Monday, December 31, 2012

Secretariat's Author, Kate Tweedy

Photo courtesy: Jean Jacobsen - President, Castle Rock Writers.
Left to right: Elizabeth Wallace and Kate Tweedy.

At the 2012 Castle Rock Writers' Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting the distinguished co author of the fabulous book, Secretariat's Meadow - The Land, The Family, The Legend.
During Kate's presentation (to a packed house I might add,) she had the audience laughing one minute, and clapping and cheering the next, as we watched actual footage of Secretariat's wins on the racecourse. It was a truly uplifting and wonderful story of family life, their dreams, and accomplishments.

Following is a brief description of her book taken from her site.

  This new vibrant coffee-table book illustrates how the great champion Secretariat represented the culmination of two centuries of history, a direct legacy of both the land on which he was born and of the people who bred and raised him.

“Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend" by authors Kate Tweedy and Leeanne Ladin traces the rags to riches to racing saga of Christopher Chenery, who defied the skeptics and transformed the dilapidated farm into a showplace of Thoroughbred champions. It shows how his dutiful daughter, Penny, took over the stable and claimed racing’s most coveted prize. It tells the untold stories of the champion racehorses, such as Hill Prince, Cicada and Riva Ridge, who preceded Secretariat in the limelight. Moreover, the book reveals the inextinguishable spirit of a piece of land, dating back to 1805, that has been and continues to be a wellspring of dreams.

Adding to the richness of the story are the vivid memories of family historian, Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery and granddaughter of Chris Chenery. Kate spent many childhood summers at The Meadow learning to ride and ultimately witnessed her mother’s horse capture the Triple Crown and the nation’s heart. Kate’s personal recollections, along with access to the extensive records of Meadow Stable and the Chenery family private collection of photographs and papers, give this literary accounting unmatched authenticity.

Horse lovers as well as history buffs will appreciate the never-before published photographs in this unique pictorial history. The exclusive interviews with family members and former Meadow grooms who tended to the stable’s champions provide an intimate behind the scenes glimpse of the famous farm not found in print or film.

“Secretariat’s Meadow – The Land, The Family, The Legend” is a story of family allegiance and equine lineage, of overcoming long odds and going the distance. It’s about dreams thwarted and dreams surpassed. But most of all, it’s how this piece of land in Virginia gave rise to an American racing legend.

A Word from the President

Castle Rock Writers, Inc... From the president’s desk
Looking back on 2012, Castle Rock Writers group has undergone some amazing changes. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, CRW has been reborn. We are now incorporated in the State of Colorado as a non-profit organization. Our Federal 501 (c) 3 application is in process which means we will soon be able to apply for grants, accept large corporate donations and receive discounts on future conference sites.
We have a writer’s critique group which monthly, our yearly one day conference with workshops and agent pitch sessions and we’re looking to add other activities in the coming years. Check out our website on Facebook at Castle Rock Writers.
Warm wishes for this holiday season,
Jean Jacobsen, president

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rare Photo of the North Side Gang Leader and Hit Man

Front row, third left: Dean O'Banion - Leader North Side Gang
Front row, sixth left: Leland Varain (AKA Diamond Jack, Two Gun Louis)
Following is an extract from Hidden History of Denver
For many years, Leland Varain had been a hit man for the North Side Gang in Chicago. When the leader of the gang, Dean O’Banion, was shot to death by rival gang members in his florist shop on November 24, 1924, Varain wanted immediate payback. He was incensed and demanded retribution. The new boss of the North Street Gang, Hymie Weiss, took control of the situation and told Varain to leave town for a while. The next time we hear of Varain, he is living at his ranch at Jarre Canyon, close to Sedalia, just south of Denver.

When Varain fled Illinois, he was wanted in connection with the theft of $50,000 worth of diamonds. When word spread that he was living at his ranch in Sedalia, and was in Castle Rock on business, Sheriff McKissack of Castle Rock went to investigate. The sheriff approached Varain, who brazenly denied being the gang member. McKissack appeared to be satisfied with the answer and went on his way. The following week, when the charges in Chicago were dropped, Varain gave an interview to the Denver Post, and a photograph was taken. When the sheriff saw the newspaper article and photograph, he knew that he had been duped. The Post reported the following:
Alterie, a hijacker, union strong-arm, and killer, was well known in Denver. He owned a ranch in Jarre Canyon near Sedalia, and was often seen strutting around the city when he was in Colorado. He posed a striking figure in his huge white Stetson, diamond-littered cufflinks and belt buckle, and expensive, custom made cowboy boots. His cream colored automobile had a gigantic set of bullhorns attached to the hood. He was fond of saying that although his livelihood was in Chicago, his heart belonged to the West; he was more at home on a bucking bronco than in a touring car, and preferred wrestling unruly steers to fellow gangster.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Colorado's Cannibal

When writing Hidden History of Denver, I simply had to include Alfred Packer, the notorious cannibal. As I researched the man, and read his account (written in his own hand) of that fateful trip, one thing stood out -- his voice! It would be his downfall, lead to his capture, and eventual trial. Following is a short extract from my book.

   On March 11, 1883, by sheer luck, Jean “Frenchy” Cabazon, a peddler by trade, and one of the original twenty-one man group that left Utah eight year earlier, walked into a roadhouse in Wyoming to sell his wares. Despite the noise, his ears pricked up with interest when he heard a familiar voice, and recognized it as belonging to Alfred Packer, the notorious cannibal. The local sheriff was called, and he approached the man they all knew as John Swartze. Packer admitted his real identity, and was arrested without incident. Sheriff Clair Smith of Hinsdale Country, Colorado escorted Packer to Denver, arriving on March 16th.
   The newspapers ran the story calling Packer “the ghoul of the San Juan’s.” That night, in the presence of Sheriffs Campbell and Smith, U.S. Marshall Simon W. Cantril and General Adams, Packer penned what became known as his “second confession.”

 “I Alfred Packer, desire to make a true and voluntary statement in regard to the occurrences in the winter of 1873-1874. I wish to make it to General Adams because I have made one once before about the same matter.”
   In his confession, Packer describes clearly how he returned from the top of the mountain after scouting the area. On his return, he found that Wilson Bell had killed all three of his companions, and that he was in fact devouring a piece of meat he had cut from the leg of Frank Miller. A segment of Packer’s confession follows: 

“I came within a rod of the fire. When the man saw me, he got up with his hatchet towards me when I shot him sideways through the belly. He fell on his face, the hatchet fell forward. I grabbed it and hit him in the top of the head. I camped that night at the fire, sat up all night. The next morning I followed my tracks up the mountain but I could not make it, the snow was too deep and I came back…I tried to get away every day but could not so I lived off the flesh of these men, the bigger part of 60 days. At the last camp just before I reached the agency, I ate the last pieces of human meat. This meat I cooked at the camp before I started out and put it into a bag and carried the bag with me. I could not eat but a little at a time.”
 Other people note that Alfred Packer had a very distinctive voice.  One man said, "Packer's voice was unusual. It was high pitched, with a nasal whine that grated on your ears....."
Hidden History of Denver  -- published by The History Press. ISBN 978-1-60949-350-9.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Keeping Evil Spirits at Bay

Top photo: The sole of an adults shoe - possibly medieval
Lower photo: A child's shoe - beautifully crafted

One of my family members lives in a 400+ year old listed cottage in England. When repairs were made recently, various remnants of shoes were found around the chimneys, windows and doors. After doing some research, I discovered that centuries ago people believed that shoes (because they retained the shape, and therefore the individuals presence) helped ward off evil spirits. They were placed strategically for maximum effectiveness.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grease Monkey - Aurora

We've all heard that terrible "clunk" when we realize the battery is as dead as a doornail. But last week, after calling the Grease Monkey located at 22515 East Aurora Parkway, the manager, Mike Long, took care of the problem. He sent a man to the house to jump start the car, so I could drive it back to the store. Since we needed a large battery, and one they didn't have in the was brought from another location, and installed within the hour. After complimenting Mike, he said, "We try very hard to do all we can for our customers, and provide the best possible service...that way, we know you'll come back to us."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A New Savory Spice Shop

The first thing anyone would notice on entering the new spice shop at Southlands, Aurora, Colorado…is the aroma! Patrons are actually encouraged to take a sample off the shelf, shake a little on the back of their hand, and then brush it to the shop floor. This of course provides a wonderful, spicy fragrance to the shop, and therefore a completely different experience when buying spices. I was offered advice on how to use a particular spice, how much to use, and when to use it.  
Michael and Kaeli Sandhoff are owners of the Savory Spice Shop at Southlands. They commented recently…“We, as well as one of our fabulous employees, Sandy, have spent several weeks in September at the Savory Spice Shop Warehouse in Denver putting together our store inventory. We have jarred many, many spices and put together a lot of gift sets…we can’t wait to for you all to come and see it.”
Southlands Shopping Center
6295 S. Main Street
Ste. 105-B
Aurora, Colorado 80016

P: (303) 680-2117
F: (303) 680-2293

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Artist -- Robert L. Wogrin

I recently had the pleasure of taking a class by Robert L. Wogrin. What a delight! The man is truly inspirational. More than once during the session, he mentioned how “lucky” we artists are (I use the term loosely in respect to my work) to get up each morning and “create” something of beauty. He said that beauty is all around us if only we open our eyes. "Occasionally, while touring the Rockies, I will come across a landscape that I haven’t seen before…and I have to paint it.”

As a novice artist, I know I need to paint, and practice and practice…but one thing is for sure, Wogrin made me want to rush home, drag the paints out, and start painting immediately.
The photo and text were taken from Wogrin’s web site.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Robert L. Wogrin has lived in and near the Rocky Mountains his entire life. In his youth, Wogrin spent much time in his family's mountain cabin and began a lifelong love affair with the beauty and splendor of the Rockies. Wogrin in his studio near Conifer, Colorado Wogrin earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Denver in 1949 and worked initially as a commercial artist in advertising before devoting himself to architectural delineation for more than 25 years. Finally, in 1977 he turned his full attention and considerable energy to fine art. He maintains his studio in his home looking west and north to the Front Range. He first gained attention in 1980 when he began a series of paintings depicting all 54 of Colorado's famous 14,000-foot peaks. His current subject matter covers the full range of mountain scenery, even the desert canyons in the Southwest, while he remains a student of his art, ever searching for the better way to express his love of his subject. The Colorado artist has exhibited in juried art shows nationwide, including the American Artists Grand National Show and the Knickerbocker Artists Show, both in New York City; the Western Art Rendezvous Show; and the Tulsa International Mayfest. Collectors have responded to Wogrin's vision. His works are part of the Forbes Magazine Collection in New York City; the George Phippen Memorial Art Museum in Prescott, Arizona; and the Anschutz Collection in Denver.

For more information and to view Bo’s work, go to:  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Special Offer -- 20% OFF MARY KAY ORDER

Jennifer Stoneking is running a Mary Kay Special right now! Contact her at the address below to place your order by Sunday, October 21st and receive 20% OFF your entire order!!!

Jennifer will be appearing at the Heritage Eagle Bend craft sale located at 23155 East Heritage Parkway, Aurora, CO 80016, on Friday, November 2. During that appearance, Jenifer will suggest ideas for those hard-to-please family members or friends…and will also customize anything you want to purchase.  


Contact me to schedule your Mary Kay Party in the month of October and receive a half price item!! A party consists of you plus 3 guests. Also, your guests will each get $5 Mary Kay Cash to spend the day of your party as well!!!


FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE OF $40 OR MORE (after the discount is applied)

I also make Gift Baskets and Customized Gifts!!!


For more information contact:

Jennifer Stoneking

Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant 



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mel Booth's Amazing Things

On a recent trip to Derbyshire, England, I visited Chatsworth House. Unfortunately, the stately home once owned by Bess of Hardwick, said to be one of the richest women in England during the 16th century, was closed. I meandered around the beautiful gardens only to stumble across a small annex building. It looked as though it had once been the gatehouse to the majestic home. Anyhow, I peered inside, and was surprised to see a local artist, Mel Booth in the process of dismantling his wonderful exhibit. Although he was obviously very busy, Mel took the time to discuss his methods, and his approach to his work which is excellent, full of color, and very creative.
For more information or to see Mel's Amazing Things...go to:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crooked Spire

Following information from

The spire was added to the 14th century tower in about 1362.[3] It is both twisted and leaning, twisting 45 degrees and leaning 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m) from its true centre. The leaning characteristic was initially suspected to be the result of the absence of skilled craftsmen (the Black Death had been gone only twelve years prior to the spire's completion), insufficient cross-bracing, and the use of unseasoned timber.[citation needed]

However, it is now believed that the twisting of the spire was caused by the lead that covers the spire, which was added 300 years after it was built — before this it was covered with oak tiles.[citation needed] The lead causes this twisting phenomenon, because when the sun shines during the day the south side of the tower heats up, causing the lead there to expand at a greater rate than that of the north side of the tower, resulting in unequal expansion and contraction. This was compounded by the weight of the lead (approx. 33 tons) which the spire's bracing was not originally designed to bear. Also it was common practice to use unseasoned timber at the time the spire was built as when the wood was seasoned it was too hard to work with, so as unseasoned wood was used they would have made adjustments as it was seasoning in place. These theories can be rejected as there is evidence to suggest that the spire was straight for the first 300 years after it was built and as wood seasons within 50 years these theories now can hold no weight.[citation needed]

In common folklore, there are numerous explanations as to why the spire is twisted. One is that the spire was so shocked to learn of the marriage of a virgin in the church that it bent down to get a closer look. Should this happen again, it is said that the spire will straighten and return to its true position. Another is that a Bolsover blacksmith mis-shoed the Devil, who leaped over the spire in pain, knocking it out of shape. Many other such stories exist, these are two notable examples.[citation needed]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Watchman's House or Mary Brady's House

The ancient stone bridge in Baslow, Derbyshire, is the only bridge across the River Derwent that has never flooded over the centuries. Originally, a wooden bridge spanned the river, but in the early 1600s, it was replaced by the stone bridge we see today. This bridge is a testament to the workmanship of Derbyshire masons.
The little stone building located directly on the bridge was originally a Watchman’s Hut. It was used by villagers who guarded the bridge against merchants carrying too heavy a load. If caught, the merchants had to pay a fine of almost seven shillings. In later years, a homeless woman called Mary Brady took up residence. She spent many nights taking shelter in the tiny hut which bears her name.

Note: The height of the door may have been reduced by road repairs over the centuries.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Jew's House

It was formerly known as Aaron the Jew’s House, and is one of the earlier extant town houses in England.
Dating from the mid-twelfth century, the building originally consisted of a hall at first floor level, measuring approximately 12 by 6 metres, above service and storage spaces at ground level.
The house had traditionally been associated with the thriving Jewish community in Medieval Lincoln. In 1255, and again in 1290, however, anti-Semitic feelings rose to fever pitch, and the Jewish community was expelled from England; the Jew's House supposedly being seized from a Jewish owner.
The building has remained continuously occupied to the present day, and is currently in commercial use. It lies on a very steep hill (aptly named Steep Hill) in the heart of the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Saxon Coffin Lid

In the village of Baslow, in the Peak District of England, a coffin lid is displayed on the wall in the porch of the Parish Church. Judging by the stone, it's design and emblems, it's believed the artifact has Saxon roots.  About halfway down the coffin lid, on the right hand side, two keys have been chiseled. They indicate the dead man was of some importance, possibly a steward or estate manager for two villages.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Glass Totems/Sculptures

They can be seen in many gardens, patios and even as table decorations - they are glass totems. They can also be made in ceramics using various colors, shapes, and designs to make a decorative addition to any home/garden. The designs/colors are can use old glass light fixtures with filigree finish, vases, plates and little glass birds as toppers. In one garden, I saw a woman had taken a little fairy, and placed her inside a vase - now that's being creative! One caution, be sure to use Epoxy glue and mix it well according to directions. Why not make something good out of something old.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Easy Baked Chicken Salad

4 cups cubed cooked chicken
4 cups diced celery
1 cup chopped (blanched) toasted almonds
4 tablespoons grated onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons chopped pimento
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup undiluted cream of celery soup
Salt and pepper to taste
Topping - 1 cup shredded American cheese
                 2 cups crushed potato chips.

Combine all ingredients (except the cheese and chips.) Toss lightly, and spoon into a 9” x 13” pan. Spread cheese and potato chips on top, and bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mary Kay Products

It’s been many years since I’ve used Mary Kay products…and I must say I’m impressed with the new line of cosmetics. Recently, a beauty consultant approached me, and asked me lots of questions about my makeup, cleansing, etc. In turn, I asked her a lot of questions, and was so pleased with the answers that I promptly placed an order. The cosmetics are competitively priced, good value for money, but having a personal consultant who listens to my needs is invaluable. Jennifer Stoneking is just such a person. She takes pride in the "personal touch," and loves to work with her clients. As an added incentive, she ships her orders free of charge.  

When asked what she likes best about her job, Jennifer said, “I love doing make-overs, Cleansing Classes on how to treat your skin, and I love helping to put gifts together! Some of my favorite products are:

TimeWise Miracle Set and TimeWise Ultimate Miracle Set

Microdermabrasion Set
  • Oil Free Eye Make-up Remover
  • Eye Primer, Lip Primer, and Foundation Primer
  • Lash and Brow Building Serum (NEW!)
  • All Make-Up Products
**Mary Kay has 100% Customer Guarantee Satisfaction 

For more information contact:
Jennifer Stoneking
Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Extraordinary Places...Close to London

A Review by Patricia Pound on Extraordinary Places…Close to London
ISBN 0-8038-2031-3

Elizabeth Wallace has produced a very informative, valuable and comprehensive book, a guide to some interest and historical places to visit all within easy distance from London. The book covers the Southeast of England and includes travels to the Counties of Essex, Kent and East Sussex all steeped in history with many a tale to tell. Elizabeth has relayed much information of the places not to be missed, their fascinating, historical past and the transport systems available to reach these destinations. Included are tips and information on where to eat and where to stay and what to see and look out for as you discover all that this region has to offer. 

The author in this case has a particular qualification, enabling her to share her knowledge with the first time visitor to this area of England, for the information she offers is well known to her, as she was born and lived here before making her home in America. Taking with her a love of the history and the familiar countryside and expressing that love in sharing her knowledge with others that they too might enjoy to the full all that these places offer. A tourist with limited time to investigate the possibilities will come prepared having read this guide which will be a useful and valuable companion throughout your planned journeys. The book will make the difference from negotiating a complicated maze into a gentle and confident stroll around already familiar places. The book is a handy size to maintain a functional reference whether kept in a sensible travelling bag or stuffed into a copious coat pocket. There is an easy to find and follow index of particular subject matter which includes, Castles, Churches, Gardens, Historic Homes, Hotels, Inns, Museums, Pubs, Restaurants, Tea Rooms and much more. 

The tourist from whatever part of the world who wants to visit little known villages and towns within easy distance from London and get to know a great deal about the history and present day facilities will be well served by this book. The English natives too, who wish to discover more about this part of the country could not have a better start than to read what this book has to offer and then to adventure out and find out a great deal more about what lies on their doorstep in the home counties. The information offered here will intrigue and surprise all who read the content and in the process learn much more about themselves and the beautiful English countryside within close proximity to London, which some of us are fortunate enough to call home. The reader is led on a journey by an author with a sure hand as it is clear she knows and loves her subject and the places she helps you discover will remain with you both before and after a visit. The visitor makes a journey which is both satisfying and an educational experience as the hidden history is revealed and explanations offered for the basis of country law and custom, tradition and folklore. Well worth a read even if your planned journey remains a pipe dream for the time being, it certainly will inspire many to turn those day dreams into reality and to start packing for a voyage of discovery and a real adventure in the English countryside.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rock Art

Nestled by the side of Fall River Road, Idaho Springs, is a very large rock weighing perhaps two tons. How anyone could look at a such a rock, and "see" that it resembled a pig is beyond my imagination. Then of course, gallons of  pink paint had to be carried into the forest for the work to begin. The pig's features (not sure of the gender) are finished in black paint.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Knitted Dresses for an 18" doll

Interested in knitting? There are some wonderful dresses and other items to knit for 18" dolls on the site above. Obviously, they are targeted towards one of the most popular dolls on the market. I had great fun knitting making them for children in my family, and also for friends' granddaughters. There are many other designs and styles to choose from...and it's a great way to use those odd balls of yarn that we all have in our baskets.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cream Horns

Yes, I’m back to food again and in particular…desserts. Over the next few weeks, I will include some recipes that I believe those following my blog will enjoy. Most are relatively easy to make – but look impressive. Take Cream Horns as an example. You can make your own Puff Pastry, but why not take a short cut and get some from the store. The following dessert can be made in minutes -- but the tins are a must!

8 oz. or one package of Puff Pastry
Double Whipping Cream
Strawberry Jam

Roll puff pastry out until it’s about the thickness of a quarter. Cut into 1” strips, and begin winding at the pointed end of the tin.  Overlap the pastry (about ½”) as you wind towards the larger section of the cream horn tin to be sure there are no gaps. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with sugar, and bake in a hot oven 450 degrees for about ten minutes. When cool, the pastry shells should easily be removed from the tins (fat content is high.) Beat the whipping cream (with a little sugar if desired) and place into a piping bag. Drop a teaspoon of strawberry jam in the bottom of the shell, pipe in the cream, and a little teaspoon of strawberry jam for color.  

Note: The shells can be made and frozen - fill with cream/jam when needed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Real Old World Italian Deli

If you order sausages in a Denver restaurant, they more than likely came from Carmine Lonardo’s Deli and Delicatessen. They produce thousands of pounds of sausages, and distribute to over 200 restaurants in the Denver metropolitan area...and sausages are just the beginning! Our steaks were a “melt-in-the-mouth” experience, and the sweet chili chicken was delicious too. There are mouthwatering salami, cheeses and olives – French and Italian bread, as well as many other authentic Italian foods, all at reasonable prices. The staff is friendly and helpful. Just walking into the shop is a treat. They also offer freezer pack specials starting at $109.00. I believe this would be a wonderful gift idea for that “difficult to please” family member or friend.  

There are two locations.

7585 W. Florida, Lakewood. #303-985-3555

15280 Smoky Hill Rd. Aurora #303-699-4532.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Henry VIII Shoebuckles

This recipe calls for Puff Pastry (make your own or buy Pepperidge Farm.)  

I usually use a little tinned pie filling in the center, but recently tried a savory center. It was a great success. It also makes a change from other the “finger food” we see at parties. The diagram is below. Recipes for sweet and savory follow:

1lb Puff pastry (your own recipe or purchase Pepperidge)
Sweet recipe -- About ½ cup of pie filling – (Cherry is colorful – but you choose)
Slivered Almonds
Sugar for dredging
One egg


Savory -- About 4 oz. Sausage meat (mild, medium or hot) plus a little minced onion and seasonings. Combine the ingredients and make into a small ball (about the size of a walnut) and place in the center of the square. Cut and fold the edges using the diagram below. Brush with egg, but instead of shaking sugar over the top, use a little Parmesan cheese and finish with a shake of paprika. Bake in a hot oven 425 for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Little Men and Big Men

Although I’ve written several regional books on travel and history, I recently discovered an interesting fact about mining techniques and skills. It involves the size of the men who worked the mines, and their importance to the mining industry. In the book Historical Highlights of Idaho Springs – Mining Camp Days by Merle L. Sowell, the author describes in great detail the differences between the "Little Men" and "The Big Men" and the roles they played.
"In mining, there was always thick and thin variation of an ore vein. In the thinner sections, there general was a higher concentration of values than in the wider sections. A smaller man could work a thin vein much more easily than a big man; thus developed a special place for small miners. With the influx of Cornish miners in the early days here, the little men found their place in our mining economy…these little guys could work in the smallest shafts (winzes or raises), mine out the narrowest stopes and drive the tightest tunnels (drifts or crosscuts). They never broke out a pound of waste rock that wasn’t necessary or left a speck of ore that had value. All this they did by the light of candles. Blasting powder was their thing in explosives as dynamite hadn’t been invented. They (the little men) were cantankerous to handle and insisted on a split check lease or percentage of profit.
The second era of metal mining took place from 1890-1940, and brought many changes. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite which meant “Big Men” were needed to manhandle the muck buckets and muck cars. Everything increased in size with the greater tonnage. Muck buckets in the shafts went from one half ton to two or three tons. Hoisting engines had to increase in power and shafts were made much larger. Even the skipper, the man who wrestled these buckets at the top or at the muck pockets at the level station, went up to the heavyweight wrestler class."   

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eccles Cakes

This delicious little pastry originated in the town of Eccles, England. It is a favorite of my family, and one I wanted to share with friends. Just last weekend, I made a batch of these cakes for a reception at the Denver Woman’s Press Club. The event was the finale to the Unknown Writers’ Competition. Winners came to the podium to read their winning entry, and then enjoyed afternoon tea supplied by DWPC members. For those ladies who enjoyed the treats, please follow my blog for the recipes.  

8 oz. puff pastry - your own recipe, or Pepperidge Farm works well.  (Safeway)
2 oz. butter
2 oz. sugar
2 oz. sultanas (Safeway)
2 oz. currants (Safeway)
2 oz. candied peel (if you like it)
Grated rind and juice of one lemon
Pinch of mixed spice 

Roll the pastry out until it’s about the thickness of a quarter, cut into rounds. I use the largest of my cutters, about 4” in diameter, but you can obviously make them larger or smaller to suit your needs. 

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl; add the rest of the ingredients. Place about one tablespoon of the mixture in the center of the round, and gather the edges (as though it were a drawstring purse – this holds the mixture inside. Then flip the “cake” over, so the “gathered” part is underneath. Using a rolling pin, roll the cake flat – don’t worry, the cake will rise during baking. Score the top with a sharp knife, so the mixture shows through...and brush with beaten egg. Shake a little sugar on the top and bake in a hot oven 450 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Scones - English recipe

Even though I've lived in the United States for many, many years, I've rarely used self-rising flour. I tried it in K.C. when I first arrived in the country, but found the finished recipe too salty, and haven't used it since. Now, I've tried it again, and found self-rising flour works beautifully for scones (see recipe below.)

As readers of my blog know, I have to convert my English recipes from Imperial Measurement (lbs. oz.) to metric measurements, and finally to cups. I get into most difficulties when the recipe calls for a "gill" of milk..." A gill is basically a quarter of an English pint, which is smaller than an American pint - hence my problems. Following is my favorite recipe for scones. I usually double the quantity of dough, and fill half with dried blueberries and half cranberries. Split and serve with butter (or better yet clotted cream) and jam.

8 oz. SR flour (2 cups)
1/2  teas. salt
1-1/2 oz butter (about 1/3 cup)
1 oz sugar (about 1 rounded tablespoon)
1 egg and about half cup of milk (keep a little of this mixture to brush the tops of the scones)
1/8 cup dried blueberries, dried cranberries, or other mixed dried fruit.

Mix flour and salt in a basin. Cut the butter into the flour and then rub until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and the fruit to the flour mixture, then the beaten egg and milk. Add just enough for the dough to be pliable, not not wet. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 60 seconds. Roll out to approximately 1/2" thickness and cut into rounds or triangles. Brush the tops with the excess liquid and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven (425-450 degrees F.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Snakes used as a Deterrent

It’s that time of the year when birds seem to find those nooks and crannies in our home most desirable. Year after year they return, swooping under the eaves dropping the inevitable mess that we have to sweep up, and wash down, under the watchful eye of mother bird. Sometimes, if we get too close, she may physically attack us. Once built, only a heartless individual would stop a bird from laying her eggs, or allowing those eggs to hatch. A better plan would be to dissuade her from the beginning. I’ve found a strategically placed snake (plastic) works like a dream, and then mother bird flies off to find more suitable accommodations.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Grandma’s Easy Fruit Cake

For those people who love fruitcake, the following recipe is easy, full of goodness, and by the way…my favorite recipe. It uses the unusual "boiling method." I have not as yet converted the recipe to cup measurements.
12 oz. of mixed dried fruit
4 oz. of sugar
4 oz. butter or margarine
1/2 cup water
1 egg
8 oz. Self-rising flour or all-purpose flour with 3 level teaspoons of baking powder.
(**I sometimes add a level teaspoon of all-spice for a change or add a shot of sherry!)
Place fruit, sugar, margarine or butter in a saucepan with the water, and simmer slowly for about 20 minutes. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten egg, and stir in the flour – mixing well.
Turn the mixture into a lined (can use the wrapper from the butter) into 6” or 7” pan, and bake in a moderately hot oven 300-325 degrees for about 1.5 hours until well risen and brown.

Note: As an added feature…place split almonds on the cake mixture before baking, and brush with beaten egg white.
Good luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

English Easter Eggs

I've often been asked, "What's so special about an English Easter egg..." Well, where do I start? In my opinion, they are the best in the world. They are filled with everything from chocolate buttons, maltesers, flakes, chunchies, and individual chocolates, in every variety. Some of the best known manufacturers are Cadbury, Rowntree and Thorntons, but all are delicious depending on your personal preference.

The English Teacup in Aurora, Colorado, has a particularly wide selection of eggs this year. For more information and other products:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Lost City Museum

The Lost City Museum, formerly known as the Boulder Dam Park Museum was built by the National Park Service in 1935. It was built to exhibit artifacts from the Pueblo Grande de Nevada.
The Pueblo building in the photograph has been lovingly preserved, and provides a glimpse into the lives of the ancient people of Nevada. Inside the museum, there are wonderful artifacts collected from the area including tools, weapons, baskets and pottery. Nobody knows for sure why the Anasazi moved away from the area. Had they exhausted the nutrients from the earth, and found their harvests were of poor quality? Perhaps they had followed the herds of deer, and other animals and found a more desirable place to settle. Who knows, it’s still a mystery to this day. What I found fascinating was the fact that the original builder’s fingerprints are still embedded in the clay of this pueblo - quite amazing. 
For more information go to:

Saturday, March 24, 2012


It’s common practice in Europe to flash one’s headlights to “communicate” with other drivers. For instance, when a driver is joining a freeway, a single flash of the headlights tells that driver that you are aware of him, and will modify your speed to allow access to the freeway. Likewise, when there’s confusion at a four way stop or other intersection, if one person flashes their lights that gives the other party the okay to go ahead.

Over the years, I’ve watched truck drivers give others the courtesy of a flash of their lights to pull in, move ahead, etc. In Europe, they take it one step further wherein if a driver flashes his lights to tell another to pull ahead, the driver gives one flash of his turn signal in thanks – it’s a nice touch…but I’m reticent to ever flash my lights in The US under any circumstances for fear of upsetting or confusing other drivers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Petroglyphs in Nevada

These authentic petroglyphs were moved to the Lost City (Nevada) museum from a nearby canyon many years ago. At that time, they were painted to better define the images. Nowadays, archaeologists record and photograph the images where they are found, and are moved only if they are in danger of being destroyed. Petroglyphs should never be rubbed, etched, chalked or painted to ‘enhance’ the original image. Petroglyph images are sacred to many Native American Indians, and have special meaning as to the location, placement and surroundings.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Spud!

The Spud, as it’s affectionately called in England, follows closely in importance to the worldwide production of rice, corn, sugar cane, and wheat.  It’s a versatile vegetable containing many of the important nutrients needed for a well-balanced diet. Indeed, it was the primary source of food for Irish families, who perished by the millions after the potato blight of 1845-52. It was a blow, some believe, from which the Irish have never recovered.
Many of us, having found a wayward potato at the back of the pantry, know they can sprout eyes, arms and legs. This is generally referred in layman’s speech as, “Going to Seed.”  They also produce a beautiful little five lobed purple flower. Evidently, the flower became a favorite of the French aristocracy. The women wore the tiny flowers in their hair to enhance their beauty, and the men wore them in their buttonhole.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Ute Mountain Tribe

On a recent trip to southwestern Colorado, we decided to visit the Ute Mountain Reservation. There we were treated to delicious bread, cooked before our eyes, then drenched in local honey and cinnamon. There is a little shop nearby where the members of the tribe sell their beautiful earthenware pots, books on the history of Native Americans, and homemade rugs and much, much more.

Following is a brief description of the Ute Nation taken from their web site.
The bands within the Ute Nation divided and today the homelands for the Weeminuche, or Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, total about 597,000 acres in southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, and northern New Mexico. The White Mesa community of the Tribe lives in Utah, where most of the housing is on tribal lands. The majorities of lands there are allotted to tribal members and are laid out in a checkerboard design.  

The tribal lands are on what's known as the Colorado Plateau, a high desert area with deep canyons carved through the mesas. This is a harsh land and there are no cities to provide services for the tribe. So the tribe must be self-sufficient by looking for other means of implementing progress and creating successful enterprises to serve the needs of the tribal members as well as create a healthy economy in which to live. The natural resources of the land provide the tribe income. These resources include oil and gas, grazing land for herds of tribal members, and land and water for the new Farm & Ranch project south of the Sleeping Ute Mountain.

After over 100 years of no water, the Colorado Ute Water Settlement Act of 1988 brought an end to years of legal battles for the tribe's water rights. Under that agreement, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe brought the first piped drinking water to the reservation and irrigation water the Farm & Ranch project. This project was mandated within the Dolores Project (McPhee Dam).

Today the tribe employs over 900 people in its enterprises and departmental programs. These employees include tribal members, other Native Americans, and Anglos, thus making the tribe the second largest employer in the Four Corners area.

The per capita enrollment for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is 1,968, as of January, 1999. The majority of the members live on the reservation in Towaoc with a smaller in the White Mesa community. The tribal census shows the largest part of the membership is in the twenties and younger age group.

Because the Ute tribe is so young, the members must be ready to take up the reins of leadership for the future of the tribe. As the tribal membership grows, the planning for the 21st century has to be done with care to enable the tribe to grow economically with the times, but retain and preserve the culture and ways of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. The achievements, goals, and objectives of the tribe for the future will be carried out by the strong wills of the future leaders.