• The enthusiasm was contagious among the vendors offering services to veterans at the second annual Veterans Helping Veterans event on Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Springs.

    The vendors from 19 organizations, including everything from the Department of Veterans Affairs to holistic medicine to educational resources were raring to go to help veterans find services they need and are entitled to. Vets could get flu shots and dental health screenings. There even was a booth with gently used clothing.

  • We hear a lot about noxious weeds these days, which makes me wonder why some plants are called weeds, and others are not. Just what is a weed?
    According to authors of various weed books, the simplest definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where people don’t want it. A bit more finely defined by the authors of “Weeds of the West,” they are “a plant that interferes with management objectives for a given area of land at a given point in time.”

  •  “A curious boy asks an old soldier …

    ‘How did you lose your leg?’
    And the old soldier is struck with silence.”

    — Edgar Lee Masters

  • The second annual Veterans Helping Veterans event wants to attract attendees from Evergreen and Clear Creek and Gilpin counties.

    Planned for Nov. 16 at the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge, the day-long event will provide a venue to help inform veterans about free benefits and provide health and education programs. 

  • The ubiquitous but anonymous reach of the Internet and ultimately the caring of Clear Creek residents led to the rescue of a stranded canine last week. 

    An 8-year-old dog was rescued from the far bank of Clear Creek on the eastern side of the county after a photo of the pooch in her predicament had appeared for a month on Facebook. The photo debuted on Craigslist on Oct. 5 and another appeared Oct. 20, then the images made their way to numerous Facebook posts.

  • One of our most interesting birds is the western scrub-jay. This bird is not regularly found in Evergreen, but it is found in Kittredge and in Red Rocks Park. 

    It is not a forest bird, but it is a bird of the scrub-land area. You can tell if you are in good jay country just by looking at the shrub growth. It can be found regularly in the scrub oak along the road, which is the Morrison entrance to Red Rocks Park.

  •  While my family was here to celebrate my birthday, I had the opportunity to visit Echo Lake. We drove up for one last trip before snow puts an end to our mountain driving in hopes of showing my family the beautiful aspen gold of our autumn.

    However, rain and wind had done their work on the high aspens because the trees were blown bare. From a distance, it looked like there had been a forest fire because all the gray trunks and branches looked like smoke across the mountains.

  •  As autumn arrives, all birders across the northern states begin to wonder if it will be a good finch winter. This is not just wishful thinking. It is based on the fact that for many years, some winters have produced large numbers of northern finches in the northern states, and some years, they have extended much further south along the Appalachian Mountains.

  •  Last Friday, Oct. 4, we all awoke to find a cold wet snow had covered our evergreens and golden aspen with inches of white. It was beautiful but brought an abrupt end to summer. It also brought back memories to me of other first snows.

  • The Jewish community in Evergreen and surrounding areas is preparing for the High Holy Days — a time of spiritual reflection, repentance and renewal known as the Days of Awe.

    This year’s celebration begins on the evening of Sept. 4 with Rosh Hashana and continues through Sept. 14 with concluding Yom Kippur services.

    The High Holidays are a time to restore and draw down spirituality for the new year, a time for people to renew their blessings in the Jewish tradition, said Rabbi Levi Brackman of Judaism in the Foothills in Evergreen. 

  • Early Labor Day morning, when many people were still sound asleep, the smell of blueberry pancakes, bacon and sausage drifted down the road like a siren song from the Historic Alice Schoolhouse in St. Mary’s Glacier.

    At 8 a.m., a small group had gathered for the fund-raising pancake breakfast, but by 9 a.m. the crowd had grown as large as their combined appetites.

  • Although the greatest number of wildflowers bloom in spring or early summer, there are some that do not grow as quickly, so they don’t bloom until late summer or early fall. One of these is the common milkweed.

    When we moved to Evergreen in 1965, I could not find any milkweed anywhere in the area. It was only when we dropped down to Golden or Loveland that I began to see milkweed, and it continued to be common out on the plains along roadside ditches and creek banks where there was a little more water available.

  •  Dynamite Days were held in Idaho Springs on Saturday. The event, named for the blasting that occurred to widen the Twin Tunnels on I-70, offered vendors, food booths, a children’s magic show, live music and a street dance. 

  • When Karina Snodgrass’ daughter is old enough to hear the story of her birth, she’ll hear that it was one wild ride.

    “We did everything possible for her to be born in a good environment, but she was born in the car, so you never know,” Karina said. 

    Emma Antonia Snodgrass, weighing 6 pounds, 6 ounces, was born at 4 a.m. Aug. 12 at 17th and Downing streets in Denver in a car driven by Karina’s husband, Robert, with their two young children in the back seat.

  •  I heard some elk bugling last week when the moon was full. This wasn’t a real challenge call by the “king of the valley” but just a few youngsters — probably yearlings — trying out their calls, not understanding what they were doing but stirred by the moonlight and the distant calls of other elk far, far away.

  • It has been so cold the past week that it was difficult not to think about autumn. However, the weather forecasters have all agreed that this week will be better. We will return to summer temperatures, and then we will all be complaining about the heat.

    The spring flowers have all been seen in May and June. Then comes a lull when we don’t seem to find anything new blooming, and then comes August. August is gentian month when most of our native gentians bloom. 

  • Gunner was just a puppy when he first earned his nickname: “miracle dog.” 

    One night, without warning, the boxer jumped up on a table and swallowed a shish kebab, including the skewer. His Aurora family, Floyd and Cheryl Dunstan, took Gunner to an animal hospital, where he earned his nickname from the vet after the skewer was removed without incident. 

  • By Stephen Knapp

    For the Courant

  •  There were two swallows flying around the yard last evening. It was just before dark, and I was pleased to see them for the usual residents of one of my bird boxes, a pair of violet-green swallows, did not return this year, and I have sorely missed them.

  • After stepping out of a limo, the group of high-school-aged kids, decked out in tuxedos and dresses, walked into the main lodge of the camp and were confronted with all the magic of prom.