Colorado Country Life October 2022 K.C.

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HPWHs are 350% more efficient than a traditional water heater and cost less to operate. HPWHs use electricity to transfer heat from the air into the water, instead of using combustion to generate heat, making HPWHs a safer alternative.


LED lightbulbs consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and can last 10 to 25 times longer. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which release 90% of their energy as heat, LEDs are far more energy-efficient with very little heat.


The newest air-source heat pumps can be up to 300% more efficient than electric baseboard heat. They work in cold weather and can reduce your propane usage by 80% or more.


When increasing your home’s energy efficiency, keep in mind that it may require a service panel upgrade. As you receive quotes for electrical equipment always be sure to ask for a load calculation to ensure your electrical panel can handle the new equipment.

To learn more about rebates and incentives for electrification programs, contact your local co-op or public power district. Visit us at

Tri-State is a not-for-profit power supplier to cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Volume Number



Mona Neeley, CCC, Publisher/Editor

Cassi Gloe, CCC, Production Manager

Kylee Coleman, Editorial/Admin. Assistant

ADVERTISING | 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.


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.


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.


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INSTAGRAM PIC of the month colorado_electric_cooperatives posted: The lights came on in the school in La Montanita de la Virgen, Guatemala, thanks to the #EnergyTrails team.


Colorado Rural Electric Association posted: Registration is open for the 2022 CREA Innovations Summit. We will see you on November 7. Visit to register.

Mural artists Staci Ravenkamp Beauford (left) and Audrey Sayles are using Colorado’s Plains as an artistic canvas. Read more on pages 16-19.

Monthly Contest

Enter for your chance to win a small gift set from Mountain Soap Factory. This bag includes lavender bath salt and lavender olive oil soap. For official rules and to enter visit Contests at


COCountryLife pinned: Chef Walter Staib of PBS’s “A Taste of History” shares his recipe for homemade tortillas. They are soft, flavorful and warm when finished; you may never try store-bought tortillas again. Get the recipe at

“Flicker Happy” by Alan Ziff, a consumer-member of SDCEA.

International Mission

Everyone benefits when electric co-ops bring light

Last month, four linemen from Colorado’s electric co-ops traveled to Guatemala and joined eight co-op linemen from Oklahoma to provide electric service to the people of La Montanita de la Virgen, a small village in a mountainous community in central Guatemala.

This was our third trip to Guatemala with the “Energy Trails” team, a collab oration between the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative Association, CREA and NRECA International, the philanthropic arm of our national trade association that sponsors elec trification projects around the world.

Over the course of three weeks, the linemen from Colorado and Oklahoma worked long hours in difficult terrain to build the electric system and install the meters, light fixtures, switches and outlets for 81 homes, two churches and a school. Given the remote worksite, all of the work was done without the benefit of bucket trucks and other equipment that is typi cally used by utility line crews. Instead, the linemen used old-fashioned hand tools, pickup trucks and a lot of ingenuity.

Members of the La Montanita commu nity were also instrumental in completing the project. Before the co-op teams arrived, many of the poles needed for the project were already set (into hand-dug holes) and much of the right of way had been cleared.

Whenever the crews needed help pulling lines across ravines or climbing trees to cut down branches with machetes, the villagers were quick to provide the necessary assis tance. The contributions of the people who will benefit from these projects has always been critical to the success of the interna tional program, and this project was no exception.

Once the project was completed, the villagers came together for a day-long celebration. I was privileged to join the inauguration team from Colorado and Oklahoma for the “lighting” ceremony, in this case held in the community school.

What a joyous occasion! I could not help but think about the many times a similar ceremony took place in rural communi ties across the United States in the 1930s and 1940s as the result of the electric co-op program.

The celebration continued with the children of the village singing the Guatemalan national anthem, reading poetry, performing traditional dances and pom-pom routines, and hosting us for lunch. We also heard speeches from local officials, including the mayor of the village and surrounding areas. Mayor Robert Ramirez Guerra could have been speaking about rural electrification in the United States when he said that electricity is

essential to modern life and that it’s a basic human need. It was also gratifying to hear him say “God bless America” as he recog nized the efforts of the electric co-ops of Colorado and Oklahoma to improve the quality of life of our neighbors to the south.

It’s hard to believe that in the year 2022 there are still millions of people around the world who do not have access to electricity, but that’s the reality. While Colorado’s elec tric co-ops are primarily concerned with serving Colorado residents, we believe we have an obligation to help others as well. We’re so grateful to everyone who has contributed to this cause and supported our linemen who do this work.

One closing note about those linemen. After arriving at the Houston airport on the trip home from Guatemala, the linemen prepared to go their separate ways back to Oklahoma and Colorado. As they parted, it was clear that during their time in Guatemala they became true brothers. I must admit I got a little misty-eyed seeing these tough, fearless men hug each other and pledge to stay in touch in the years to come.

So, while we hope this project provides long-lasting benefits to the people of La Montanita de la Virgen, we know that it also created a lifetime of memories for Colorado electric co-op linemen.

Viva Guatemala!

Kent Singer is the executive director of CREA and offers a statewide perspective on issues affecting electric cooperatives. CREA is the trade association for 21 Colorado electric distribution co-ops and one power supply co-op.



As I write this, I am on a plane back to the States with the 16 Colorado and Oklahoma lineworkers who spent the last 18 days in the mountains of Guatemala building an electrical system for the village of La Montanita de la Virgen.

The guys put in long hours, many of them in the rain. They sweated through hot days, strung wire across what looked like impossible spans and worked without their usual bucket trucks and equipment. And they got the job done.

They volunteered for this project, giving their time and leaving their families to make this happen. It was a sacrifice, a big “give” for each of them.

But, to a lineman, they will tell you that they received more than they gave.

They are coming home with memories of people who, despite having little, shared what they had. Those villagers helped out where they could — they carried line and dug holes by hand. And, when the first lights were lit in the village, they expressed so much gratitude.

We’re heading home, but each of those linemen will tell you that they left a part of themselves in Guatemala.

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.

Know Your Mountains

I had to chuckle when I saw your picture of the famous Ox Bow Bend of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, [in the May ’22 magazine]. Having grown up in Jackson Hole, I can recognize photos of the Grand Tetons and, in this case, Mount Moran.

Van Jacobson, Laramie, Wyoming

Yampa Valley Electric consumer-member

Gardening Without the Sting

I cannot believe that an adult human has never in their life, until last year, been bitten by an insect while gardening. (Gardening, June ’22)

Writer Vicki Spencer must have some kind of magic that repels insects; she needs to bottle and sell it. Mosquitoes and wasps have been after me since forever. If I’m not covered with DEET, I’ll be covered with bites — and that’s not even considering ticks.

Doris Aravis, Fort Collins

Poudre Valley REA consumer-member

Birds and Wind Turbines

In extolling the advantages of wind power, you forgot to mention you have to hate birds. Many eagles in Wyoming have been killed by wind turbines not to mention thousands of other birds. The wind turbines are a blight on the land and ruin the skyline all over the country.

Eric Pettine, Windsor Poudre Valley REA consumer-member


Send your letter to the editor to share your thoughts about CCL. To share, visit our Reader Engagement page at reader-engagement. Mail your letter to Editor Mona Neeley, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216 or email mneeley@ Include name and address. Letters may be edited for length.

Service with Heart ENTER TO WIN Enter for the chance to WIN prize money and have your photo featured in a 2023 issue of Colorado Country Life 1st Place$150 2nd Place$75 3rd Place$50 COLOR COLORADO IN 2023 PHOTO CONTEST + + + Our 2023 photo contest highlights the colors of Colorado’s beloved state flag: blue, red, gold and white. Do you have an amazing photo that undeniably focuses on the golden hue of autumn’s wafting leaves? Maybe a shot of wolves frolicking through an expansive, white, snow-filled meadow? Send us your entries! Just be sure your entry “speaks” blue, red, gold or white. Judges will select three winners from each category (blue, red, gold and white) along with a cover winner. Winners will receive prize money and their photo featured in a 2023 issue of Colorado Country Life Go to for the entry form, official rules and entry samples. CONTEST WINNERS TO ENTER $100 Cover

Most Bang for Your Buck

Where to insulate in your home for maximum efficiency

It isn’t pretty, but insulation and air sealing typically provide the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to home energy efficiency improvements. When installed together, they can save you money and make a big difference in comfort and energy use.

Think of insulation as a cozy sweater and air sealing as a windbreaker for your home. You know that cozy sweater is no match for winter winds, so you need an extra layer to stop it from ripping through. The same goes for your home.

The typical locations for insulation are the attic, walls and floor. For forced-air heating or cooling systems, ductwork should be insulated, too. You want a consis tent thermal barrier around your home for maximum efficiency. Insulation can also reduce noise from outside your home.


Attic insulation minimizes energy waste and can help maintain a more consis tent temperature throughout your home. Combined with air sealing, it also can prevent ice dams from forming on your roof in colder temperatures.

Attics can be insulated using batts or blown-in insulation. Recommended R-values range from R-30 to R-60. If you use your attic for storage, you can build a raised platform with room for insulation underneath. Add insulation and weather stripping to access doors or hatches.


Exterior walls and walls separating heated and unheated areas of the home, such as garages or enclosed porches, should be insulated to an R-value ranging from R-13 to R-21, based on your location and wall construction.

If your home wasn’t insulated when it was built, you can have the insulation blown in by a contractor. Blown-in options include cellulose, fiberglass and foam.

Under the house

Your home should also be insulated between the floor and crawlspace or unheated base ment. If your basement is heated, install insulation in the box sills — the area between the foundation floor of the home’s main level.

Consider building and insulating the exterior walls in the basement or installing foam insulation on foundation walls. Check local building code require ments. Recommended R-values for floor insulation range from R-13 to R-30. Also insulate heating and cooling ductwork located in unconditioned spaces to prevent energy waste.

Making insulation and air sealing a priority adds comfort, efficiency and savings to your home.

Miranda Boutelle, the director of operations and customer engagement at Efficiency Services Group in Oregon, writes on energy-efficiency topics for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Insulation 101


Attic insulation can improve your home’s comfort and energy savings. Recommended R-value ranges from R-30 in warm climates to R-60 in cold climates.


Protect the air you paid to heat or cool by insulating your ductwork from R-4 to R-11 where it travels through unconditioned spaces.


Exterior walls should be insulated between R-13 and R-21, depending on wall construction and your location.


Increase comfort and energy savings in your home by insulating the floors to the right R-value for your location, ranging from R-13 to R-30.

R-30 to R-60 R-4 to R-11 R-13 to R-21 R-13 to R-30


October is National Co-op Month



David Churchwell General Manager

Bo Randolph

Office Manager and CFO

Paul Norris Operations Manager

George Ehlers

Member Services Specialist and IT Manager

ph 719-743-2431

tf 800-700-3123 fax 719-743-2396 web

Fall is a busy time, and October is a particularly eventful month with school, community and sports activ ities and fall harvest in full swing. It’s also when all cooperatives celebrate National Co-op Month.

When I say K.C. Electric Association celebrates co-op month, it really means we are celebrating you ! After all, our co-op wouldn’t exist without you, our members-owners.

Our core business purpose is to safely serve as your electricity provider, but the larger mission of the co-op is to help make our corner of the world a better place. “Concern for community” is one of seven guiding principles that all co-ops share.

Just how our wires run through our service territory, our concern for commu nity flows through all of our decisions — because being a co-op means being a responsible partner and good neighbor.

K.C. Electric works to help our community thrive through initiatives led by our employees and local board that’s

Our mission is to provide our members with safe, reliable service at the lowest cost, while maintaining an environmentally responsible, accountable and sustainable operation now and in the future.

comprised of neighbors who live right here in our community. Because we’re local, we understand our community’s unique needs and strive to help meet them.

We’re proud to support local youth through our Youth Leadership Camp, scholarship programs, and donations to school and 4-H programs.

The word “cooperative” is close to “cooperation,” meaning people working together toward a common goal — mutu ally benefiting one another and the larger community. That’s the essence of the cooperative spirit. Our employees and member-elected board members are invested in the community in which we live and serve.

As a co-op, we put our members’ prior ities first. As your trusted energy partner, we know that saving energy and money is important to you. That’s why we have numerous programs in place to help, including appliance, water heater, heat


pump, LED and electric motor rebates, along with energy audits.

We want to empower you to manage energy use at home. If you haven’t already, I encourage you take a moment and down load our SmartHub app. Through the app,

you can conveniently monitor and manage your energy use. And of course, we’re here to help, so give us a call if you have ques tions about your energy bills.

K.C. Electric is continuously looking for ways to operate more efficiently while

continuing to provide the highest level of safe and reliable service you expect and deserve. After all, we’re your local co-op. We were built by the members we serve.

Report Suspicious Substation Activity

K.C. Electric Association and our neighboring electric cooperatives have been experiencing copper theft and vandalism in our substations. Copper theft and equipment vandalism is a crime and poses great danger not only to those stealing, but also to K.C. employees and the general public.

We are asking you to report any suspicious activity near our substations or other electrical equipment. Only authorized personnel are allowed within our facilities. If you see suspicious activity or unmarked vehicles lurking around any of K.C.’s substations, please contact local law enforcement.

K.C. Electric will pay a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons committing acts of vandalism that cause substantial damage to K.C. Electric’s property and/or electrical equipment.

Thank you for helping K.C. Electric continue our mission of providing safe and reliable electricity to our membership.

Value of Insulation

Claim Your Savings

Each month, K.C. Electric consumer-members have a chance to claim a $20 credit on their next electric bill. All you must do is find your account number and call the Hugo office at 719-743-2431 and ask for your credit. The account numbers are listed below. How simple is that?

You must claim your credit during the month in which your name appears in the magazine (check the date on the front cover).

• Gale Huff, Hugo — 619500019

• Jesse McConnell, Stratton — 936000004

• Shawn Gilliliand, Flagler — 540650005

• Jim Paintin, Burlington — 1109780001

In August, two consumer-members called to claim their savings: John Crowell, Cheyenne Wells and Sammi Jo Chadwick, Cheyenne Wells.

Making sure your home is properly insulated can go a long way toward making your home more energy efficient and comfortable. Before you attempt to replace insulation, however, there are some tasks of the job to consider, including its location and your comfort level with starting and completing the job correctly. If installing batt insulation, check to see if it is labeled with an R-value. Find recommended R-values at


When dressing your little ones (or yourself), keep these safety tips in mind:

Always wear costumes that are labeled flame resistant.

Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape to improve visibility.

Do not wear decorative (colored) contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional.

Wear makeup and hats rather than costume masks that can obscure or obstruct your vision.

Test the makeup you plan to use in advance for a possible allergy.

In addition, inspect any plug-in decorations for signs of wear and tear (fraying or bare wires or broken plugs) and replace them if damaged.

Make Safety a Halloween Tradition

Halloween is a time for candy, costumes and, in some cases, outdoor lighting or inflatable decorations. While preparing for and enjoying the holiday, follow these safety precautions:

Outdoor lighting

• Inspect each electrical decoration. Check cords for cracking, fraying or bare wires, as they may cause a serious shock or start a fire. Also, inspect for damaged plugs.

• Replace any damaged decorations.

• Make sure any lights, animated displays or other electrical outdoor products are safety-tested by a reputable laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory and approved for outdoor use.

• Do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water on the ground.

• Plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into ground fault circuit interrupter protected outlets.

• When decorating outside, always make sure to look up and check that you and any equipment, such as ladders, are at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines. Always carry a ladder or other long object or tool in a horizontal position.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Consumer Product Safety Division and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these tips:

Costume safety

• Wear costumes that are labeled “flame resistant.”

• Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape for added visibility.

• Do not wear decorative (colored) contact lenses unless an eye care professional provides you with a proper fitting and instructions on how to use them.

• Wear makeup and hats rather than costume masks that can obscure or obstruct your vision.

• Test the makeup you plan to use in advance for a possible allergy by putting a small amount on your arm.

Food safety

• Do not let your little ones (or anyone) eat candy or other treats until they have been inspected at home.

• Check all labels for potential food allergens.

• If you have very young trick-or-treaters, remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys from the goody pile.

• Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as tiny pinholes, tears in wrappers or anything unusual.

• Limit your risk of questionable candy by ringing doorbells only at homes you know.

Get more electrical safety tips at


FOUR WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CYBER HYGIENE October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

In today’s digital world, cyberattacks are unfortunately nothing new. Cyber criminals can attack on a multitude of levels, from large-scale attacks targeting corporations to smaller phishing attacks aimed to gain an individual’s personal information.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, but good cyber hygiene should be practiced year-round. This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber” because we all have a part to play in cyber security. When we hear about massive data breaches, it can feel overwhelming and lead us to think we’re powerless as individuals to stop cyber criminals.

The truth is, there are several practical steps we can take to safe guard our devices and data. Here are four easy ways to boost your cyber hygiene:

Enable multi-factor authentication. Also known as two-step verification, multi-factor authentication adds a second step when logging into an account (to prove you’re really you), which greatly increases the security of the account. This second step could include an extra PIN; answering an extra security question; a code received via email; or a secure token. Regardless of the type of authentication, this additional step makes it twice as hard for cyber criminals to access your account. Not every account offers multi-factor authen tication, but it’s becoming increasingly popular and should be used when available.

Use strong passwords and a password manager. Remember, passwords are the “keys” to your personal online home. Your passwords should always be long, unique and complex. Create passwords using at least 12 characters; never reuse passwords for multiple accounts; and use a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Consider using a password manager to store them easily and securely in one place.

Update software. It may seem obvious, but regularly updating software is one of the easiest ways to keep your personal informa tion secure. Most companies provide automatic updates and will send reminders so you can easily install the update. If you’re not

receiving automatic software updates, set a reminder to do so quar terly. Be aware that some cyber criminals will send fake updates; these typically appear as a pop-up window when visiting a website. Use good judgment and always think before you click.

Recognize and report phishing attacks. Don’t take the bait when cyber criminals go phishing. The signs of a phishing attack can be subtle, so take the extra time to thoroughly inspect emails. Most phishing emails include offers that are too good to be true, an urgent or alarming tone, misspellings and poorly crafted language, ambiguous greetings, strange requests or an email address that doesn’t match the company it’s coming from. Most platforms like Outlook, Gmail and Mac Mail allow users to report phishing emails. If you suspect a phishing attempt, take an extra minute to report it.

Cyber criminals are here to stay, but when we all take a riskbased approach to our cyber behavior, we’re creating a safer internet for all. Visit for additional cybersecurity tips.

Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Note to First Responders: Don’t Take Chances

It is difficult to wait in an emergency situation, but approaching an energized area puts you and fellow first responders at risk of electrocution. Always wait for the utility to confirm that the lines are de-energized.


One Touch

If you find computers frustrating and confusing, you are not alone. When the Personal Computer was introduced, it was simple. It has now become a complex Business Computer with thousands of programs for Accounting, Engineering, Databases etc. This makes the computer complex.

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Go (way) back in time with Chef Walter Staib as he explores several American sites to find out what was cooking there in the 18th century, including Colorado’s own Bent’s Old Fort in La Junta. On “A Taste of History,” Staib explores the histor ical sites and then prepares recipes fit for our forebearers and brings them to the present day. What’s on Bent’s Old Fort menu? Buffalo Tongue with Cactus, an authentic dish enjoyed long ago by locals and visitors of the old trading post. Get a sampling of days gone by in your own kitchen with this featured recipe from Bent’s Old Fort’s episode, set to release next month on PBS. But don’t wait — Season 12 premiered October 1, so you can sample more historical recipes now from additional regions of our great country.

Buffalo Tongue with Cactus

1 buffalo tongue (about 2 pounds)

2 bay leaves

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

Salt, to taste

Ground pepper, to taste

2 pounds cactus paddles (often called nopales)

3 tablespoons bacon fat (butter used as alternative)

A Taste of History

Rinse the tongue and place it in a large pot. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaves, onion, salt and pepper and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 3 hours, until tender and cooked through.

While boiling, prepare cactus paddles by removing thorns with a knife. Wash and cut up cactus paddles into smaller 1/2-inch strips and pieces.

Remove tongue from water and let cool enough to remove the light outer skin. Heat bacon fat in skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the tongue in 1/2-inch sections and place in skillet. Sear the slices until they are browned evenly on both sides. Remove and assemble on platter.

Using same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the diced cactus paddles and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and let the cactus cook and sweat for about 20 minutes. Remove and serve with buffalo tongue.

Chef Walter Staib shares his Baked Beans recipe featured in his book

The City Tavern Cookbook . Get the recipe at

PBS features food from the roots of Bent’s Old Fort

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Join us at the CREA Energy Innovations Summit on November 7

What’s ahead for the electric industry as it transitions from traditional fuels to generate electricity? What’s going to replace coal and gas? How is the grid going to change? What’s happening with electric vehi cles? Is hydrogen a possible future fuel source?

The electric industry faces challenges today and the CREA Energy Innovations Summit is a good place to discuss those chal lenges, work on solutions, hear about

research and development and get a glimpse into the future. This year the Summit will be Monday, November 7, at the Westin Westminster Hotel

from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration is open at to anyone with an interest in today’s electric industry.

Among the many profes sionals who will share their expertise is Rob Chapman, senior vice president of energy delivery

and customer solutions at the Electric Power Research Institute. He will discuss what is needed to enable reliability and resiliency in a net-zero energy economy during the lunch hour.

During the morning and afternoon sessions, other experts will discuss electric vehicle developments, microgrids, hydrogen, battery storage, geothermal energy, small modular reactors and more.

A variety of vendors will also share inno vative products during the day-long event.

4-H & FFA Kids Bring in Big Bucks at State Fair Livestock Sale

Thanks to Colorado’s electric cooperatives, young people selling their prize-winning animals at the Colorado State Fair in late August received a total of $491,000 from buyers. This year’s Grand Champion Market Beef, raised by Stetson Gabel of Galerton in Weld County, sold for $58,000.

Colorado’s electric co-ops have sponsored the annual Junior Livestock Sale for the last 18 years. The co-ops’ financial support makes the sale possible, and the co-ops work together to make the sale special for participants. This includes presenting each participant with a goodie bag filled with snacks and a cap honoring them as sale participants.

This year’s participating co-ops include:

• Delta-Montrose Electric, Montrose

• Grand Valley Power, Grand Junction

• Highline Electric, Holyoke

• Holy Cross Energy, Glenwood Springs

• K.C. Electric, Hugo

• La Plata Electric, Durango

• Morgan County REA, Fort Morgan

• Mountain View Electric, Limon

• Poudre Valley REA, Fort Collins

• SDCEA, Buena Vista

• San Isabel Electric, Pueblo West

• San Luis Valley REC, Monte Vista

• San Miguel Power, Ridgway

• Southeast Colorado Power, La Junta

• United Power, Brighton

• White River Electric, Meeker

• Y-W Electric, Akron

• Yampa Valley Electric, Steamboat Springs


• Colorado Country Life

• Tri-State Generation and Transmission

• Touchstone Energy Cooperatives



Asmall village in Guatemala, La Montanita de la Virgen, now has electricity, thanks to the efforts of determined Colorado and Oklahoma lineworkers who recently returned to the United States.

The joint-state team spent nearly three weeks in September stringing line through a dense forest (above)

and wiring the 72 homes in the village for electricity. The team also wired two churches, a school and a health center for electricity.

Colorado’s team for the NRECA International project included Zeb Birch, Grand Valley Power; Trenton Jole, Holy Cross Energy; Nathaniel Pennell,

Colorado and Oklahoma lineworkers work long hours stringing electric line without the use of bucket trucks or high-tech equipment.

Mountain View Electric; and Clayton Shonk, White River Electric.

The team also delivered water filters and kids’ backpacks filled with school supplies. These were made possible due to donations from Colorado Country Life readers and Colorado’s electric cooperatives.


Publication Title: COLORADO COUNTRY LIFE; Publication No.: 469-400; Filing Date: 9/19/22; Issue Frequency: Monthly; No. of Issues Published Annually: 12; Annual Subscription Price: $10; Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor Publisher: 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216; Editor: Mona Neeley, 5400 Washington St., Denver, CO 80216; Managing editor: Not applicable; 10. Owner Full Name: Colorado Rural Electric Association; Complete Mailing Address: 5400 Washington Street, Denver, CO 80216; Known Bondholders, Mortgages, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities: None; Tax Status: (For completion by nonprofit organization authorized to mail at special rates). The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has not changed during preceding 12 months.

Average number of copies each issue during preceding 12 months


non-USPS paid

Actual number of copies of single issue published nearest to


206,077 200,856

204,896 199,750



National Suicide Prevention Hotline Now Available

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Colorado, and the state ranks seventh in the country in suicide death rates. A new three-digit hotline number — 988 — has been introduced to bring those numbers down.

The new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number for mental health crises is similar to the 911 number for medical emergencies. Because callers need to remember only three digits, the Federal Communications Commission notes it will be easier for Americans in crisis to find the help they need.

I. Percent paid circulation 99.8% 99.8%

J. Electronic copy circulation

a. Paid electronic copies 0 0

b. Total paid print copies + paid electronic copies 205,721 200,537

c. Total print distribution + paid electronic copies 206,077 200,856

d. Percent paid (both print and electronic copies) 99.8% 99.8%

I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties).

Mona Neeley, publisher 9/19/2022

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline began in 2005, but callers previously had to dial a 10-digit number to reach trained crisis counselors. Now they can reach that same network of help after dialing only 988.

Anyone in crisis anywhere in the country can call 988 to connect to the help line, thanks to legislation passed by Congress in September 2020 and signed into law by President Donald Trump in October 2020.

Extent and nature of circulation
Total number of copies printed (net press run)
B. Paid and/or requested circulation 1. Paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions
2. Paid in-county mail subscriptions 0 0 3. Other
distribution 825
4. Other classes mailed through USPS 0 0 C. Total paid circulation (total B1 through B4) 205,721
D. Free or nominal rate distribution by mail 1. Outside-county copies 78 76 2. In-county copies 0 0 3. Other classes mailed through USPS 0 0 4. Other classes mailed outside USPS 278 243 E. Total free or nominal rate distribution (sum of D1 through D4) 356 319 F. Total distribution (sum of C & E) 206,077 200,856 G. Copies not distributed 0 0 H. Total (sum of F & G) — should equal net press run shown in A 206,077 200,856

“Heart of Harvest,” a colorful image of a wheat farmer li ing his young daughter into the air, went viral on the internet in June 2018 after several young women painted the 60-foot tall image on a grain bin in Limon on Colorado’s eastern Plains. People across the United States were mesmerized by the emotions evoked in the mural — the glee of the little girl, the love of the father, the pride in raising a crop to fruition with the John Deere combine harvesting the golden wheat, along with the beautiful Colorado blue sky and the Rocky Mountains.

Staci Ravenkamp Beauford, the daughter of a wheat farmer, designed “Heart of Harvest.” e town of Limon

Small Towns, Big Art


commissioned Staci to paint the mural and Ed Owens, manager of NORAG on the east side of Limon, o ered the grain bin for the project. Staci recruited her cousin, Audrey Sayles, along with her sister, Kayla Ravenkamp, and a friend, Krystal Wiser, to help with the project.

During a lunch break, Staci and Audrey scrolled through Facebook and noticed their friends talking about the mural going up and wondering who was painting the mural on the grain bin.

“So, we were sitting there talking,” Audrey says. “Maybe we could start a mural company.” Then the next question was, “What are we going to name ourselves?” Audrey had loved a show when she was little

called ‘Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place.’ So, she suggested, “What if we call ourselves ‘Some Girls and a Mural?’”

Including their acclaimed, “Heart of Harvest,” and an outdoor basketball court in Arriba dedicated to the “Arriba Aces,” Some Girls and a Mural have painted over 40 murals and signs on the eastern Plains of Colorado, along with some in Illinois and Arkansas (where Staci now resides with her

Staci Ravenkamp Beauford (left) and Audrey Sayles stand beside their mural “Heart of Harvest,” the first of many on Colorado’s Plains.

husband and three sons). Staci and Audrey are passionate about sharing their farming heritage through their art, promoting agriculture and the towns supported by it on the eastern Plains, while encouraging and educating rural communities about the bene ts of art.

“Heart of Harvest”

“Heart of Harvest” began in the wheat elds of family farms. Stan and Mary Jo Ravenkamp farmed and raised their son and four daughters, including Staci, near Hugo. Mary Jo’s sister, Kerry Sue, and her husband, Curt Sayles, raised their family of three daughters, including Audrey, on a farm near Seibert.

“We didn’t have any formal art training,” Staci says, “but the most important training we had was growing up on a farm working with our dads and our sisters. We were thrown right into all the farm work. We learned to gure it out and make it work.”

Audrey says, “I would say our dads are not patient men, but they probably had to be very patient in their lives farming with their wives and daughters.”

Audrey was teaching physical education in a rural K-12 school when they painted “Heart of Harvest.” But Staci’s first love was always art. Before painting murals, she created art using salvaged barnwood, rusty metal and acrylic paint and sold her creations at farmers markets. Staci painted her parents’ propane tank and painted an American ag on a fuel tank at D-J Petroleum in Limon.

e rst step to painting the “Heart of Harvest” mural was pressure-washing the grain bin from a bucket truck. ey paid special attention to cleaning the hundreds

of bolts and around the bolts. Audrey says, “Most paint companies will tell you that the longevity of the project is dependent on your prep work. We called a lot of paint companies to make sure we got a primer that would stick to this corrugated metal.”

Next, Staci hired a man who worked in outdoor cinema to come to Limon to project the outline of the design on the grain bin. Audrey says, “We had him set up on a stock trailer and we were up there in the bucket of a bucket truck with glow sticks. We thought it would be an all-night thing, but it only took 45 minutes to draw the outline.”

e bolts continued to be their archnemesis as they painted, according to Audrey.

“Getting the edges, up and down, all around

and mixing colors. Staci and I used a little bucket truck. We had wires and paint cans hanging o our necks, dipping across. Once we had a microburst of wind hit us. Staci took the bottom of the bucket and I’m like, ‘seriously, where am I supposed to go?’ We laughed about how amateur hour it felt.”

The colors used in the mural were inspired by Colorado and the state ag — blue skies, yellow sun and red rocks. Images in the mural were also chosen for their special meanings.

“The mountains… People are always stopping all along I-70 asking how much longer it is until they can see the mountains.

ere is even a community named Firstview

Some Girls and a Mural’s “Lincoln Co. Homestead” demonstrates farm life in 1917.
“We didn’t have any formal art training, but the most important training we had was growing up on a farm working with our dads and our sisters.”
—Staci Ravenkamp Beauford

in Cheyenne County on Highway 40 because it is the rst place Pikes Peak can be seen. We de nitely tried to pay homage to that,” Audrey says.

“And, at the very top in the little girl’s hair,” she continues, “there’s the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. We tried to include all the great things of eastern Colorado — you have your colors, you have your family, but we are also known for our stars. People can’t come out here without commenting on the stars. Staci tried to capture it all. I think the movement of it says so much.”

Even the John Deere combine has special meaning for Staci. Her dad farmed with John Deere equipment. While Audrey and Staci may debate about what brand of implements to use in murals (Audrey’s dad uses Case and Gleaner), this was Staci’s design, so she won.

“People from all over the United States have told us how touching this mural is,” Audrey says, “and it made them think of their

dad or their grandpa. But we also feel like it is a good representation of our dads. It’s such a great tribute to modern dads.”

Some Girls and a Mural

Within 24 hours of posting the photo of the “Heart of Harvest” on their new Facebook page, the photo was viewed more than 129,000 times and received 5,000 likes.

“It just went crazy!” Staci says. “We were getting so much attention and it was almost like we didn’t have a choice about whether we wanted to paint more murals — the people wanted more.”

“We did the mural on the Limon Heritage Museum and then the mural on the Plains Heating and Air building in Limon. It is owned by Leon Kelly, and he commissioned a mural of his family’s homestead in Karval,”

Audrey says.

Most of their business is privately funded projects. Only one or two out of every 10 projects are publicly funded.

“A lot of people in rural Colorado have a vision. It’s such a joy to bring their vision to life. ey want the social media exposure, the hashtag saying, ‘I was at this restaurant’ or ‘I was in this town.’ Putting people on the map, that’s a big thing,” Audrey says.

Enough projects have come their way that Staci is able to be a stay-at-home mom with her children and Audrey le her 10-year teaching career to paint murals full-time. Audrey and Staci enjoy working with youth in the Limon school and community art programs. An example of their work with youth is the bottle-cap murals they created at Kissel Pond.

While “girl-power” keeps their business running, they still have some outside help. “Our crazy old dads stop in and give us advice all the time. We are fortunate that our dads will drop anything to come help on a project when we need it. We don’t mind being daddy’s girls at times,” says Audrey with a laugh.

A Voice for Rural Colorado

Staci and Audrey share a concern for the divide between rural and urban Colorado.

“We talk a lot about how our parents’ and grandparents’ generations still had a deep connection to the farm,” Audrey says. “ ey had an aunt and uncle or grandparents still living and working on the farm. And young people our age, especially in urban areas, don’t have that connection. We feel that through our art we have been a big voice for

The welcome sign right inside Hugo is a Some Girls and a Mural creation.

Staci Ravenkamp Beauford (left) and Audrey Sayles are proud of how their Yuma welcome sign o ers a glimpse into the town’s culture.


rural Colorado, the farmer, modern agriculture and rural art.”

ey are concerned about how agriculture is portrayed to children. When Staci watches cartoons with her boys, she sees farmers in bib overalls using outdated machinery. “ ey portray farmers as dumb and I get upset. If this is the boys’ image of their grandfather, what are they going to think of their grandfather? No, their grandfather is a highly intelligent man,” Staci says. Farmers study science, do research, use technology and try new things. We want to show what modern farming is and portray it in our art.”

ey also hope to inspire young people to believe it’s possible to live in their

hometowns. Staci’s mom encouraged her to go to art school, but Staci thought, “ ere is no way I could be an artist and live in a rural community.” She thought artists lived only in cities.

“We want to encourage students to know whatever their dream or passion is, don’t think you can’t do it in your hometown. If we are not inspiring the best of our students to come back and be part of their community, then we are losing them. We’re losing the best of our future.”

Paint the Plains

Staci and Audrey have a mission to “paint the plains.” eir dream is to paint murals on the grain elevators in the towns along the I-70 corridor from Limon to Burlington — a mural trail to unite the communities and bring economic bene ts to the towns.

“I make a big deal about getting people on their feet,” says Staci. “Limon has people walking in town, but in small towns like Genoa or Seibert, because there are so few businesses, people are not out walking on Main Street. So, we create opportunities for people to be out in their community and spending money in the businesses that exist.”

Audrey adds, “I want to let people know that if they are thinking about doing art in their communities, to do it and they will receive the pride and joy tenfold. And I want to express how grateful we are to be able to do this and we really couldn’t without the communities. It’s a testament to our small towns.”

inking about the work they are doing today, Staci recalls a woman who showed her a book with barn murals. “I remember looking at her and saying, ‘ at would be my dream job!’”

“I haven’t gotten to paint on a barn yet,” Staci says, “but I am pretty much living my dream life.”

Audrey teases, “It might not be barns, but you get a little ‘bin bling!’”

But Staci is determined. “Someday I’m going to get a barn.”

Gayle Gresham is living her own dream life near Elbert on the eastern Plains, writing, hanging out with grandkids and feeding cows. Visit for more information.


“I want to let people know that if they are thinking about doing art in their communities, to do it and they will receive the pride and joy tenfold. And I want to express how grateful we are to be able to do this and we really couldn’t without the communities. It’s a testament to our small towns.”

Kathy and Carl Schneller show o their American flag mural created by Some Girls and a Mural.


Working together ensures phones are always answered

Your local electric cooperative may be a relatively small utility, but its services are those you would expect from a much larger company. That is only possible because your co-op works with other small cooperatives to provide much more than it could by itself.

October, which is National Cooperative Month, is a great time to look at how standing together and pooling resources can help local co-ops do their job better, more efficiently and more cost-effectively. It’s a time to celebrate cooperation among coop eratives (one of all co-ops’ seven guiding principles).

Handling after-hours outage calls and

storm calls is one area where Colorado’s elec tric co-ops work together to make sure their consumer-members always have someone answering the phone. Many of the co-ops work with cooperative organizations such as Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Security and Response Services (SRS) and the Cooperative Response Center (CRC) to meet this need.

SRS is offered by Basin Electric, a gener ation and transmission cooperative, and provides 24/7 dispatchers who add that local touch, answering calls with the specific cooperative’s name. Consumers are pleas antly surprised to hear a friendly voice when they call — even late at night or on weekends.

“It is extremely important for customers to experience the same satisfaction and care while using the after-hours line that they receive during the day,” said Jolene Johnson, SRS dispatch manager for Basin Electric. “We currently provide services for 86 co-ops in 12 different states. However, our main goal and primary focus is the safety of our lineman. Our customer service is a very high second, but SRS is here to ensure that the lineman is safe, from the time an outage is reported until the lineman is back home with their family.”

Currently, SRS provides service to seven of CREA’s electric cooperatives: San Isabel Electric in Pueblo West, Southeast Colorado Power in La Junta, SDCEA in Buena Vista, K.C. Electric in Hugo, Y-W Electric in Akron, White River Electric in Meeker, and Mountain Parks Electric in Granby.

This year, SIEA experienced big storms, causing after-hours outages. SRS eased the impact on SIEA’s member services, linemen and dispatch teams during those critical times for the co-op and its consumer-members.

“SRS is really great to work with in every capacity,” said Candace Alfonso, a dispatcher at SIEA. “They are always willing to meet

Basin Electric’s Jolene Johnson, dispatch manager, and Seth Neer, lead service dispatcher.

my needs and consistently value all feed back. Over the last six to12 months, we have experienced some major storms that caused outages overnight or landed on the weekend when I was not available, and SRS rarely needed my assistance. I appreciate all their hard work and dedication. They don’t have all the resources that I have, but they do the best they can with what they do have.

“All their dispatchers are very friendly and provide great customer service to SIEA’s members. They are supposed to represent us as much as possible, and I think they do an excellent job. Not only do they do exemplary work with outages, but they also answer all outage calls and take a ton of hazard calls. We are a great team and I love working with them,” Alfonso added.

CRC is another service-based organiza tion that is an important tool for a handful of CREA’s electric cooperatives. Among the co-ops that use CRC services are Empire Electric in Cortez, Morgan County Rural Electric in Fort Morgan, Poudre Valley Rural Electric in Fort Collins, San Luis Valley Rural Electric in Monte Vista, and Yampa Valley Electric in Steamboat Springs.

CRC offers customer contact, a dispatch center and a central station alarm-moni toring service for electric utilities, which ensures their members’ need for reliable service is met, any time of day or night.

MCREA uses the after-hours call service center offered by CRC and appreciates that a co-op of its size has its phone lines answered 24/7. Occasionally, MCREA also leverages CRC’s services during normal business hours if a larger outage occurs. This frees the phone lines for employees who would otherwise be overwhelmed by the onslaught of call volume because of the outages.

“CRC is very quick to get in touch with our operations department when an issue on our system is reported by a community member. They text our on-call employees with after-hours outage information very quickly, allowing them to mobilize without delay. In addition, CRC conducts text message safety checks on MCREA’s employees when they are in the field performing after-hours restoration work,” said Rob Baranowski, MCREA’s manager of member services

“And CRC’s help doesn’t stop at outage calls. For example, we asked them to provide a dial-back number for this year’s annual

meeting, which was held by phone. That way, any members who noticed a missed call from MCREA during our initial evening callout were given the live callback number by a CRC operator when they returned MCREA’s missed call,” Baranowski said.

Ken Tarr of EEA in Cortez agrees. “CRC is a blessing to our system operators during outage situations — especially large-scale ones — when they handle all the incoming calls. Our system operators are able to focus on getting power restored as well as the safety of our linemen in the field,” he said.

Grand Valley Power and Delta-Montrose Electric also demonstrate cooperation among cooperatives on a smaller, but just as significant, scale. GVP and DMEA are close in proximity, with just about 60 miles between the two cooperatives; both serve the far western side of the state. GVP utilizes DMEA’s after-hours line, and occasionally, if all GVP’s employees are out at a training, they can also forward calls to DMEA’s call service.

Whether it’s at 10 p.m. during an unexpected power outage or on a Sunday afternoon when a blizzard hits, elec tric cooperatives rest easy knowing their members are still getting the immediate help they need when they call, whether it’s from SRS, CRC or even a neighboring co-op.

Cooperation among cooperatives is an integral component to running a successful organization, where its customers feel valued, heard and, most importantly, safe. Sarah Smith, a former CREA employee, writes freelance articles on Colorado’s electric industry.

“CRC is very quick to get in touch with our operations department when an issue on our system is reported by a community member. They text our on-call employees with after-hours outage information very quickly, allowing them to mobilize without delay. In addition, CRC conducts text message safety checks on MCREA’s employees when they are in the field performing after-hours restoration work.”

— Rob Baranowski, MCREA manager of member services


Invaluable Native Intelligence

American Indians’ influences on gardening

Learning to be a better gardener means learning from those who came before us — those with expe rience and wisdom.

In Colorado, this means looking back to the crops and techniques practiced by indigenous populations who inhabited the land for thousands of years and depended on a close connection to the land for their survival. What are some of these timeless techniques?

Companion planting is a technique long practiced by indigenous peoples. They knew some plants improve each other’s health and productivity when grown together. A popular combination, called the three sisters’ garden, consists of corn that provides a pole for beans to climb, beans that add nitrogen to the soil, and squash whose prickly leaves provide shade and deter pesky animals.

Intercropping imitates how species grow naturally. Its benefits are adding soil nutrients rather than exhausting them and allowing one species to fill voids if another fails. Crop rotation prevents depletion of nutrients from the soil and discourages proliferation of diseases. It’s best illustrated by moving garden tomatoes to different locations from year to year to avoid common pests. After starting this practice

years ago, I no longer had to commit the squeamish act of squashing hornworms between two bricks.

Terracing, which Ancestral Puebloans practiced in southwestern Colorado, miti gates runoff and soil erosion by allowing water to seep into terraces during heavy rains. Similarly, catchment areas built by placing stones strategically on slopes encourage water to flow through plants rather than running rapidly downhill. An added benefit is that the stones will create microclimates for sensitive plants by absorbing excess heat during the day and releasing it during cooler nights.

Storing water in ponds or rain barrels for later use is gaining popularity with increasing periods of drought. My grand mother used rain barrel water to wash her long, thick hair as well as water her apple orchard. Rain gardens are another way to capture runoff from roofs and impervious areas. If you don’t have a natural depression in your yard, you can create one and plant native shrubs and perennials that tempo rarily hold and soak in excess water flow.

Giving back to the soil is also an old idea. As we are blessed with gifts from our gardens, consider increasing fertility naturally instead of with chemicals. I was amazed how my bushes flourished after

I started burying fish bones under them. Other ideas are scattering ashes from burnt brush and weeds on soil that lacks phos phorus, and planting peas between flowers when soil is low in nitrogen.

If I had to choose just one lesson from indigenous peoples, it would be to observe nature. As unpredictable weather patterns become more common, rather than sticking to a traditional calendar, guidance in your planting endeavors will be better utilized watching bird migration patterns and noting when native plants and trees begin to leaf. Perhaps planting cucumbers and squash when lilac flowers fade is not an old wives’ tale but a valuable lesson from our elders.

In short, developing a close relation ship with nature and following techniques handed down from generation to gener ation can be the best guide to successful gardening.

Gardener Vicki Spencer has an eclectic background in conservation, water, natural resources and more.

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

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Fixin’ and Fishin’

Solving the world’s problems, one fishing trip at a time

The boys and I went up to Delaney Buttes Lakes in August to fish and indulge in a little campfire therapy.


It was our annual Father’s Day Trip, which never seems to happen on Father’s Day because, well, life. Wasn’t it John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?” The guy knew what he was talking about. Anyway, on these Delaney trips we do a little fishing, grill venison steaks saved specifically for the trip, and try to settle all the world’s prob lems while poking the campfire, sipping sundowners and listening to the coyotes.

We pack fly rods, float tubes, a portable grill (lately it’s been a Blackstone flattop) and some fresh garden veggies to accompany the steaks. Oh, and a bottle of high-octane snakebite repellent (aka Tennessee whiskey), not only to ward off snakes and evening chill, but also to ensure objectivity and clarity of thought while pondering solutions to the current socio-political insanity gripping the world. Years ago, we could do this in a single campfire session, but the world’s gotten itself into such a mess lately that we brought along some extra snake-bite repellent in case we had to stay an extra night.

We caught a few good fish. Mostly rain bows in the 2-to-3-pound class, but none like the 5-to-7-pounders we caught there in years past. The boys caught theirs on midges and chironomid imitations, which was exactly the right stuff to use that time of year; I fished classic old bucktails, feather streamers and wet fly patterns, pretty much for nostalgic reasons. Minnow imitations by design are very often pretty and colorful, but where catching fish is concerned, they can be a hit-or-miss proposition. On this trip, they were a miss.

As for solving all the world’s problems around the campfire, we determined there wasn’t much we could do about the mess the world is in today. After all, one form or another of this nonsense has been going on since the beginning of time, depending on who’s in charge of what. Like the guy said: It’s life… and it’s gonna do what it does no matter what you and I do. So, we might as well go fishing. Which is what we did. Oh, and the steaks were fabulous. We had them with a nice cucumber tomato salad and blis tered shishito peppers in aioli.

Dennis Smith is a freelance outdoors writer and photographer whose work appears nationally. He lives in Loveland.

Catch up at Click on Outdoors under Living in Colorado. MISS AN ISSUE? 24 COLORADO COUNTRY LIFE OCTOBER 2022 OUTDOORS ONE MORE CAST LIGHTNING FACTS 2006 2020: Two-thirds of lightning deaths occurred during outdoors activities. Don’t become part of a tragic fishing story. Keep an eye on weather conditions and know when to call it a day.
Wait 30 minutes after you see or hear lightning before heading back outside.
If you see or hear signs of weather rolling in, stop and head to a four-sided building or hard-top car. REMEMBER Always look up for overhead power lines before casting. COULD BE DEADLY 33% Of those deaths, 33% happened during water-related activities. 44% Fishing accounted for most, or 44%, of those water-related activities. Source: National Lightning Safety Council

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Quirky & Colorful

Folks near and far pop into the “quirky and colorful” Trinidad to visit Art Cartopia, an art car museum that opened in 2018 and houses more than 25 cleverly decorated transporting treasures.

Nine years ago, a portion of these museum auto artifacts debuted in the community’s first ArtoCade festival and parade, which is a mainstay today in the town of roughly 8,000. Thanks to artist Rodney Wood’s determination, the Trinidad Tourism Board committed to his proposal to promote a parade and festival on wheels. After attracting double his expectations of 20 to 25 cars with more than 50 entries, it was clear he was onto something.

Art Cars Find a Home

It’s obvious that these art car artists used humor, technique and titillation in making their masterpieces, such as the psychedelic “Aurora Porschi Alice,” the inspiring “Albert Canstein” and the colossal “Phoenix” dragon. Visitors can take a guided tour and take part in one of the museum’s hands-on activities. Executive Director Amanda Palmer says, “We are building up to becoming an arts center to foster creativity in our little community.”

They’re Baa-ack

After a two-year hiatus — thanks to the COVID pandemic — ArtoCade was back on September 10. Spectators entered the streets of downtown Trinidad to watch the 75 art cars in this year’s parade and festival. Afterward, guests moseyed to CarDango at Art Cartopia where they continued the celebration with live


entertainment, costumes galore and dancing into the night. It was here that big news was announced: The mayor of Trinidad officially proclaimed the second Saturday in September as Art Car Day.

Get More Acquainted with ArtoCade

In 2016, Colorado Country Life featured ArtoCade in the magazine where photographer Dave Neligh captured the essence of ArtoCade and writer Malia Durbano delved deeply into its history and the Trinidad Correctional Facility’s part in adorning a genius art car. Read the articles at and

Mark your calendar for next year’s ArtoCade on September 9, 2023. Learn more at and artocade. com. Art Cartopia is located at 2702 Freedom Road in Trinidad.



Rocky Mountain Autumn

New England boasts of maple leaves in vibrant russet tones. The West Coast has perpetual spring –Fall’s equinox is unknown. But the Rocky Mountain region is the jewel in nature’s crown. Pine trees stand in silent awe as the Aspens paint the town. The hillsides yield a treasure trove of sparkling gold doubloons, that captivate all our senses then steal away far too soon. Autumn in the mountains is a season beyond compare. So simple is its beauty, yet its vision is all too rare.


Are you a poet?

Do you write poetry?

Submit your best works to our Reader Engagement page at or send via email to

Visiting my grandparents back home on the farm trying to be helpful give something back to generous self-sufficient folk I moved much of the woodpile from the cold outdoors into the warm garage despite grandma’s protests couple of weeks later she calls tells me about the big storm snowed them in electricity out for a week the neighbor without heat moved in they were warm and safe thanks to their big pile of dry wood I’m sure they would have been fine but she credited me with their snowstorm survival the easy access to the woodpile kept their stove burning just now I realize all their cooking appliances were electric the wood stove must have been their cooking heat as well I bet they ate a lot of oatmeal drank a lot of coffee finished off the frozen coffee cake ate the ice cream before it melted

Kiki Chanders, Steamboat Springs Yampa Valley Electric consumer-member

Good Neighbors

Good neighbors willing to help —

A treasure equal to gold mines,

To public acclaim in the arts,

To important discoveries —

Rare artifacts, Medical solutions, Industrial improvements —

All these pale in the light of day

When what you need is

A good neighbor at your side

One who will lift, will carry, Will watch, will do

Will find the right words

Will smile, squeeze your hand

And give of herself.

Thank goodness for good neighbors! Lucky me!


I watched a cloud climb up the mountain this morning, at first just a puff of mist white air, it stretched itself out, elongating, fragmenting, as if searching for handholds, then bunched back together again as it neared the top. It reached up as if it needed a last boost over the peak to achieve and fulfill a need to rise.

By the time it was full daylight the cloud had made it up and over the mountainside and then it flew wide, skimming the cool dawn sky as if moving away to explore the freedom of space. Strange that I never thought of clouds as alive with purpose and presence with a need in time to transform and rise.

Cynthia Bullock, Black Forest Mountain View Electric consumer-member “In the Clouds” by Bob Toepfer, a consumer-member of San Isabel Electric Association.

Lounging Longhorn

Will it Skillet? Linda Hollis, a Southeast Colorado Power consumer-member

Eat, Laugh, Talk! Gregory Jones, Mountain View Electric consumer-member

Cooking with Scraps Shirlie Freytag, a Y-W Electric consumer-member

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook Judy Krening, Fort Morgan

Kids in the Kitchen Andrew Bussa, Monument

High-Altitude Breakfast Chris Dostal, Berthoud


love to hear from our readers!

Visit our READER ENGAGEMENT PAGE to enter the monthly giveaway, share a funny story, submit a photo with the magazine, share your latest poem or recipe and send a letter to the editor.

Photo by Teresa Dower, a Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member.
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After 51 years, I recently recon nected with my former girls’ camp director, Dan Boone. At age 90 he is still very alert and driving every day. He was stopped by a police officer asking for his ID. Dan apologized that he had left his wallet at home but said “My name is Daniel Boone.” The officer wisecracked, “Oh sure, and my name is Davey Crockett.”

Lynne Becker, Colorado Springs

Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member

My highly educated friends decided to only use the scientific terminology “micturate” and “defecate” when toilet training their child. They forgot to teach the babysitter.

Jan Liu, Granby

Mountain Parks Electric consumer-member

One day, my 4-year-old Madi wanted to share her solitary gumdrop. First, she gave her daddy a nibble of her gumdrop. Then she held up the gumdrop for me to take a nibble. When I hesitated (thinking about where her little hands had been), she let me know that it was perfectly sanitary. “I licked Daddy’s germs off,” she reassured me.

Alicia Riley, Grand Junction Grand Valley Power consumer-member

When I told my parents over the phone that my husband has the flu, my dad asked, “Have you tried euthanasia?” In the background my mom yelled, “For the last time, it’s echinacea!”


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 the published funny stories, and that person will receive $200. Go to our Reader Engagement page at coloradocountrylife. coop to submit your funny story.

Joe and Joan Kaler, Colorado Springs, pose with CCL at the Bay of Pigs Museum on a recent trip to Cuba. They are consumer-members of Mountain View Electric Association. San Isabel Electric consumer-member Amelia Burbidge takes her copy of the magazine on a sailing adventure outside of Salem to watch Fourth of July fireworks from the harbor. Tom, Allison, Brooke and Paige Shrader, Windsor, vacation at The Rainforest Lodge at Sleeping Giant in Belize and bring along CCL. The Shraders are consumer-members of Poudre Valley REA. Poudre Valley REA consumer-members Charles and Ursula Lynch travel to New York, Maine and Canada with their copy of CCL 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 Monday, October 17. Name, address and co-op must accompany photo. See all of the submitted photos on Facebook at WINNER: Cordelia and Douglas Kendall, Colorado Springs, take CCL on a 16-day trip to Holland, Norway, Iceland and Scotland. Here, Cordelia poses with the magazine and granddaughters, Alyssa and Nadia, outside of Akureyri, Iceland, at the Dimmuborgir Lava Labyrinth. The Kendalls are consumer-members of Mountain View Electric Association.
STORIES Take Your Photo with Your Magazine and Win!

Products to Pamper

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Mountain Soap Factory’s beginnings stem from a 2008 4-H project when Julie “Jules” Churchill, who currently runs the business’s social media and marketing department, made a batch of olive oil soap. Today, the Steamboat Springsbased company makes 60 varieties of soaps using five key ingredients: olive oil, goat milk, hemp seed, shea butter and glycerin. They also manufacture lip balms, bath bombs and bathing salts, and offer custom orders and affordable gift sets. For more information, call 970-879-6478 or visit


Head to our Reader Engagement page at to enter to win a Mountain Soap Factory gift set.

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A Jarring Dessert

As a lifelong sufferer of eczema, Talisa Caldwell has a vested interest in what she puts on her skin. For that reason, she developed a skincare line to manage it. It worked. So, when COVID restrictions immobilized her day jobs, she amped up her side hustle: Freedom Creators Co. The Colorado Springs business has a wonderful line of natural, healing skincare products, including body butters, sugar scrubs, toners, soaps and more. For more information, call 719-297-7148 or visit


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Apply Fresher

Give your skin a dose of hydration with the added assurance that all you’re spreading on is from nature itself. The team at Telluride-based Smart by Nature handpicks its ingredients and then handmakes the skincare products for a clean, non-toxic application. And the natural aromas, such as tangerine, lavender and sweet orange, will leave you gob-smacked. Products include body lotions, bar soaps, lip balms, body polish, bath bombs and more. For information, call or text 970-209-2110 or visit

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