Glenda Bellio embroiders a quilt block Thursday night near the fireplace in the timber frame home her husband, Todd, built in 2006. Glenda is on the blast crew at Trapper Mine but finds time to embroider, usually during her children’s hockey practices at Moffat County Ice Arena.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Glenda Bellio embroiders a quilt block Thursday night near the fireplace in the timber frame home her husband, Todd, built in 2006. Glenda is on the blast crew at Trapper Mine but finds time to embroider, usually during her children’s hockey practices at Moffat County Ice Arena.

Todd and Glenda Bellio built a home on self-sufficiency, hard work

photo

The Bellio family poses for a photo Wednesday night on their spread north of Craig. From left are Glenda Bellio, her husband, Todd, son Wyatt, and daughter Ripley. At far right is Trent Parrott, who works for Todd and spends time with the family. “We raise our kids with high expectations,” Glenda said, “even the spares.”

Quotable

“It worked out right because I can’t imagine (being with) anybody else.”

Glenda Bellio

on her marriage to local entrepreneur and rancher, Todd Bellio

Rosie the Riveter is a prim little princess compared to Glenda Bellio.

Glenda’s face is tanned from years of working in the elements.

Her boots are worn and crusted with mud. Her fingers are black with what could be mechanic’s grease.

Three weeks before she gave birth to Ripley, the first of her two children, she was repairing a snow cat at Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.

“Her and I barely fit under the snow cat to get the starter on,” she said.

Glenda, 45, an embodiment of Moffat County’s grit and blue collar ethics, is talking about snow cats on a recent night as she nurses a cup of hot tea in front of the fireplace.

“I mean, if every company manufactured like Bombardier, nobody would hate engineers because those machines were built to be worked on,” she says.

Then, a little while later, she pulls out her embroidery.

There are two things you must know about Glenda and her husband, Todd.

One: They’re the definition of self-sufficiency.

They raise their own beef, pork and eggs on their ranch north of Craig, and Todd built the family’s timber frame home in 2006.

“When we go on road trips … we can pretty much handle anything that happens to the vehicle unless it’s catastrophic,” Todd said.

That’s Glenda’s handiwork, she being the mechanic of the family.

“She’s very handy,” Todd said, “and she can bake.”

Two: Neither of them fit into neat categories.

Glenda is deft with all things mechanical, yet she also has an appreciation for the more delicate things in life, like crafting stained glass and making quilts.

Todd fits the picture of a rancher and self-made entrepreneur, yet at one time, he was a city born and bred young man who had come West to make a living on the ski slopes of Steamboat Springs.

As for the embroidery — more about that later.

The Bellios’ driveway begins where the asphalt on Moffat County Road 7 gives up its miles-long sprint over gnarled sagebrush.

Glenda’s uncle worked this property before she, her family and parents eventually settled here.

The shop comes into view first as the road curves around the hill, followed by the sturdy-looking house perched on a slope above it.

The former is where Todd, 47, runs his business, High Desert Timber Frames.

He was in the traditional construction business for years before he got into the timber frame business in 2001.

He made the switch because he “wanted something a little bit more substantial,” he said.

Todd is sun-bronzed, with tawny dark blonde hair and a joke always ready at hand.

Reporter: Why do you like working with wood?

Todd: The slivers.

He banters with Trent Parrott, 16, one of his employees. Unlike Ripley, 15, and Wyatt, 13, Trent wasn’t born into this family, but you’d have a hard time telling it.

He’s one of the “spares,” as Glenda put it — one of many who are welcome to carve out room and make themselves at home within the Bellios’ busy lifestyle.

Hospitality was something Glenda learned early. Her family was always taking people in when they needed somewhere to go on the holidays, she said.

On New Year’s Day in 1991, she brought home a ski patrolman who worked at the resort and didn’t have anywhere to go for the holiday.

She’d met him before, but she didn’t know it at the time.

“They were all dressed alike,” she said. “They looked like they were hit by a Xerox machine.”

It wasn’t that she had a crush on him, although other women at the ski resort did.

One day, she and one of her co-workers were working together when the skier in question walked by.

“She turns to me and she goes, ‘Oh, isn’t he just the cutest thing?’” Glenda said. “And I said to her … ‘He’s OK, but he’s not my type.’”

That skier, it turns out, was Todd.

They were an unlikely couple, to say the least.

“I dated ranch people and he dated the city girls,” Glenda said.

To top it off, she was the kind of ranch girl who drove trucks, worked mechanics, and helped her father in the oil fields.

“My dad always felt that the best-paying jobs were the jobs that men held,” she said.

So, she learned the skills she needed to get into male-dominated fields, even if doing so wasn’t always popular.

Todd, by contrast, was raised in Denver, the son of a teacher and a police officer.

Todd and his family skied on their winter vacations. Glenda, on the other hand, said she probably never would have put on a pair of skis if she hadn’t started working at the ski resort.

Against all expectation — even their own, initially — they just “clicked,” Glenda said.

They married Aug. 21, 1993.

“It worked out right,” she said, “because I can’t imagine (being with) anybody else.”

About that embroidery.

Glenda hardly has time for it much these days, she said.

It’s not hard to understand why.

Todd is the assistant coach for the local peewee hockey league, and Ripley and Wyatt both play in local leagues.

Then, there is 4-H— Ripley and Wyatt are involved in that, too —in addition to the usual chores and minor emergencies on the ranch.

So, Glenda often takes her embroidery with her to the Moffat County Ice Arena during hockey practices, she said.

She also holds down a day job, which, in her case, means working around enough ammonium nitrate to blow a building sky-high.

Not that being the sole woman on the blast crew at Trapper Mine is much different than any other occupation, at least in her eyes.

“A lot of times, it’s just another job because it’s the same thing day after day after day,” she said.

There’s one perk to the job, though.

“It’s definitely a conversation starter,” she said.

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