Sunday, November 22, 2009







Saturday, November 21, 2009



Monday, November 9, 2009


Trust me- there is more than one Pioneer Woman in this picture

Your five year old has good taste in scarf's

Love you-- so glad you had such a good time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Young and newly married, I relaxed under a pecan tree on a hot Texas summer day, drinking iced tea and getting to know my new sister-in-law, Estelle.
Not much older than I, but already a mother of three, Estelle seemed to me experienced and wise.
“Get yourself some girlfriends, Lacreta,” she advised, clinking the ice cubes in her glass. “You are going to need girlfriends.
Go places with them; do things with them.” What a funny piece of advice, I thought. Hadn’t I just gotten married? Hadn’t I just joined the couple-world? I was a married woman, for goodness sake…not a young girl who needed girlfriends.
But I listened to this new sister-in-law. I got myself some girlfriends.
As the years tumbled by, one after another, gradually I came to understand that Estelle knew what she was talking about. I remembered that she had said the word “girlfriends” with emphasis. As I went along, I discovered the subtle difference between friends and girlfriends. You go to work with friends, go to dinner with friends, go to church with friends, belong to clubs with friends. You send friends greeting cards. You need friends in your life, all girlfriends were once only friends. But a girlfriend is different.
A girlfriend is not “just like a sister.” Sisters have a distinct bond, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Sisters flow from family attachment; girlfriends choose each other. A sister can also be a girlfriend. As a thank-you to my sister-in-law and to the other girlfriends in my life, I offer this praise of girlfriends.
Here is what I know about girlfriends:
Girlfriends don’t compete.
Girlfriends keep your children, and keep your secrets.
Girlfriends give advice when you ask for it. Sometimes you take it, sometimes you don’t.
Girlfriends don’t always tell you that you are right.
Girlfriends might send you a birthday card, but they might not. It does not matter in the least.
Girlfriends laugh with you and don’t need canned jokes to start the laughter.
Girlfriends don’t yammer behind your back.
Girlfriends pull you out of jams.
Girlfriends don’t keep a calendar of who hosted the other last.
Girlfriends will give a party for your son or daughter when they get married or have a baby-in whichever order that comes.
And girlfriends are there for you, in an instant and truly, when the hard times come.
Girlfriends listen when you lose a job or a husband.Girlfriends listen when your children break your heart.
Girlfriends listen when your parent’s minds and bodies fail.
Girlfriends bless my life.Once when we were young, with no idea of the incredible joys or the incredible sorrows that law ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.I want to tell young women to take my sister-in-law’s advice.
Get yourself some girlfriends. You are going to need them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The Rowleys came to the Grand County area in 1919. Fred and Martha and three children homesteaded 160 acres which are now part of the YMCA property
Fred Rowley picked his location well. On most winter days the sun would be shining down on the entrance to his house and barn. Fred did not have water rights but his neighbors the Just's were good to share their Pole Creek rights with him.

Logging Cabin

Like most homesteaders, Fred Rowley could not make a living on his homestead so he worked part time at the railroad round house in Tabernash and also did some timbering.

Martha returned to the Denver area and would not stay at the homestead but after the first year Fred lived there year round. The children would spend summers there with him.

Corn Shucking Machine

Old Printing Press

Collection of Branding Irons

Fred had a team of horses, a few cows, some goats and chickens. Because all water had to be carried from Pole Creek it was impossible to keep a large number of livestock

Inside of Barn

Real Hay Stacker

Model of Hay Stacker for children to use

Cow barn-- had stalls for 5 cows and each cow knew it's place.

Entrance to Root Cellar

Smoke House


Butter Churn and Mold

Active Wasp Nest built between shutters and window.

Bedroom of Cabin

Kitchen of Cabin

I mentioned this to several history buffs in Grand Lake and none of them had heard about it. The YMCA doesn't publicize it but it is open to everyone.


The property that is the site of the YMCA of the Rockies was originally home to Carl and Della Just and their family for nearly 100 years. Carl and his father emigrated from Austria in 1885 and established their separate homesteads of 320 acres. The ranch expanded to include nearly 3,000 acres. Della was one of five children of the Grand County pioneer Lehman family. As a two year old they traveled to Middle Park over Rollins Pass in 1880. They settled on the South Fork of the Grand River (now the Colorado River) and operated one of the first guest ranches in the area. Della met Carl when he was breaking horses for her father and they married in 1898. They moved into their newly built ranch house in 1899 and expansions were added to the house as the children arrived. There were eight children, six boys and two girls, the last being born in 1918. Seven were born at home without a doctor in attendance. Carl died during the deadly flu epidemic in June 1918 and Della was left to raise and provide for eight children and manage the ranch on her own. After their father’s death, all the Just children had increased responsibilities for chores in order to keep the ranch in operation. There was a set work schedule each week from which there was little deviation:Monday – Wash day. Buckets of water were carried from the spring below the house to be heated on the stove. The washing was done by hand in the kitchen, using washboards and big washtubs. Clothes were then hung out on the clothesline to dry in winter and summer weather.Tuesday – Ironing Day. A hot wood fire was kept going in the stove so the flat irons could be heated. Ironing usually took 3-4 hours each week to complete.Wednesday – Churning Day. 50 pounds of butter was churned by hand in a wooden barrel, then molded, printed and individually wrapped in one pound bars for sale in town.Thursday – Town Day. Della went to Tabernash to sell butter, cream, cottage cheese and eggs. This trip was made without fail, winter and summer. She would sell door-to-door from a buggy or sled and a team of horses. The railroad roundhouse was located in Tabernash at this time and it was a bustling town of about 600 people. Friday, Saturday and Sunday – Although there were no specifically designated activities for these days there was more than enough work to keep everyone busy: cleaning barns, mending fences, repairing equipment, feeding stock and milking cows. Other chores were carrying water from spring for drinking, cooking and bathing, chopping and bringing in firewood as well as cooking, baking and cleaning. The Just Ranch had approximately 250 acres in hay which produced about 200 tons per season. Haying began in mid-August and there were no days off. Until 1939 they used teams of horses to pull the hay rakes and mowers. In the winter the hay would be hauled on long sleds out to the horses and cattle. In the spring the new calves and lambs would take many hours. The Justs kept an average of 80 head of Herford cattle and about 20 horses. The Just brand was Y/V. In the fall the cattle were brought in from the summer range. Generally it took 2-3 weeks to find all the cattle and move them into nearer pastures. After the roundup, part of the heard was driven into Fraser to be shipped by train and sold at the Denver stockyards. Money earned from the sale of stock each fall was used to buy necessities and if feasible, to acquire more land. The Just children were educated at the Skunk Creek School between the ranch and Tabernash. The school which housed first through eighth grades was in session from April to November. Students didn’t attend school during the winter months because the snow was too deep. The teachers were single women who boarded with families. The highest attendance in a year during this time was 12 students. Many years the Just siblings made up the entire student body. Few days were missed because Mrs. Just thought it very important that her children get an education. Every summer a big garden was planted that provide fresh produce and was then stored in a large root cellar. All of their meat came from their own ranch. There was a large smokehouse for preserving the meat. In 1966 Della Just sold the ranch to YMCA of the Rockies with the provision she could live on the ranch until her death. She died in 1969 at the age of 90. She had lived on the Pole Creek homestead for 70 years.
She never remarried after Carl’s death.

(Information from granddaughter Cherie Lowenberg in 1993)

JUST HOME Entrance

Overlooking Valley

Bunk House

Huge Barn with sections for Cows, Pigs, and Sheep

Inside of Barn

Bull Barn
I find it amazing that YMCA is doing nothing to preserve this historic site.


A partnership between the town of Fraser and art/historian Jim Hoy who donated his labor. It began in 1989 and hopefully will include 20 sculptures when finished. The first 10 sculptures were hand carved by Hoy from Engleman Spruce, but deterioration has occurred due to outdoor elements. These are being converted to bronze.

The first 10 include sculptures of Bill Cozens, the sheriff of Central City and later Fraser. His family owned a homestead that doubled as a stage stop and post office. The story goes that when the railroad planned to lay tracks through his meadow, Cozens sat on his front porch and shot out the surveyor’s stakes. Sure enough, the tracks were moved west, giving the ranch a wide berth on their way to Salt Lake City.

Another sculpture is of Dr. Susan Anderson, better known as Doc Susie. This tiny gutsy woman was one of the country’s earliest female physicians. She cared for the sick and injured of the Colorado mountain town in the early 1900’s. She often traveled by snowshoe through blinding snowstorms to treat lumberjacks, railroad men and women who needed emergency medical care. Her home still stands in Fraser.

A surprise sculpture was of Jeremiah Johnson. He was called “Liver Eater” by his peers. He waged a one man vendetta against the Crow for killing his wife and unborn child. His exploits are legendary. And here I thought he was just a figment of Robert Redford’s imagination. There are several other figures –all worth stopping and reading about.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Happy Birthday to the best Dad in the whole world--in my opinion.

It's weeks like this that I really wish you were still here.

I need a good sit-down and talking to.
Fortunately I knew you and loved you long enough to know what you would say.

1. It's not worth causing feelings over.

2. It's people that matter, not things.
3. You had it for 35 years and maybe it's time to share.

4. Maybe they had a good reason.

5. Look on the bright side.

On the other hand I know what you went through to hang onto the 6th generation family farm for your children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
So maybe you would understand what we're going through ...

you would be right about one more thing-

It's not as bad as the "Summer of the Skunk".

But truly you are a good, good person because you would not have posted

more photo's of the hole in the ground next door.

Excuse us--would you like us to move our cabin so your circular driveway won't come
quite so close to that tree.

You may have a good contractor and you may own your own business and be really
smart but even I know that if you sink a basement lower than the lake 20 feet away
that you may have a small water problem. Duh. The soil is already seeping. Good luck.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The good friend that started me blogging gave me some advice. “Don’t put anything in your blog that you wouldn’t say from the pulpit”. Well if anyone had invited me to speak in church this morning …….
We have our home on a small quiet lake-nice neighbors and only one McMansion in the bunch. Very small to medium older homes. The property next to ours sold 2 years ago for a bundle of money but it has two lots and an older but nice duplex that straddles the property line of the two lots. First owners in 1968 were very generous in giving neighbors on both sides plenty of room.
This brings us to our “New Neighbors”. For 2 years the contractor and his girlfriend have been telling us what nice people our new neighbors are. We’ve talked to the new owners and indeed they did seem to be nice people. SO can you tell me why 3 people need a 10,000 foot home with a full basement but most importantly why it needs to sit 10 feet (the legal limit) and 2 inches from our property line on the south side and leave 100 feet on the north side of the property? Also why couldn’t they put their house even with our house to the north instead of 40 feet forward of the old house (which by the way they are tearing down). That way at least it wouldn’t sit right in our face the entire time we are out on our deck or in the dining room, or for that matter in the bathroom or hiding behind the refrigerator. Did I mention that these “really nice people” have a ranch and beautiful cabin just 3 hours from here and probably won’t be using this house but a couple of times a year?
Did I mention that they brought in the heavy equipment yesterday and started digging and I had to leave and spend the day in town – in tears? Did I mention that today is Sunday and we looked forward to a quiet day to get our emotions together and they started digging at 8:00 A.M. and it’s 4:30 and their still going strong?
And yes, I know that someone is going to mention that I should stop complaining because not everyone can be fortunate enough to live in the Colorado Mountains. And yes, I know that I should just “put on my big girl panties and deal with it”. YES, I know all that. I just want to know why I can’t stop crying.

100 feet of forest to the north of the construction site.

They could have had a view comparable to this.

Instead, this is the view they will have. The only other “McMansion” on the lake. Maybe the two owners can have “peeing” contests off their balconys.
Oh, Lordy-- the words "peeing" and "panties" is really going to
bring in the idiots. Sorry to disappoint you guys.