Get minty fresh this week: Kids Corner for the week of 11/30/20
Outside Scoop: Peppermint
This week we enter the final month of the year, December. With this month and season comes lots of festivities and sweets, and none are more famous or recognizable than the red and white stripes of the peppermint candy cane.
Legend dates the candy cane to 1670 when it was created by a German choirmaster to keep children quiet during the Living Creche ceremony as they licked on the candy. He bent the sticks into shepherds’ crooks and that is how they got their signature shape.
Real peppermint is rarely used in candy canes; however, the inspiration and tastiness are derived from the plant, peppermint. The peppermint plant is a hybrid mint, a mix between spearmint and watermint. The herb grows wild and is indigenous (native) to Europe and the Middle East. Due to flowering blooms and sweet scents, the herb is a common backyard choice for many families, especially in the Vail Valley. The leaves of mint can easily be dried and used in teas. Fresh mint is often used for salads, ice cream, beverages and fruit preserves.
Next spring, try planting peppermint seeds or a small plant in the garden or a planter and count how many ways you can use the leaves daily! Soaps, lotions and more can be created from the wonderful herb. Be careful, peppermint usually returns each year and can overtake other plants if not tended to.
What are some of the health benefits of peppermint?
Peppermint is known to ease digestion and help from gas, bloating and indigestion. It can also help relieve tension headaches and migraines, clogged sinuses, improve energy, help aid with sleep and, obviously, freshens breath.
Outside Scoop is submitted by freelance journalist Julie Bielenberg. Contact her at email@example.com.
Word of the Week
Learn new words in English and Spanish each week.
candy cane / el bastón de caramelo
Learn about Eagle County history each week.
The spectacular steel arch bridge at the upper entrance to Red Cliff is an engineering marvel and a product of the ambitious economic recovery and road improvement programs of the Great Depression.
At the time, US 24 was a primary route linking Colorado’s Eastern Plains to the mountainous Western Slope. Placement of the high bridge eased challenging road grades on Battle Mountain, eliminated blind curves and provided safe access over a busy railroad crossing.
In the fall of 1939, crews used hand drills and dynamite on the steep canyon walls to build the abutments, piers, and pedestals that would support the bridge. In June 1940, large crews of construction workers swarmed into Red Cliff. Some 600 tons of structural steel was shipped by train to the Red Cliff railroad depot, then trucked to the construction site.
Installation of the arch ribs began in November 1940. The contractor had difficulty finding steelworkers willing to take on a winter project at an elevation of 8,700 feet. Like today, November was cold with little snow, and below-zero temperatures coated the steel with slick frost.
The workmen carried out their daily operations on a platform suspended high in the canyon by cables. Each morning, the men took their lunches with them in anticipation of a full day of work suspended in mid-air. The winter wind blew continually up the canyon. The men were hoisted to their work in cable buckets and were brought down again only at the close of the day’s work.
The bridge took two years to build and cost $139,627. An additional six miles of road improvements on Battle Mountain brought US 24 up to modern highway standards. A dedication ceremony on Aug. 3, 1941 was attended by over 1,000 people, including then-Colorado Governor Ralph Carr and State Highway Engineer Charles Vail.
The iconic bridge remains a source of pride and beauty for locals and visitors.
Time Travel is researched and written by Kathy Heicher, president of the Eagle County Historical Society. Learn more about ECHS at eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com.