Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 39

as clear as a table. It was well named a tumble weed, for the wind had lifted all of them and tumbled them over and over until they were clear of the field and in Timbuctoo for all we know, but we had learned our first lesson in farming in Colorado. Our second lesson was when we found that a two-horse walking plow was of little service in the adobe soil either wet or dry, and the only way to do good work was with a steel riding-plow and three horses. We learned other things that we had not known in Michigan, but we learned fast and practiced our lessons.

          The farm was well located on Clear Creek eight miles from Denver, as Denver was then. Now it is the Mount Olivet Cemetery. Part of the land lay along the creek and the rest was a high level. The winter was mild that year and we prepared our fields for the crops early. I think we sowed about ten acres of wheat, but the seed cost us fifteen cents a pound. As we harvested fifty bushels to the acre the overhead cost was not too much although we did not get that price for the grain after harvest. The land along the creek was fine hay land, and also for vegetables. There we planted our field vegetables, and let me quote the cabbages as samples;- there were heads that weighed (Don’t look incredulous; I weighed them) Fifty Pounds! They were large enough for a County Fair, but they were too common, so we made them into sauerkraut. We learned the science of irrigation easily, and as we had plenty of water, good weather and fine land we made a grand success of our agricultural experiences.

          From our place to the mountains was four miles, but their size made them appear much nearer. Of course we had heard of the strangers who wanted to walk to them before breakfast from Denver. That may not be strictly true, but first experiences made such events quite probable. I well remember my first to them. I went into them to get a load of logs for firewood. The road was the main traveled road to the mines and was well laid out and graded for a mountain road. But in some places the rocks were so high and apparently so insecurely placed that they seemed ready to fall down and I was actually afraid to pass them. I stopped several times to give them time to fall if they would do so, but they stood still and I reasoned that other wagons had passed them and they did not fall, so maybe they would stand until I passed also, and with this hope I shudderingly crept by. Many times in later years, when I was familiar with mountain travel, I passed that way and looked for these dangerous rocks but could never recognize them. It made me think of sin: - How enormous it looks to the uninitiated but how small to those familiar with it!

          During this year Father Machebeuf visited us often and sometimes would stay a day or two. He had special rooms and a

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