Monday, February 18, 2019

Winter Hodgepodge

"Live in each season as it passes.
Breathe the air
Drink the drink
Taste the fruit
And resign yourself to the influences of each."
~ Henry David Thoreau

I may be one of the few who enjoys winter. So often I hear people say that they are tired of the cold and snow and can't wait for spring and summer to arrive. Truth be told, summer is my least favorite season. I do appreciate summer's longer daylight hours, and flowers growing in my garden, but I really dislike hot weather, humidity, and here in the west the all too often days of drought and the danger of fires that summer brings.   

Give me a cool, crisp day...a day to sit by the fire...a day to watch the snow softly falling...and a day to enjoy the special quiet beauty of winter, and I'll be content.  There is a special coziness about winter that

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand
 and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home" 
 ~ Edith Sitwell

The beginning of this winter was even more of a stay at home time of the year for me, as I had foot surgery. While I was healing, my husband took over most of the chores, but I did use my crockpot quite a bit to make cooking easier.   I made chicken hatch pepper and bean chili, ham and split pea soup, and many quick skillet meals.  One of my favorite vegetarian meals is to make is to saute chopped swiss chard with one chopped onion and two cloves of garlic in olive oil in a skillet, then add sliced boiled potatoes to the skillet and a package of Madras Lentils.  Mix well and heat. I buy the packages of Tasty Bite Madras Lentils, 8 packages in a box, at Costco. They are already cooked, in a not too spicy tomato sauce. and really delicious alone or mixed with other vegetables.
One of my favorite banana breads is the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Banana Bread. I doubled the recipe and made it in a bundt cake pan as I had quite a few ripe bananas in my freezer. It is really moist and delicious. 

Two special events occurred in February, First, my son turned 40! I'm not sure how that happened, as I don't feel old enough to have a son who is that age. I feel like I was 40 just a short time ago myself. Second, my oldest granddaughter turned six and had a wonderful party her parents hosted at a local children's beauty salon. She and her little friends had their hair and nails done, made beaded bracelets, sang karaoke, ate pizza and cupcakes and had a very happy time!

Our neighborhood bobcat is still on the prowl. The photos above are ones a neighbor posted on our facebook community group. "Bob" makes himself right at home. Bobcats are smaller than mountain lions and mainly eat small animals like mice, birds, squirrels, and rabbits and he is obviously finding enough of them to stay around.
I'm sure you heard about the Colorado man who was attacked recently by a mountain lion while jogging in the foothills. You can hear an interview of how he was able to kill the mountain lion and escape with his life on this link.  Living among wildlife requires us to be alert, but thankfully wildlife attacks are rare.

Beautiful roses from my husband for Valentine's Day! Roses are my favorite flower and my birth month flower. They are even more precious in winter!

Last, the good news for me is that my foot is almost back to normal! No more need to wear the heavy supportive post-op boot!  I am back to using a shoe and little by little I am regaining strength in my foot.  I hope to be hiking again soon.  Thanks for all your good wishes! 

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain, Colorado

I'm sharing some places I visited this past summer that I did not have an opportunity to blog about,  while I am recovering from foot surgery.

Charles Boettcher (1852–1948) was one of Colorado’s most important early businessmen and philanthropists.  He owned many lucrative businesses, one of which was a cement company. He donated cement to a businessman building a road to the top of a prominent foothill west of Golden, Colorado, known as Lookout Mountain. When the property on top of the mountain became available Boettcher bought sixty-two acres and built Lorraine Lodge, now known as Boettcher Mansion, in 1917 as a summer retreat. It stands as a particularly elaborate example of the rustic foothills lodges that were popular among wealthy Denverites in the early twentieth century. (All photos in this post will enlarge if clicked on.)

Boettcher hired a popular architectural firm of the time; known as Fisher and Fisher, who designed many buildings in Denver. For “Lorraine Lodge,” the Fishers used local harvested stone and wood from the site to construct the massive retreat.  The estate, which included the main residence, carriage house, gazebo, and well house, emphasized traditional Arts and Crafts craftsmanship in its design. Large east-facing windows allowed Boettcher to take in the view of Denver, and rooms at the lodge could accommodate fifteen to twenty guests.

The grounds around the mansion are beautifully landscaped, both in the rear...

....and front.

Since the mansion was completed in 1917, many pine trees have grown and have obscured the view of Denver, but have added to the beauty of the location.

 Please click to enlarge--photos of Charles Boettcher and his granddaughter Charline Humphreys Breeden.

After Boettcher and his wife, Fannie, officially separated in 1920, the property became Boettcher’s personal retreat and for the next three decades, he stayed at the lodge each year from June to September, using it as a base for hunting and entertaining. Upon Boettcher’s death in 1948, the estate passed to his granddaughter, Charline Humphreys Breeden. Breeden raised her family at the lodge before making plans in the late 1960s to donate the house and surrounding grounds to Jefferson County for public use. When she died in 1972, the 110-acre property officially became county land.

Jefferson County built a nature trail on the grounds and opened the lodge to the public in 1975 as a combined conference and nature center. In the 1980s the entire property was managed by Jefferson County’s Open Space program, but in 1989 Lorraine Lodge was renamed Boettcher Mansion and became its own entity within the Jefferson County Parks Department. These changes were intended to help differentiate the mansion, which had become a popular conference and wedding venue, from the Lookout Mountain Nature Center, which moved into a new building on the property in the 1990s.

In the collage above you can see, what was know as the Fireside Room (left) in the mansion, is now a large banquet room that can accommodate 200 people.  Boettcher Mansion has become a popular wedding venue site

The Boettcher Mansion retains some of the original Stickley classic furnishings.

Many rooms inside the mansion can be used as meeting rooms for conferences...

...and there is also an up to date, state of the art kitchen inside for catering purposes.

There is also a gift shop in the mansion as well as many interesting framed historical photos, period newspaper clippings, and information in the hallways. In the upper right on the collage above, you can see a photo of Chief Colorow. He often roamed this part of Colorado and liked to camp on Lookout Mountain.  You can read more about him on this blog post--click here.

Boettcher Mansion and the Lookout Mountain Nature Center continue to share the open-space park at the top of the mountain, which has grown from Boettcher’s original 62-acre purchase to the 134-acre Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve.  

I really enjoyed my visit to Boettcher Mansion and learning more about its history, and I hope you did too!

Further information:

The Boettcher Mansion
900 Colorow Road
Golden, 80401
Phone: 720-497-7630

Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
(Nights, weekends, and holidays by
appointment or reservation.)

PS: I am reaching the end of my foot surgery recovery and hope to be back to wearing shoes again soon, and be able to get back to a normal schedule. We have so many wonderful places to hike in Colorado and I'm looking forward to being able to walk well again. I really hope this surgery will help to make hiking comfortable for me. Thanks for all your good wishes!

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