I Live a Life Full of Adventure while Producing Your News

Blaine Howerton on his mountain property (Photo by Rolly Medina)

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I purchased mountain burn acreage about six years ago.

I fell in love with the many surprises of nature in this environment — wildflowers that thrive and grow out of the ash and fledgling trees that sprung upright in the roadway that I replanted where they could safely mature.

My young sons, ages 10 and 13, spent so many weekends on the mountain that I asked them how they’d feel about living there in our RV full-time (in 2021), and they were on board with the experience. We had a fantastic time in 2022. But that was in spring, summer, and fall.

I always knew the challenges in the winter would be considerable. Fierce winds blew my shed down several times. I had to devise a heating system under the RV so the pipes and tanks wouldn’t freeze. I even partnered with my neighbor to significantly improve the road, so it’s now accessible via 2-wheel drive.

It’s much safer to reach my property (and his) now. The late fall was daunting, but I kept rising to the challenge(s).

During high winds and Red Flag Warnings, I witnessed 16-inch / 60-foot trees snap in half and fly uphill. I saw a full 15-gallon can of gas lift vertically and fly through the air horizontally for about 20 feet.

With the RV rocking back and forth, it seemed there was nowhere to be safe — except away.

Always remembering our safety, I decided we needed to leave the mountain until we could build a more permanent structure.

Since we left, I have been working on that plan.

But, recently, my cabin project has been on pause. My personal life intertwines with North Forty News in most ways. Financial challenges with a large print bill have forced me to slow down on the build—at least the parts, like permits, which cost significant money.

Luckily, in 2021, I heard of a rental property. It’s in a beautiful historical setting. With the same daily commuting time to take the boys to school, space for all of us to breathe, a wood-burning stove, and a pastoral setting where we see cattle led to grazing pastures — we love it. I produce the newspaper from that setting — another first!

My boys and I go back to the mountain, weather permitting, on the weekends and on occasional weekdays.

I have purchased and built a lumber mill. I’m perfecting the craft, so I can use trees on my property to build much of the cabin. Over the past year, I found that many people love that lumber, and I have been selling it to supplement my income to people as far away as South Denver.

Now, the lumber is on display for sale at our farm, another new venture designed to diversify revenue for North Forty News and me.

Be sure to stop by, say hi, and see how we can work together to produce news, products, and food for Northern Colorado.

HOPE Farm & Community Garden is at 1601 N. Shields St, in Fort Collins. The hours are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 9 am – 1 pm.

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