The Talent in These Pages

The Talent in These Pages

While the list of talented writers and photographers who have contributed to Roaring Fork Lifestyle’s 18 issues would run quite long, we would like to give a shout-out to some of our more-frequent contributors.

Civic Planning at Basalt Elementary School

Civic Planning at Basalt Elementary School 5

Ms. Reiley’s second-grade class at Basalt Elementary spent February and March researching and writing opinions about Basalt’s vacant, downtown riverside land. Basalt Mayor Jacquie Whitsitt, councilmen Rick Stevens and Rob Leavitt and architect Nick Aceto came to view the students’ plans and ask questions! Photos by Kendall Reiley.

Of Gardening, Greens and Golf

Of Gardening, Greens and Golf

With May, it’s finally spring. So it may—or may not—be time for summer projects to begin.
I have already picked up the broken branches, raked up left-over leaves and removed dead grass from the lawn. I have rearranged the garage, cleaned our stored lawn furniture and taken down the deer fencing from around our shrubs. I even fertilized the lawn! That’s enough for this month, wouldn’t you think?

Planting Seeds for the Harvest

Planting Seeds for the Harvest

My boss, publisher Rick French and I strive to make this publication truly reflect the communities that make up the Roaring Fork Valley. As editor, I’m particularly glad to receive editorial suggestions, even though I can’t follow up on them all.

The Forest Garden Greenhouse

The Forest Garden Greenhouse 2

For roughly 200 years, greenhouses have been a mainstay of the market garden and nursery trades. But the possibilities of these indoor gardens to transform our homes and our lives remain largely unrealized.
In this ground-breaking book, Jerome Osentowski, a Roaring Fork Valley local and one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, shows how to bring a forest garden indoors, even on unlikely terrain and in cold climates, using near-net-zero technology.

Fashions from “Green is the New Black”

Fashions from "Green is the New Black" 16

In March, the annual Green is the New Black Fashion Extravaganza sold out to a cheering, stomping crowd for two nights. The show starred dancers, aerial artists, a mime and 70 volunteer models who rehearsed for six weeks to show off fashions from dozens of designers from all across the U.S. Among this year’s up-cycled creations were a sparkling samurai fashioned from used CDs and a puffy poodle skirt cooked up from used coffee filters.

Around Town

Around Town 18

The Carbondale Public Arts Commission will show off its 2016-17 sculptures on a June 2 walking tour featuring talks by the artists. The newly-selected artists are Andrew Arvanetes of DeKalb, Illinois; Joan Benefiel of Brooklyn, New York; James Burnes of Santa Fe; Steven Darrow of Fruitland, Maryland; Matthew Duffy of Washington D.C.; Francis Fox of Boise and Joe Sackett of Albuquerque. The Colorado artists selected are Steven Cramer of Fort Collins, Tim DeShong of Denver, Dimitry Domani of Durango, Yul Jorgensen of Walsenburg, Ted Schaal of Loveland, Daniel Romano of Colorado Springs and John Hoffman of Carbondale. A total of 14 sculptures were selected from entries submitted by 75 artists across the U.S. The Best of Show artist is awarded $1,000.

Saving Bees, Caring for Community

Saving Bees, Caring for Community 6

Bob Bailey means to set the Roaring Fork Valley abuzz with a message: The bees need our help. Thanks to his zeal, spots all around Carbondale—from the rooftops at the Marble Distillery and Town Restaurant to gardens at Delaney Park and Ross Montessori School—will soon become homes for hives.

New Hope for Old Mine Tailings

New Hope for Old Mine Tailings 1

Can burnt offerings and bark beetles become part of the solution for reclaiming played-out mines?
Played out. It’s a term that can describe an empty mine, or soil so depleted that nothing can grow in it. By the 1940’s, the Hope Mine, near Aspen, was played out in both senses.

Is It Safe Yet? When Can I Plant?

Is It Safe Yet?  When Can I Plant?

Every spring in Colorado, the “Is it safe yet?” question comes up—and every spring brings a different answer. Springtime has always been variable, and as the climate changes, so does the safe planting date.
But here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine when the time is right: Has the snow melted? Is the ground dried out enough that you can walk across your property without sinking in? Working in wet soil is never a good idea since you can compact it, reducing its ability to transfer water and nutrients to the plant roots. If you can form a soil ball that sticks together when you handle it, it is too wet to work.

Flowers Without Fuss

Flowers Without Fuss 1

Grow a beautiful flower garden with minimal care by investing a bit of time at the start of the season to reduce ongoing care.
Always match flowers to the growing conditions and the care you are willing to provide. Low-maintenance plants need minimal or no deadheading and staking. This means you’ll be growing good-looking plants with little effort, and if the plants are suited to the growing conditions and resistant to common pests, you’ll be doing less work managing insect and disease problems.

An Annual Tradition: The CRMS Plant Sale

An Annual Tradition: The CRMS Plant Sale 6

Brandywine and celebrity tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and pimiento peppers, zinnias, cosmos, hollyhocks and nasturtiums: when it comes to procuring the very best seedlings, savvy home gardeners in the lower Roaring Fork Valley have a secret up their sleeves. That secret? The Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) annual plant sale, held every May for over a decade at the school’s organic garden learning center in Carbondale.

Down-to-Earth Lessons Learned on the Farm

Down-to-Earth Lessons Learned on the Farm

For a snot-nosed kid like me, my Grandfather’s farm was a magical place. Shutting my eyes, I can still see him plowing that rich Oklahoma dirt with his mule. While pulling the plow up and around for the next row, he flicked the reins with a master’s deftness. His hardworking life filled me with wild-eyed wonder.

The Ins and Outs of Outdoor Media Systems

The Ins and Outs of Outdoor Media Systems 5

Outdoor living rooms have become popular in our valley. Roaring Fork Lifestyle recently spoke to two expert A/V designers about how make the most of this trend with an outdoor theatre or sound system.
Tom Hiles started a home alarm business in Saint Louis in 1982, gradually adding home audio/videos system, CCTV and phone systems to the mix. He moved to Colorado in 2003 and co-founded AV by Design with David Oyler in 2009. Oyler, who was first trained in electronics by the U.S. Navy, has background in professional stage lighting, custom car audio installation and creating many SPL and Sound Quality award winning systems. The two hold a list of electronics licenses and certifications that would run for pages; a shortened list appears on the AV by Design website at

Right-Size Your Electrical Load for Solar Panels

Right-Size Your Electrical Load for Solar Panels 4

“Efficiency is like broccoli… Energy efficiency is not sexy.” That’s what Wisconsin researchers Bill Schutten and Kathy Kuntz concluded in a 2010 paper they wrote for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Solar panels, by contrast, are sexy. They’re so attractive that homeowners tend to gorge on them like chocolates, installing more than they need. Ria Langheim, a research analyst at the Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego, discovered than despite a California law requiring solar installers to look at energy efficiency upgrades before installing solar panels, in many cases, that wasn’t done. As a result, more than 50 percent of the solar photovoltaic (PV) systems Langheim reviewed were oversized.

But I Work From Home? Confessions of a Carbon Sinner

But I Work From Home? Confessions of a Carbon Sinner 1

I work from home. As I commute up the stairs to my home office, I confess to a certain smugness. Steaming coffee in hand, I think of those poor souls and their wasteful commutes, trudging out into the snow to scrape windshields, or commuting from suburb to big city.