Walker Ranch Homestead, a part of Boulder, Colorado, Parks and Open Space, hosted a free open house Sunday, April 28th, 2013. The Walker Ranch Homestead is located west of Boulder, 7.4 miles up Flagstaff Road. The sunny day, with a light breeze, welcomed many visitors to the the Walker Ranch acreage. The winding road through the gorgeous view of nearby mountain ranges was filled with Sunday bicyclists and cars carrying hikers on their way to the different trail heads. Even with the activity I still spotted a lone deer enjoying springtime in the nearby forest. I missed that picture but stopped for this peaceful scene.
Turning off Flagstaff Road towards the Walker Ranch Homestead, we ventured down a chopped rock road. Before us opened up a gorgeous panoramic view of a nearby mountain range and the Boulder Valley framing the Victorian-era buildings of pioneer days in Colorado. On this Sunday outing I was accompanied by my husband, Rex, and our son, Matt, and his 3 month old baby daughter, Lindsey (below). Matt's wife, Kelly, (Lindsey's Mom) was working this event so we ventured down this dirt road to find what activity she was involved in today.
The first event we found was the laundry demonstration. Kelly wasn't here.
Children were trying their hands at the ole washboard. They were having fun playing in the water and not realizing this was work in the olden days.
The hand washed laundry was blowing in the breeze. I remember the fresh smell from the clothes that hung on a line. I also remember the rush to get the clothes off the line when rain started to fall on wash day.
With the sun shining in my eyes, I had to look twice at the next table to believe my eyes. There was Kelly making butter. She had a plate of saltine crackers with homemade butter smeared on each one for us to sample. It tasted wonderful. Why do I buy butter at the store anymore when my darling daughter-in-law, Kelly, is so talented?
This little girl stopped at Kelly's table to try her hand at churning butter. Kelly told her it wasn't ready yet and to keep going.
As I strolled through the Homestead, I was drawn to the wagon barn where these delightful folks were playing and singing for us. It was foot stomping fun, drawing an appreciative crowd. This barn was for the wagons, buggies and farm machinery but it was also used to store the corn grown on the ranch.
Relaxing and wandering around the Homestead was a great way to imagine the life of others who once walked in these same steps. This log house was built circa 1865. It's an example of a broad axe hand-hewn log house. A warm, cozy house made with lots of physical labor.
Inside the log cabin, the wood burning stove was hot and used to cook the meal for the day.
The kitchen was comfortably stocked with cast iron skillets, trivets, crocks and canisters.
The bathroom was sparse with only a chamber pot, tub and a few basic toiletries such as a shaving brush, wrought iron curling iron (warmed on the kitchen stove) and a bar of soap.
Admiring the walls of the house made me appreciate how the structure was made from such rustic beginnings.
Piles of logs and tools gave opportunities for more hands-on wood cutting and time to turn the clock back.
This young man took a successful swing and split a piece of wood perfectly.
On another part of the property is the Blacksmith's shop. This was built circa 1880. It was a busy place as all iron-ware, hinges, etc. were forged here. Wagon repairs and horse shoeing happened here as well.
And what ranch didn't need to have calf-roping experts on hand? This is where the young ones and the visiting cowboys practiced their skills.
As I wandered past this wheat barn and the pig pen, built circa 1885, I just loved this door on the large barn. The knots in the wood and the bark still on the structure was a magnificent sight to me. Even though it felt like a spring day with the temperatures in the 60's, the snow still lingered on this north side of the barn. The elevation ranges from 7320 to 8040 feet so winters can be quite harsh.
The Walker Ranch Homestead is open to the public only during their four seasonal special cultural history events. The next events are as follows:
Summer Heritage Evening 2013, Saturday, July 20, 5 pm-7:30 pm
Autumn Heritage Day 2013, Sunday, September 29, 10 am-3 pm
Winter Heritage Day 2014, Sunday, January 26, 1 pm-3 pm
Spring Heritage Day 2014, Sunday, April 27, 10 am-3 pm
The Walker Ranch property is 3,828 acres. The property is open to the public year-round. It's only the Homestead that has limited hours and events. The whole area is a beautiful escape from the Boulder-Denver metropolitan area which is only a short distance away. If you're in the Denver area or visiting Boulder, it's a lovely drive and worth the trip to admire the lovely mountain views, pine trees and perhaps even a deer or an elk.
Be sure and stop for a close-up look too!
See you at the Ranch!