Where to start? I suppose by introducing myself. My name is Darlene and my husband is Jim. We had two four legged "kids", Lady and Kelsey. Sadly, we are down to one, Kelsey, sitting in my lap. Lady, our big girl, passed away in July. That's her on the right with Kelsey. We sure miss our girl.
Jim and I are baby boomers, born in the early 1950's. We are finally living our dream on our own little piece of heaven here in the mountains of Colorado.
But I didn't start out here. I was born in Maryland, an only child. My parents and grandparents had a farm they shared and worked.
My friends were the plow horse, cow and pigs that I would play with daily. I would ride on the back of the plow horse while grandpa would plow the fields. What fun!
I grew up in the 50's watching the old western TV shows with my parents and dreamed of going west to experience this action.
I was too young at the time to realize these shows were based in the western past. But I continued to ride my stick horse around the living room during the shows imagining I was riding along with Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson or Marshall Dillon.
As a teenager I didn't lose my love of the old west and began writing stories of pioneers, wagon trains and heroes, with me in them, of course.
I loved horses and read all I could about them. I went to fairs and horse shows just to talk to the owners and watch their beautiful animals.
After graduating high school, I began working in the corporate world. On the weekends I would give riding lessons at the local stable.
In the early 70's, I purchased my first and only horse, Target. He was green broke and I was so taken with horse shows, I spent 2 years training him for western pleasure horse events.
In his life he won hundreds of ribbons, trophies and awards. I was so proud of him. We would go on trail rides all through the woods and along railroad tracks, me pretending to be in the old west.
In the late 70's, Jim and I got married. We fell into the usual scenario, work, come home, pay bills, squeak by and forgot about our dreams.
I couldn't afford to take care of Target anymore, and was going to sell him to a 4-H'er, when my dad, who was retired, said he needed something to do. So I gave him my horse. Both were so happy and seeing dad and Target riding around the woods and neighborhood was a good fit for them both.
Target died in 1989, at 23 years old. My father and I were with him when he passed and we both agreed we had lost a dear friend.
The rough times were just starting. A few years later, dad died of cancer. This devastated me. I was daddy's little girl.
My mother couldn't handle the loss. They would have been married 50 years if dad had lived a few months longer.
Mom moved in with Jim and I. She had been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease after my father died. She didn't show any symptoms before then. In the early 90's, the disease was new and treatment limited.
She was pining for dad and her doctor said she needed to get away somewhere healthy and warm. So we all packed up and moved to a retirement community in Florida.
I was mom's caregiver and I can tell you, it was so stressful dealing with mom and Jim ,all of us living in the same house.
There wasn't support for caregivers back then, but my neighbors would have me over to chat while mom was napping. They helped my greatly.
Mom was very depressed about dad's passing and her disease. Jim and I tried to help her out by getting her involved with projects she liked, such as crafts, gardening and playing bingo.
Our neighbors were into those things and took her along with them. Mom started to brighten up so we bought her a golf cart and she would be zooming all over the place going to her clubs.
Jim and I were getting on better now and I decided to take a job at the local historical society. I have always loved history.
Happy for a few years, another blow fell. Mom had a stroke. Paired with her Parkinson's she couldn't function well and had to be placed in assisted care.
I would visit her daily and on one visit she was looking really happy. We talked for awhile and I wheeled her out to the garden and we just sat.
She looked at me, smiled and said, "You're very nice. Do I know you?" I can't describe what I felt. Her nurse took me inside and I cried on her shoulder. I continued to visit mom, she was declining rapidly.
Weeks later, she passed away. We flew her up to Maryland to be buried next to my dad and her parents.
Now I was an orphan. I became depressed and agitated. Help came with Jim's announcement that his company asked him to go on a one year detail to any city he wanted.
That night he came home and told me to pack up, we were moving to Denver. I was shocked! He knew of my dream since we met when I was 17.
So we packed up the U-Haul and headed to Colorado. I felt just like an early pioneer because I had never been west of the Mississippi in my life.
This was a new and scary adventure for me. Jim, always confident and loving, said that it was better late than never getting our dream back.
And here we are. The above photo is the view of Pikes Peak from our place. It is so peaceful, not a sound except birds singing and the breeze blowing through the pine trees. I know my parents would have loved it here.
We love our lifestyle here. Secluded and with nothing but nature around us, we enjoy the wildlife who come to visit and our fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains in every direction.
Many years have passed and we never tire of living
here. The quiet and solitude. Looking at Pikes Peak out my window
while I write of pioneers, Native Americans and Colorado's old west.
But it hasn't been all fun and games. One of the largest wildfires in Colorado history, the Hayman Fire, forced us out of our home in 2002.
Jim and I both had to work to make ends meet, and I took a job in the retail business close to home.
We fell into the routine of work, come home, collapse and get up and do it again. For me this went on for 7 years.
Then my health started to fail. Herniated discs in my neck, degenerative disc disease in my back and the usual for us seniors, arthritis.
Surgery, physical therapy, mounting medical bills everything that goes with being a "mature" adult or senior citizen.
I couldn't do my job anymore and was encouraged to retire from the company. What would we do without my income?
For decades Jim and I had dreamed of working out of the house and dumping the 9-5 job. I started looking into ways to do this.
Friends and family told me to do what I love and write. Put up a website on something I love. This was a good idea.
I started looking into web designers, web hosts, etc. Do you have any idea how much that costs? I won't lie, I tried a few and got burned. Wasted money and time. I was discouraged.
About ready to give up, I checked out one more company. I was interested, read all the information available and asked Jim to check it out.
He liked what he saw and I gave it a shot. This was not a get rich quick scheme like the others. You do the work yourself, saving money, and using the thousands of resources available to build your website and your own business.
My first site was about dogs and I won't lie to you, it was a bust. Tons of dog sites on the internet and I wasn't getting many visitors and little income.
I stayed with the company because I have faith in it and developed the site you are visiting. Now I have lots of visitors from all over the world and many income sources to supplement my retirement income.
This website is a work in progress. If I can do this, anyone can. Of course I had questions and the answers were the benefits I was looking for. Whether you are young, old or in between, we all want a better life for ourselves and our family.
Please enjoy the information I have written. It is my own words and take on events that have formed the history of the state of Colorado, current and historic re-enactments.
It was a pleasure meeting you, and I hope you visit often.
All the best from Jim, myself and "the kid".