Blog Archives

Sensible shoes and memories

We went to a good Eye-Tali-an-o wedding last week down in Denver.

All the players were there… “The Don” ,”Cha-Cha”  the wise guys and all the rest. Polyester in abundance right along with chest hair and chains, big hair and high heels.

But what stood out the most, was The Don’s mother-in-law…. In her sensible shoes.sensibleshoes

I was immediately reminded of all the old ladies that used to sit on their stoops and watch kids play in the street. She reminded me of MY grandmother. Never without her sensible shoes.  And all the times she chatted with ‘The Ladies” – Comparing olive oils and pedigrees, transgressions and recipes, children and husbands and so on. All dressed alike- all in sensible shoes.

She reminded me of all the ladies riding the bus to the market in San Francisco- shopping bags tucked neatly into handbags or under their arms, housedresses and sensible shoes for walking.  She reminded me of  garlic and gravy (that’s-a what we call spago sauce) and crusty bread and cannoli.

it ladiesShe reminded me of when we lived in North Carolina and went to a Columbus Day Celebration in downtown Fayetteville.

There standing all her glory on street corner was an elderly Italian lady in her green (the EXACT same shade as the flag!) housedress, matching handbag and jaunty little hat  proudly holding a full size Italian Flag waving gently in the wind. In her sensible shoes….

A toast to The Don’s mother-in-law!


I miss my Grammy and was happy for the memories





What does your entryway say about you?

An entryway says so much about a building. It is space that is often overlooked, but sets the tone for what is ahead.


Urban Indigo    Oakland, CA

What does yours say about you? It can tell us what type of business is in there. If it  is open or closed.

Is yours welcoming?  Does it tell a story? Spark the imagination? Tempt you?

An entryway can also be art. It can be so many things!

In Berthoud, Colorado a joint effort between the city, 11261827_1529547420689260_6503898361766391575_obusinesses and homeowners produced Entryways of Berthoud to showcase art and their community. They invited folks to submit photos of entryways and these were then turned into notecards and posters.

An entryway for a business has many functions and is an important part of the establishment itself.  It may act as the local bulletin board in a rural community, or set the tone of the business.

An entryway can provide a striking entrance with uses of color and architectural details. Or lead into a more formal atmosphere with more subdued touches.


Chop & Wok Scottsdale, AZ


Similar to the beginning a chapter in a book, an entryway establishes a story that has yet to unfold.

An entryway is also a very affordable way to change a businesses dynamic.  It is a spot where risks can be taken, and even on a limited budget, have a remarkable effect.

img_8317Think about the places you frequent. How do they make you feel? Welcome? Not so much?

We like our homes to be welcoming and inviting. Our businesses should be too.

How can you use your entryway to enhance your business or community?


Katy is a rural and small town /small business speaker, consultant, advocate & writer.  She believes many small communities can grow from within using resources already at hand and creative strategies and leverage those to attract new families, businesses and customers.  Do you want Tait & Kate to come speak to your community or group? Email us at






A road trip, Espresso and truth in advertising…

Once upon a time in a far off land…. Okay, not so far off, but it sure seemed like it!

Cope, Colorado is 130 East of Denver and 75 miles from ‘anywhere else’.  We used to live there.  Mind you, this is out there in the sandhills, with a population of a hundred. If you wanted an espresso, or French press or any other ‘fancy’ coffee~ you were pretty well out ofespresso cup luck.

One day a huge 1/2 page ad popped up in our bitty local paper…. advertising for the small town 45 miles North…


Holy smokes!!  In the blink of an eye, I was the horn to my friend Shannon. We were both totally twitterpated!  ESPRESSO… here we come. We made plans…

20140614_125827Shann lived 15 miles South of town and were 15 North of town. I bundled my two kiddos into the van (yes.. the “Down by the river” van)  and headed off to pickup Shann and her three kids.  and off we went, backtracking 65 miles up to Yuma only to find out that the “Espresso” they served was that push-button gas station variety.

Talk about heartbreak!  We weighed the options, told the kids to settle in and we headed for

Sterling… another 50+ miles.. to a place we knew without a doubt had “the Real Deal”  Did I mention ‘Da Van had no AIR and it was the middle of summer??

So… 200+ miles and an entire day later, we had our two dollar drinks and the kids had theirs. (back then they were ‘only’ 2.50!)

Lesson learned…. When you live ‘out there’ call and ask first!


Cemeteries and Churches

Dillon in the Presidio of SanFrancisco

Dillon in the Presidio of SanFrancisco

Cemeteries and Churches.

~ Both are things of immense beauty.

Even though ‘polite society’ says that we should not be enamored of the former, many of us are.

There is something reassuring about the carved angels that watch over our loved ones like silent sentinels. Or the view~ that often times sweeps for miles in any direction. And the hand worked markers, many of them delicate as lace. These all bespeak of the love we have for the departed.

Churches are not only places of worship. Many are architectural wonders. After all look at what the Mormons built in Utah, or St. Basils Cathedral or even Notre Dame. All built without so called ‘modern technology’.

The craftsmanship, the beauty and the pageantry ~ they draw me in.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~cemetary 016

I have photographed plenty of both from coast to coast and border to border. And there are some funny stories along the way.. Like the time #1 son not only tried out the Papal chair at the Basilica in Denver… he also took a literal bath in the Holy Water and then blithely said… “I may need it someday!”

– While I have tons of pictures, many were taken before the digital age took over… these are the ones I chose to scan…the rest are either in a box or were sold as sets.

Here some of my favorites places.

The Presidio at SanFrancisco is probably one of the first I ever photographed as a kid. My Grandparents and an Uncle are buried there. It’s history is phenomenal.  It has incredible vista’s. The view from my Grammy’s is of the Golden Gate Bridge.  But the Soldier on Guard gets me every time.

cemetary41 (2)cemetary 014

The Irish  “Calvary”  cemetery in Austin, Nevada is a personal favorite. Its hand carved statues were made with tender loving care by Icemetary 034rish craftsmen that worked the silver mines in the early 1900’s. (Austin is on Hwy 50) The first time I saw it, the boyz and I were on a trip to California, and as we passed through the town,  the setting sun caught the marble and made them come to life. You would swear that you can hear the angels sigh and see them weep. We have stopped every trip since, for it never  looks the same twice.  I also find it interesting that the “Poor Irish” were buried across the way.

cemetary 039cemetary 035cemetary 037

cemetary 033cemetary 038cemetary 030cemetary 028

cemetary 032cemetary 029cemetary 036cemetary 025

cemetary 026cemetary 027

The Mormon Temple  incemetary 008 Salt Lake City is a wonder indeed. Can you imagine building this work of art by hand? That’s exactly what these craftsmen did. Each block crafted and put in place by  hand.  If you have ever had the chance to wander the court yard, you know there are treasures tucked in everywhere. And the Tabernacle is a sight to behold. I have been many times over the years, and see something new each time. It’s especially magical in the winter when ever tree is lit with white lights. It seems to make the entire place more mythical, mysterious and ethereal.


cemetary 010cemetary 007

morman2cemetary 018

Carlin, NV- May grandpa Paul Ledoux was yardmaster here in the ’40’s.My dad and the older Aunts and Uncles went to church here. 

Somewhere in Kansas… I want to say between Salina and Newton… I don’t remember. But this little one was out in the middle of nowhere. On closer

inspection, the cemetery was all wrought iron scroll work.

cemetary 019kansas1

Cathedral of the Plains  Also in Kansas~ Victoria to be exact… The stained glass was incredible. When I originally printed the entire stained glass set, I did them on Vellum..

cemetary 024cemetary 023cemetary 022

And of course, some from random travels… L to R ` Silverplume, Co.   ~Ukrainian Catholic- Wilton, ND   ~ Leadville, Co   ~ Bismarck, ND

ukrainianleadvillecemetary 020

And some from the little local one by our farm in North Dakota.



The Old Boys Club- a funny entrepreneur story

Once upon a time in a far off land… Ok, more like a in a little town nobody has ever heard of..

We (the ex) owned a little café.   We wound up with this place sight unseen on a handshake with a stranger. That in its self is a whole nother story. (A pretty dang funny one at that! )


We won the BEST BUSINESS award for Washington County. I almost wasn’t ALLOWED to accept it.

This little café was smack in the center of town. A tiny town. 96 people. A town where time stood still. Literally.  The home of the ‘old boys club’. A staunch old school German community.  130 miles from Denver and another 60 or so to St. Francis, KS.                                                ~If you wanted food, you were getting it here. ~

cope5 001   cope4 001

We worked our rumps off to make this place a success. We had regular customers that would drive 50 miles just for our fried chicken! We tons of truck traffic and catered far and wide. Tony had been a well known chef in Denver before we made the move.  I worked extra hours so we’d have the money to employ the teenagers an moms that came looking for work.  We had a wonderful friend, also an award-winning chef from California come join us, as well as the Mom-in-law.

In our neck of the woods, there were many organizations one could join. However… MEN were the end all-be all of the area. If a woman showed up for say, an economic development meeting, it was “Understood” that it was by Proxy as a stand in for her husbanOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAd. And that everything would be rehashed with HIM the following morning over coffee.

We were awarded Best Business of the Year by Washington County. This was  for our efforts to attract business and for being the main employer after the rural school. (The elevator had shut down)

Hubby couldn’t make it. He had to mind the café. So I asked my friend Shannon Lewellen to come with me to the dinncope3 001er to accept the award.  Shannon was also the photographer for the Akron Newspaper.

So, we dress up. And we go. Dinner was good. The company was interesting. I think many of them were a little uncomfortable. It was mostly men, all patting themselves on the back.

They announce the award. I stand up. Shannon is clapping wildly. And…… SILENCE. Utter and complete silence.  The very nice fellow looks around asks when is your Husband going to get here?  I said that he was unable to attend. And he said that if They Had Known , they would have waited until another date. newspaper cope 001

I popped a cork. And let the Old Boys Club know in no uncertain terms what I thought about that.

I got the award.

Just goes to show… sometimes you have to blaze new trails!



Granola Shotgun

Stories About Urbanism, Adaptation, and Resilience


~life, love and humor on the farm


Creating passion for community leadership and development

Grotto on the Go

Big Adventure ~ Tiny Space


we are an online Children's Boutique selling funky, vintage style and retro kids clothes

A Girl & Her Chickens

A dive into all things feathered and farming...

Daily Hike

Just the daily things...

Kate's Country Living

~life, love and humor on the farm

The Misters Mrs

A Southern Fried Housewife