create a bigger problem than the one we’re trying to solve. Pat Morehouse, Mesa County Grand Valley Power consumer-member

Paying for Wind Power

There was a letter to the editor where the writer stated: “Tax credits (for wind farms)… take money from taxpayers and give it to whomever builds the wind farm” and the writer, as a taxpayer, does not want to subsidize wind power. Wind power reduces coal and fossil fuel use and their negative impacts. If you add up all the costs of these impacts, the return on the investment of the tax credit far outweighs the negative impacts of fossil fuel use. John Spezia, via email Yampa Valley Electric consumer-member

SEND US YOUR LETTERS Editor Mona Neeley, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or mneeley@ Include name and address. Letters may be edited for length.





DIY or Hire a Pro? BY PAT KEEGAN

BEST OF HELP US FIND THE BEST OF COLORADO! WE’RE LOOKING FOR THE BEST: • Jewelry craftsman • Spot for a day at the lake • Candy maker • Mountain biking trail • Historic site • Pizza • Place for live music • Arts & crafts fair



hen it comes to home do-it-yourself projects, I recently asked myself, “Why hire someone to do a mediocre job when I can do a mediocre job myself?” That may sound odd, but I recently hired a contractor to remodel my kitchen. Needless to say, I was not happy with the quality of the work. Unfortunately, hiring a contractor based on positive online reviews and references doesn’t always guarantee quality work. One reason to DIY instead of hiring a contractor is if you’re convinced you can do a better job. Naturally, this depends on the scope of the project and how knowledgeable you are about the work. And there are additional reasons to tackle a home efficiency project yourself: • You’re unable to find a contractor that is available and reasonably priced. • You need the work completed in a tight time frame or during odd hours. • You’re certain you can save a lot of money. • The job is one you’d really enjoy doing yourself. On the flipside, there are also several good reasons to hire a contractor: • Specialized equipment is required. For example, the best wall insulators use a fill tube, which results in a higher R-value performance. Some contractors use an infrared camera to review wall framing and air leaks. • Specialized materials are needed. Attics need proper ventilation, and contractors might have easier access to attic insulation baffles or roof vents. • There’s a safety issue. I was once moving insulation in my attic and accidentally stepped onto the sheetrock ceiling and fell through to my waist. My legs were dangling in the air and the room below was littered with broken sheetrock and insulation. I wasn’t hurt but could have been. As I repaired the damage, I regretted the decision not to hire a contractor. • Expertise is required beyond the homeowner’s capability, like tuning a furnace or repairing holes in a sheetrock wall to match the wall around it. • Tackling the project yourself will save little or no money. I discovered years ago that some contractors could install insulation cheaper than I could buy it. As you consider whether to do the job yourself, be sure to research the tools and supplies you’ll need. Fortunately, there are amazing resources online. Pat Keegan of Collaborative Efficiency writes on energy efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

LEARN MORE ONLINE Visit to learn more about ways you can save on home energy costs. Look under the Energy tab.





MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box Y Akron, CO 80720 STREET ADDRESS 26862 U.S. Hwy 34 Akron, CO 80720

ph 970-345-2291 tf 800-660-2291 fax 970-345-2154 web

Y-W Electric Association, Inc. is dedicated to providing highquality, reliable electric service and related products to our members at competitive prices. Our members deserve and shall receive quality service unexcelled in our industry. We are committed to maintaining an environment where the Board of Directors and employees can perform at maximum potential to benefit our Y-W community.




ost adults have a vague memory of a time when “checking for messages” meant listening to an answering machine. We carried on with our days without relying on cellphones and managed just fine, but today we are more connected than ever through our smartphones and other devices. Our phones are so much more now — from cameras to calendars to social media connections — and truly disconnecting from them can be difficult. But it’s even harder for our kids to unplug because they only know life with these tiny screens. It’s difficult for them to imagine life without computers, gaming devices, tablets or cellphones. But there’s great value in unplugging for children and adults, even if it’s for just a short period of time. For kids, time away from the screen to be outside with other children allows them to connect with nature and others in a way that a virtual experience simply does not allow. They are able to experience life in the moment and allow their creativity and energy to break free. Fortunately, we have access to great community programs and organizations for our youth that provide children with a safe place to play, learn and grow, while cultivating new skills and interests. These types of clubs and programs offer kids an opportunity to explore activities and interests outside of school academics. Children can investigate areas they might not otherwise have access to and discover new interests and passions. They often learn new skills and strengthen existing ones. It’s no secret that the broader the range of experiences and activities children are exposed to, the more likely they are to find their own path and possibly a career. Community programs also foster important leadership


development and public speaking skills. Through guided and informal play and activities, children learn problem-solving and social skills that enable them to resolve conflicts peacefully and improve interpersonal relationships. Adults can also find meaningful opportunities to spend time with the kids when we all unplug. From board games to craft projects to playing in the park, there are many ways we can unplug for some family fun. While you and your children are disconnecting, take a moment to identify potential energy savings. Unplug electronics that are not in use to avoid “vampire” energy loss. This is the energy that is drained from technology and electronics even when they are not in use. For example, although it is turned off, your television is waiting to receive a signal from the remote and your DVR is waiting to record the next show or perform an update. Let’s encourage youngsters to step away from the screens and join in — to play and be part of an organization that helps them connect with others, find meaningful interactions and explore new activities and interests. When you do plug back in, Y-W Electric Association, Inc., is here to help you save money and energy by connecting you with our energy-saving programs and services. While we’d love to see you in person, we’re also just a call or click away: 970-345-2291 or COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE SEPTEMBER 2021



Think Safety When Operating a Generator A generator can be a valuable piece of equipment to keep appliances working during a power outage. Generators can be either temporary or permanently installed. A permanent generator is wired into a house by a qualified electrician using a transfer switch that prevents a generator from feeding electricity back into overhead lines, which can be deadly for linemen. A temporary generator is powered by gasoline and should not be attached to a circuit breaker, fuse or outlet. Before ever purchasing a generator, you need to know the wattage required to run the appliances you will attach to the generator. You also need to know the surge power, which is the power it takes to turn an appliance on. Once you purchase the proper generator, follow these tips from Y-W Electric Association and Safe Electricity to properly operate your generator: • Read and follow all manufacturer operating instructions to properly ground the generator. Be sure you understand them before hooking up the generator. • Never operate a generator in a confined area, such as a garage. Generators can

Claim Your Credit Each month, Y-W Electric offers consumer-members a chance to earn a $20 credit on their next electric bill. If you recognize your name and account number in this magazine, call 800-660-2291 and ask for your credit. It couldn’t be easier. Get acquainted with your account number, read your Colorado Country Life magazine and pick up the phone. That’s all the energy you’ll need to claim your energy bucks. You must claim your credit during the month in which your name appears in the magazine. (Check the date on the front cover.) Winners claiming $20 from the July 2021 issue: • Glosson Construction Company Inc. • Mary A Miller • Edward J Baker



produce numerous gases, including toxic and deadly carbon monoxide, therefore they require proper ventilation. • Generators pose electrical risks especially when operated in wet conditions. Use a generator only when necessary if the weather creates wet or moist conditions. Protect the generator by operating it under an open, canopylike structure on a dry surface where water cannot form puddles or drain under it. Always ensure your hands are dry before touching the generator. • When you refuel the generator, make sure the engine is cool to prevent a fire should the tank overflow. • There should be nothing plugged into the generator when you turn it on. This

prevents a surge from damaging your generator and appliances. • Be sure to keep children and pets away from the generator, which could burn them. • Shut down the generator properly. Before shutting down a generator, turn off and unplug all appliances and equipment being powered by the generator. • Remember maintenance between uses. It is also a good idea to inspect the fuel and oil filters, spark plug, oil level and fuel quality and to start the generator on a regular basis before an emergency occurs. [Todd Houser & Amanda Luthey, 1140304609]

For more information on electrical safety, visit

Tips for a Safe Harvest BY ABBY BERRY

Agriculture is the backbone of our country, and our livelihood greatly depends on the crops provided by American farmers. In addition to being one of the most laborintensive professions, farming is also considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. The hard work and exhaustive labor are tough, but rushing the job to save time can be extremely dangerous — even deadly — when farming near electrical equipment. Every year, we see collisions where tractors and other farming equipment accidentally collide with utility poles and power lines, causing injuries and power outages. These dangerous accidents can be avoided by looking up and around your surroundings when operating large farm machinery. If you’re preparing for harvest season, please keep the following safety tips in mind: • Maintain a 10-foot clearance around all utility equipment in all directions. • Use a spotter and deploy flags to maintain safe distances from power lines and other electrical equipment when working in the field. • If your equipment makes contact with an energized or downed power line, call 911 immediately and remain inside the vehicle until the power line is de-energized. In case of smoke or fire, exit the cab by making a solid jump out of the cab (without touching it) and hop away to safety. • Consider equipment and cargo extensions of your vehicle. Lumber, hay, tree limbs, irrigation pipes and even bulk materials can conduct electricity, so keep them out of contact with electrical equipment. September 19-25 is National Farm Health and Safety Week, but practicing safety on the farm year-round yields positive results. We hope you never find yourself in a situation where farming equipment contacts power lines or poles, but if you do, we hope you’ll remember these safety tips. [Brie Sampson, 420700202] Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. [Tyson & Tiffany Sprouse, 741814801]


Receive Rebate Money For Being Safe


nstall all your double-throw generator transfer switches and collect a sizable rebate as a reward for safety. Y-W Electric reminds those members using standby generator sets how important it is to connect them into the electrical system correctly. Since 2001, the Y-W directors have sponsored a rebate program to encourage all members with standby generators to install the proper double-throw transfer switches. The program was initiated to provide safety for linemen working on downed power lines following storms. For a number of years before that, Y-W Electric provided double-throw transfer switches at cost for members. However, even at cost, the purchase price discouraged members from installing the safety devices. The Y-W board reasoned that providing a rebate that covers approximately two-thirds of the cost of the panel would encourage members to install the switches for safety.

the purchase invoice within 180 days of purchase. 2. A member may install equipment or hire others to install the equipment. 3. Switch installation must be inspected and approved by a Y-W Electric employee. 4. Rebate is to be paid based on the schedule shown below. Y-W Electric has contacted the electrical contractors in the area and discussed the program with them. All of them expressed support for the program. Y-W Electric has no intention of competing with the contractors. Y-W Electric will gladly advise the consumer who wishes to do his or her own work, but Y-W will not install any of the equipment. If you have any questions, you may call your electrical contractor or Y-W Electric Association at 800-660-2291 or, in the Akron calling area, 970-345-2291.

The provisions for receiving the rebate are as follows: 1. A member may purchase a doublethrow transfer switch with an Underwriters Laboratories approval rating for service entrance equipment from any source and present

Safety rebates for double-throw switches: • 100 ampere, single phase . . .$250 • 200 ampere, single phase . . .$325 • 400 ampere, single phase . . .$600 • 100 ampere, three phase . . . .$425 • 200 ampere, three phase . . . .$500 • 400 ampere, three phase . .$1,300

Billing Corner

SmartHub Bill Pay & More

Energy Efficiency

Tip of the Month Energy used for cooling and heating your home makes up the largest portion of your monthly energy bills. By combining regular equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing and thermostat settings, you can save about 30% on your energy bills while helping our environment.


For convenience, Y-W Electric offers the ability to pay your account with the SmartHub app. This service allows you to pay your bill electronically with a credit or debit card or checking account. This is also a great place to go to get account information. Information on billing history, usage, payment history and past billing invoices are available. There is also a link to sign up for auto payment. Reporting an outage is also available on SmartHub. This information goes directly to our operations department in an email. This leaves our phone lines open for those who do not have SmartHub available. The app is compatible with iPhones as well as Androids. Check our website at for more information. [Debra Cooper, 341203801]




Efficient and Safe Farming Technologies BY MARIA KANEVSKY


s farming technology advances, farmers are finding new ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency and increase crop yields. The newest trend of technological advancements for farming is precision agriculture, a strategy where farmers use advanced technologies to control the growth of crops and raising of livestock more accurately and efficiently. As precision agriculture grew in recent years, the technologies became even more technical and precise by using data analytics and machine learning. With a whole suite of benefits, like reduced costs, standardized data and metrics, and minimized resource waste, it’s no surprise that technologies and strategies for precision agriculture are becoming more commonplace. The initial wave of precision agriculture in the 1980s was made possible by GPS (global positioning system) devices, which were first placed on tractors. GPS-connected devices could control a tractor and automatically steer the tractor based on the field’s GPS coordinates. This helped reduce any overlap while driving, making farming practices more efficient. Beyond autonomous tractors, there have been many innovations in farming technologies that are part of precision agriculture. One technology is the crop-monitoring drone, which can take aerial views of fields and help give the farmer a bird’s-eye view of their land. Connecting the drone to special software and GPS can also allow the drone to automatically take photos, making it even easier to use. When combined with GIS (geographic information system), the drone can help analyze the geospatial field data in real-time for the farmer. Using robotics for precision agriculture can be applied to many kinds of machines. For example, robotic milking machines can be used to automate the cow milking process. These machines help farmers reduce their labor demands while also increasing efficiency, freeing up time for farmers to work on other parts of their farm. Since the machines are optimized to work efficiently, they can also help to remove more milk per cow and provide more rest for the cows. If farmers want to optimize their crop production, then variable rate technology (VRT) can help. VRT allows the farmer to use a variable rate schedule for application of fertilizer or for irrigation. Although there are several different options for using VRT, the basics consist of a computer, software, GPS and a controller. Farmers can choose to use VRT in either a map-based or sensor-based way, depending on needs of the farm. Using VRT helps farmers accurately measure water and fertilizer, save time, and maximize irrigation and fertilization efficiency.



Alexander Frick Jr., co-owner of Frick Farms, LLC, uses a smart device to review data and plans his customized seed application for the day. Photo from Lance Cheung, USDA

To properly use these new technologies, there are some important safety tips to consider. When learning to use any new technology, be sure to fully read the manual and understand the instructions before beginning any work. This can help farmers avoid preventable accidents. Different types of farm equipment will also require different safety precautions. For example, when working with grain bins, farmers should be especially careful to follow training procedures when it is necessary to work inside the grain bin. Being aware of the best safety practices when working with a specific technology is the best way to avoid accidents. Additionally, since these technologies are digital, the threat of cybersecurity comes into play. Appropriate use of any USB thumb drive and being aware of “spear-phishing” cyberattacks will help prevent malicious entities from gaining access to the farmer’s confidential data. Although the benefits are clear, there are a few barriers to using these new agricultural technologies. Having a well-established broadband connection is crucial for some of these technologies, and a lack of high-speed internet access can limit the use of precision agriculture technologies. Furthermore, using precision agriculture comes with a relatively large upfront financial investment, which may not provide a return on investment quickly enough to the farm. Before incorporating precision agriculture technology into any farm, planning and preparation are crucial to make the best use of the technology. [Allen Pugh, 2561006502] Maria Kanevsky writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.


How ’Bout Them Apples?

Enter to win this cookbook and more apple-based products

The much-loved fruit is the star of a cookbook BY AMY HIGGINS


We’re heading into apple season!

For official rules and to enter, visit


earty, sweet, juicy and simply scrumptious, apples are some of nature’s most versatile and beloved fruits. Published in the fall of 2020, Apples: 50 Tried & True Recipes by Julia Rutland is a cookbook that combines these gratifying goodies into desserts, breads, salads, soups and savories, but it also features jams and sauces that you can incorporate into a variety of vittles. As apples overtake the produce section and apple trees (if they survived the freezes) throughout Colorado, load up and try this recipe to make your meals even more flavorful:

Slow-Cooker Apple Butter 1 cup unsweetened apple juice 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 5 pounds mixed variety of apples Combine juice, sugars, cinnamon, salt, cloves and vanilla in a 6-quart slow cooker. Peel, core and thickly slice or chop apples; stir into juice mixture. Cook, covered, on low heat for 10 hours. Stir periodically. Puree mixture with an immersion blender. If mixture is thinner than applesauce, uncover and cook on high heat until thick (mixture will thicken more once cool). Prepare canning jars by sterilizing according to the manufacturer’s directions. Ladle apple butter into prepared jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims and apply lids and rings. Process jars in a boilingwater bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars from canning pot and set aside to cool to room temperature. Jars will “ping,” which indicates that lids are sealed. The center of each lid will not flex up and down when pressed.

Prime Produce Ideal apples: As with applesauce, apple butter has a more complex, interesting flavor when a few different varieties of apples are used. Use the same apples as you would for applesauce (McIntosh, Cortland, Fuji, Braeburn or Rome) or choose spicier varieties like Winesap.

Find and share more recipes and cooking inspiration at



UPGRADE TO ELECTRICITY AND SAVE IN YOUR HOME At Tri-State, we’re doing our part so that electricity benefits you. Together with our members, we provide over $3 million of electrification and efficiency rebates annually. Switching to electricity can save you money with these home electrification ideas.

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.





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




CREA Wins Communications Awards for 2020


REA’s c ommunic at ions department earned four awards in the Cooperative Communicators Association annual awards ceremony. Professional communicators representing 40 cooperatives (not just electric cooperatives) from across the United States and Canada submitted 500 entries in this year’s competition. Colorado Country Life’s production manager/magazine designer, Cassi Gloe, won a second place award in the publication category for article design. The award was for the design of the August 2020 cover story “Star of the Clouds.” CREA Executive Director Kent Singer also won a second place award for his editorial in the May 2020 issue titled “Co-op Strong: Optimistically working toward a return to normal.” The magazine also won third place in the photography category Cover of the Year for its June cover of two young boys focused on electronic devices. The cover story was titled “Stay In & Stream.” CREA, which represents the state’s 22 electric distribution co-ops and its one power supply co-op, won third place in the brochure category for its “Powering Your Community” explanation of electric co-ops.

Colorado Co-op Works to Bring EVs to Low-Income Rural Areas


an Isabel Electric Association, headquartered in Pueblo West, joined the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and 16 other electric cooperatives in applying for $8 million in federal grants to bring electric vehicles to low-income rural communities. Most of the proposed co-op projects would install public EV charging stations at key locations, such as low-income apartment complexes, medical facilities, parks and highway corridors, said Brian Sloboda, NRECA’s director of consumer solutions. “In some cases, these would be the first public chargers that anyone in the community has ever seen,” he said. The U.S. Department of Energy will fund 50% of the cost of the projects, leaving co-ops and any community partners to pay the rest. The agency will announce a maximum of five winners at the end of the highly competitive process in October. The co-ops are competing as one unit, rather than as individual businesses, with NRECA as the project leader. “I don’t think you can find another team that represents such a diverse group of utilities, projects and communities and that meets the ambitious goals of the Department of Energy,” Sloboda said. Despite increasing interest in EV charging by for-profit companies, “few companies are building this infrastructure and trying to grow EVs in the rural areas except these nonprofit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives,” he said. “It’s a long-haul investment that’s not going to pay off overnight,” Sloboda said. “This is where we need the leadership from the DOE in recognizing the needs of these underserved rural communities. Without co-ops working with the DOE, we probably won’t see rapid progress.”

Magazine Embodies 5th Co-op Principle The fifth co-op principle that guides Colorado’s electric cooperatives is “education, training and information.” Cooperatives provide education and training for their consumer-members, managers, employees and electric representatives so they can contribute to the growth and development of their local electric cooperative. Colorado Country Life does its part each month, bringing you as co-op consumer-members information on your local electric cooperative. Providing important information to consumer-members helps those consumer-members stay current on what is happening at their local co-op. Find all seven principles at






REA member electric co-ops deliver electricity to 70% of the state’s landmass. Those co-ops serve nearly 1.5 million rural electric consumers across the state, which includes co-op consumer-members in the poorest counties in the state. Consumer-members who experience poverty are the reason why CREA works to make sure co-op electricity is not only sustainable

and reliable, but also affordable. Every piece of legislation, every rule that affects electric co-op business and every mandate is balanced with how it will affect the electric bills for consumer-members. This is especially important as electricity becomes the fuel of choice for everything, including home heating and cooling and electric vehicles.





Denver metro closeup

This map displays the percentage of persons living in poverty in each county as well as the electric co-ops serving each county. To learn more about this data and how it was collected, visit indexmundi at



























Bent’s Old Fort

An Outpost Along the Santa Fe Trail


The fort’s heavily fortified entrance.


ent’s Fort was once the only American building located between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean, a lone structure in the vast western interior of North America. Built in 1833 on the north side of the Arkansas River as part of the first business venture of Bent, St. Vrain & Company in what would someday become the American Southwest, it was a simple two-story structure built of adobe



bricks and rough-hewn logs all covered with a reddish-brown stucco finish. From the early 1830s to the late 1840s, the original fort, whose replica now stands on the plains outside of La Junta in Southeast Colorado Power Association’s territory, would become one of the important places in the western half of the expanding United States, coveted by friends and enemies: a multicultural epicenter of what America was once and what it eventually became. One could stand in the doorway of its heavily fortified entrance to observe the traffic on the Santa Fe Trail. During its heyday, long trains of freight wagons hauled by massive teams of oxen would pause outside the gate to rest and resupply on the 1,000-mile journey. One would have seen mule skinners adjusting packs and panniers, pack trains of horses and riders, and mountain men clad in greasy buckskins — frontiersmen such as Kit Carson and Thomas “Broken Hand” Fitzpatrick. Southern Cheyenne chiefs such as White Antelope, Black Kettle and Yellow Wolf, together with Arapaho leaders such

as Left Hand and Little Raven, would ride into Bent’s Fort, proudly leading villages and horse herds, knowing William Bent’s home was built on the promise of peace. Unlike other frontier forts and supply stations that would later be constructed on the Smoky Hill Road in neighboring Kansas, Bent’s Fort was never attacked by Native Americans. In fact, William Bent and his brothers and business partner, Ceran St. Vrain, befriended the Plains Indians and did their best to protect them until the bitter end. Throughout the spring and summer months during that time, wagons hauled tons of trade goods west from places like St. Louis, Independence, Fort Osage and Old Franklin — spices, foods, bolts of cloth, gunpowder, steel tools and even strange, expensive curios from as far away as New York, London and Paris. Utilitarian products such as steel knives and metal kettles were traded by Bent’s company for meticulously tanned buffalo hides and furs from the native tribes. The remainder of the valuable freight was destined for Santa Fe and the


Illustration by Brigitte Shafer

lucrative Mexican trade center at the foot of the distant Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Meanwhile, wagons returning east carried their profits of silver coins and bullion. Others would leave Bent’s Fort loaded with compressed bales of bison hides. Private enterprise ran in both directions on the Santa Fe Trail through Bent’s Fort. The profit potential was staggering, tempting thousands of Americans, French and Mexicans onto this well-traveled and sometimes dangerous frontier trail. How tempting? In 1821 when William Becknell first ventured west to trade in Santa Fe after Mexico had gained its independence from Spain, his paltry pack train carried only $300 worth of trade goods, but it fetched a $6,000 profit in Mexican silver. When the “Father of the Santa Fe Trail” returned the following year with investors and a wagon train carrying $3,000 in goods, his profits skyrocketed to $91,000, sparking a booming international trade market that would last until 1846 when the Mexican-American War changed all that. There were two primary roads to Santa Fe in the beginning. Becknell blazed the Cimarron Route on his return to the Missouri River in 1822 because the southern route offered a shorter, smoother road to Santa Fe for heavily burdened freight wagons. Quicker was not always better, however, because reliable sources

Jake Koch inspects one of the hides on display in the mercantile at the fort.

of water for the livestock were sometimes nonexistent. More, the threat of attack from Comanche and Kiowa tribes was ever present. Because of these inherent dangers, the so-called Mountain Route through what would someday become southern Colorado along the Arkansas eventually became the preferred path across the Great Plains and into the relatively uncharted western mountains. “After traveling for two months or more, it must have been an amazing sight to see Bent’s Fort, a bustling crowd of people gathered in and around the fort,” said Jake Koch of the U.S. National Park Service at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. Setting the scene in the wide valley above and below the trading post, Koch said, once would

“It was a giant melting pot of people and cultures. You might hear six or seven different languages spoken on any given day, and travelers were provided with amenities like a fully stocked mercantile store, a blacksmith, a carpentry shop — virtually everything they might need for the rest of their journey to Santa Fe or back to St. Louis.” — Jake Koch, U.S. National Park Service, Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site have been large herds of Indian ponies and the stark-white lodges of Plains Indians, all gathered in relative peace to trade, barter and exchange information. “It was a giant melting pot of people and cultures. You might hear six or seven different languages spoken on any given day,” Koch continued, “and travelers were provided with amenities like a fully stocked mercantile store, a blacksmith, a carpentry shop — virtually everything they might need for the rest of their journey to Santa Fe or back to St. Louis.” Mexico began on the opposite bank of the Arkansas River, of course. So, too, did Comancheria, the homeland of the Comanche empire, encompassing a large portion of modern Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Mingling with Spanish, Mexican, French and English citizens inside Bent’s Fort were Cheyenne, Arapaho, Sioux, Kiowa and other tribes. “Up until the war breaks out with Mexico, everybody here was generally getting along with one another,” Koch said. “So, for an all-too-brief time in western history, maybe a dozen years, Bent’s Fort was a unique place in what came to be known as the Wild West.” The violence and tragedy would come not long after the Mexican-American War COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE SEPTEMBER 2021


Illustration by Brigitte Shafer


The fort’s plaza was one a gathering place for mountain men, Plains Indians, traders and others.

and culminate with the Plains Indian War in the aftermath of the nearby Sand Creek Massacre near present-day Eads. As the nation observes the bicentennial anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail this year, Bent’s Old Fort will once again become a multicultural epicenter on Colorado’s southern plains when people from across the nation will gather for an event called “The Santa Fe Trail Lives On: 200 Years of Commerce and Cultural Connections.” Everything will take place September 22–26 at the historic site on the Arkansas River and in nearby La Junta. “This is going to be major event,” said Stuart West, the new superintendent at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. In fact, West hopes it will become much more than a week’s celebration of the Santa Fe Trail’s 200th anniversary, “I hope it is a discovery of southeastern Colorado —Boggsville, Fort Lyon, Bent’s Old Fort and the Sand Creek Massacre — so that when people think of Bent’s Old Fort, they understand its link to the whole region.” Years of planning went into this upcoming event spearheaded by the Santa Fe Trail Association and the centerpiece of all those plans will be the Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Symposium and its impressive lineup of distinguished speakers. Among those speakers are Dr. David Beyreis,



who will discuss his 2020 book, Blood in the Borderlands: Conflict, Kinship, and the Bent Family, 1821-1920; and Aaron Mahr, a noted authority and historian from the University of New Mexico who is presently the superintendent of the National Park Service’s National Trails Office. “The lineup is pretty incredible,” said LaDonna Hutton of Rocky Ford, a longtime member of Bent’s Fort Chapter of the SFTA who was quick to credit others for what she and her volunteer organization helped put together for history enthusiasts. In addition to LaDonna and her husband, Charlie, others warranting credit for this five-day immersion into the early 19th century include Kevin Lindahl, the president of the association’s Bent’s Fort Chapter, and John Carson, former interpreter at the fort who also happens to be the greatgrandson of Kit Carson, an employee and longtime friend of William Bent. Kit Carson was also a one-time resident of Boggsville near the confluence of the Arkansas and the Purgatoire River a few miles south of Las Animas. Although assembled for national and international members of the SFTA, the symposium is open to the public. And Hutton said one of the most highly anticipated days will be Friday, September 24, when attendees can experience what life was like in 1846 at Bent’s Fort on the Arkansas River.

William Bent (1809–1869).

“We’re planning to have more than 50 living historians in period dress (costume) at the fort throughout the week,” Hutton explained. “On Friday there will be demonstrations by many of the volunteers. And people will be able to see mountain men, fur traders, freighters and others involved in this important era of American history. It should be really fun, especially for young people, and we’re encouraging families to attend.” Dozens of artists, authors, musicians, craftsmen and vendors will be on hand throughout the week, adding to the Old West atmosphere, and its history will once again rise like campfire smoke into the tall cottonwoods along the Arkansas River. Hutton recommends visitors register for the 2021 Santa Fe Trail Bicentennial Symposium prior to arrival to ensure reserved seating and other associated benefits, due to anticipated demand and limited seating at some of the venues. Local guided tours to other venues, which will include transportation, lunches and refreshments, are limited so advance registration is suggested. For registration information, a complete schedule of events and other planned activities, visit the symposium website at Photographer and writer Matt Vincent is a longtime resident of northeastern Colorado and is an avid history buff. His first book, Wild Times & True Tales from the High Plains, was released earlier this year.


Timeline of

Bent’s Old Fort

1832: With the blessing and encouragement of the 1849:

1833: Though still under construction, Bent’s Fort officially opens its doors for business. Kit Carson signs as a trader and takes a mule train of trade goods north to find the Cheyenne. In October, St. Vrain and William Bent ride for the Black Hills. By November, more than 350 lodges and 2,500 Southern Cheyenne Indians have drifted back south to the Arkansas and Bent’s Fort.

William Bent and St. Vrain dissolve their partnership. Business at Bent’s Fort relies almost exclusively on the buffalo robe trade with the Plains Indians. Later that summer, while drying meat along the Platte not far from the newly opened OregonCalifornia Trail, the Cheyenne were hit by the “big cramps” (cholera), striking fear across the central plains. Yellow Woman, Bent’s second wife, flees to Bent’s Fort. The disease kills an estimated 50% of the Southern Cheyenne tribe before running its course. In late August, Bent rolls several kegs of gunpowder into his fort, sets the wooden roofs ablaze and destroys the fort.


1853: Bent’s New Fort is built downriver to serve

Southern Cheyenne Indians, William Bent, his older brother, Charles, and fellow St. Louis fur trader and entrepreneur, Ceran St. Vrain, make plans for a trading post on the Santa Fe Trail.

The youngest of the four Bent brothers, Robert, is killed by Comanches while hunting buffalo along the Arkansas River.


The dwindling demand for the beaver hat in the fashion centers of Europe and America craters the fur market. Beaver trapping is no longer profitable in the northern Rockies where the beaver population has been greatly reduced. The southern Rockies and desert Southwest now harbor the only reliable populations.

1846: Leading the Army of the West up the Santa

Fe Trail into New Mexico, Gen. Stephan Watts Kearny uses Bent’s Fort as a stopover and resupply base. In a matter of weeks, he plants an American flag in Santa Fe, conquering this major Mexican trade center without firing a single shot. Before leaving for Arizona and California, Kearny appoints William Bent’s brother, Charles Bent of Taos, as the first American governor of the region.

1847: Instigated by a small but powerful cadre of former Mexican officials, Charles Bent is assassinated during a bloody uprising of Pueblo Indians. Months later, William Bent’s Cheyenne wife, Owl Woman, dies in a Cheyenne village giving birth to his youngest son, Charlie, who is named after his older brother.

William Bent’s only surviving brother, George, dies at the fort in October following a long struggle with consumption, a disease known today as tuberculosis.

as a trading post. It operates for several more years as tensions escalate between the Plains Indians and the U.S. government through a series of broken treaties. The new fort is sold to the U.S. military in 1859 and renamed Fort Wise.


The new fort is renamed once more and becomes Fort Lyon.

1864: With the full support of the new territorial governor John Evans, Col. John M. Chivington and the 1st and 3rd Colorado Volunteers ride southeast to attack Cheyenne and Arapahoe camped at Sand Creek. William Bent’s son, Robert, is taken at gunpoint and forced to guide Chivington to the camp. On November 29, 1864, Chivington and his men slaughter more than 200 women and children.


Despite all efforts to broker a peace agreement with the U.S. government and the Plains Indians, William Bent’s efforts fail. Full-scale war comes to the region.

1869: William, the last of the Bent brothers from St.

Louis, dies at the age of 59, four days shy of his 60th birthday. And so, too, does any hope for a lasting peace between the whites and the Plains Indians.

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tr Do... and Plains , Visit coloradocoun to Go, Things to es ac Pl s: le tic ar d relate the Feature tab. iles... Look under ob m to Au d an ns Trai COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE SEPTEMBER 2021



Back to School Colorado’s electric co-ops are driving the bus when it comes to EVs BY SAR AH SMITH


lectric school buses are coming to rural Colorado. Not only do they reduce emissions and provide environmental advantages, but electric buses also provide health benefits to riders. Diesel vehicles emit tailpipe emissions linked to asthma, respiratory illness and cancer. Electric school buses do not emit exhaust, entirely eliminating these health risks. That is an attractive selling point when schools think about the well-being of students. Currently, 95% of the state’s school buses run on diesel, but Colorado’s electric cooperatives are on a mission to change that statistic. Currently three Colorado co-ops, Mountain Parks Electric, in Granby, La Plata Electric Association in Durango and Yampa Valley Electric Association in Steamboat Springs, are trailblazers in providing electric school buses to their communities. The first all-electric school bus in rural Colorado (and second in the state) made its grand entrance in Kremmling this spring with the help of MPE; its power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association; and a grant funded by the Regional Air Quality Council’s ALT Fuels Colorado program. The West Grand School District is now reaping the benefits of switching to an electric school bus. Not only does this mean cleaner and quieter vehicles for students to ride in, but it will also significantly reduce fuel costs. The small school district already budgeted to replace one of its buses with another diesel bus at a ticket price of $200,000. Although electric buses cost twice that amount — typically ringing in at $400,000 — after qualifying for the RAQC grant and the added contributions from MPE and Tri-State, the district

received the bus at no cost. (MPE used capital credits unclaimed by previous members to help fund the new and improved mode of transportation.) MPE is the first electric co-op in Colorado to help provide an electric school bus to one of its school districts. The electric bus means cleaner air for the entire community. It also saves thousands of dollars a year in maintenance and fuel costs. Currently, the power needed to charge the bus includes more than 30% renewable energy; the amount of renewable energy is projected to grow to 50% by 2024. MPE spearheaded the funding and support of electric school buses, but LPEA and YVEA are not far behind. LPEA was set to deliver the next electric school bus as the 2021 school year starts. The Durango School District 9-R received a grant also funded by RAQC to kick-start its project. The grant provided

Students in Kremmling board the electric bus that will transport them to and from schools in their mountain-area communities.




Representatives from West Grand School District, Mountain Parks Electric and Tri-State Generation and Transmission cut the ribbon for the district’s new all-electric school bus.

the school district $328,803 to purchase and install a fully electric school bus and related charging infrastructure. LPEA contributed an additional $150,000 to complete the project. The environmental and health benefits, along with the annual cost savings, are all exciting advantages of securing the electric bus. Like the district in Kremmling, Durango was planning to purchase a new diesel bus to replace an old one in its fleet, but with the financial assistance of the grant and LPEA, it is receiving the bus at no cost to the district. This particular bus will be the first vehicle-to-grid installation in LPEA’s service territory. LPEA will use a technology called bidirectional charging. This allows the bus to pull electricity from the grid during off-peak hours. But LPEA can reverse that flow and pull electricity from the bus onto the grid during critical times. It’s a win-win scenario for the school district and LPEA. “The payback of installing this vehicle grid is compelling,” said Dominic May, the energy resource program architect at LPEA. “School buses charge very nicely off-peak. The timing works well with school buses because it avoids the evening peaks, and midday charging sessions also get maximum solar. Furthermore, charging these electric buses only uses one-eighth of the cost of diesel. By installing this grid, LPEA will inevitably make money back each year.” The project is full steam ahead, and LPEA looks forward to unveiling the new electric bus to the Durango school district this fall. In northern Colorado, the Hayden School District will be making the switch to an electric bus for its students this year. Steamboat Springs has been in the process of making the switch to electric buses in its city bus fleet. The town tested two electric buses to evaluate their mileage, emissions and safety

and concluded that the electric vehicles were successful. “We really see the benefits of electrifying many sectors, and transportation is one of them,” said Megan Moore-Kemp, energy solutions manager at YVEA. “Some of the benefits of electric buses to our citizens is that they do cost less over the long term; they’re less expensive to charge, fuel and maintain than gas-powered vehicles; and they cut emissions.” When the Hayden School District approached YVEA about its plans to apply for the RAQC grant, YVEA happily wrote a letter of support. The co-op collaborated with the school board from an innovation standpoint, offering specifics on what a fair electric rate would be and exploring what infrastructure costs would look like. “YVEA believes this is a very important project and we were happy to collaborate with our partners to achieve their clean energy goals,” said Carly Davidson, public relations specialist at YVEA. This is just the tip of the iceberg for electric buses in the state as other electric co-ops work toward bringing electric school buses to their communities. These electric vehicles will provide environmental and financial benefits to Colorado schools. Colorado’s electric co-ops are excited to be leaders in the process. Sarah Smith is a freelance writer covering topics important to Colorado’s electric cooperatives.

Blue Bird Corporation’s all-electric school bus is coming to several rural communities across Colorado. Photo courtesy of Blue Bird Corporation.




A Seasonal Change of Scenery Time to relocate your favorite annuals and herbs BY VICKI SPENCER



s summer winds down, September is a good time to move container and garden plants indoors. This way you can protect expensive tender bulbs from severe winter temperatures and enjoy favorite annuals and herbs until you are ready to put them out again next spring. Some common tender bulbs include caladium, calla lilies, cannas, dahlias, elephant ears and tuberoses. If they are already in pots, simply stop watering and cut off dying foliage before bringing them inside. If they are in the ground, dig them up, cut the foliage back and gently brush off the soil. Let them dry for seven to 14 days before packing them loosely in a cardboard box or open container, separated by shredded newspaper or dry peat moss. Store the bulbs in a cool, dark place. Some garden plants that grow well indoors include amaryllis, begonia, caladium, coleus, geranium and tropical hibiscus. Consider their health when selecting which ones to move inside. Unhealthy plants have difficulty adapting to different growing conditions and may be infested with insects. Check for pests in the potting medium by soaking the pots in



a tub of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Unwanted pests will come to the surface in search of air, in which case, you should repot. Examine pots for earthworms, snails and ants, and then scrub the pot exteriors with a 10% bleach solution and hose it off. Examine the leaves for small insects such as aphids, mealybugs and spider mites, then hose off the leaves and treat them with insecticidal soap or neem oil. You should quarantine plants indoors for a few days to protect houseplants from any hitchhikers you may have missed. Prune or repot plants a few weeks before moving indoors to avoid too much stress at once. Don’t prune more than one-third of the foliage. To repot, use a hose to remove the potting medium from the root mass and trim the root tips. Clean the inside of the pot with a 10% bleach solution, rinse and cover the drainage hole with a screen before adding new soil. Since indoor light and humidity will be different, you can acclimate plants gradually over a couple weeks by moving pots to lower outdoor light conditions. Bring pots inside in the evening and back outside in the morning for a few days.

It’s always challenging to find the ideal location for plants. As a rule of thumb, those requiring full sun do best near south-facing windows and those only needing partial sun flourish in east- or west-facing windows. Avoid placing clay pots and saucers directly on floors and carpets as they may stain or cause mold. I use plastic saucers or buy colorful dinnerware from secondhand stores to place under the pots. Hang ceiling hooks for hanging plants. Group plants together to increase humidity. Even if you follow these suggestions a few leaves may still yellow and drop. Don’t worry; plants need time to adjust to new conditions and a little leaf drop is a normal reaction. Gardener Vicki Spencer has an eclectic background in conservation, water, natural resources and more.

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


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Sensational September Streams Fishing in the fall is full of surprises




f I had to pick a favorite month to fly fish, it’d probably be September. The woods, the weather and the streams are all golden — in every possible way. Brook trout are in full spawning dress and the mountain creeks are as pretty as they’ll ever be, reflecting as they do the orange, red and yellow colors of autumn. I’m one of those small-stream brook trout junkies who gets his jollies sneaking around backcountry creeks with a light fly rod, a small box of flies and the gleeful expectations of a 12 year old. Autumn brook trout do that to me; I’m not sure why. I suspect it’s because you can almost always count on brook trout to take your fly, even when no bugs are hatching or your casting’s a little on the sloppy side. Rainbows and browns aren’t nearly as predictable. Last September, I was fishing a small creek in the Mummy Range where the alder clumps grew right over the stream. Casting,



at least in the classic sense, was out of the question and in some places reduced to feeding a few coils of slack line downstream under the bushes to get a decent float. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. I caught a few nice brookies doing that, but I grew itchy for some casting room, so I reeled in and headed upstream. I came to a long, open stretch with a deeply undercut bank on one side, and a big, gnarly fir sweeper piled up in it at the end of the riffle. The water ran dark and deep against the fallen tree and a frothy gob of foam swirled in the eddy at its base. It couldn’t have been more obvious this was the home of a big trout if there’d been a sign with its name on it and an arrow pointing at the eddy saying, “Cast Here.” So, I did. But I overshot the cast, and my leader wrapped itself around one of those hairy fir branches leaving my fly to dangle and bounce in the current above the black hole.

Of course, you know what happened next: A fish rose from beneath the tree and grabbed the fly. Only instead of the big, old brook trout I imagined, it turned out be a dinky little thing about as long as my ring finger. He hooked himself and hung there thrashing helplessly. I was about to wade in and release him when a big brown trout slid like a barracuda from under the cut bank, snatched the dancing brookie from the limb and disappeared back under the foam. Fish, fly, leader and about 10 inches of fir twig went with him. I guess I’m not the only one who likes September brookies. Dennis Smith is a freelance outdoors writer and photographer whose work appears nationally. He lives in Loveland.

MISS AN ISSUE? Catch up at Click on Outdoors under Living in Colorado.



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READER POETRY Joy in September

Perched on my window frame so close I could touch save for the glass, a finch tips his head, living his days in simple purpose.

DO YOU WRITE POETRY? Send us your best work; we’d love to read it.

Just outside my kitchen a mule deer nips at weeds in the yard. She glances up, then nibbles more, intent on her belly-filling task, undisturbed before winter sets in.

Q and Z

On the lake below me a lone sailboat inches slowly toward some obscure destination, guided by today’s lazy winds and the sailor’s knowing touch. White sails gleam against the bluest water.

One seems to hold a cane, or to sport an askew goatee; a one-legged zero.

Shadow Mountain beyond stands sure and forever — no matter the rain, the snow, the hail — a natural monument that always grounds me. I watch from my rustic kingdom, gather the riches in my heart, sense tears beginning to form, and know what joy is all about. Carol Ehrlich Mountain Parks Electric consumer-member

I am thinking of all those funky words, such as quartz and quetzal, which have the Q and the Z, those pariahs of the alphabet, the caboose and the oddball.

The other confident in his lines; an “N” rolled over and sunbathing. Is he the last or the leader? Either way, each is worth ten points in Scrabble. Squeeze them together and take over the game. They seem friends, these opposites. Both short entries in the dictionary yet full of erudition and panache. They rarely hang out with their neighbor, X, and that, I think, is another poem.

Submit your best works via email to: or mail to: Colorado Country Life 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 Include your mailing address and name of your local electric co-op. Fall Poem

Those pretty green leaves on the aspen Will be golden and breathtaking this fall. The picture we see will be quite outstanding When we venture out to vision it all. Time will bring winter to greet us, Leaves will have taken their fall. That trip to the mountain will be a memory, Thank God for creating it all. Mary Marble Southeast Colorado Power Association consumermember

David Reynolds Mountain View Electric consumer-member

PHOTO CONTEST expressions CATEGORIES: • Hometown Pride • Awestruck • Pure Enjoyment • Nostalgia




The Focus On section is a monthly spotlight on something special in our state. Have a fun suggestion for a feature? Email



The world’s largest operational steam engine will thunder across Colorado in September, giving residents yet another opportunity to see this big locomotive up close and personal on Labor Day weekend. Known as “Big Boy” to train aficionados worldwide, Union Pacific No. 4014 left Cheyenne in August, passing through Julesburg briefly on its way to North Platte as the showcase of “Rail Days 2021.” Big Boy then traveled all the way to New Orleans before returning to Colorado for only the second time in two years on Sunday, September 5, when it rolls through Kit Carson at 10 a.m., arriving in Denver at 7 p.m. This popular Union Pacific train will be on public display in Denver on Monday, September 6 at 39th and Wynkoop Street from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., before departing at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 7, on its way back to Wyoming. Photo: Big Boy’s last run through eastern Colorado came in 2019. Shown here climbing a small grade east of Kit Carson, hundreds of adoring fans followed the train’s progress back to Denver and eventually home to Cheyenne. Photo by Matt Vincent




Check out Union Pacific’s “Steam Locomotive Tracker” online as Big Boy chugs through its sevenstate tour. Click on the following link:




Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member Gary Rusk brings CCL along on his visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

My daughter came home from work the other day and my grandson was frantic, telling her that they needed to go shopping. She informed him that she had just gone to the grocery store the previous day. He responded with, “But we don’t have any food! We only have ingredients!” Georgia Gurule, De Beque Grand Valley Power consumer-member My 5-year-old grandson’s hair was getting pretty shaggy. When I asked him if he would like to go to my barber, he replied, “Would my hair be white, too?” Bill Blomstrom, Yuma Y-W Electric Association consumer-member

Reed and Karen Dills, Sangre de Cristo Electric consumer-members, take a break with CCL as they chase the rare Sheefish in a remote Alaskan river.

Colorado Country Life travels to Nome, Alaska, with Y-W Electric consumer-members Rod and Rickie Prather.

A few years ago, our granddaughters were staying with us at our cabin in Colorado and the oldest girl had been studying about mummies at school. During the conversation we were talking about how much everyone liked grandpa and I said I would love him forever. The oldest granddaughter then piped up, “Even when he is an old man wrapped up in toilet paper?” Dorothy Sonksen, Mapleton, Iowa Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member I took my 2-year-old grandson on errands with me, and he got the customary treat at the bank. On the way home, I hear him say, “I suck, Mama.” I couldn’t argue. His parents and daycare provider had obviously told him not to chew lollipops. Diane Van Der Wege, Akron Y-W Electric Association consumer-member

WINNER: Julie Roybal and her sons loved the mountain views during their day of fishing on Lake Dillon. They took Colorado Country Life magazine along for the trip. They are consumer-members of San Isabel Electric.

Young reader Barrett Beek enjoys CCL at his babysitter’s house in Cheyenne Wells. Babysitter Monica Wendt and Barrett’s whole family are consumer-members of K.C. Electric Association.

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, address and your local co-op to We’ll draw one photo to win $25 each month. The next deadline is Wednesday, September 15. Name, address and co-op must accompany photo. See all of the submitted photos on Facebook at

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 2021 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. COLOR ADO COUNTRY LIFE SEPTEMBER 2021



Tech Talk Colorado companies with 21st century smarts Guard Your Gaming Gear Fort Collins-based OtterBox is acclaimed for its protective phone cases, but did you know it has accessories to safeguard your gaming devices as well? Products like its Mobile Gaming Clip, Easy Grip Controller Shell, Gaming Carry Case, Easy Grip Gaming Case and Gaming Glass Privacy Guard help protect your devices and enhance your gaming experience — on the go or at home. See the selection at

Good Vibrations A combination of micro vibrations, near-infrared properties and magnetic signals are collectively bundled in DNA Vibe’s Jazz Band to provide users pain relief. The Centennial-based company’s light therapy product allows the user to control intensity levels through its smartphone app to keep the pain relief personalized. No smartphone? Try Jazz Band Light. Plug it in and use the on/off switch instead. Cost range is $199-$249. Find out more at

Exercise Your Brain Do you know someone craving a coding career? Maybe someone just puttering around with programming? Boulder-based Sphero has a cache of creative tools to get them started. The Sphero BOLT, for example, has programmable sensors and a colorful light matrix to help them learn more about robotics and create their own educational games — a great way to enhance their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) comprehension. Recommended for ages 8 and older. For more information, visit

Colors of Colorado Join Alex Chen, a young girl with the supernatural power to literally see emotions, in the fictional Colorado town of Haven Springs in “Life is Strange: True Colors,” the latest installment of the “Life is Strange” video game series that was developed in real-life Boulder County. Help Alex unravel the mysterious death of her brother and discover the secrets of the townspeople. Available on most major gaming platforms on September 10. For more information, visit



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We’re celebrating our 26th anniversary—we couldn’t have done it without you, and we wanted to give you our BIGGEST new customer DISCOUNT.

Until September 30th

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on windows, patio doors and entry doors1





1 Offer not available in all areas. 25% discount applied by retailer representative at time of contract execution and applies to purchase of 3 or more windows and/or entry or patio doors. Valid during first appointment only.Cannot be combined with other offers.Initial contact for a free Window and Door Diagnosis must be made and documented on or before 9/30/21,with the appointment then occurring no more than 10 days after the initial contact. No payments and deferred interest for 12 months available to well qualified buyers on approved credit only. Not all customers may qualify. No Finance Charges will be assessed if promo balance is paid in full in 12 months.Renewal by Andersen retailers are independently owned and operated retailers,and are neither brokers nor lenders.Any finance terms advertised are estimates only, and all financing is provided by third-party lenders unaffiliated with Renewal by Andersen retailers, under terms and conditions arranged directly between the customer and such lender. Window Warmth,LLC d/b/a Renewal by Andersen of Colorado.“Renewal by Andersen” and all other marks where denoted are marks of Andersen Corporation.©2021 Andersen Corporation.All rights reserved. ©2021 Lead Surge LLC.All rights reserved.All sales, marketing and installation of windows is conducted by Renewal by Andersen of Colorado, an independently owned and operated affiliate operating in CO and NM.

Profile for American MainStreet Publications

Colorado Country Life September 2021 Y-W  

Colorado Country Life September 2021 Y-W

Colorado Country Life September 2021 Y-W  

Colorado Country Life September 2021 Y-W

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