The Story of Soft Salida Brick

by Jackie W. Powell
Photos courtesy of The Salida Library

People say “Soft Salida brick” as if it were one word. Many believe it was sun-dried, like adobe, and therefore not as hard as fired brick. The myth of sun drying is reinforced by photographs such as Figure 1 , showing thousands of bricks lying in the sun. But this was only one of the five steps needed to transform clay into fired bricks: mining, tempering, molding, drying, and firing.

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Goodbye to summer, and two horses

by Hal Walter

Late summer has its many emotions here in the Wet Mountains, from the blustery days when you first notice the edges of the aspens turning, to the clear blue days that seem never to end as summer becomes fall. But I know in my bones these days will end.

At some point the summer bugs will come off the windshield with the first heavy frost.

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The Mystery of The Malta Cemetery

by Annie Mueller

Published by the Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies, the Colorado Cemetery Directory helps the living trace their family histories. Lake County, Colorado has 33 cemetery entries in the Directory. Of these, 13 are listed as abandoned and 18 have “no record available of custodian/owner.” The oldest in that record is the Leadville City Cemetery, established in 1877, used for only two years and then abandoned.

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Poles of Stone

by Ron Flannery

We were motoring up U. S. 50 in the canyon east of Cotopaxi, Colorado. As usual, my dad scanned things beyond the road itself. Suddenly, he said, “Yep, they’re still there.” Not seeing anything but the steep canyon wall on one side and the Arkansas River on the other, I asked, “What’s still there?”

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From the Compost Bin – October 2009

(Tips for high-altitude gardeners)

by Suzanne Ward

We have moved into autumn and frost will be visiting our gardens.? It’s not yet time to put it all to rest – there’s still a little more work to be done before winter.

?When frost threatens, it is wise to be prepared.? The first frost is often followed by warmer weather.? Be ready to cover tender, immature crops such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, cucumbers and okra with newspaper or blankets.?Covering them at night, combined with the warm autumn days, will allow the produce to come to full maturity.

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by John Mattingly

I don’t admit this in the mixed company of cattle ranchers, but I used to have goats. Yes, the fact is, I had many goats, such that it was the profits from various goat operations in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that enabled me to get into the cattle business and expand my farming operation. I owe much to goats, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say I have always had a great fondness for the species. They are clearly among the more intelligent mammals (and I include most politicians in a group that goats could easily challenge), in addition to being a species that helped humans progress, giving them milk, meat and fiber – endowments that ultimately resulted in a larger brain for homo sapiens. Mother never told me, “Be sure to eat your goat meat,” but we all know the rest of the story.

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Peace of Art Café

Regional restaurant review by Patty LaTaille

Organic Peddler
14475 W. Hwy. 160
Del Norte, CO 81132
(719) 65-Peace

Healthy eaters and vegetarian travelers can now travel through the San Luis Valley with peace of mind and a culinary destination ahead. There exists an oasis of organic food and drinks in the meat and fried potatoes and road trip fare in an unlikely spot – Del Norte. Look for the mustard yellow building and sign for the Organic Peddler and Peace of Art Café right on Highway 160.

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Scholarly Peaks of Colorado

How did the Collegiate Peaks, the towering mountains that soar above the Upper Arkansas River Valley, get their Ivy League names?

The tradition began in 1869 when members of the first Harvard Mining School class named 14,420-foot Mount Harvard after their institution while on expedition with Josiah Dwight Whitney, professor of geology at Harvard. The same group named the adjacent peak, Mount Yale after Whitney’s alma mater. The class was in Colorado that year to identify the highest point in the contiguous United States and to debunk rumors of an 18,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains.

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Symbols of Colorado’s Diverse Nature

by Susan Tweit

If you’re looking for a simple way to teach Colorado nature literacy, search no farther than our state’s official list of symbols. It’s longer than you might expect, and affords an easy way to begin exploring Colorado’s incredible natural diversity.

How many official natural symbols – bird, tree, rock, fish, wildflower, and so on – does Colorado boast?

If you guessed an even dozen, you’re correct. Can you name them?

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Ores to Metals: The Rocky Mountain Smelting Industry

By James E. Fell, Jr.
Published in 2009 by University Press of Colorado
ISBN 978-0-87081-946-9

Reviewed by Virginia McConnell Simmons

Like most readers in Colorado, I have countless books and booklets about the holes in the ground where miners struck it rich or suffered disappointment, but until I read this book, I never knew much about the rusty smelter ruins and grimy slag heaps that remain near those mines. The no-nonsense tome Ores to Metals became a lodestone for me this summer, attracting me to read every page and learn the things about the smelter ruins and slag heaps that have been ignored in the more popular dramas and melodramas about mining.

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Table Walking at Nighthawk

By Carol Darnell Guerrero-Murphy
Published in 2007 by Ghost Road Press
ISBN 0-9796255-1-3

Reviewed by Elliot Jackson

Why, oh why, wonders the Inconstant Reader, do I routinely pass by poetry in my restless forays through my library’s shelves? Is it because I had a rigorous education in my youth, and read so much of it that I just OD’d? Or do I just forget about it? Maybe it’s simple intimidation: a good poem is such a richly-stuffed little nugget that getting through a whole book of poetry feels like downing a plate of baklava all by myself (maybe that’s why, when I do get around to reading poetry, that I love to read it aloud, or hear it read: just like that plate of baklava, a poem seems created to be shared – munched by multiple ears).

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Water Update – October 2009

by John Orr

It’s been a good water year so far

Streamflow in the Arkansas River kept most everyone happy this summer. The runoff came early and high flows were bolstered by a cool and wet beginning to the season and plenty of transmountain water. The above average boating season lasted well into August.

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Regional News Roundup – October 2009

(and other items of interest)

Tanner Found Guilty

SALIDA – Andrew Tanner, 27 of Salida, was found guilty on nine charges including first degree murder and kidnapping Salida resident James Durgan Sept. 3 in 11th Judicial District Court in Cañon City.

The verdict came after 15 hours of deliberation by a seven man, five woman jury.

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Adams State College Unveils New Projects

by Marcia Darnell

Adams State College in Alamosa recently unveiled plans for a new sports stadium as well as new dormitories in two recent community meetings presented by ASC president, Dr. David Svaldi.

The centerpiece of the plan is the stadium, a larger, more resplendent facility than the open field and tiered seats the school currently uses.

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Western State Thinks “Green” and Brings Sustainability Home

by Mike Rosso

Western State College (WSC) in Gunnison is leading the charge statewide in sustainable building practices in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The WSC campus is rapidly becoming a model in earth-friendly, energy-efficient building practices and renovation techniques, thanks in no small part to its students, staff, and alumni.

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From the Editor – October 2009

I had already penned a piece to go in this spot, even going as far as dropping it in the layout, when Martha Quillen’s column came across my desk.

About halfway through it I realized she was voicing many of the same thoughts I had written except with a bit less cynicism. You see, what had prompted my unpublished tirade was a bumper sticker I had seen that day. It was stuck on an oversized SUV driven by an aging woman in downtown Salida equating liberals with laziness and unhappiness. Although I prefer not to be pigeonholed into all-too-convenient liberal/conservative tags, I certainly cannot side with a group of paranoid, angry folks who consider people like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck their spokespersons.

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S-E-C-E-S-S, That’s The Way They Spell Success

with Martha Quillen

Conservative pundits and politicians have long rallied their followers by fomenting fury, but you’ve got to wonder if they’re going too far when they start fomenting revolution.

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann often urges revolution, presumably in the metaphorical sense. In March she said, “I want the people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.”

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The Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Depot in Buena Vista

The Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Depot in Buena Vista – damaged by fire in 2002 – was donated to Buena Vista Heritage in 2003 and moved to McPhelemy Park where restoration soon began. Most of the exterior work on the depot has since been completed and work on the interior is scheduled to begin soon and to be completed by mid-summer 2010.

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