$14.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608449446
228 pages
Also available at fine
bookstores everywhere

About the Book

Press Release

2011 – Collection of Essays Showcases a Unique Colorado Mountain Valley

At Home in the Elk River Valley: Reflections on Family, Place and the West

is released by author Mary B. Kurtz

A mountain valley near Steamboat Springs, Colorado comes to life in the author’s first collection of essays which share with readers her family and ranch life, the natural world and the history of the Elk River Valley. Her love of the western landscape and the community in which she lives shines through her poetic prose.

At Home in the Elk River Valley unfolds through the seasons, beginning with spring and the return of the Sandhill Cranes to summer nesting grounds. “The flock rides leisurely on the rising current of warm air…and then peels out of the thermal like a licorice string from its coil.” Readers will meet a long-time rancher who hunts mountain lions, dedicated land preservationists who work to protect the valley they love, and a larger-than-life grandmother who doesn’t fit typical notions of a rancher. Epigraphs from diary entries written over the years introduce each essay.

“Mary’s collection of stories tugs at my heart,” writes third-generation cattle rancher Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agricultural Alliance. “I laugh. I cry. I remember parts of my life I had forgotten. I appreciate these stories for the value they provide to our sense of rural, western community.”

This is the first collection of essays for author Mary Kurtz, a member of the Steamboat Writers Group. She has taught special education, volunteered with youth organizations and been president of the Routt County Cattlewomen, as well as a member of the Steamboat Arts Council, Yampa River Botanic Park and Routt County Humane Society. She and her husband, who have two grown children, have raised Red Angus cattle, commercial elk and performance quarter horses.

For further information contact: Ray Robinson at 317-228-3656, via email at RayR@DogEarPublishing.net, or through the website at: www.dogearpublishing.net.

At Home in the Elk River Valley: Reflections on Family, Place and the West
Mary Kurtz
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-160844-944-6
228 pages
$14.95 US

Available at Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and fine bookstores everywhere

About Dog Ear Publishing: LLC Dog Ear Publishing offers completely customized self-publishing services for independent authors. We provide cost-effective, fast, and highly profitable services to publish and distribute independently published books. Our book publishing and distribution services reach worldwide. Dog Ear authors retain all rights and complete creative control throughout the entire self publishing process. Self publishing services are available globally at www.dogearpublishing.net and from our offices in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dog Ear Publishing – self publishing that actually makes sense!


Readers who love the West will find Mary Kurtz’s first collection of essays an insightful journey into the history, natural world, and community of a special mountain valley near Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Walk through the Elk River Valley with Mary as she shares her thoughtful perspectives on the people, history, rich landscape, and ranching traditions of the place she’s called home for over thirty years.

Join her as she introduces you to modern-day pioneers whose stories inspire and entertain. Meet a long-time rancher who hunts mountain lion where “no man...ever walked”; a larger than life grandmother (usually seen wearing a bonnet and baseball hat) who never quite matched anyone’s image of a rancher; and visionary land preservationists who protected the valley they love for generations to come.

Sometimes poignant, always introspective, and informative, At Home in the Elk River Valley ultimately nudges each of us to contemplate deeper definitions of family, community and the physical place we call home.

What Readers Have Said

“In At Home in the Elk River Valley, Mary Kurtz invites readers to experience the ebb and flow of generations of ranchers in northwestern Colorado. Her lyrical prose ponders not only the seasonal change on the natural landscape, but the seasonal change of family life and those occurring within rural and western communities. Through her reflections, we gain an awareness of how closely tied we are to the past. This memoir is about change, loss, rejuvenation, and hope that is best enjoyed by the fireplace or under a shady elm to transport you into the slower pace of rural living.”
— Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, Author of You Can Write Your Family History

“As a mother and deeply involved community member, Mary Kurtz’s voice is clear, reflective and unwavering. I resonate with both her concern for our future and her hope that our changing world is a fruitful one for us all.”
— Sheila Bender, Author of Writing and Publishing Personal Essays and A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief

“This is a memoir of a family and a place. Mary has captured the essence of life in the Elk River Valley. She has put into words what many of us experience in our busy lives and for that, I am grateful. She expresses with ease the simple pleasures of the ranch, the growth and joy of her family, and the value of community. To translate these stories into lessons for life makes Mary’s writings worth every minute.”
— Jay Fetcher, Rancher, Founding Member of Colorado Cattlemen’s Land Trust

“Mary’s collection of stories tugs at my heart. I laugh. I cry. I remember parts of my life I had forgotten. I appreciate these stories for the value they provide to our sense of rural, western community.”
— Marsha Daughenbaugh, Third-generation Cattle Rancher and Executive Director of the Community Agricultural Alliance

“Having lived here for over twenty years, I thought I knew everything about the Elk River Valley. In Mary’s memoir I discovered even more about the history and the people who settled here and those who followed. A great read for anyone who loves this special place.”
— CJ Mucklow, Routt County Extension Director, Colorado State University