Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ah, It's Wintertime in the Mountains

     It's snowing here and the temperature is 3 degrees. I'm inside and the temperature is trying to stay at 66 degrees. Luc is snuggling close by my side in the chair to keep warm. He wears his red plaid fleece coat, runs outside, does his stuff and hobbles back sometime when he stays to long and his paws hurt.  "Gives Luc a concerned look"

     What? I'm still talking about loving winter? Yep! Don't know why? It is so beautiful. Sort of like coming out of a sauna and hitting a cold shower. Invigorating as long as you don't have to stay outside in it too long.

     Since I haven't traveled anywhere since my "sister trip" several years ago, I'm feeling old and comfortable. I'd love to visit Alice in San Diego, my son in  Corona and Disneyland again, my sis in Martinez with Peitr, another look at Lake Superior in Little Girl's Point and Bayfield, a trip to my Dad's gravesite in Roberts, Il with my cousins there, make a long trip through the South, spend time in New England, especially Maine... 
     Ah, dreams. Most of all, I'll love to spend months in Northern Italy and Southern France. 
     Maybe I'll just think of all my old memories in places I have visited and people I love, then dream what it might be like for places that I haven't. 
     So for this Holiday Season, I'll enjoy my decorating my home, my daughter and her family, my friends and relatives everywhere and most of all Luc, my long haired Chihuahua.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

With a Boo and a Hiss!

Only one more weekend of villains and heroes and laughter! Since 1981, the Mill Creek Valley Players have raised money to restore historic buildings, one boo, hiss and cheer at a time. If you’re looking for an evening of absolute entertainment, read on.

You might be surprised how many good actors, writers, and musicians live and work in Clear Creek County and you’ll find them in unusual places. Bert Weaver has volunteered his time for thirteen melodramas. You’ll find him at work as the Clear Creek County Planner. Ed Rapp, former Clear Creek County Commissioner, has been in five plays. Bruce Bell created the Java Mountain Roasters in Idaho Springs and taught in the Rock House School. Carolyn Gingrich is a substitute postmaster.
So many more:  a counselor from Denver, a cook for the Sheriff’s Office, a truck driver, a llama breeder, a junior high student, a recent graduate, all volunteers.

There is more history lurking in the audience. Joanne Sorenson, another former County Commissioner, sits with her husband Tom. Brenda Gorman, an honored guest, glances at a photo of her late husband Skipper that sits on top of the piano nearby. Larrice Sell, president of the MCVHS, introduces her to the audience and dedicates that night’s performance to Skipper for his long time support of their efforts.

Another couple sitting in the front row, is Buff Rutherford, a third generation Georgetown resident with his wife Mary Lou who came out as a teenager with her family from Chicago and met her cowboy. Her family stayed at the local boarding house at that time, the Hamill House, now a well-restored museum.

Royalty sits among the audience. Les and Arlie Clark are the crowned King and Queen of Clear Creek County’s 150 Year of Mining History.  Les Clark, “It’s only spelled with one ‘s’,” he jokes, was born and raised in Idaho Springs. Les met his wife in Northern California when he was in the Forest Service. His wife, Arlie, (she did spell it for me) was born in Las Vegas. “I think I was the 59th baby born in the new city,” she proudly boosts. They returned a few years ago to Idaho Springs. Sitting next to them is their son, Dean Clark, who moved to Lakewood to be near his folks.

Larrice M. Sell wrote this year’s melodrama, “White Gold or We’re Going Down Hill Fast.” Before it starts, Linda Goymerac, hits the ivories on the upright piano and the sing-a-long begins getting everyone into a joyful mood. The light’s go down and the music from the Sound of Music, sets the scene. Throughout the melodrama patter, a couple of jibs at the nearby towns bring even more laughter. Lines forgotten only bring out the wild side of the actors who joke with the audience. The Inspector Dufus, master of disguise, was simply amazing as he held a sheet high and turned to the wall. The back of the sheet blended perfectly into the same patterned wallpaper and he did disappear.
The efforts of the dedicated people, who make up the Mill Creek Valley Historical Society, are not disappearing. They have restored the 100-year-old One Room School House in Dumont where they hold their annual melodramas.
In the late 1980s, they moved the Colburn Cabin onto the property as an additional piece of history. This cabin was Clear Creek County Commissioner, Joan Drury’s, great, great grandmother’s house in Lawson. The log cabin was built for Margaret Colburn between the houses of her two daughters. Colburn was somewhat of a folk doctor using herbs to help people get well. After I-70 came through, the log cabin was moved to Georgetown and now it’s back to take a place of honor next to the schoolhouse.

Next on their agenda is the restoration of Sarah Greene’s family roadhouse at the east entrance to Dumont. Just this April it was listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Originally, there were two log cabins joined together. These roadhouses in the 1800s were always located out of town and by a well-traveled road. Sometime they were a full service stage-stop, offering food, rooms and drinks. Others were only bars with food, and maybe a pool table.

Ed Rapp wrapped up his feelings, “In broader terms, I’m involved in the Historical Society not because I’m a preservationist, but because I’m always a conservationist.” He explains, “I look back 7 generations and forward 7 generations and think about decisions and values so my future grandchildren will have resources to live a decent life.”

Think about helping these restoration efforts for your future grandchildren. Go and enjoy this next weekend’s performance. It’s more than a play; it’s a part of your community. Take a bow Mill Creek Valley Players. We're proud of you. Call for reservations: 303-567-4026. Tickets are also available at the door.

There are other roadhouses in Clear Creek County. Grumpy’s Roadhouse in Silver Plume was originally a garage. Inside there was a tall rectangle tabletop, over a car lift. When it began as a roadhouse, it was not only a bar, but also a meeting place to musicians of all types. Sometimes a local resident would bring a crock-pot of food to share with all who walked in the door that night. Now it is closed, and another part of history has past on. Kermit’s Roadhouse is open, operating a bar, foodservice and pool table. It still fits the definition of a roadhouse, right off I-70 and certainly not near any town.

Monday, November 9, 2009

New Foodie Hangout

Ed’s 1859 Cafe 
       Ed's 1859 Café opened a few weeks ago in Georgetown and the question on everyone's tongue is, "Who is Ed?" The owners are Jeff McGlothin, (not Ed) and Kerry Ann McHugh. Who is the mysterious “Ed?” A decade ago, Ed Tharp was the mayor of Georgetown, and it’s not him. Ed was a talking horse in the 60s TV show, Mister Ed. That’s not it either. Georgetown has had its share of celebrities that have lived here, some for only a short time while filming. John Denver, Peter O’Toole, Ben Affleck, no Ed’s there.
     Early in Georgetown history, a cantankerous man got into a fight and shot his opponent over a game of cards with a can of oysters at stake. Locals tired of this troublemaker, promptly took him out to a tall tree and hung him for murder, although the man he shot later recovered. He was Ed Bainbridge. Every now and then someone claims to see his ghost around town, but it definitely is not him.
     Maybe it's named for Edward Scissorhands? Stop laughing. Okay, as long as you're laughing, here's the last one, Ed the Hyena in “The Lion King.” Now that's a stretch, but it's close if you consider the hyena has the appearance of a far away relative of the canids family. The hyena is not a canid; they are from the mammalian family and more closely related to the family of mongooses and meerkats.
      Let’s talk about the canine or dog. There have been so many good books written about a favorite dog and how much they mean to us. Movies, TV shows have featured dogs. Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Benji, and more recently Marley and Me are just a few. Dogs appear in articles on every possible aspect of dogs and our love for them. We’ll get back to the dogs later.
        Jeff McGlothin was 16 when he started working at the Disneyworld kitchens and at 17, he became the youngest manager in the park. He worked at Chile's, Columbia Harbor House, and various Italian restaurants including honing his skills at the prestigious Strollos. 
      As the years went by McGlothin met Kerry Ann McHugh and they decided it was time to get out of Central Florida. The two hit the road in a used RV traveling the country from the east coast, through the mid-west and on to Colorado.
      After eight months of travel, they started to have trouble with their RV’s brakes and money was running out. With only $7 in their pocket and seven hot dogs in their refrigerator, they put a finger on the map and ended up in Black Hawk. This was June 1992; the town was just a mess of dusty construction, not where they wanted to live. They migrated further on, landing in Idaho Springs.
      A few years later, they found the perfect lot on the creek in Georgetown, built a big purple house and moved in with their Lab/German Shepherd mix, Edwina, that they adopted from the Denver Dumb Friends League. She was there to greet the two children when they were born, Dylan in 1997 and Sam Ann in 1999.
     McGlothin worked construction jobs in Denver and eventually ran his own Clear Creek Construction company. Meanwhile, Kerry Ann McHugh was hired by the Georgetown Loop/Royal Gorge Railroads as Director of Passenger Services. When the Royal Gorge Railroad in Cañon City needed a temporary chef for their dinner train, McHugh suggested Jeff and he was hired on the spot. Not only was the chef back doing what he loved but the Railroad owners loved him too. They offered him a permanent job as Executive Chef and the two-year run, in an almost impossible job - cooking on a moving train, began. During this time, Chef McGlothin was written up in magazines, newspapers and featured on TV for his elegant eight-course dinner train menu and received accolades from their many diners.
       It was the call of the high mountains and a job offer for McHugh with Clear Creek Power that led McGlothin and his family back in August 2007. Back to their purple house in Georgetown and to his new job as Executive Chef at Copper Mountain ski area’s, JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern.
       Another two years commuting with a nagging thought that wouldn't go away. McGlothin kept saying, "Georgetown needs a café with a quick, good and well-priced menu." When McHugh was laid off, the timing was perfect to start their café. With the gift  of a commercial grill stove out of the historic Old Georgetown Station, their café became a reality. The menu came easily. Good reasonably priced hamburgers, skinny fries, the perfect seasoned fajitas, a jalapeno seasoned meatloaf, absolutly delicious soups and all types of organic free-trade tea, coffee and espresso. Bring your computer for they have free Wi-Fi. Plenty of seating inside during the colder months and enjoy the sunshine on their patio this summer.
        But, what to call this new café? That elusive name just wasn’t materializing. Remember their dog, Edwina? She was called Ed, and would sneak out at night to make friends with the cook at the Silver Queen and sometimes wander downstairs to the bar, where everyone knew her name. She lapped up affection and gave it out double. 
         Every night at home, up the stairs she’d run to kiss each child good night. Every morning she’d be right there licking their face to wake them up and hustle them downstairs for breakfast. Patiently she’d wait by the front door until the family was home again.
       Last year at age 16, Ed died peacefully in her sleep. “Let’s name the café after Ed.” It was a family decision even though their daughter, thinking about how much she missed her furry best friend, said, “It’ll be too sad.” And so it was named, a truly glowing tribute to their old friend.
        How many people can say they named a café after their beloved dog? Now you know, the McHugh-McGlothin family did and Ed’s 1859 Café is simply Dog Gone Good Food

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Spice Trader

Take a trip around the world. Just close your eyes and take a bite from one of the twelve Spice Trader's Artisan Chocolate Collection. Your trip begins!

Scott Goeringer, second generation candy maker and award winning chef from Georgetown, Colorado, has an ethereal affair with chocolate. Inspired by his time abroad, a deep love of history and a touch of the artist, Goeringer has perfected and is still creating masterpieces combining spices and chocolate.

Take a bite of the Aztec Tiles and picture yourself sitting with Montezuma in Mexico sipping the first known xocolatl drink as a tribute to the goddess of fertility, Xochiquetzal. It is a slightly bitter, spiritual drink, whipped to froth with just a hit of hot chili.

Another wonderful bit of romance happens as you savor the Chocolate de Provence. Imagine the salty Mediterranean Sea and thoughts of a young Italian, Giacomo Casanova, the world’s greatest lover comes to mind. Rosemary and lavender reminiscent of intricate lace and smooth velvet. Sea salt and  slight mustard tang add a sprit of adventure.

Wander the world. Visit China with Beijing Bites and a lingering flavor of five spice; Dip next door into India, and  taste the cardamom and ginger of New Delhi Melts. Chase that with the melt in your mouth Chai Chocolate Chews as a cup of tea fills your mind. Let your thoughts soar to the heights of Mt. Everest as the Sherpa’s Secret is revealed through Goji Berry and Shichimi Togoarashi.
Down to sea level again, imagine the exotic dances of Thailand, as you taste the curry, cashew and coconut of the Siam Bar. Then onto the ancient exotic beauty and culture of the Persian Rose, a white vanilla chocolate, fennel, hibiscus salt, orange peel and tiny rose petals. Truly an exquisite mix of taste, beauty and romance.

Heat up your life as you garner the Marrakech Marvels, with their Moroccan spice blend. Sail across the Straights of Gibraltar to Spain and make your way through the saffron and anise vanilla Valencian fudge.

Come on home with the early explorers. Spice up your palette with pink peppercorn and citrus in Sir Lancaster’s Lovelies. He was reputed to the first to sail around Africa and established the lucrative East India Trading Company. Now it’s time to return home with Captain Cook’s Compulsion, settle back in your easy chair; explore your own craving for chocolate with aromatic spices, citrus and chili.

Did you have a great trip? You can savor a repeat trip whenever you want. The Georgetown Valley Candy Company is as near as your computer or a short scenic drive up in the mountains on I-70W to exit #228. http://www.shopgvcc.com or 303 569-2778.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bugs are Crawling in Georgetown

Bugs in Georgetown? Don't get excited. This is not an infestation. Those bugs are concentrated in the Music Room at the Georgetown Charter School. The Bug Mobile has arrived and here's the assignment. What are the differences between an insect and a spider? A friend of mine told me, "Very simple. The spider is terrifying; the insect is not." 
All day long, classroom after classroom hike down three flights of stairs to the Music Room for their hour with Fiona Garvin, of the Colorado University Science Discovery Program. 

It was Mrs. Timberlake's First Grade and Mrs. LaGiglia's Kindergarten class that interested me most. Down the stairs, in a line, came the classes to sit down on the floor in orderly three semicircles. At that age, I expected animated ekes and yucks. I was wrong. They sat in rapt attention as Fiona Garvin started talking. After telling them about five groups of arthropods, every time she asked,  "How many?" they all knew and returned a chorus of, “five!”
Garvin began by going up and down each row, showing each child a plastic case with a Tiger Centipede (many feet) wreathing within. She tells them, "This bug only sees light and shadow." She warns the group that they are poisonous, “Not that they would kill you, more like a bee sting.” One child pipes up, “I’ve been stung by a bee.” Now all are interested.

Next comes a millipede that she takes out of its cage and it crawls out on her finger looking like a worm with feet. "This bug is a non-poisonous vegetarian," Garvin tells them. When asked what they eat, many volunteers from the audience raise their hands and answer, "plants, grass" - all correct. There were a few wrinkled noses as Garvin continues to tell about the millipedes emitting a stinky gas when threatened by birds. You can almost see them imagining the awful smell. A few perked up when Garvin tells them that these millipedes were around during the Jurassic Park era of dinosaurs and at that time these little bugs were three or four feet long. When asked how big that was, the resulting demonstrations remind me of fish stories from the fishermen in my family.
After reaching in another cage and getting a huge Hermit crab, we are on to crustaceans. I’m not sure that the children really understood that the crab's hard shell was an exoskeleton, a skeleton that is on the outside of the body compared to our skeleton that is on the inside, but maybe. I did like the reference to a suit of armor the crustaceans took off as they got bigger, or molted, and then grew another one. Rounding out the story of the crab and other crustaceans (the lobster, shrimp, crawfish) as the clean-up crew or the garbage men of the sea eating dead plants and fish in the ocean made me smile.

Again Garvin says, “How many arthropods are there?” Boys and girls together respond with a loud clamor, “Five!” “How many have we seen?” she replies. They know, and answer in unison, “Three!”

The insects were next, the largest group. She pulls out a large branch with a huge leaf eater, looking very much like the stick it is sitting on. Pointing to a child with camouflaged pants, she explains that these insects were masters of changing colors to blend in to their surroundings. After looking carefully at his pants, the boy again looks up in amazing attention as Garvin continues to tell them about an insect's three body segments and antennas. 

Then out comes a huge Madagascar beetle, making a hissing sound. “These cockroaches are a favorite monkey food on Madagascar Island.” Garvin explains further, “This hissing sound will startle the monkeys into dropping them and they can escape.” My eyes widen when she tells them the sound comes through air holes in their bodies. "That’s how they breathe," she concludes. 
Last were the spiders that have a body with two segments, eight legs and no antennas. Garvin starts out by telling about the scorpions with their long poisonous stinger in their tails. Not to kill, but to paralyze its prey.

The grand finale, you guessed it, the Rose Tarantula. It’s huge. She reaches in and it climbs on her hand. Garvin in a hushed voice, kids leaning in to listen, creates sympathy for Rose. “You don’t want the tarantula to get excited and perhaps fall off and get hurt.” Especially when she says, “They could even die from a fall.” With a closing statement about the tarantula’s defense or when it gets angry, how they rise up on their hind legs and show their fangs, Garvin  then sits in a tiny chair and asks each child to sit in the chair opposite her. With her larger hand and the smaller one, the tarantula moves quietly around, sometimes touching the small hand resulting in a tiny smile. An unusual connection.  

At the end of the hour, the thoughtful children line up at the bottom of the stairs as another group comes in to repeat the magic of the “Bug Mobile.”

Thanks to John Ewers at the library for arranging this wonderful experience on behalf of the Georgetown Library Association; the Butterfly Pavilion for providing the bugs; and especially to Fiona Garvin, CU Science Discovery Program, for touching so many young lives with a hands-on science adventure.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When Life Was Simple

Ah, the “Good Ol’ Days!”

Astonishing, some people remember those days happening during the Great Depression. A life before TV, cell phones, IPods, computers, movies… what was it like for kids back then? What was it like growing up in Georgetown, a small mining town in the 1930s, imagining adventures, playing outside on old mine dumps, walking over a tall railroad trestle, running up and down dirt streets and in grassy yards? It was a day filled with family, friends, relatives, and neighbors. In those days, it did take a village to raise a child.
To a standing room only crowd in the Georgetown Community Center, Jean Rutherford Duaine reads aloud from her newly released book, “The Colorado Whoopenhollars.” Duaine recalls how Georgetown kids never felt the struggle of their parents during the Great Depression. Her mother, Ethel Ecklund Rutherford, always made sure that Jean and her four brothers had three nutritional meals a day. Although, Duaine remembers, “we were never full but we were never hungry either.”  She continues, “We didn’t know that we were poor, and we certainly weren’t depressed.”

Their dad, William I. Rutherford, was lucky to get a job with the Civilian Conservation Corp during that time, but that meant he was away from home a lot. Missing his children, he started writing stories for his five children back home, the adventures of the Whoopenhollars kids.

From these handwritten stories and letters that have been carefully kept by the family for over 75 years, the inspiration to publish the book began. Instead of answering questions from the crowd, with a smile and a twinkle in her eye, Duaine simply said, "it's in the book."

People lined up across one whole side of the Community Center to buy the book and have it autographed by Jean and her three remaining brothers, Bill, Buff and Glen.  Her twin brother John died 10 years ago. There were many old timers in the crowd who also remembered Georgetown "when" and many others who really wanted to know more about Georgetown's history.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cook-off Delicious!

Bob Gibbs, on behalf of Historic Georgetown, Inc. (HGI) awarded Georgetown's first Dutch Oven, One-pot Cook-off $300 Grand Prize to Team Hungry Mommas, Sharon Rossino and Tristen Greenleaf  of Georgetown.

The $50 first place category winners were: Team South Enders with a delicious pork and sauerkraut Miner's Stew; Team Ole and Lena's Grub won the Bread choice with a molasses Swedish Rye Bread; and the Cobbler award went to team Hungry Mommas, a sweet sumptuous peach/blueberry cobbler.

With an overwhelming vote, The People Choice award went to the Chuck Wagon team, We'll Shine Again, for their elk stew cooked over  hot coals.  One team member is a banker, the other is a horseshoer. 

Georgetown closed the downtown street to traffic at 7 A.M. Contestants lined the street, popping up shade tents and tables, pulling out iron pots of all kinds, firing up the coals and propane stoves and the cooking began.

Music and live entertainment played throughout the day. The crowd joined in the festivities learning to square dance. More jumped in to dance the twisting and turning Macarena. The Tommyknocker's Beer Garden was open for business on the Hamill House lawn with a "beer bus" shuttling people back and forth.

People were milling through town all day long to tantalizing aromas, waiting for the judging to begin. The crowds became heavy as it became closer to the time for the judges to taste the stews, breads and cobblers. The judges were Scott Goeringer, from the Georgetown Valley Candy Company and an award winning chef; Ken Nelson, Goldsmith and gourmet cook; Joyce Jamele, Silver Queen B and B; and Dawn Janov, author and former food columnist.

That's when the spoons and forks came out and the crowds gathered around the booths making their way up and down the street tasting all the entries and voting for their People's Choice favorite.

This very successful fundraiser for HGI ended with the crowd crowing cries of "next year."

Thanks to the sponsors of this event, Lodge Cast Iron Products, Clear Creek Economic Development Corp, Henderson Mine/Climax Corp, Krystal 93 FM Summit County, Tommyknocker Brewery, Georgetown Parks and Recreation, Green Waste and Recycling, Mile High Rafting, Rocky Mountain Cabana, the Laurita family, the Reynolds family and Empire Sports.

Tom Elliot and Marvin Geisness    Miner's Stew first place winners.

Lois Kruger winning first in the bread category for her molasses Swedish Rye Bread. 

Loveland Ski Area Chef, Eric Mohn and Stephanie Behring made a wonderful lamb stew. 
Dan Wilson, from the Longs Peak Chapter of the International Dutch Oven Society, smiling about the awards he's taking back home.