Us currently includes myself, my husband, thirteen dogs – 8 of whom are foster puppies and their momma – and 43 chickens, of which about 12 are roosters in a rooster rescue; an adult child getting ready to move to Australia for a year come this winter, and a second adult child and his wife – who is going into the Army in September (the wife, not the son – son has been out of the Marines for a year now and is part of the Colorado National Guard), and my father. While not all the human adults live here, they are integral to the running of the household, the homestead, and to my writing of history.
My background as a writer and as an historian:
Late high school, early college, my mother, myself and another lady were the main characters in the running of a small town newspaper in Idaho Springs, Colorado called the Front Range Journal. Sandy was editor,writer,photographer; my mother was writer, advertising, layout, and I was photographer, layout, darkroom and on a rare occasion, writer. The Front Range Journal closed its doors, and my mother went on to work for the Clear Creek Courant- I worked for them on college holidays and in the summer.
At college – Western State College, to be exact – I did the usual. Oh, and I went to classes. Sociology with a minor in English. I wrote on occasion for the college newspaper, was involved with the Mountain Thought Review, and helped with the founding of a still running magazine called The Pathfinder, founded by my husband with the support of the Humanities Council. He was editor and layout; once again, I was photographer and layout. Several other great folks on the staff and contributors made it what it still is today – a great, diverse campus magazine.
Graduate school called – for my husband first, then me a year later. I became a History teacher – World and American, with summer school classes in Sociology thrown in for variety. I taught for several years in the Davenport Community School District while my husband worked for John Deere. Due to a job location change for my husband in 2002, we moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where I worked at Living History Farms as an historical interpreter in several sites – print shop, general store, millinery, broom shop, Flynn House. After a fall as interim broom shop supervisor, I became the millinery supervisor. I am still a professional milliner today thanks to my time there, occasionally teaching classes in millinery at a variety of conventions and historical events. (Site work gets addicting – another coworker from LHF now runs his own living history museum!)
I have also been an historical interpreter at a number of fur trade era events in the Midwest, most notable is Big Island Rendezvous, held every fall in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
We moved back to Colorado to be closer to family when our eldest graduated high school. We purchased our home in the mountains, and over the years, turned our acre into a partial homestead – gardening in the mountains takes a great deal more effort than it does on the plains! We have succumbed to “chicken math” – our flock is ever growing. Husband started a rooster rescue last year; with roosters we’ve raised and roosters we have rescued locally and from the Foothills Animal Shelter, we are at 12 roosters. A few live with the flock of hens, but the rest live in the rescue pens, living a much happier life than they had before. Several of our hens are also rescues; most notable is Sky (Skywalker) who was running around a Denver neighborhood for three weeks before a local concerned citizen found the Colorado Chickens page on Facebook and asked someone to come get her. So we did. she gained her name by spending her first day here 30 feet up in one of the large pines in our yard. Within days, she fully integrated herself with the flock, and has lived here happily ever since.
Over our years back here in Colorado, we’ve done a variety of work – husband worked in elder care, I ran a store and contract postal station, worked in another contract postal station, nannied, worked as a school photographer, and in the past two years, I’ve gone back to museum work, first as a volunteer for History Colorado, then last year as an intern for Historic Georgetown, Inc/ Hammil House (a job found for me by my eldest child, who encouraged me to apply – thank you!) and this year working as a docent for Hotel De Paris Museum in Georgetown; this is considerable clout in my mind, since Hotel De Paris is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site – the only one in Colorado.
Throughout most of that time, I was also writing Colorado History articles for Examiner.com – May 2009 to July 2016. At the beginning of July, Examiner.com announced that they were shuttering their site and accepting no new articles. The link now takes you to AXS.com, and our work did not transfer. I did manage to transfer all of my writing, all my articles to this blog. They are out of order – sorry about that. Some of the multi-installment articles have been compiled into one posting – long postings. In time, I will get the rest of my pictures for these articles back with them as well.
So now what? On to bigger and better things. I’m starting a series of books – years ago, my mother and I wanted to write a book on Colorado cemeteries. Her words, my photos. Well, over the years, first marriage came and went, a second marriage happened, children came, a move across country and emphysema came – for mom. That became a lung transplant, which was very successful for years; she passed in 2010 due to other causes. The book never happened.
But it is happening now – in revised form. A series of smaller books – my writing and photography, historical photos, lots of help from county and state archivists and historical societies. 99 counties, hundreds of cemeteries. I’ve got my work cut out for me.
As this blog continues, it will have more history found on the way, excerpts from the books as I write them, photos, odd stories, stories of our adventures as we hunt down the information and write them – and, of course, publication information!
Wish us luck, stick with us. And I’m always happy to hear from folks.