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The Robin Story

21 Jul

Patricia Franklin

A Few Thoughts

I think I mentioned that the mother robin left a little egg shell by my door.  Since that time, I noticed she had two babies.  I watched them both and worried that they had left the nest too soon.  She tried to keep them in the branches of the lilac bush.  The young one pretty much listened to her, the other one was a little more independent.  (I’m using my imagination here).
One morning I went out and found one of them dead on the back lawn.  It did not look damaged, so I did not know what got to it…. either a cat or a very angry black bird??   It seemed to be the bigger one that was dead.  I kept track of the little one, who thrived, and learned to fly pretty well.  He discovered our birdbath, and loved it.  Whenever he got in it, he had so much fun he did not want to leave.  He would splash around, then just lay there, then kept repeating it.  He was fun to watch, as he loved it so much. Then he would fly up on the fence and shake out his feathers.  No other bird has ever spent that much time bathing there.

I lost track of the birds for about 3 or 4 weeks while we were gone, and busy running around.  Several times since, I have  seen birds in the back, and several were robins with the spots on their breasts, so I knew they were brand new in the neighborhood.

This morning, I was sitting outside and there were quite a few birds around, some still being fed by their mamas.  Then a robin flew into the birdbath and splashed and played for the longest time.  I was sure it was the one from our lilac, especially when he finally got out and flew on the fence to shake out his feathers.  I noticed he was bigger, but still had some of his baby spots.  I’m sure it was him, and I hope he will be our neighbor for a long time to come. I think I’ll always recognize him by his antics in the birdbath.


From Flickr

Do Birds Bond with People? 

27 May

 A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

 Our friend Patricia Franklin wrote me this week. Here’s what she had to say about the robin that nests in her back yard-DiVoran


Sorry I have not answered your newsy letter…. and thanks so much for the interesting article on birds!  I guess they live and thrive by instinct, but I think they have a built in intelligence too, that we do not understand.  I think I mentioned that we have a robin’s nest in our back yard.  I have been waiting and watching for a couple of weeks for the 1st hatchling.  I usually sit out on the patio chair, I water my flowers, etc. and sometimes I talk to the robins if they are around.  They have found out that we do not bother them, in fact, I chased some intruders away the other day.  Do you think they bond with us in some way?   Here is what happened today.

We were sitting in the kitchen having a cup of tea after supper, with the patio door open, when I heard this scratching and tapping on the patio cement right outside.  I turned my head, and there right in front of the door was the mother robin tapping a little blue eggshell on the cement.  I got up and walked over to the door and said something like, ” Well, I have been wondering when you were going to hatch the first one.  I’m so happy for you.”  She actually strutted around, back and forth in front of me for a little while and then went flying off to her nest, leaving the eggshell for us.  Is that uncanny or what?  Am I reading too much into this?  I do feel a bond with them, and maybe they feel it too. It was the highlight of my weekend!  (Hey, I’m pretty simple and easy to please!)

Colorado Adventures

22 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites


Patricia Franklin 



Patricia and I have been corresponding for years. We first met when she was in first grade, just before she was promoted to second and moved one aisle over to the second grade aisle where we five second graders sat. She got promoted because she was the only child in the first grade, and because she was smart. It was my first time in that school because my family had recently moved to town. This letter starts where my last blog, “Shelf Roads,” left off. I liked the extra details she shared so thought I would pass them on.


 The Altmans started coming to our school after the consolidation. (Before that they had gone to a small country school closer to their ranch. The consolidation was when all the students from valley schools were bussed to town.)

Marjorie and I were friends in high school, and we actually were roommates our first year in college in Gunnison.  They had a ranch at the foot of the range, near Alvarado, (a mountain meadow where the community had field days and picnics). We used to go horseback riding on the trails up there. That was so much fun.

One time we came upon this old cabin.  We looked inside a broken window and something white moved inside.  We screamed and ran, then went back to look again.  It was a white goat, and was inside standing in the middle of the bed. The cabin was old and still furnished.  The cupboards had been taken over by rats and any other creature that could get inside.  I guess it had been abandoned, as everything in it was a mess.  We never did find out who the owner was, or what happened after that.  Although, I remember my Dad had me write up an article for the Wet Mountain Tribune about the adventure, and it was on the front page of the paper.  We sure had some great, fun adventures in those times.

There is a shelf road between Canon City and Cripple Creek.  It is named the Shelf Road and is used a lot.  It has been closed various times, due to rock slides and erosion, but is still one of the main roads up there.  That and the Phantom Canyon Road are the two most used from Highway 50 to Cripple Creek I would say.  I have not been up those roads for a few years, but I love them.   After driving all over the “jeep roads” in the San Juan and Gunnison mountains, I do not mind them anymore.  We have been on some very narrow and scary roads, but I love it so much, I got over my worst fears.

I still do not like being on the edge and looking down though.  Once Frank and I had to pull way over to the side because some 4 wheelers were coming down and would not move over.  (As we were going up, we were supposed to have the right of way).  Our Jeep was so close to the edge, I could see the pebbles falling out from under the tires and rolling down the mountainside. And there was a pickup upside down about 1000 feet down.  Now, that was scary!!😕 One time we started up that road when it was raining. A lightning bolt hit a nearby mountain, and then some rocks started rolling down the side of the mountain above us.  Needless to say, we backed down and did not make the trip that day.

The Shelf Road from Canon City to Cripple Creek


God’s Helping Hands

12 Jan

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

It’s a frigid December day, a week before Christmas. People are lined up outside and we’re getting ready to open the crisis center. Every time I come there are more people to serve, and the board has had to introduce strict, new rules. I see 12 large colorful grocery bags in the back of the room, filled with age-appropriate toys. Our leader explains, “These are for needy families who have no toys. They were given to us by a woman and her family who recently lost her father, and around the same time, a new baby.”

A worker unlocks the door and people file in. We begin the process of finding their files and sending them down the line so we can help fill their basic needs. I work quickly, but then an elderly man stops to chat, and I pause to listen.

Homeless man“See how they fixed me up at the hospital.” He lifts his dirty, ragged shirt and shows me a long, clean bandage across his chest. “I have these other scars, too.” And he shows them to me. “Those doctors and nurses saved my life,” he says. He walks away with a smile on his face. He was already experiencing a great Christmas and his gratitude was deep and real. Yes!

Another man stops and says, “I was here not too long ago, but now I need socks.”

“You can only come in once a month.” I say, as I look at my partner to confirm.

“I’m getting him some socks,” she answers quickly and quietly, Even though we do not work in the clothing area, she stops her routine and goes to there. When she comes back, she surreptitiously hands him a small bag. Later, a woman comes in with a donation: a large trash bag filled with….socks. Yes!

A woman asks me for size 12 shoes for her husband. “They didn’t have any last time I was here,” she said. The clothing worker tells me to go look on the shoe rack. I look for what seems like a long time. Suddenly I spot a large pair of good black shoes on the top rack. I stand on tiptoe to bring them down and sure enough, they are marked size 12. Yes!

My feet hurt, but I have no time to sit down. A young man comes up and with his head lowered so that I can hardly hear him, “I’ve never been here before.” I ask for ID and proof that he lives in our county. This doesn’t happen to be one of the centers for the homeless and these proofs are mandatory. He has ID, but no proof of address. I go to the computer lady. “He is not in the system, we cannot help him till he brings proof.”

“But Ma’am this is kind of an emergency,” he whispers to me. “My wife just left me with the kids and I don’t have anything for them.”

“Let me ask my supervisor,” I say.

“He needs to show proof,” she sighs, and I suppose she is tired too. I hesitate to go back and tell the man we can’t help him, so I wait a moment hoping she’ll come up with a solution. To give her time I go back to the counter, but I hear her say loudly, “You have to have proof.” I am disappointed, but she walks past me and whispers, “Go ahead and send him through.” Yes!

I can’t stop thinking about him, however. I’m afraid he’ll be rushed through without getting everything he needs. I sneak back to the interview station and see him with a new interviewer. I won’t interrupt, but before I walk away I hear her say: “And what about Christmas, do you have any toys for the kids?” Later, I see him walk by with a big grocery sack full of Christmas toys, headed for the clothing room. I know his next stop will be the food station and they’ll take good care of him there. Yes!

We are busy at the crisis center on this day, in the week before Christmas, but I love to be here because we see so many good people helping others and so many God-incidents to thrill and surprise us.



27 Oct



A word from DiVoran

 Because I remember her brothers from our childhood, I particularly loved this email from my friend, Patricia. Sometimes I was invited for supper at the Franklins and it was a world of difference from eating in a restaurant-booth with my one younger brother, though I do love my brother. Patricia had five brothers– riches indeed! What I liked most about them was that they were so sweet and funny. Patricia and I were in our eleventh and twelfth years and her bothers ranged from about eight to sixteen. Patricia has always been petite, but she never had any trouble handling all those boys and even enjoying being with them.

Now I’ll let you get to Patricia’s story


I went to the funeral of a friend this week.  She was always relaxed, pleasant, and friendly no matter what, and had a wonderful sense of humor.  She was also a leader, planner, and song leader in our prayer group. She had suffered from cancer, and knew the end was near.  She planned the simple service, including the songs.  It was very simple and wonderful.  I also noticed she, in her witty little way, included some readings for her family. I smiled through the whole service and whenever I think of her, I have to smile.  I understood that her last words to the pastor were: “Well, father, see you in heaven.” The pastor smiled, I’m sure.

Today, we went to a breakfast in the social room at the church my friend had attended.  On the way in, we met a widower we know, and asked him to sit with us.  As I was looking around, I saw my friend’s brother by himself (the brother of the lady who died).  I motioned for him to join us. A smile lit up his face and he hurried over.  Another widower came in and we gestured for him to come over too.  The four of us enjoyed some great stories together.

When we go to the ranch country where my husband grew up, we go out to meals or coffee with several of his lifelong friends. A lot of times I’m the only woman. We have a lot to talk about. One time they were trying to recall something and the suggestion came: “We should ask the old-timersWe are the Old Timers.” Everybody smiled that time.

I’ve often felt left out because we didn’t live where either of us had grown up. That’s what gives me the tendency to look for others who might be alone too.  At breakfast that day, I turned around and saw another parishioner eating alone, so I invited him to come and sit with us. We were all enjoying getting better acquainted and sharing stories.   About that time, a woman dressed as a nurse came up and speaking directly to me said, “You and your five men come on over to the health fair across the parking lot. It is free.”  I was startled the way she said it, but then I had to smile.  Yes, I always seem to end up with a bunch of guys, I have since I was a kid, and didn’t think a thing about it.  I don’t know what she was thinking.   I was just thinking how people do not seem to smile much anymore, and had decided to make a special effort to make it happen. When it does, it’s heavenly, and none of us feel lonely anymore.




Fair Babies

8 Sep

Our friend, Patricial Franklin is sharing today. Welcome back, Patricia!

Fair Babies

Patricia Franklin

I’m working the Pro-Life booth at the Fair. It is a lot of fun, and the children and adults love the baby dolls on display. Don’t know if you have ever seen them, but they are soft replicas of 12 weeks and up of what babies in the womb look and feel like. They feel the same, weigh the same, etc.  The kids love to hold them.  Last year a family came by — first the Dad came strolling by with two seven year old girls.  He walked on and the girls stopped to hold the babies.  The mother came up struggling with a baby stroller in the crowd, saw the girls, stopped, and shouted: “PUT THE BABIES DOWN AND BACK AWAY!! I looked at her and started to back away myself. The girls giggled, put the babies down and ran to catch up with their Dad. The exhausted mother stopped for a minute and told us the baby in the strollers was the first one she’d had in seven years and it was hard work. She said “And now I have to try to explain THIS to my girls!! Meaning pro-life. Then she stopped, relaxed, we both smiled and I said, ‘I’m sure you will do just fine.” I have thought about that so many times this year, and every time I have to smile… especially at her words … BACK AWAY, which is usually what you hear in the movies as a fierce warning.

I have never had a bad experience. Sometimes a few people will try to start an argument, but it just kind of dies on their lips and they either walk away, or we have a pleasant conversation about babies. Most people are very friendly and talkative and will often tell you the story of their lives. It used to be that people would walk by and try to ignore us, or they would act embarrassed. But something was very different last year. So many people stopped and talked to us. Many had never seen the replicas before, and I was surprised at this. Some came up and picked the dolls up and cradled them like they were alive. I was surprised by many young men who came by. One, who had on a ragged shirt and wore an earring said, “Oh, I love these! I want one of the babies!” He did not fit the stereotype of what you would expect by the way he was dressed. He was with some other young people. He got one from us, and several of his friends came back and bought some of the little 12 week replicas. They were apparently students and very pro-life. This would give them some help talking to their opposing students.

I have helped in the library at the Catholic School for years.  It is only one day a week.  We basically just check books in and out…. and read to the kindergarteners.  It keeps me in touch with the younger generation.

It is amazing how you get the feeling of people’s reactions even before they speak to you. Last year a young lady came and stood across the aisle from us for a long time, looking at our booth. Whenever I tried to catch her eye, she would look the other way. I got the feeling she would like some information, but did not want to talk to us. So I gave my attention to someone who came by. While I was busy, she came over to the end of the counter and picked up a brochure and walked off with it. My thought and prayer was instinctively “I hope you will save the baby.” I was almost certain that she or someone she knew was pregnant and did not know what to do about it.

Gunnison Adventure ~Part 3

9 Sep

A Few Things

Patricia Franklin

The most memorable Gunnison trip we took was one into the high mountains via Steers Gulch Road. My husband rode horseback up here as a child with his Uncle on a fishing trip. He had not been up here since, and neither of the guys knew the road or the way there and down the other side into Antelope. The road was not well traveled, but they figured it would get better as we drove up on this round trip down memory lane. We drove for two hours uphill and were still climbing. We had forest service maps with us, but these maps did not show the roads that these guys travel, so we were not too sure where we were going to end up. Finally we came to a deep valley with an old road leading down to a cabin, which my husband remembered as “April’s Cabin.” So we knew we were on the right track, even though there were old logging roads or hunting roads leading off in other directions.


As we drove on up, we saw field after field of flowers and more varieties of mountain flowers than I have ever seen, and we had to get out many times and get close up pictures along the way. Several were very rare and only bloom for a short time when conditions are perfect. We ran across many we did not recognize.

After enduring this rough “road” for many miles, we finally came to the top of the mountain and were able to look over into the next range of mountains, the Baldy Mountain Range, which is visible on the horizon from Gunnison.



This is where my husband and his uncle rode horseback down the side of the mountain to Beaver Creek, where they caught a “pillow case” full of trout to take home. Of course, that is not legal any more, but I don’t know of anyone who would make this trip just to fish anyway. This was a beautiful area with a big old stump at the top of the meadow with Columbines growing all around it. This made a wonderful picture, with the Baldies in the background.


We then started down the other side of the mountain and headed for home. It was not supposed to rain that day, but the clouds were building up and we did not want to get caught up there in a rain storm. We had a couple of choices of roads to take, and we figured out later we took the road that was not a road, and I’m sure had not been traveled or maintained forever. We ended up going down over huge rocks and just hanging on till we got to the bottom of a ravine. At the last bump going down, our brand new off-road tires got scrunched by the rocks and we blew a tire — 20 miles out in the wilderness on a non-used road, and no cell phone service. So the guys got out to change the tire, and of course it started to rain. 20 miles out in this country could have been 100 because of the rough up and down terrain, the rocks, gullies and then clay-like mud and swampy areas. Well, they got the tire changed and we started up the hill on the other side of the ravine, not knowing for sure where we were going or if we would end up at a dead end. The guys kept saying the road should get better, as they were sure this was the Antelope Road, but in fact, it got worse and we were bumping over rocks, then sliding down the clay-like muddy road that just kept going up and down, through the trees and gullies. It was a very long, tedious ride for many miles, as everyone got quiet, the road got worse and rain kept coming down.

Finally, we topped a hill and they saw the city of Gunnison in a valley many miles away. The “road” we were on looked like it would continue on, so in spite of the conditions, we were relieved, even though we knew if we slid off or lost another tire, we would be walking this road for many hours in the dark, without proper clothing or lighting. We finally came to civilization again as we spotted a ranch house about 1/2 mile away. After that, we felt like we could breathe again, and finally came upon a main road that took us home.

You would think that someone of our age and experience would know getter than to get into a situation like that, but after all, we were just out for a “little Sunday drive.” That was our big adventure for this year. I would not do it again, but we did get some beautiful pictures and saw flowers that we will never see again. And I got closer to the Lord as I did a lot of praying

The original family homestead with new construction.

The original family homestead with new construction.


Slide show of the flowers we saw.

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Gunnison Adventure~Part 2

26 Aug

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

One of the most beautiful trips we took, and one I always anticipate, was up to Paradise Divide above Crested Butte at about 11,500 feet. This is one of our favorite places to go, and we hid a geocache up here years ago, which is still there. We get many great comments about the Paradise area on our geocaching site.



There are several rare flowers on this trip and some of them only bloom for a very short time, if conditions are right. For instance we saw Glacier Lilies that only grow near the snow banks for a short time after the snow melts;


Moss Campion (moss in bloom, with the sweetest smelling little pink flowers you have ever seen); Monument Plants which only bloom once, then are dormant for 20 – 60 years, then will bloom again. Rosy Paint Brush with its different shades of bright pink to pale pink, grows at this altitude. We saw a multitude of Lemon Paint Brush and the bright red Indian Paint Brush, too. Then there is the fluffy little Bistort that is soft and pleasing to the eye, but smells like dirty socks. These are just a few of my favorite flowers. There is a wonderful waterfall on the road up that cascades down 1000 feet this time of year, and a beautiful pristine Mirror Lake at the top. Also at the top, a large red mountain above timberline dominates the scene. You never see a lot of people up here.

Going down the other side, a few miles down you see many more people, as it is a popular area. You pass the Biology Research Center located in beautiful Gothic. They established research plots in this area years ago to study the gorgeous flora here. It looks like they are expanding their research, as they are building a huge new building up here. Also as you come down this side, you pass Emerald Lake, which is very deep and is the color of emeralds. This is a favorite fishing, hiking and biking area, with many bicycle trails in use here in the summer. One popular trail passes the famous Maroon Bells and leads you into Aspen on the other side of the mountain to the east.

We saw a lot of wildlife during our stay in the area this year, including several deer, a couple of herds of elk (mamas and babies),a family of raccoons climbing a tree to spend the night, and 3 deer being stalked by a coyote.



We were parked by the road watching the deer right above us. They were not spooked by us, but kept looking over our heads into the meadow below. So we looked down there and saw the coyote. He was watching them and looked like he was going to try to go around and maybe get behind them. However, we don’t think he would attack on his own. We also had our own little resident doe that stays close to our condo


The Gunnison Adventures~Part 1

19 Aug

A Few Thoughts

Patricia Franklin

We will try to fill you in on our latest adventures in gorgeous Gunnison. While everyone here was baking in the July heat, we were relaxing in the nice cool mountains in the glorious Gunnison Country… truly God’s country… and half-way to heaven. We spent about half the time in town and the rest driving all over the mountains.

The flowers were gorgeous this year because of the moisture and we were there at just the right time. A couple of outings were particularly fun and beautiful.  We had a day trip to Powderhorn, Lake City and up Slumgullion Pass — half-way to Creede. We stopped and took a picture of the beautiful waterfall that you would never know is there unless you knew about it. Although they finally did post a sign pointing to it. The land looks flat, but about 1/4 mile off the main road a creek runs through the mountain meadow, widens out a little and then drops off 100 feet or more into a ravine cut into the flat land.. a beautiful hidden waterfall.


We then went back to the old mining town of Lake City with its wooden sidewalks, dirt streets and old buildings. It is not real touristy there, just a small old-fashioned community surrounded by mountains. We had lunch there and some ice cream at the ice cream parlor, then took an old side road back to Gunnison. The guys thought they remembered how to get there, but after coming to a dead-end and trying a couple of roads, we finally found the back way home. Luckily we missed the downpours that were just ahead of us or behind us in that area. We have had many violent thunderstorms with flash floods, hail and tornado-like winds this summer.

Several miles out in the high country we discovered a huge summer sheep camp in a large mountain meadow. There must have been 1000 sheep, a shepherd with his camper and four dogs tending the sheep. We did not stop to talk to him but regretted it later, as just about 1 – 2 miles from the camp, before we got to it, a mountain lion streaked across the road and was headed in that direction. We were sorry we had not warned the shepherd. Anyway, we made it back


The Book Barn of Beulah Colorado

12 Aug

Sometimes a letter or email turns into a great blog. Today’s post is one of those.-Onisha


Loved this letter from my friend, Patricia Franklin, who lives in Colorado. I thought you’d like it too, so we got permission to share. It’s a book lover’s joy-DiVoran
Hi DiVoran,
Just had to tell you about our  Sunday afternoon drive today.  We drove up to the little  mountain town of Beulah in the foothills of the Wet Mountains. It has one main street that is about two blocks long with a coffee shop and a general store. We went into the general store and went to the lower level which is a little antique store. We wandered beulah General Storethrough there looking at all the things I remember as a child, and also hoping to find a couple of items to replace some that we broke, but still were using up until that time. Ha!  Not finding anything, we had a nice conversation with the owner.
We were also looking for an old book for a friend of ours.  She did not have it, but told us to go to the Book Barn, which was just this side of the Coffee Shop. She said “People leave their used books there and the proceeds go to the school… hard backs 50 cents and paperbacks are 25 cents. You just put the money in the knothole.”  I was intrigued by that comment and we drove on up the street to the Coffee Shop .
There were a couple old gents sitting out front of the Coffee Shop.  We stopped and asked them where the Book Barn was.  One of them said, “It is right behind you.”  I looked at a little old shed behind me by the side of the road and said “Is that it?”  He said, “That’s it.”  … and something to the effect of “You might not both fit in there at the same time.”  We backed our car up and parked right beside the colorful little shed that had the door wide open.  We both got out of the car and walked into the 6′ x 8′ shed. No one was in attendance. All sides were lined with bookshelves to the ceiling, which were filled with books of all kinds… not in any particular order, with boxes of books on the floor.  Being the book lover that I am, we both looked through the books, having  to squeeze past each other in the aisle.  We did not find the book we were looking for.  I saw some great books, but I have so many right now, that I did not get any, although I wanted to just to put the money in the old knothole by the side of the door.  I immediately thought of you and said to myself “DiVoran would love this little Book Barn.”  So I had to tell you about it as soon as I got home.
Need to get dinner on!
   Love, P
The book they were looking for was Colorado Wildflowers, Volumn 2, The Mountain flowers by Guennel. It is on the Internet, but it’s beyond the price the friend can pay. If you have a copy you don’t want or need let us know and we’ll see that they get it.
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