David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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As long as I’ve been coming to this place we’ve had infestations. Sometimes it’s been ants or pack rats or miller moths. Of course tourists are a constant infestation, but that’s another story.

Most infestations are fairly local, so yours may be different from ours, but this year we have three really annoying infestations, which is about two more than usual.

First, we have the biting flies. In most summers we have some flies and then we have the horse-flies, and those are annoying enough. This summer we have smaller but more vicious flies, and there are swarms of them. Little guys, but with a nasty bite, and they seem to find their way through the smallest gaps in my admittedly none too fly-proof screens.

Second, we have had a population explosion among the yellow jackets. They love sugar, which means that the slightest drip from a hummingbird feeder results in a gathering of these yellow and black striped beauties. Ours haven’t stung anyone yet, but yellow jackets have a reputation for stinging just for the fun of it and they can do it over and over without any harm to them.

Finally, we have more pine squirrels, or red squirrels, or chickarees, (they go by all those names and you may have some more) than we’ve seen in many, many years. They get into bird feeders and love bird’s eggs. I can’t really hold that against them. But they also seem to like my attic as a place to live and they seem to find a way in even though I’ve sealed everything as tightly as I can.

In most years we have three or four who stake out the territory around our house, but this year it’s been at least three times that number, and I’ve seen their squashed bodies on the roads, too, which is unusual.

And we also have Ebert squirrels, who seem to have homes of their own. They’ve been growing in numbers and we have a gray, a black and a brown, but they aren’t an infestation, yet.

In the period when Katherine Garetson was homesteading, pack rats and mice were the scourge; “Rats and mice tormented me,” she said. In recent years mice haven’t been a huge problem, particularly if you have a cat and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard anyone complain about a pack rat.

Every year it seems to be something different. Last year it was the millers and this year you can take your pick of three. Next year I’m betting on the ants, but you never know; the pack rats may be back.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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