Editor’s note: Enjoy excerpts of The Colorado Daily Chieftain published on August 29, 1898. Take a trip to early Beulah, buoyed along by the colorful descriptions of “M.G.” (the only hint of the author), and early photos.
ON FOOTHILLS FARMS
Explorations Among Ranches long the Upper Fork
SETTLERS OF BEULAH VALLEY
A Visitor Surprised When He Made Close Examination —The “Kind of Farming You Read About’’ and Right in Our Own Pueblo County. — Something Besides Mountain Scenery on the Upper St. Charles.
When you come to the mountains the thing to do is to get away from other people; have a horse or at least a burro and go away up Middle creek canon, or up North creek, or up Mount Carlos. Find the genuine solitudes, and keep yourself there with nature and the thermometer. When they go to a resort they secure a place to sleep, for shelter at night, and then spend their days out on the hills or in the canons, far from the madding crowd. Our party in its travels did not limit itself to the usual mountain and canon tours. One of the things that most interested us, and yet one which nine-tenths of the city visitors quite overlook is the farming in these foothill valleys. The Beulah valley itself has several thousand acres of more or less successful farming, right here within walking distance of the town. It seemed strange to us that so little attention is paid to it by even this limited number of city people who seem content, even for a few days, with the vapid, idling, godless, discipline-shunning, pleasure-seeking life about the cottages and boarding houses of the village.
A GENUINE RANCH.
It is for the purpose of expressing in some degree the pleasant surprise that awaited us that this letter is written. The place is five miles north of Beulah, and on the road up North creek [Himes - 4331 North Creek Rd.]. Mr. Krenzke was one of the first settlers in all this valley. He has a ranch of over nine hundred acres, and it is one of the finest in the county.
This bald barley was something our party had never seen before. The heads are so heavy that a strong sturdy stalk is required to support them. As the name indicates, the heads are destitute of beards. The plump fat grains are fully twice as large as those of any ordinary barley. Gus makes special use of this grain in fattening his hogs. He cooks it before feeding, and the animals brought up to be winter season on alfalfa at mostly no expense, fatten very rapidly These splendid grain fields are under ditches, but have had little or no irrigation this season, the unusual rains of the spring and early summer having been sufficient.
There are between 20 and 30 acres of these three small grains—bald barley, oats and rye–the long slender heads of the latter stood on a level with our ears as we waded through it. Then on the east side of the creek is the corn field, a tract of between 30 and 40 acres. The corn, dark green and looking exceedingly well, is grown without irrigation, and will be cut for fodder. It is not such tall corn as you would see in the Missouri river valley, but it is all right for making the cattle fat, as a supplement to the alfalfa.
And as to the alfalfa, that great standby of the Colorado farmer, Gus has two big barns nearly full of it. He and his nephew are just putting into one of them the last load of the second crop, all nicely cured, having had unusually good luck in escaping the rains which so often seem to lie in wait purposely to catch an alfalfa crop down. In other parts of Pueblo county it seems to be the custom to let alfalfa stacks stand out in the weather, which ruins all that portion on the top of the stack for a thickness of two feet or more. But here we find genuine barns with real shingles, which is a great relief from the poverty-stricken alfalfa farms along the Fountain and down the river. Located thirty miles from a market, Mr. Krenzke fully understands that ordinary farming can not be made to pay. He therefore manages with, a view to putting the whole output of his big ranch into livestock. He has about fifty fine beef steers at present—none of your scrub toughs, but plump blooded fellows which always command big prices from Pueblo butchers. He has two dozen pigs, and somewhere in the neighborhood of two dozen horses—he doesn’t exactly know. One of these horses is as fine a stallion as Pueblo county ever saw.
The house is a large and sightly abode, and well furnished, carrying out the general air of thrift and comfort. After our appetizing supper Mr. and Mrs. Krenzke seated themselves at the organ and gave us a fine duet. It was not only hot tea we drank with our biscuits and our slices of home grown pork, but pure cold water from the big spring just below the orchard.
WHEAT AND CORN.
The next day we drove up the North creek road again, but only a little way, to the farm of John J. Sease, one of the oldest in the county. The Sease family [Budde - 5640 North Creek Road] were among the original settlers of the Beulah valley. The farm house is pleasantly situated in a fine grove of tall pines, for the proprietor is another of those singular individuals who can sit calmly down in the presence of a noble tree without instinctively reaching for an axe. After an exchange of greetings with the family, and some talk of old Indian times, we happened to mention the previous day's excursion to the Krenzke farm and our surprise there. Mr. Sease promptly intimated that he knew a little about farming himself, and commanded “Get your hat and come with me.” Around the curve of a cottonwood grove was visible a small growth of wheat. This we entered, and here was another surprise. The wheat proved about twice as tall as had seemed from the road, and began to stretch out as we advanced till it extended in waving ranks up and down the creek for a quarter of a mile. It is fine wheat, too, thick and with plump firm grains, and will turn out many a sack of No. 1 flour. Then we ascended a little hill to the broad mesa on the west, and, after crossing a tract of some acres of fine millet, came to a solid and unbroken field of corn, I don't know how far, but there is 30 to 40 acres of that corn. We visited a fine orchard of thrifty young trees nearly old enough to bear heavily. They were selected on modern principles, for Mr. Sease is an enthusiastic student of Wilcox’s “Field and Farm.” Adjoining is a fine garden full of all the usual vegetables, a strawberry patch, and also a large bed of odorous sweet peas, besides a few rows of immense and brilliant red poppies in full bloom. Beyond was the inevitable alfalfa field without which no Colorado farm is complete. The cattle for whose benefit all this field wealth was spread out were not in sight, but were known to be scattered in the great pasture sloping up to the crest of the high ridge east of the farm—we would call it a mountain if we had it at Pueblo, and would give it some poetic name.
SIGHTS TO BEHOLD.
We drove through the lane on the Curtis farm [8889 Curtis Lane] as far as the house, and saw enough to prove that it is a first class farm equal to the best of the high-class concerns of Ohio or Illinois. Immense barns give indication of the quantities of alfalfa and fodder yielded, and the orchard, bending with green apples, lines one side of the lane for a long distance. The house is a large two-story frame of modem architecture, and, like the Krenzke and Sease residences, nicely painted. Indeed, they paint even the barns in the Beulah valley, while in all the rest of Pueblo county I had seen there is not a shingle of shelter for either a hay stack or a steer.
Various smaller farms stretch along the roads and lanes here and there, but one of the prettiest sights in the valley is right at the border of Beulah town itself, and that is the Sellers orchard, something over twenty acres of trees seven years old, standing in this clean mellow soil, with hardly a weed to be seen.
Almost across the way is Rev. Mr. Harrison's small but thickly set pine nursery, where baby pine trees a foot high stand in thick rows, partly shaded from the sun by structures of saw-mill slabs.
Talking about agricultural write-ups, we are here only a few miles from the original Dotson ranch at the forks of the St. Charles, which was once given the benefit of a complete illustrated sketch in Harper's Magazine.
A number of beautiful farm scenes were found in a too brief exploration of the south part of the Beulah valley. A large and splendid wheat field covers a mesa above the Rice place on Squirrel creek. Tracts of millet peep out here and there on hill slopes south of Beulah.
And yet with all these farms, some large and some small, and with various others all the way down the St. Charles to the Arkansas, these people do not supply the Beulah market even with hay. In fact, we had to skirmish hard to secure a supply of ranch eggs, chickens and butter and with cattle on a thousand hills we were much of the time dining on canned bacon and canned codfish from the postoffice grocery. M. G. v
Copyright © 2022 The Beulah Newspaper - All Rights Reserved.