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Outdoors

  • Reminiscing about first snowfalls

    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.

  • Repairs to flood-damaged parks will take months to complete

    Extensive damage to Lair O’ the Bear and other Jeffco Open Space parks caused by recent flooding will take several months to repair, said Stanton LaBreche, Jeffco parks operations manager.

    During his presentation to the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee last Thursday night, LaBreche said that heavily damaged parks in the system will be closed until the first or second quarter of 2014.

    In addition to Lair O’ the Bear in Bear Creek Canyon, trails at Apex and White Ranch parks are closed indefinitely.

  • Harmless Mexican woodrats collect shiny objects

    This past week brought two interesting events to my attention: a letter from a reader of this column asing for helpin in identifying a bird was forwarded to me from the newspaper and another reader called me to ask about a critter in her yard.

  • Health focus in open space master plan criticized by advisory committee

    The relationship between open space and public health gets an inordinate amount of attention in a second draft of the master plan for Jeffco Parks and Open Space, according to some members of the advisory committee.

    “I think there is an inordinate amount of text devoted to community health,” Jan Wilkins said while reviewing the second draft of the plan with other committee members last Thursday night.

    “There are so many aspects of open space,” Wilkins said. “There should be a more comprehensive description of what we do.”

  • Aspen leaves begin to turn gold amid cooler temperatures

    The aspen just below our house have turned yellow in just two days. As I write, they have changed from a sickly yellowish-green to a sickly greenish-yellow.

  • Earthworm population takes a beating with recent rains

    The damp, downright wet weather continues. All weekend, it has been wet and miserable. As I write, more rain is falling. Another gray day makes me wonder what happened to the sunshine that brought my late husband Bill and me to Colorado.

    Both of us, having grown up in western New York, were tired of damp gray days that were brought to us by Lake Erie. On our first trip west, we attended a birders’ convention in Colorado and were impressed by a full week of sunshine. We vowed we would return, and we did 49 years ago next April.

  • Several wildflowers continue to bloom this month

    Most of our late summer flowers are yellow, and many of them belong to the composite family. In the common vernacular of many botanists, the flowers are referred to as DYCs. DYC stands for damn yellow composites, which refers to the fact that they are a big family; most of them are yellow and difficult to identify.

  • It’s the right time of year for milkweed to bloom

    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.

  • Jeffco Open Space seeks clear goals for next five years

    Jeffco Open Space wants its new master plan to do more than just collect dust.

    The plan, which gets an overhaul every five years, will include a set of benchmarks to help the Open Space Division see if it’s meeting stated goals. Previous master plans have lacked goals and objectives that could be measured, said Jeffco Parks and Open Space Director Tom Hoby.

  • Elk are seen and herd at this time of year

    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.