25 April, 2009

Mad Molly's Brown Ale

~Golden City Brewery~

It's motto: " Golden's Second Largest Brewery."

Golden Colorado....

Golden is the quintessential mining town nestled between the wrinkled, alluvial fans and flat topped "mesa" uplifts of Colorado's nor'eastern foothills. Golden is where kayak river wrestlers, local flyfishers, and geology students, hikers, mountain bikers live and dance their dances.

And yes, there are two very disparate breweries in Golden. One is the Coors Brewery. Coors was once a closely held family local company. They expanded their sales nationwide and expanded into the development of aerospace and military ceramics in conjunction with Ball Aerospace. They have recently joined in a multi-national partnership with the Canadian brewer, Molson.


The other, well, the other, "second largest" is a microbrewery:
Golden City Brewery could be a post-modern iteration of Tolkien's "Green Dragon" in Bywater, Hobbiton. It is small, home grown and gritty, producing exceptional ales and stouts without any pretense other than to brew and sell good beer! It's best that you learn about it from the folk who make it all happen:

These are pics of their brewery:

That being said, Golden has a history, 150 years in the making:

"The historic City of Golden is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. Golden lies along Clear Creek at the eastern edge of the foothills of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

The Golden City "National Guard Armory."

Founded during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush on 16 June 1859, the mining camp was originally named Golden City in honor of Thomas L. Golden. Golden City served as the capital of the provisional Territory of Jefferson from 1860 to 1861, and capital of the official Territory of Colorado from 1862 to 1867. In 1867, the territorial capital was moved about 15 miles (24 km) east to Denver City. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the city population was 17,366 in 2005.

Lookout Mountain upstream on Clear Creek

The Colorado School of Mines, offering programs in engineering and science, is located in Golden. Also there are the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Coors Brewing Company, CoorsTek, the American Mountaineering Center, and the Colorado Railroad Museum. It is the birthplace of the Jolly Rancher, a candy bought out by the Hershey Foods Corporation. Famous western showman William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody is buried nearby on Lookout Mountain." ~ Wikipedia

Yesterday, my long time friend Peter Forss and I rambled up the old stage coach road from Northwest Denver to Golden. Peter is another one of these tangential thinkers who blends science with art, right brain with left brain... Photography and Physics....Color and the Coriolis effect...Short wave radio jazz and the breath of Boreas whistling in the sails offshore in the Carib Sea.

Mostly we enjoy strange, eclectic food and drink..odd and ancient vehicles, electronics and astronomy, and, beloved, the subtle yet brilliant mixing of colors in the Colorado sky. And yeup, we are men; mesmerized by distinctively feminine fannies toasting in the sun, or waltzin' down the walk in brite-white oxford shirts and tight levis.... Or the sight of tanned and slithering shoulders working a kayak in and out of the rapids or curling close against the current....or simply a soulful and quiescent Daughter of Eve, quiet, soaking up the sun's radiant heat, clothed in little else except a thought and a prayer covering the soft, supple clay vessels that contain their true beings.

I am convinced that God loves creating, and enjoying beauty!

23 April, 2009


October Remembered


Brigid's latest post over at http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/ flipped a switch in the grey matter and the memory of antelope hunts came flooding into this late spring morning. Her recollection of hunter's sunrise is poignant...makes me wish that spring and summer were gone and I were on the road to Cheyenne Wells to hunt pronghorn.

And, it dredged up a strong memory of earlier hunts on that wide and rolling prairie sea.

Yes'sum, I Know the Sunrise


Black on black the night sky pierced by Orion's crystalline stars and brilliant Aldeberon, the red eye of the Bull. That's what we see at our awakening. The high plains where naught but the light pre-dawn breeze whispers. All else is holy silence.

Its early October and the acrid, alkaline dust, its fragrance stirred into the pre-dawn dew. There’s barely enough moisture in the air to dampen the short grass prairie. We rise silent and speak little. It seems a sacrilege to shatter the magic, with coarse talk and light the gas lantern and break the spell.

In the hissing halo of light, the coffee boils in a blackened pot. The dark, caffeine heat steams away sleep. We dress. Blaze orange over camo clothes, which appears ludicrous, but we do it anyway. Its the law. The mental checklist : Binoculars, water, a stash of granola bars stuffed in pockets lined with memories of dove and duck and maybe a spring turkey, we prepare. Knives and rope and the bone saw, extra ammo and a hunter’s prayer are stashed in the fanny pack.

There in that India Ink black we stretch our senses. How far is far on this rolling dry, sandy sea where pronghorn run for the sheer joy born in their swift limbs, huge hearts and lungs.

The two long guns loaded, the chambers empty, stock butts nestled on the truck’s transmission hump, we ride east into the shadow grey and sullen red slit that defines the horizon. The slit widens and the light grows. Red rolls into muddy orange horizon clouds then rages, yellow-orange in a furnace ablaze. Once the sun breaks the Kansas line, once color defines winter wheat from fallow ground, there the realization is hammered into our souls of just how small we are under the rising blue dome and the long, long sight to only a farther distant line. Distance. It pulls at the mind and psyche, so far a distant shore on this prairie sea. We question our senses:

" Is it a treeline or a fence or a break where sudden summer storms cut a deep arroyo? "

That question is moot when the first flash of a white butt in the midst of green winter wheat sends a semaphore signal. The hunt is on!

We stop, binocs to the eyes and we whisper. What is the best way to approach these prairie ghosts, speed goats, pronghorns in the shimmering air maybe a mile away. The small herd paws and feeds on a long gentle rise, their eight-power eyes ever watching. The sun dumps heat into the earth and it radiates up. Thermals cause the wind to grow and the air to glisten dry and brittle. There is no “best” way to approach, no cover, no fence line to follow. It’s a matter of chance and a slow low walk until its time to crawl in the dust and burrs and cactus….Perhaps a futile stalk, at 500 yards a sentinel may snort and before a round is chambered, they are gone, dusty memories over the rise. And, its only 7:30 in the morning.

Yes'sum, I know the sunrise.

Did we finally harvest? Yes…after nearly two full days of scouting, glassing, stalking... and swearing as another set of white fannies vanished in the sparkling air, over an unseen horizon. We caught a pair somewhat unaware and as they dove under the barbed wire fence we rolled out of the truck and, fence posts as shooting platforms, we shot within seconds of one another and dropped two goats.

Gutted, hung on the tripod and gambrel, skinned, washed down with water and cooled in the fresh wind, we packed the carcasses in ice. I turned and took a pic as we readied the truck for the journey home...and realized.......

It's impossible to capture the breadth and depth of the prairie sea and the wide, high skies overhead. One must be there, awaken to it and walk in it to fully know, if it is possible to fully know the overwhelming feeling of the open prairie.

God must rest from his labors in places like this.

21 April, 2009

The Hidden Season - Part Two

Shadows and Light


In 1980, Joni Mitchell, the Canadian composer/musician/singer released a live album. It was basically a compilation that chronicled her growth from a simple folk singer into an respected and accomplished jazz muscian. That period was about four years long from 1975 to 1979. Mitchell's fertile mind and spirit created a veritable explosion of songs and albums, leaving some in the folk/rock world dumfounded as she embraced and mastered the subtle nuances of all manner of jazz.

The name of the album is Shadows and Light. The title tune:

Mitchell is a consumate musical artist. Her unique ability to fuse folk with jazz and paint incredible, indelible pictures with music and words blossomed in those years, the late 1970's.

She is also an accomplished visual artist, painting in watercolors and oils. This aging Lady of the Canyons is very visual, very tactile and very much a Scorpio drawn to darkness, drawn to light.

She and I share Scorpio traits, and the affinity for visual/tactile art and music. Hence, the title of this post....Shadows and Light.


Yesterday, I took Nate for a walk along Clear Creek in the Jeffco open space Prospect Lake Park. The lil' digital camera came along for the walk.

Officially, we are a month into the season. Spring is still young here. The latest major spring storm has gone east. All the wet snow has melted in the stong sunlight. Succulent grass is rising and fresh buds add more green to the willows and cottonwoods. The sun is still low enough that it creates raking light, even at midday. Shadows and light....and snow on the upper foothills. Its still that hidden season, caught between the end of winter and true spring.

The spring runoff has not yet begun in the high country. The foothill and high plains creeks are still running very low. Its a good time to take photos along the stream beds. And, with the digital age, its gives us the ability to manipulate images.

The creative spark, the breath of God's Spirit
runs deep in his children.
To some, it is a fierce flame,
driving a life-long obsession.

20 April, 2009

Ten Years Ago Today

The Memory of Columbine


10 years ago today, two teenage killers walked out of their middle class, suburban homes in Littleton, Colorado and into historic infamy. Before noon, 15 people would be dead, including the killers. Metro-Denver had officially joined the leagues of " the big cities". It remains a sad commentary on post-modern America and some of its twisted, malignant pop-culture.

^Credit: Ed Andreski ~ AP^

Out of the wreckage of that tragic massacre, there have been at least two positive ongoing actions that continue to thrive and grow:

*The Never Forgotten Fund*

1) - Dave Logan, a graduate of Wheat Ridge High School, local sports talk show host and voice of the Denver Broncos, worked with KOA-AM radio and its parent company Clear Channel Communications, to create an ongoing endowment, scholarship fund in memory of the 13 victims. Donations can be made through the Denver Foundation Columbine page:

2) - A memorial park was planned, funded and constructed by private and corporate donations, across from Columbine High School. It continues to be a gathering place to remember the loss, and the blessings resurrected from that horrific tragedy.

Yeup, there are 13 memorial crosses.....Which, with great grief and defiance, stand strong in the face of "conventional wisdom" which states that America is not a Christian nation.

May God bless all who survived and the families of the fallen.

19 April, 2009

Low Pressure

Spring Snain Storm


On Thursday, 16 April, 2009, a meterological phenomenon moved slowly in to the Central High Plains. by Friday, the center of the low pressure system had settled into the general area around the borders of southeast Colorado, southwest Kansas, the western tip of the Oklahoma panhandle and the northeast corner of New Mexico.

It was a low pressure system. It was disassociated with the upper level jet stream. In this case, the jet stream was way to the north of this huge system. Low pressure means counter-clockwise rotation. Because the jet stream is to the north, it does not impact the growth of the system as it moves east. This allows the rotation to pull huge amounts of moisture off of the Gulf of Mexico and drag it up across Texas and Oklahoma, and then SLAM it up against the Front Range mountains.

It wasn't all turned into snow.....Below, say, 5,800 ft, the moisture fell as snow mixed with rain......SNAIN!

The aftermath, two days later....STUNNING!

It provided an injection of much needed moisture and it was not cold enough create a hard freeze. The tender buds and young plants were not frostbit!