Sunday, November 10, 2013

Siltsox in Ironton

This post will be about that happy but mysterious confluence of vacation, model horses and photography.  It all took place high in the Colorado Rockies during May of this year.  I love to wander in the cool aspen and pine forests of the high country.  The Castaway Cob has a spiritual brother in my Black Hand, Siltsox.
Who is this horse, and why his funky name?
This shot was taken in the living room of my parent's house in Boulder, using my brother's wonderful light tent.  (My parents're not my caregiving subject.)(Not yet.)  My brother is something of a professional photographer (go to Flickr and search for AllenBPhotography), and he was showing off his fancy gear and stuff.  He wanted to practice on a model horse, which, of course, I had in plentiful supply, even while travelling.  I had purchased my Black Hand sometime between August of 2012 and March of 2013 (for once, a horse gets by my card system!).  Since he was even more 'tubular' than the Pony of the Americas, which I conga, I thought about naming him Siltsox.  Silt socks are those plastic mesh tubes stuffed with straw that construction companies use to block water flow down a slope.  You see them lying around like fat snakes in various colors, black, green, orange.  I just loved the word.

When Sergeant Reckless came out, I immediately thought these two should go together, making a married pair.  It was my husband who suggested the most perfect name for her:  Versalox.  After all she is built like a brick!!  Versalox are precast, self-locking brick elements used in retaining walls...
So that is why the horse with the socks is not named Siltsox... just so's y'know...
So here we are, pulled off on the road down to Ironton, Colorado.  We had been here once before, birdwatching, so we knew it existed.  Ironton is a ghost town.  It was built during Colorado's gold rush days, 1848 to 1868.  We are just off Highway 550, Colorado's million-dollar-highway, about 6 miles straight east of Telluride.
This is the first building you see, and the best.  The poster tells about the efforts of volunteers to rescue and stabilize these ancient structures.  Really that's all they've got going for them.  That's a pile of snow in the lee of the building...  It is mid-May in the high country.
This is what you see turning to the left:  a couple of decrepit barns or sheds, structures for sheltering animals.
And the irresistability begins.  What more appropriate than a barn?  Siltsox has spent all this time mewed up in a pony pocket stuffed in a Stone horse box, riding in the back seat.  He's been there for at least 2 weeks, and he only got out a little during the Utah part.
If I back up I can get some context for the setting.
This barn, or shed, was better preserved than some.  You could clearly tell it had livestock in it at one point.
The cross beams are holding up the roof.  I love the textures of old wood.
Can you spot him?
Here I've walked uphill and back around the first building.  It is a house.  We found out that its owner lived there all her life, even after the town was abandoned.  She passed away in 1965... when I was a child.  This shot features my patient husband, sitting down, slightly right of center. 
It would be a pity if this were lost to the elements.  The roof has been replaced.  Not too bad, when you consider how old it really is...
Siltsox doing what he does best:  posing.

This is my favorite pic of the litter.  The colors of the old woods are fascinating.
This is exactly the same pose, but I've moved the center focus up off the horse and tried to capture what's inside.  I don't know about you, but I'm always curious about what's really inside of an abandoned house.  What went on?
This is looking over his shoulder, as it were.  I suspect some of the boards are replacements:  could such color have survived 200 years of Colorado weather?
True to my previous behaviour (see the blog post on Rikki's Prizes) the horse is getting smaller and smaller, and the surroundings are getting larger and larger.  I'm getting carried away with these ancient old houses.  This one is deeper in the forest from the first white one and to its right.  It is larger and has more outbuildings.
The stairs were built by hand:  you can tell from the irregular corner turn.  The weather is so cold that even stairways get thick walls.
Here is that house from the right side.  The whiter house is behind and beyond in this view.
The structure extends through a series of sheds.  They all have interior runways, so you can get out to the livestock even if buried by snow.
See that miserable little shed on the far right?  That's the outhouse.
This is looking uphill at the right-hand end of the house.  The outhouse is thus located behind where my initials are.
If you ever get a chance to visit Ironton, I hope you can see these reminders of a time gone by.
And don't forget to let the horses stretch their legs!