Colorful in Many Ways
by Nisargo Troy
Like in so many parts of the country, we have been blessed this year with some extra special foliage colors. It is customary for locals and tourists alike to drive into the mountains and admire the “new dress” nature puts on every year. And like every year, I could not stop taking pictures on our hikes and drives, even though I probably have about half a million of Colorado fall colors already!
In order to not be overwhelming I am sharing only my favorite:
But then there also is work to be done, especially near the end of the warmer season. So on October 15th, on the regular day for our monthly “community work party”, people grabbed their work gloves, spades, rakes, shovels or loppers and headed out to meet at the common house to then split up into groups to tackle the necessary jobs, teams had requested to be attended to.
It was a stunning day with perfect temperatures for working outside and a gorgeous blue sky that accompanied the high spirits shown by all.
Our biggest group was working at the high tunnel. There was the last harvesting to be done of corn and squash, and the beds “put to sleep”, i.e. all the growth that had supported various vegetable throughout the summer had to be removed and hauled off. Many people worked hard the entire morning!
A little out of sight to the left a crew is fixing the east side of the structure. Years of sun and wind had mostly destroyed the southeast side of the high tunnel, which, as the main entrance, needed to be entirely redone. A strong windstorm had given the plastic cover its final blow and soon a brand new sheet will again cover the entire building so that in spring a new crop can be planted and grow under its protection. A relatively short growing season at 7000 feet can be extended considerably like this.
Here, Jack and Ronda are digging the trench for a new culvert on one of our roads. The major amounts of rain we have been getting this year reeked some serious havoc in several places on the property and this effort will definitely help prevent further erosion.
Another area that suffered from all the heavy the rains are the trenches that were dug many years ago when during another heavy rainy season some basements in the community got flooded. Here, a retaining wall is being built so that excess water can find its way once again “down the hill” to where it is safe to run off.
We have so many talented people here! When the Common House team announced that it has been dealing with a leak in the roof, we actually had two guys who were willing to get up on the roof and see what they could do. And they fixed the leak!
Next project: fire mitigation, an ongoing project around here. Even though we had a relatively wet summer, fire danger is a big issue. Last year we received a huge grant from the local fire department to help with mitigation. We are surrounded by gamble oak brush that would easily create ladder fuel for the pinions near them, which we have plenty of as well. The fire fighters who came made big headway in thinning and limbing trees and clearing brush along the roads and around the cluster. But the gamble oak keeps growing back so fast, it is hard to keep up with. Here, the brush hog eats away at the new growth in order to keep our village as safe as possible.
But this does not eliminate the work done by hands and loppers in the areas where the brush hog can’t go!
And when all was finished, we shared a meal as usual, told stories of the day and admired all we can accomplish when we work together!
That night, to celebrate just a bit more, a dance party was the perfect ending to a wonderful day in a wonderful community.
Our next adventures will be the upcoming camping trip to Canyonlands, the grand Heartwood Thanksgiving festivities and much more. Stay tuned!
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