The Parlor House of Arbourville

Story and photos by Mike Rosso

Regular travelers on the east side of Monarch Pass have seen it. Just north of Maysville, the crumbling remains of a four-sided mansard roof rise like a sentinel above the guardrail on the south side of the highway. At 55 mph, that’s about all that motorists are likely to see, but closer inspection reveals an impressive piece of historic architecture that won’t likely survive any expansion plans on the part of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

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The Woes and Joys of an Experiment in the Off-Grid Life: Part I

By Magda Sokolowski

Since the day we met on a rutabaga farm more than ten years ago, my husband Michael and I have shared a dream of one day homesteading. Over the years, one variation of what this would look like gave way to another as we nurtured and fed our idea of greater self-sufficiency. Sometimes, we imagined a farm with goats from whose milk we would make cheese. The idea of a large organic garden and a seasonal vegetable market was always a favorite standby in our musings, and then sometimes, I found myself in one particular reverie that came back again and again: I had visions of myself sitting at a desk, breaking from the task of writing to look out the window of our hand-built cabin onto a large meadow with a sisterhood of peaks in the distance demanding attention. And to the left (or right) of the cabin, in a patch of piñons (or maybe they would be Douglas firs or Ponderosa), I could see Michael bear the axe down on a round of wood that would soon become our heat.

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By John Mattingly

My father built the house where I and my two younger brothers grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. By built I mean from basement stemwall to the kitchen cabinets. With occasional help from Harry and Gene, men my father worked with at Heath Engineering (now the Sundance Saloon on Highway 14 east of Fort Collins), my father did everything from excavation to electrical, framing to roofing, plaster to plumbing, floor covering to cabinets. We even had a fireplace. Father built the house in one spring and summer, mostly in hours after work and on weekends.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

An Update to the Saguache Solar Saga

SolarReserve, an international alternative energy company, applied for a permit to set up a 200-megawatt solar power-generating facility – consisting of two 100-megawatt, 656-foot tall solar thermal power generating units based on concentrating solar-thermal power technology that uses molten salt. Approximately 4,000 acres of a larger 6,200-acre area of privately owned county land, located north of Center between Saguache County Roads D and G and 53 and 57, are being considered for the location for the facility.

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Regional News

Redistricting Maps Approved

DENVER – Redistricting maps submitted by the Colorado Reapportionment Commission were approved by the Colorado Supreme Court on Dec. 12, which will serve to realign districts for the Colorado House and Senate.

The new Senate District 5 will include Lake, Eagle, Chaffee, Pitkin, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Delta counties. House District 60 will include Park, Custer, and Chaffee counties, and most of western Fremont County. Lake and Summit counties will join Delta, Pitkin and part of Gunnison counties in HD-61. Some state Republican politicians publicly complained the maps were redrawn to benefit the Democratic Party.

Gunnison County Commissioners filed a statement of opposition to a plan that would split the county into two separate House districts, HD-61 and HD-59.

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Home on the Streets?

By Jennifer Dempsey

Homelessness in Chaffee County has increased 400% in the last decade according to Bonnie MacDonald, executive administrator for New Sharing and Caring.

“It used to be that we would get one or two calls a month, now it’s one or two a day,” she said. “We can’t always keep track of these people because they might meet somebody at a bar or something who says, ‘oh, here’s a couch.’ A couple of years ago we ended up with two babies from what we call couch surfing. We hope and pray that doesn’t happen again.”

For the past ten years MacDonald has opened her home to men and women needing a place to stay, many coming out of the county jail.

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The House with the Eye

By Lynda LaRocca. Photo by Stephen M. Voynick.

Leadville has long been called “the museum capital of Colorado.” And now another museum has joined the half-dozen already chronicling the history of the frontier West’s wildest, richest silver camp.

This one’s a resurrected museum, actually. And “resurrected” is an appropriate word for a place watched over by the Eye of God.

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La Puente Home

 By Virginia McConnell Simmons

In a narrative poem by Robert Frost, Warren and Mary are sitting on their porch, arguing about whether to let Silas return to the farm once again. He had been an unreliable hand, his wanderlust often causing him to go missing when he was most needed, like during haying time, and Warren complains that Silas doesn’t deserve another chance now. But Mary contends that they have no choice except to take him in.

“Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” Mary says.

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Dispatch from the Edge

By Peter Anderson

Mountain Time

Imagine this beginning: a molecule rides in your own exhale, water in the form of vapor, rising in a warmer stream of air to meet the cooler floor of a cloud, a cloud that the prevailing wind has nudged up against the western slope of a nearby mountain. Inside of the cloud, let’s say this molecule, once a part of your own being, bumps into a grain of a grain of a grain of sand. And let’s say some other water molecules mingling nearby drift into that same particle. Pretty soon, all those molecules, including your own, are linking up like star-to-the-right square dancers on a Saturday night.

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Home – by John Mattingly

My father built the house where I and my two younger brothers grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. By built I mean from basement stemwall to the kitchen cabinets. With occasional help from Harry and Gene, men my father worked with at Heath Engineering (now the Sundance Saloon on Highway 14 east of Fort Collins), my father did everything from excavation to electrical, framing to roofing, plaster to plumbing, floor covering to cabinets. We even had a fireplace. Father built the house in one spring and summer, mostly in hours after work and on weekends.

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From the Editor – Home

Where thou art, that is home. – Emily Dickinson

This new year 2012 begins right here, at home. I decided to ask our regular contributors – and some new voices – to interpret their thoughts on “home” for this issue. What you’re about to discover are a variety of stories, memories, opinions, essays, artwork and poetry on an elusive topic for which everyone has some experience and thoughts on. Home isn’t necessarily where you were born or where you currently hang your hat. Home can be a longing, a state of mind, a place of tranquility or a place of contention. Where thou art …

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A Home Beneath our Feet

By Hal Walter

I grew up moving around quite a bit, with my family setting up a new house six times from the time I was six until I turned 18 and left for college at University of Colorado in Boulder. After that I lived in 11 different homes over the next 13 years.

And thus it’s somewhat a mystery to me that I’ve now lived in the same house here in the Bear Basin area of Custer County for most of my adult life, nigh on 21 years. It’s also amazing that someone who doesn’t really like cold weather has made it through two decades of winters here at 8,650 feet elevation.

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Loving Homes

By Lum Pennington

Where, and what, exactly is home?

Like many people I have had a multitude of homes. “Home” has been a moving target, catapulting around the country driven by employment, curiosity and happenstance.

Destined by birth to have affection for New England’s many charming and unique attributes, I left home nonetheless. The region’s stark architecture, its winding, sun-dappled roads; these things feel right and familiar, along with ancient stonewalls running through mature forests that were once the open fields of homesteads, cider mills bustling with activity in the fall, the smell of my grandmother’s kitchen, and a favorite aunt who taught me to eat nasturtiums.

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Winging It Home

 By Eduardo Rey Brummel

A junior college in Dallas. Me, outside, taking a study break with a just-bought bag of cheddar goldfish to feed the campus geese. I pour a handful; offer them to the nearest goose. There’s hesitation and tentativeness. One goose-step shakily segues into others. I hold myself steady when the first ticklish peck pincers a cracker. Not five minutes later, I’m surrounded by a gazillion geese, each loudly insisting on being fed.

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Down on the Ground and At Home

By George Sibley

“Home is where one starts from.” – T.S. Eliot

When the publisher of this journal suggested we contributing authors contemplate the topic of “home” for the new year’s first issue, it got the brain to firing on most of its cylinders. Partly because this is frequent topic of conversation between my partner and me. At home, as it were, which is most basically wherever we are at the end of the afternoon when we can sit down together with a beer, a bowl of popcorn, and (in season) a fire.

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I Live in a Caboose

By Forrest Whitman

I’ve spent a lot of my adult life sleeping, eating, and working in cabooses. These days I live in a grounded Burlington Caboose. It’s located near mile post 41.77 on the Moffat Tunnel Sub. That’s the former D, & R..G.W. (“dangerous and rapidly growing worse line” as we used to joke). Today that main line is owned by the Union Pacific, but is jointly used by the B.N.S.F., a consolidation of three lines including the former Burlington. The logo on the side stills says “C.B. & Q – Route of he Zephyrs.” It was purchased for $100 when the Burlington sold off many of its old wooden heavyweights. The buyer was a fellow named Woody who’s now a resident of the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where my Dad, my hobo uncle Wen, and all good dogs go.

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By Ed Quillen

What “home” means to you often depends on where you grew up. For me, growing up in high and dry Colorado, “HOMES” was a mnemonic, a memory aid, for remembering the names of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Even though they were hundreds of miles away, we were expected to learn them in grade-school geography.

But Martha, who grew up in Michigan, had never heard of HOMES for the Great Lakes. There, she said, “you just know the names of the Great Lakes. Kind of like you Colorado kids just knew that Elbert and Massive were the state’s two highest peaks.”

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Longing for New Orleans

By Ann Marie Swan
Life has a way of moving us along, and it’s taken me far from my hometown, New Orleans. This surprises me because I always assumed I’d be back home by now, taking my place in this city of misrule.

I adore New Orleans. It’s a mixed bag of excitement and heartbreak, lovely yet exasperating. At times, it feels like urban transcendence despite deep pockets of poverty and crime.

New Orleans has that rich, earthy smell of a place in a constant state of decay. The swamps try to reclaim the city, seeping up through it, buckling her sidewalks and roads.

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Writing My Way Home

By Susan Tweit

When I was a child, I knew exactly where home was: Wyoming. Although I was born and lived in Illinois, I recognized the home of my heart on a family vacation. It was June, the beginning of one our annual weeks-long camping and nature study expeditions through the West.

My father was driving, gas pedal to the floor as he urged the engine of our home-made camper-van to its top speed on brand-new Interstate 80 west of Laramie. My mother, chief navigator, sat next to him, my brother scanned the passing landscape for birds new to his life list. I sat in back with my face buried in a book.

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Book Review

In Search of Powder: A Story of America’s Disappearing Ski Bum
by Jeremy Evans
Bison Books
2010 ISBN-13-0-8032-9 $16.95

Reviewed by Forrest Whitman

“Ski all day, drink all night and fight off the chicks!” That was the mantra of the cool ski bums of the past. Jeremy Evans was once one of those ski bums and loved it. He quit the ski bum life for a time, but went right back to it, or at least writing about it. Even a small stroke didn’t slow Jeremy down. Now he writes for ski magazines and is well known in ski circles. The fact that he got the legendary snowboarder and skier Glen Plake to write the forward tells us something about Jeremy’s popularity. Alas, the ski bum life is not what it once was. As we move into winter it’s wise for prospective ski bums to read this book and think twice.

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Water Update

 by John Orr

Colorado River Basin: Colorado College State of the Rockies Project

“For some reason we’re starting this in October,” quips Will Stauffer-Norris, standing in cold weather gear and snowshoes, down valley from the headwaters of the Green River. He made the statement in the first video chronicling his journey – along with fellow traveler Zak Podmore – from Source to Sea. They’re heading down the Green River to the confluence with the Colorado River and then down the Colorado to the delta, where the river used to meet to the Pacific Ocean, as recently as the 1990s.

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