BEAR!! It is summer on top of Conifer Mountain in the Colorado Rockies and we’re inundated with animals. We live at 10,000.00 feet and it is gorgeous. It’s noon and I’m busy making lunch. Something prompts me to look outside the kitchen window and there the enormous beauty stands in our meadow, just outside our bar sliding door. Never have I been this close to a bear and I smile in delight. Not too long ago during the winter, a fox would not allow me to take my trash can down the driveway and I backed away to get the bear spray and a hiking pole for protection, with the intent to chase the fox back into the woods. I discharged the bear spray and a solid stream of mace hit me full in the face. Dang it!! I did not take the wind direction into account and now my eyes and nose are watering and stinging like never before. I know not to touch my face and I’m mad at the poor fox instead of at my own stupidity. I charge the fox, screaming like a banshee, waving the hiking pole, looking ridiculous in my heavy boots and large winter jacket. The fox disappears into the woods. She is of glorious beauty and comes to visit often. We reach a truce and continue to live together in harmony. Little did I know the following April, we will experience the worst snow storm in our 6 years of living in snow in Canada and Colorado. It started on Friday night with a few heavy, wet flakes and escalated into a downpour of magnanimous proportions. By Saturday night we were completely snowed under and by Sunday morning it had reached 8 feet. We were snowed in and it took days to clear the mess. Thank goodness for fun neighbors.
Some of my fondest memories of Colorado are centered around food and friends. A party in September with said neighbors at their cabin on the edge of the mountain overlooking the park, gave us Nathan and Mary with incredibly beautiful cakes and tasty fruit pies, me with home made bake beans and a pumpkin bread and Jack grilling the Brats.
By November, we had Thanksgiving with the Harveys, our Canadian friends living in Denver. None of us had family, so they came over and got snowed in with us for Thanksgiving. I don’t remember much of the meal. It was full scale cooking of a lot of courses and I completely forgot to take photos, but I certainly do remember the appetizer: Saffron & White Wine Mussel Soup. This soup is reminiscent of the hearty soups found at the ski resorts of Breckenridge, Aspen, etc.
Then summer arrived and some friends came over for an Al Fresco lunch. We ate Stan’s amazing rotisserie chicken with healthy sides and a bottle of Mer Soleil brought over by the Saabs. After lunch we sat on our rock with its beautiful view of Pike’s Peak and the 3000 acre Staunton Park until close to sunset. We felt like we were the only people in the world.
When we first arrived in Denver, we continued with a foodie club we started in Alberta, Canada where we pulled countries out of a hat and cooked our way around the world. We found some gems such as Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Mongolia and more. We cooked in places I would never have thought to cook in and a whole new food world opened up for me. I didn’t realize at the time how much I will miss these get-togethers!!
A trip to Colorado would not be complete without tasting Colorado lamb or summer peaches. The state is a beautiful place with lots of wildlife and lots of snow. We lived in my dream home, had my dream kitchen and bar, I worked at a library in my dream job and had a lot of good friends. My memories would not be complete without a tribute to the beauty of where we lived and a tribute to the good friends that contributed to making these memories great. This is for you. You are missed.
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