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Audio Recording Interview with Vera McKee, McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, Colorado, part 1

Interview with Vera McKee, irrigation ditches, ranch management, McKee family background, Flora and fauna of hay meadow, Jefferson, Colorado, part 1

About this Item


  • Interview with Vera McKee, McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, Colorado, part 1


  • Marshall, Howard W. (Research team member)
  • Natanson, Barbara Orbach (Research team member)
  • McKee, Vera (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Silverthorne, Colorado, August 20, 1980


  • -  Folklore--Colorado
  • -  Field recordings
  • -  Interviews
  • -  Sound recording
  • -  United States -- Colorado -- Summit County -- Silverthorne


  • Field recordings
  • Interviews
  • Sound recording


  • -  Index data: Part 1 of a 2-part recording that mixes interview with Vera McKee with actuality, made during a walk through hayfields to adjust irrigation water flow on what the McKee family calls the "upper meadow," described in field project documentation as land leased from Wheaton College at the Smith ranch and Columbine Ranch, across Highway 9 and a bit south from the main McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, CO; the upper meadow is near the top of the hill (beneath Gore Range) and gets water in a big ditch from a headgate on Boulder Creek; ranch at the time of fieldwork are Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Wilburn "I. W." McKee and Nella Vera McKee: comments by Vera McKee, including her nickname "Ma 'Kee" (project documentation indicates that I. W. is sometimes called "Pa"); about Smith's irrigation ditch on the nearby Columbine Ranch, now leased by the McKees, the hay meadow has never been cleared; McKees graze 60 pair [cattle? cow-calf pairs?] and two bulls, the stock belongs to Wayne Brown, Wyman, CO; driving cattle; elevation of ranch, at 8,200 feet; discussion of land boundaries and use of BLM and U.S. Forest Service grazing land; about changing water in irrigation ditches (water from the Boulder Creek diversion, water rights dating from the 1800s); availability of water in dry years, explanation of ditch digging, watering the meadow; about Vera's background, training for ranch work; at the ranch work, irrigation ditches are a daily chore, cattle grazing, digging the original ditches, about learning ranching from experience, I. W. helps but Vera takes responsibility for ranching, watering the meadow; about buying hay (discussion); about measuring water flow (discussion); terms for "sneakers"/tennis shoes; discussion of vegetation, fauna, and fences; about following the signs (moon, stars), how Vera's father [Richard Everett, of Copperas Cove, TX] killed hogs and cows, and planted by the signs, Vera McKee says, "when the sign was in the twins, he planted his garden stuff, you know, and never when it was the flower girl, I think the dark of the moon was when he killed his animals and the meat wouldn't shrink so much," the McKees do not follow the signs, Vera says, "mostly when we get ready to kill a pig, we just kill it and have it processed, but my Dad did the whole thing, from the beginning to the end," adding that "we're more wasteful now you know," tells story, "one time [father] didn't notice the sign and he planted a row of peas and this elderly man came by and told him, 'these peas won't produce,' dad laughed at him and then [the man said] 'I'll tell you when to plant another row,' . . . my dad did plant another row, the vines didn't get very big, but they got peas all over [while] dad's vines got 3 or 4 foot tall, bloomed, but no vegetables" (laughter); about gardening, short growing season, early frost; about native grasses.


  • audiotape reel, 7 in.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Call number: AFC 1991/031: AFS 22450
  • MBRS Shelflist: RXA 4014
  • Field project identifier: CO-80-BO-R1

Source Collection

  • Colorado Folklife Project collection (AFC 1991/031)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Colorado Folklife Project collection (AFC 1991/031), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Marshall, Howard W, Barbara Orbach Natanson, and Vera McKee. Interview with Vera McKee, McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, Colorado, part 1. Silverthorne, Colorado, 1980. Audio.

APA citation style:

Marshall, H. W., Natanson, B. O. & McKee, V. (1980) Interview with Vera McKee, McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, Colorado, part 1. Silverthorne, Colorado. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Marshall, Howard W, Barbara Orbach Natanson, and Vera McKee. Interview with Vera McKee, McKee Ranch, Silverthorne, Colorado, part 1. Silverthorne, Colorado, 1980. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.