By: Debra Ullrick
For several years I lived in an original homestead cabin on a ranch in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The ceiling was only six-foot four-inches high. Back then they built the ceilings low for heating purposes. Trust me, it worked. Talk about a warm…no…make that a sweltering house. Amazing how one small wood-burning stove kept us nice and toasty even in the below zero temperatures. That same practical ceiling also created a challenge for my 6’2” husband who wore a cowboy hat all the time. But he managed to cope.
I, however, struggled at times. Especially when frogs hopped across the carpet, or when I stepped on a stink bug who’d slipped inside through the broken chinking, or when I battled the many mice who inhabited the place. At first it was hard dealing with all the challenges, but then I grew to love the place and oftentimes wondered about the people who had lived there. What they were like. Where they came from. How they survived the harsh winters, and wishing the walls could talk.
Living there had piqued my interest in the history of Grand County where I lived on ranches for over 28 years. I contacted the historical society and acquired many books about Grand County. The house described in my story, A Grand County Christmas, stemmed from an actual cabin in that area. To make it more interesting, I combined the details of that cabin with a couple of other homesteads there, along with their history and some of the interesting cultures of the people who settled in that area. The more I wrote, the more I knew that I wanted to incorporate my own family’s heritage into the story, which was Germans from Russia. I’m so glad I did.
My 87 year old mom, who answered my many questions about our heritage, passed away two weeks ago. When, A Grand County Christmas, was completed, my prayer was that my mom would live long enough to read my story. God answered that prayer.
Is there any homestead or cabin you've visited that you wish the walls could talk?
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