Memories · My Thoughts

Places from my Childhood

A little girl running - places from my childhood

Places from my childhood in Branson, Colorado, floated to my consciousness today. There are four places I loved: the store, the Community church, the jailhouse. I’m in Branson, visiting and took a walk today to a friend’s house. I passed the church and the jailhouse on the way. A smile crossed my lips as memories surfaced for each place.

On my return trip, I passed the foundation of the store. As I walked by, I marveled at the size of the foundation—as a child, the building looked so big. Today it looked so small! Memories overcame me! In my book, This Tumbleweed Landed, I wrote poems about each of these places. I’d like to share them with you!

Branson Community Church

Branson Community Church - places from my childhood
Branson Community Church
The Branson Community Church
small and quaint.  

People that touched my life
Maynard Bowen,
Walt Graham
Ministers of God, who took the time for me.  

The Loudens
The Gilstraps
The Smiths
The Warners
The Cummins
Mabel Survant
Mrs. Jamieson  

Sunday School teachers
and family friends who let me sit with them,
singing my songs out loud when I couldn’t even read.  

Beautiful old hymns and singing.
They loved me, taught me, and encouraged me.
A safe place to be on Sunday morning,
and a nice place to meet God.  

Youth group on Sunday night games
and talking about God
Youth group picnic and camp-outs at the Gilstraps
and the annual Christmas programs.  

One year, at the Christmas program
I was an angel
with the other young girls.
Donned in our white robes, wings, and haloes,
we walked in a straight line carrying lit candles.  

The girl behind me got too close
and caught my hair on fire!
Our teacher quickly handled the situation,
and I wasn’t burned.  

The program went on.

The Jailhouse

The Jailhouse
A landmark
That everyone wants to be pictured in.
Close the door, stand behind the bars
and smile.  

Two cells
A window in each
And also, a hard bed of concrete in each.

Numerous stories
about notorious criminals
who slept there and broke out!  

A special place for us!
Scott Warner would steal
cigarettes from his mom.
Bub and I would break
a piece of the salt lick
stored in Grandad Horner’s garage.
It was for our cattle.

We would meet at the jail.
Smoke then suck on the salt lick
to hide the smell of
the cigarette smoke.

I felt so sophisticated.
So grown-up,
So fashionable.

Clara and Millard
Uncle Gay and Aunt Helen
But I never liked
The taste of it.  

Years later Bub and I told Mom
About our clandestine adventure.
She said she knew what we were doing.
She teasingly said,
“The smoke billowed out of the jail’s window.”  
But she never questioned us
Or Disciplined us.  

A growing up safe adventure!

The Store

The Branson Store - places from my childhood
The Branson Store
Dust, hard wood floor; aisles of adventure. 
Goods for sale—
Eggs, milk, and beef;
all the regular staples of life.
The McMillans owned it— 
Roy and Mokey.

Oversized paintings on the walls— 
a gold miner,
wild animals images 
long forgotten; 
painted by Julian Hancock.

But my favorite part
the candy!
A big wooden display case,
taller than me.
Glistening glass windows separated me 
from the mouth-watering delights.So big, so
So many colors, sizes, shapes, and 

I had a quarter—
I could buy the moon!

My walk awakened memories of these three places—they flooded me with Candy’s laughter at the store, Scott and the adventures of cigarettes in the jail, and so many people who loved me in that beautiful quaint little church.

Do you have childhood memories of special places? Share them in the comment section.

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Dancing · family · My Thoughts

My Family—How I Appreciate You!

Thank you latte to my family

My family rates high on my gratitude list, and I’d like to focus on them and how they have supported me over the years. I have an extensive extended family, so I won’t be able to give the credit due to everyone. So, I’m going to focus on my parents and my brother.

My Parents

Dad & Mom's Wedding Picture - my family
Dad & Mom’s Wedding Picture

My parents encouraged me in whatever endeavor I pursued. Throughout my childhood in Branson, they attended church and school programs. They cheered me on as a cheerleader. They celebrated my academic accomplishments when I earned salutatorian of my graduating class. Mom worked hard at school to support my class activities, especially my senior year when she was our room mother and baked many pies for the concession stand for the basketball games. In fact, that’s when I learned to bake pies alongside her.

 When I wanted to become a beautician, Mom and Dad drove the fifty miles to Trinidad every week for me to practice my new skills on her. Then, when my state board tests finally came, Dad and Mom drove to Denver, and she endured the grueling day of being my model.

Later, they had to watch me do some craziness before recovery and still didn’t desert me. When I went to Sexual Trauma treatment in Los Lunas, New Mexico in 1993, they attended Family Week and took part in my healing intimately there.

I so appreciate their love of dancing and remember many times together at either country-western dances or square dances. I loved to dance with Dad, but when they danced together, I watched with amazement and pride. They glided across the floor as one, after dancing together for nearly fifty years. We shared this unique activity together, first with Dad being the square dance caller for our 4-H club. Then my brother and I often traveled to dances with our parents in our high school and college days and for our adult lives as well!

Since I have always lived close to them, we traveled together many summers and enjoyed our adventures. Mom and I always teased Dad about driving long days and not allowing us to soak in the swimming pools because we arrived at the motel after they closed. And he never changed!

As they aged, I had the privilege of being a caregiver for both of them, and I did it with honor, remembering how each of them had taken care of their aging parents.

My Brother

My brother and I, August 2021
My brother and I, August 2021

Next, my brother, Harold, who I call Bub, has been a major player in my life. He’s thirteen months older than me, so Mom and Dad raised us like twins. I loved playing Cowboys and Indians with him, then he would play dolls with me and made me promise not to tell anyone.

We supported each other with our interest areas in school: he played basketball and baseball. I was a cheerleader. During high school, he danced a little.

When we went to college, we both attended Trinidad State Junior College, and I shared his last year there with him. At this point in his life, he had become a dancer and what a dancer he became! We traveled all over southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico, attending dances. Often, we would dress in the same colors. We danced together so much people who didn’t know we were brother and sister thought we were a dating couple.

When Bub married, I fell in love with his wife, Lela and we became close like sisters. The two of them blessed me deeply in a special way. I always wanted children but didn’t have any. They knew how much I wanted children, so they share their two daughters and son with me.

As a father, I watched him care deeply for his children and grandchildren. He truly is the best Dad.

Our hearts broke in 2005 when Lela died from breast cancer. I marveled at how my brother cared for her during her chemotherapy. He drove her and sat with her for every treatment. He took care of her at home with the aid of his youngest daughter, Cheryl, at long as possible.

Today, we co-manage the family ranch we inherited, and it is a pleasure to work with him. We agree on the management of this precious piece of land we love. He lives in Branson now, and when I’m visiting, we love to ride around the ranch and look for wildlife and reminisce.

He’s an ardent supporter of my writing and buys every book as soon as possible. We also share another passion: we’re both lifelong Bronco fans, texting during a game and then talking after a game about what happened.

Finally, my extended family goes out to my grandparents on both sides, aunts and uncles, and cousins and second cousins. I have a rich heritage, but I wanted to concentrate today on these three people—Mom, Dad and Bub! Thanks for making me the woman I am today!

Here’s the Gratitude Log again if you need it. I shared a couple days ago.

Who in your family is on your gratitude list? Why? Did you let them know?

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Books · family · My Thoughts · Ranching

Truth and Fiction: My Next Two Books!

Cowboys working cattle—truth

Truth and fiction! My next two books again centered on ranch life and my family through truthful nonfiction and historical fiction. One was truth—how my granddad put our family ranch together during the depression when others were losing theirs. The other was historical fiction where I fictionalized a story I had heard my whole life.

Let Me Tell You a  Story—Truthful nonfiction. Truth
Dad on the cover!

The Truthful Nonfiction–Let Me Tell You a Story

My dad celebrated his 75th birthday on March 20, 1993. So, Mom and I worked together on producing a chapbook of the story of how our family ranch was put together for his gift, titled Let Me Tell You a Story. Dad dictated the unique stories to Mom about the technique Granddad used to put together our ranch during a time when many lost their homesteads. Dad, the master storyteller, relished the telling and retelling of these familiar family stories. Then I typed them up on a 2E Apple computer with floppy disks. Then Dad helped me edit it, which was hilarious for this ole cowboy—he didn’t trust computers but immediately saw their usefulness. As a finishing touch, we added pictures to it.

Originally, I had copies printed for only our immediate family members and twenty-five copies for a classroom set for my literature class. Again, this lay aside for over twenty years. In 2016, I self-published it, again. It has become a favorite in Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft.

To tell the truth, this small chapbook warms my heart each time I reach for it because Dad’s words live on in it.

When Will Papa Get Home? Historical Fiction. Truth
The Philly Place

The Historical Fiction—When Will Papa Get Home?

In 1986, I taught my first year in Denver, Colorado, and the school district lent me a 2E Apple computer for the summer. I visited my parents on our family ranch, and we ventured to my favorite homestead on the place, the Philly Place. It got its name from the original owner, Philadelphia Cardenas. I had been there many times, but this time as I was leaving the homestead, I stopped out of what was the living room, looked down and found a blue marble.

I asked Dad about it, but he did not know. “Probably some arrowhead hunters out here with kids.”

I stuck that marble in my pocket, went back to Denver, and the story came pouring out of me, based on a story I had heard my whole life, told by Dad in Let Me Tell You a Story:

Charlie Garlutzo was working for the County Sheriff Department. Bob Gleason had “Phillie” (Philadelphio Cardenas) up on cow theft. Charlie got the one hundred and twenty acres bought from Phillie for seven- teen dollars and fifty cents an acre while he was scared about the charges. Garlutzo had the choice of selling the land to either Horner or Doherty. He chose to sell it to Horner.

Phillie was sentenced for a one-year term but got out in seven months for good behavior. Had Garlutzo not got the land bought from Phillie when he was scared, he would have been right back out there, back in business.

Larada Horner-Miller, Let Me Tell You a Story ( 2016): 15.

So, I fictionalized this true historical story and made the supposed culprit a horse thief with a twist. I told the story through the eyes of the daughter of the man accused of the thievery, and the blue marble belonged to her. The sheriff falsely accused her papa, and the story unfolds. Through extensive research, I wove their story of immigration from Mexico to the high desert prairie of southeastern Colorado. In doing that, I discovered how much I liked research and dove in. I researched adobe house building and much more.

For this book, I laid it aside for almost thirty years! After my successful stab at self-publishing, I released When Will Papa Get Home? in 2015. My aunt now owns the Phillie Place, and she gave me and my brother to revisit it to take pictures. So I took the picture on the cover. We had a delightful day rummaging through the ruins and marveling at how much of the original homestead was still there.

So, I featured truth and historical fiction in these two books. Retelling my family history in the one book encouraged me to jump into the historical fiction in the next. Enjoying both genres, I loved celebrating my country roots and heritage.

Do you have family stories? Truth or fiction? Share your thoughts! (Scroll down below!0

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? Truth

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My Thoughts

Can You Live Without Your Cell Phone?

Apple Cell phone

Since June 24, 2021, I have been pondering this question because I have had to live without mine off and on. I felt totally isolated and helpless. So, what happened to my precious cell phone?

Lin and I were happy Verizon customers for several years when we first got married, but every time we went to Branson, Colorado, no reception. In fact, Lin used to call Branson “The Black Hole” for cell phone reception. If he went to the front bedroom at Mom’s house on the right side of the bed and held the phone up at a certain angle, he could get minimal reception. Or if he went to the dump down over the hill or drove a couple miles to the New Mexico state line.

To solve that dilemma, we changed to AT&T and spent five or six years with reliable reception in Branson or anywhere we went. In fact, we enjoyed their promotional for traveling abroad — $10 a day with unlimited data and phone service.

But Verizon kept sending us advertisement to come back, and they lured us back. So, a couple weeks before that fateful day, I checked the map online on their website. It appeared that they had improved their reception in southeastern Colorado.

On June 24, after my doctor’s appointment with the current advertisement in hand, we dropped in to a Verizon store.

My first question to the sales agent was, “Is there coverage in southeastern Colorado?”

He pulled up the map and southeastern Colorado was red, depicting it had coverage. He solemnly affirmed we had coverage there, so we took the gigantic leap and changed cell phone carriers.

Map Showing Coverage in Branson, Colorado

Hindsight is always 20-20. I should have called a local friend and asked if the coverage had changed, but I didn’t. Caught up in the moment with all the promotionals, I upgraded my iPhone11 to a 12. I also bought a new iPad—that was one of the major reasons we went there was to do that! I had dropped my old iPad on a tile floor in Costa Rica last year and had a definitive crack on the corner.

Lin upgraded his iPhone7 to an XR10 because they offered a great deal. He didn’t see a need to go to a newer phone. Excited, we left with our new equipment.

As we were leaving, the sales agent specifically said if it doesn’t work, you have a two-week window to cancel your service. What he neglected to say was that all “the deals” we got on the new equipment disappeared!

Immediately Verizon started emailing me to send my iPhone11 to them for the upgrade offer, so I did.

The following week I went to Branson, Colorado (within the two weeks), and to my dismay, the reception was worse than it had been five or six years before. So, I spent a week in Branson with no cell phone service. Panic gripped me. What if someone needed to contact me? I had a landline at my house, but oh, my!

After this disconnected week, I returned home on July 6 and called Verizon to start the switch back to AT&T. The Verizon customer service person said I should receive my iPhone11 back from them on Friday. He also said we had to send the new phones back to them by the end of Friday. Very stressful trying to orchestrate this timeline.

 Afterwards, we had a delightful call with AT&T on returning to them, and they gave a great discount for coming back.

So, on July 8, Lin and I went to an AT&T store in Albuquerque. The sales agent put SIM cards in our two new phones and my new iPad. My iPad worked but our two phones didn’t because Verizon had locked them.

Then we returned to the scene of the crime, the Verizon store where we had been deceived. The manager said we had 30 days (not the stringent timeline the customer service person told us on July 6) to return the phone because the map on the internet showed marginal coverage. She also told my husband they would lock his XR10 for sixty days, so he plans to send it back. 

Believing what we were told, on Friday, July 9, we looked repeatedly all day for my iPhone11, and it never came.

In the meantime, Lin bought an XR10 from Apple who gave him a better exchange for his old phone, so I used his old cell phone with an AT&T SIM card; otherwise, I would have been without a phone this whole time.

Because my iPhone11 didn’t show up when they said it would, on Tuesday, July 13, I called Verizon and waited 30 minutes. I worked with a customer service person who tried to help. The previous person I talked to on July 6 did not create an order number or location code attached to the file. So, this person created both and shared them with me. Also, she created a rush on the order with one day shipping because of the urgency. She said it should arrive on Thursday by FedEx. 

Again, being optimistic, my husband and I looked repeatedly all day on Thursday, July 15 for my iPhone11, and it never came.

So, on Friday, July 16, I called Verizon and talked to a third customer service person and was on the phone for 3 hours and 43 minutes waiting to talk to a manager because they all were in a meeting. (What if a major world event had happened?) She looked up the order number and location code given to me from the previous customer service agent and found nothing.

While we were waiting, she said she talked to others who do her job, and they told her Verizon never sends a phone back to a customer but sends it to the vendor. She said she could put in a ticket for “an early unlock” on the iPhone12 I upgraded to because of the marginal coverage if I decided to keep it. At 4:13 pm MST, she said a manager would call me back today to resolve the issue. The manager never called me back. 

I have filed a complaint with the BBB and FCC, so hopefully we’ll get some action done.

This has turned into a nightmare, all because this cell phone carrier knows how important a cell phone has become to us, the consumer. Tomorrow I plan to call one more time to talk to a manager, then I will have to send back the iPhone12 or get charged for it, but the insane part is if I keep it, they will lock it for sixty days, so I can’t keep it!

Finally, I will buy a phone from Apple, and we will send Lin’s old iPhone7 to Apple for his upgrade, and we will have learned an expensive lesson! Don’t believe a sales agent or a coverage map!

When I first got a cell phone years ago, I thought a cell phone was a luxury; today it has become a necessity! Whew!

Have you ever had an experience with a cell phone carrier? If so, how did you handle it?

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My Books · My Thoughts · Prejudice, Mistreatment, Mexican, immigrant

Can You Speak English?

            Because Papa and his family could not speak English, he was doomed. Hatred and prejudice could have destroyed his future and Maria’s. Is that still true today? Read what happened to Papa that broke Maria’s and her Momma’s hearts.


            Papa and I finish our daily chores and head for the house, hungry and ready to eat. Papa spots a five-point buck and three does. Their movement is slow and graceful. They are in no hurry to travel to the water hole east of our house. He signals me to be quiet and grabs my hand. We ease down the ridge to watch these free, beautiful animals water and graze in the cool of the evening. Their silhouettes stand out as the last rays of sunshine etch their forms against the ground.

            Papa squats down on a sandstone rock ledge that overlooks the watering hole, and his rough hands encircle me as I squat in front of him. I can feel his heavy breathing on the back of my neck and smell the familiar aroma of his sweaty clothes mixed with horse and leather. I so enjoy these special times together.

            He surprises me with a tight squeeze, stands up and walks towards the house in front of me. He drags his feet and the dust stirs up in small clouds. I see the nape of his neck, tanned by long hours in the sun. Tonight, it is tense and tight with the load of his world.

            We sit down to supper with an unusual silence hanging over our table. We try small talk about Papa’s trip to Trinidad and what happened here in his absence. Each of us jumps at any strange sound outside during the meal, fearing the unknown. Mama lights the kerosene lantern, placing it in the middle of the table to illumine our dark kitchen. The anxious mood lingers in the dim amber light.

            Usually the yellow light from the kerosene lamp comforts me in our long evenings inside our house. The shadows dancing on the walls have become good friends and playmates, but tonight it is so different. The dark, forbidding forms on the walls add to the suspense, feeling evil and scary.

            Halfway through our delicious, but modest meal, the much-feared event happens. Horses approach our house in a rush of noise from men and animals. The dreaded moment arrives and catches us all clustered together in the dark corner of our small kitchen. Three unfinished meals cover our deserted table.

            Several loud men on nondescript sweaty, panting horses ride up with shouting and cussing. A brisk pounding at the door sends us further in the corner. Before Papa can open the door, this mob forces the door open. What a violent invasion of our home! Six gringos fill our small, modest house of stone and adobe with their foreign language and foreign smells. One of these invaders is the sheriff of Las Animas County.

            Peering from behind Mama’s protective full skirt, I see the sheriff, now our enemy, argue with Papa in English. Papa pleads. I don’t understand the words, but I do understand the tone of his voice and theirs. Grabbing the sheriff’s hand, he begs, pleads, and cries! And then, they laugh, a communication that crosses all languages. Their laughter overflows with power, ridicule and anger. And all this is aimed at my Papa, my hero! That laughter bounces off of our adobe walls and crashes into my head.

            The sheriff and one man get on each side of Papa and push him outside towards the corrals. The others move back to their horses, light cigarettes and stand talking. Mama and I move closer to the closed door, listening and trying to understand what is happening. I don’t understand their words but I know they feel they have won.  

            In a loud voice, Papa continues to argue with the two men who take him to the corral where the horses are. I hear English words that I do know: “The Rose horse ranch” where we bought Smokey as a colt. From the conversation, I see in my mind the two gringos surveying our two horses, especially Papa’s horse. Papa continues his litany of innocence with his voice growing louder and shriller with each statement, but they ignore him. Laughter is their only response.  

            I hear Papa beg about something. The two ruffians bring him back to the house for our tearful good-bye. The last thing I remember hearing is his screams as they drag him from our house. “¡Mi hijita, mi esposa preciosa–esperame, esperame!” His screams for us to wait for him echo through my mind. I must have fainted because the next thing I remember is waking to Mama and our neighbor and friend, Pablo, standing over me with worried looks on their faces.

            “Where’s Papa? Where’s Papa? ¿Dónde está mi Papa?” I scream, demanding to know and trying to shake the cobwebs of uncertainty from my mind.

            Mama falls across me on my small bed, crying and sobbing out of control, “¡Papa, se ha ido! Papa’s gone! He’s gone. Se lo llevaron. They took him away.” The weight of her body and sound of her wails almost suffocate me.

            Pushing Mama aside, I scramble out from underneath her, search our two-room home and explode. Uncontrollable anger rages from deep within me and I attack and destroy anything I can get my hands on. My doll crashes against the hard rock wall; my marbles fly out the door in all directions.  

            Mama tries to console me in the midst of my savage tantrum, but I push her away. I shove open the front door and collapse on the front step. I scream, I cry, and I wail! Finally, I take a breath and open my eyes—Paco is staring at me a few feet away. He seems apprehensive about coming any closer. My tantrum has lost its power, so my little friend ventures near and I scoop him up in my skirt. I gingerly hold him in my hand while my sobs are subsiding. He seems to know that I need him close to me. I sit there with him consoling me.  

            I look around and see my marbles strewn around our front door; I don’t pick them up, but go inside, leaving Paco outside. Mama and Pablo stop their conversation, and I slide into my bed fully dressed. Pablo touches my brow with gentle rough fingers and whispers, “Adios.  Hasta la mañana.” I appreciate his good-bye and the hope of seeing him tomorrow. Mama walks to the door with him and says her good-byes.

            She returns to my bed and repeats what Pablo did; she touches my brow with her long slender fingers and whispers, “Buenas noches.” I sigh my response and turn to the wall, heart-broken because the most valuable person in my life has been taken away.

Maria changes through this heartless event. I won’t give away the ending, so go to Amazon and buy a copy:

Here’s a trailer for this heart-wrenching story:

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My Thoughts · Ranching

Is a Windmill Important to a Rancher?

Windmills dot the southwest landscape. Their massive structure stands sentinel on the plains where I grew up. Dad and Granddad often spent hours fixing them, but I really had no idea of their value. How important are windmills to ranchers anyway?

My brother and I own a ranch in southeastern Colorado, and we have four windmills on the ranch. Three are operative, but last week in a furious wind storm, our main windmill in our summer pasture broke—the fan broke off and was hanging on the platform by the blades. It felt ominous for sure. With our raging drought, this windmill is a vital water source for part of the herd of cattle on the ranch.

Most windmills used in the Great Plains were of self-governing design. This means that they automatically turned to face changing wind directions and automatically controlled their own speeds of operation to avoid destruction from centrifugal force during high winds.

I’ve seen this happen–facing one direction, then another; however, the wind storm that broke this windmill must have been a mighty one then!

Within a couple days, the windmill fixit man came from Folsom, New Mexico, and I had the treat of my life. My brother and I witnessed the crew of three fix the windmill.

We stood to the side, wrapped up in our coats and hoodies with a cold breeze cooling the February morning. Every phase of the work fascinated me. I grabbed my iPhone and captured as many pictures as I could.

They had a boom on their truck to lift the broken fan off of the tower. This magical operation took three men: one agile small guy up on the platform standing below the fan who hooked a chain around the fan, two men on the ground with one running the boom and the other ready to handle the fan as it came down.

The Agile Man Up on the Platform

Here’s a diagram of the parts of a windmill:

Then the work began. The young man on top took off the broken piece that the fan attached to, dropped it down unceremoniously, and they hoisted a new one up to him. The two men on the ground fixed any break to the fan, using lots of oil and elbow grease. After the two below fixed the fan, they sent it up the tower with the boom, and attached it to the new piece.

The Boom That Made the Fix Much Easier

Then they pulled out the sucker rod and the pipe it goes through. They measured the depth of the water, and the results were really sad to us. We’ve experienced a horrible drought the last couple years. We’ve received sufficient water to grow grass, but not enough to fill reservoirs and not enough deep water for the aquifer to fill the wells. A couple years ago, this well measure 17 feet deep; now it is 8.5!

Look at the size of the fan!

My brother had witnessed windmill repair as a youngster, so this was not new to him. I stepped in closer to see the work. While they had the working parts apart, the young man offered to show me the workings of the guts of the mill and how a windmill works—I had no ideas.

The Inner Workings of a Windmill

We also wanted to see how many gallons the well pumped a minute, but there’s a strange quirk with this well—it’s not straight down, so the pump they tried to put down the pipe wouldn’t go.

I’ve always had an unusual attraction to windmills and taken lots of pictures. To me, a windmill silhouetted in a sunset makes a beautiful, peaceful photograph. For us on the plains and high desert, we depend on the successful operation of a windmill. We have no rivers or live water on our ranch—a windmill provides that much needed water for the livestock. My respect for these giant wonders has grown in leaps and bounds and the maintenance of them.

Have you ever been attracted to photograph a windmill? Have you ever wonder about how they work?

Here’s how a windmill works:

  1. The wind turns the fan at the top of the windmill.
  2. The fan turns a set of gears called the motor.
  3. The motor pulls a pump rod up and down.
  4. The pump rod operates a piston in a cylinder pump located in the well.  This piston contains one o more valves.
  5. As the piston descends, its valve opens to allow the piston to pass through a water column held in check by another, lower valve.
  6. When the piston ascends again, the piston valve closes to prevent the water from flowing backward as the piston pulls the column up the pipe.
  7. At the same time, the lower valve opens to allow water to enter the pump and fill the vacuum created by the upward motion of the piston.  This is the new water column.
  8. The cycle repeats over and over again, working the water up the pipe until it overflows into a tank.

If you’d like a visual of how a windmill works, go to

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Memoirs · Uncategorized

This Tumbleweed Landed

You may not have grown up in Branson, CO during the fifties and sixties, but as you read my poems and stories, see how they resonant with you.  Hopefully they will bring back happy memories from your own childhood.

I had a friend tell me last week after reading my book, that it sounded like his childhood — he grew up in Brooklyn, not southeastern Colorado.  He said we were a tight-knit community when I grew up, just like your community.

So it doesn’t matter where you grew up. Hopefully these poems and stories will hit home for you and give you a respite for a moment.