Archive for January, 2014

Cooking With Fire #1: Spanish Tortilla

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014


Tea has been running rampant through the office. Our electric kettle, decorated with orange and brown flowers, first began its journey at the PPRS Research Station, made it’s way to South Platte, and finally to the offices of the Sanborn Blog. But don’t let word get out to the wonderful men and women working downstairs– the kettle barely makes 2 1/2 cups as is. Tea is our major defense against the cold days, along with fleeces, flannels, and beanies (or knit caps, toboggans, bobcaps, stocking caps, a tabby cap, a watch cap, or in Canada, a tuque; this interactive map will help you decide: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk). But we’re here to talk about eggs and sprouts, not if you say hoagie or grinder.

Spanish Tortilla, along with Brussels Sprouts and Chicken

1 red pepper

1 onion

1 large sweet tater

12 eggs from Marty’s chickens



3 cloves of garlic

coconut oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

chili powder

chicken breast with lemon

Brussels sprouts

JB scrambled up the eggs along with a bit of milk. He put the cut veggies into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and sauteed them with coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste, and some butter. Once the veggies started to brown he poured in the egg and cooked over medium heat. Some recipes call to flip the tortilla halfway into cooking it, but JB chose not to. A little chili powder was added. On the side he baked chicken breast at 400 degrees till done, along with lemon, onions, and salt and pepper to taste. The Brussels sprouts were sauteed in a 12-inch skillet with salt and pepper.

The Spanish tortilla is best served with friends and family on a cold, snowy night. 3 year old children seem to like all elements of the Spanish tortilla, yet 5 year olds seem aversed to certain vegetables. Broccoli was a hit with all ages. If there is no side of chicken, along with growing children in the household, ham can replace the sweet tater in the tortilla. Theoretically.

JB takes a quick moment to battle local wildlife.

Building Interview #1: High Trails Kitchen

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

High Trails Dish Room

Ian and I pull into the snowy High Trails “parking lot” after deciding not to do the Speedwagon as our first interview, or the High Trails Craft Barn, and that we probably didn’t have enough time to get out to Quicks and back before Ian’s interview, and so I roll down the Suburban’s window to open the door because there’s no handle inside the car, and realize I have no idea how one even conducts a building interview. I guess I figured we’d take an artsy picture, and I’d write some insightful, nostalgic stuff about how it looks in the wintertime.

WM: I really appreciate you taking the time out to do this.

HT Kitchen: Sure, no problem.

WM: So: is it lonely out here?

HT Kitchen: Excuse me?

WM: I mean, without all the kids.

HT Kitchen: It gets quiet, but no, I’m not lonely. I don’t mind the quiet.

WM: How many squirrels live inside here?

HT Kitchen: No squirrels.

WM: Alright… Well, you know, I actually heard—

HT Kitchen: Sorry, but what is all this about?

WM: [WM puts his hand over the microphone] Off the record, OK?

HT Kitchen: …OK.

WM: How many squirrels?

An Artsy Picture

None of Vicki’s tools hang from the bakery hooks. The cookie jar isn’t even out on the table, with a few careless crumbs at the bottom. There is no reason to be here, and it is colder inside the kitchen than in the bakery. The stainless steel of the dish machine looks like we’d just sprayed it with vinegar and wiped it with dishrags hung from our aprons. A Nalgene and red mug sit next to the faucet, and sump buckets and fork and knife and spoon buckets and the kitchen’s serving spoon/whisk/colored nonstick paring knife/soup ladle bucket all lie downside-up in what we affectionately call the other window.

WM: What’s your opinion on net neutrality?

HT Kitchen: There’s no wi-fi here over the winter.

WM: Great! I think that’s all I need.

HT Kitchen: That’s it?

WM: [WM stands and they shake hands] Yep. See you March 27th!

HT Kitchen: I mean, but if you want to come by before then, if you’re in the neighborhood or something, you could… I mean to say, if you had nothing else to do.

[WM stands, silhouetted by the setting sun behind him, and with enough orange afterglow to light his slow smile and his almost imperceptible, yet fully sincere, head-nod, he gathers his things and leaves.]

Did You Enjoy Your Story?

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I find myself looking out the office window as Jake and Gulliver look back at me through their fish-tank’s glass. I am dreaming, thinking of the adventures that I want to go on and where my life has taken me thus far. The sunset in a Thai rice field, the sight of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkles with a thousand lights, standing, watching the waves of 3 different oceans wash sand over my feet. Snapshots that capture a moment that can’t be replaced or relived.

I close my eyes and they are the shutter, and the longer and tighter I close them, the more engrained I will have that exact image in my head. It’s easy to immerse yourself in a trip, a journey, an expedition, call it what you will. We let moments slip through our fingers and our memories drift the longer we are away from that moment.

I often post things about “enjoying the journey,” but when my pictures can’t get the job done, I have my memories, my stories, those times when I know I was at my finest. It’s important to keep your mind and heart open and ready for the next adventure that is just around the corner.

Where will you go? What will you do? Are you ready?

Check out this beautiful short video of a couple’s journey through Patagonia and Chile: a story for tomorrow.

~Ian Stafford

New Years Resolutions

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

We're hard at work here in the office!


Get excited, because we have a lot of great things coming your way this New Year! Sure, the first Postal Holiday of the year is over, but here at the office things are just warming up. Look out for an update from us here at Sanborn’s blog each Wednesday in the form of (but not restricted to): the exploration of gustatory delights with Big Spring’s new Program Director, Jackson Blackburn, interviews with staff and camp buildings, updates on winter projects, an article here and there that catches our attention, and the occasional uplifting piece of multimedia.

An exciting event: our #sanbornswag contest! Let us see your Sanborn Western Camps swag (this means clothing) from home, from camp, and any and all adventures you’ve taken around the world! Follow us on Instagram (@sanborncamps) and post your picture with #sanbornswag along with a great caption. Submissions are due February 3rd 2014! We will announce the winners and post their pictures here and to our Facebook page. If you don’t have an instagram, you can post your pictures to Facebook with #sanbornswag, but, as you may not be aware because you do not have an instagram, the bigger problem here would be not having an instagram. I bet you also don’t have a 3-D printer, and therefore do not have geometrically shaped candy treats in flavors of mint or sour apple? Ha. What is this, the stone age?

So check back every week for what’s new and cool here on Sanborn Western Camps’ blog!

News from Camp: January 1, 2014

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Happy New Year to all of our friends across the world.  As we reflect on the happy moments and blessings of 2013, we are so grateful for the wonderful campers, staff members, friends and alums who are such an important part of our lives.  And, as we look ahead to 2014, we are especially excited about the friendships and adventures that will occur at Big Spring, High Trails, and Sanborn Junior next summer.
Mike and Elizabeth will be heading out in mid-January with the new digital slide show about a summer at Sanborn Western Camps and look forward to seeing many of you as they tour the Midwest.  Beginning January 22, they will visit Denver, Boulder, Chicago, St. Louis, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Santa Fe.  Those of you who are on our mailing list will receive information in the mail and all the details are posted on the website

Wishing everyone a bright new year!

.  It is a great program and takes less than an hour so save the date!

We have a lot of projects underway to make 2014 great!  We are looking at every aspect of our program and pursuing ways to make it better.  We’re ordering the equipment we will need and hiring the staff who will become our outstanding counselors, wranglers, assistant counselors, and ridge leaders next summer.  We have already had an excellent response from our 2013 staff and are looking forward to working with many of them again next summer.
Our maintenance crew has already completed the new tent frames on STUW Ridge at Big Spring and a new roof on the Big Spring Office.  They are currently working on a new central campfire area at High Trails and renovations on the ABC washhouses at Big Spring.  During the winter, they will continue to work on facility improvement projects at both camps.
We do have a nice layer of snow on the ground right now and are looking forward to more moisture throughout the winter.  The horses are still finding plenty to eat as they
enjoy their winter vacation at Fishcreek.  There are still plenty of elk and deer around the ranch as well, and wild turkeys have been spotted from time to time.
Enrollment is well underway for 2014 and several age groups at High Trails are full or nearly full.
We are always happy to send our brochure, DVD and references to interested families. Our website is back up and running, thanks to all those tech-smart people working hard. Returning camp families can still head straight to our online registration, to register for this summer.
We hope that your holidays have been wonderful and that each of you will have the happiest New Year ever!