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Live from the Ranch

This is the official Ranch Journal, a collection of short reports about daily life on the ranch. Postings are made by all ranch staff, but mostly by Tess Leach & Kate Matheson, Guest Services Managers, David Leach, Business & Marketing Manager and Jeff Gossage, Ranch Manager. (Banner photo 3 by Stephen Weaver)

 This week we had a new member of the crew join us, 14 year old Jaden from Alamosa came to Zapata on a work experience day. Whilst the bitter wind blew and snow fell from the overcast sky Jaden jumped right in and helped sort over 50 pairs from the Pivot to the Blanca pasture. Jaden ran the gate, ensuring only the pairs passed through and making sure none turned back. Later tht day he helped J.R trim and clear tree branches from around the lodge before meeting Gordon the baby bison and his relatives in larger herd on the Medano. Jaden left for the day with an invite to return anytime, a fun member of the crew and a hard worker. 
Posted by Kate M. on 04/25/2013

Guest Post: Kim Gold
My first visit to Zapata was in April 2009 as a guest with my mom and grandma. We discovered the ranch online and thought it sounded particularly interesting being that it’s a nature conservancy that sustains a very healthy and 97% pure bison heard. We instantly fell in love with the area, horses, and staff at the ranch.

My grandmother worked on a ranch in Prescott, AZ and my mother was introduced to riding at a fairly young age. I have had an obsession with horses since before I took my first steps, and riding continues to be a passion of mine. After visiting a second time in June 2011, I knew this was a place I would enjoy working, and would do just about anything to have an opportunity to do so.

Six months ago I decided to take a break from my pursuit of a degree in biological sciences and apply for an internship here at Zapata, in hopes that fate would step in. When I found out that I had been chosen I was absolutely ecstatic, and left everything I knew and loved in California to come out to Colorado and be a part of the amazing team here at Zapata. Nothing brings a smile to my face quite like this beautiful place and unique group of wonderful people. There really is something special about Zapata that, unlike other ranches I have visited, feels like home.  
Posted by Tess L. on 04/23/2013

Center pivot
The hub of all our activity calving out heifers, are a couple of pens built right in the middle of the pivot. We branch out from the center, circling through the heifers many times through the day and into the evening. Jeff keeps a little white truck, calf pullers, colostrum replacer, water, alfalfa, a sled, a rope and warm bedding and a heat lamp in the center pens.

Pictured above is a freshly pulled calf and his mama getting acquainted in one of the pens.
Posted by Jeff G. on 04/19/2013

Mechanized assistance
This is Nick, a ranch manager apprentice from the Chico Basin Ranch (the Chico is also managed by Ranchlands, the Phillips family, & co). I am here helping Jeff with calving first calf heifers.
The heifers are sometimes too small of frame to support their own weight after intense physical intensity of giving birth for the first time, so we provide them with some mechanized assistance.

Posted by Jeff G. on 04/18/2013

Photography at Zapata
We began working with Colorad-based photographer Steve Weaver in 1999 when we started managing the Chico Basin Ranch. When we launched our partnership with The Nature Conservancy and started managing the Zapata in 2004, Steve was one of the first photographers to join us on the ranch to explore. Over the past 8 years, Steve has spent countless hours photographing the landscape, the bison and the people and has created a portfolio and knowledge of the ranch that is unparalleled. 

This year, we have partnered with Steve to offer our guests the opportunity to spend a day photographing the ranch. If bison are your thing, Steve can find them. If you'd prefer lakes below amazing cloud formations, Steve can give you a choice of two (and force the weather to cooperate). And if you really want action, he can set you up to shoot the wranglers bringing in the horse herd, aglow with the morning light. Ask us how to set up a day with Steve on your upcoming visit to Zapata.

Take a look at Steve's site for more information:

Posted by Tess L. on 04/09/2013

Thursday, Apr 04, 2013
Our calves arrived a bit earlier than usual which found us very busy beginning last week.  All in all, calving is going well and we have scrambled a bit to get organized for the heavy calving days.  So far it seems that certain days, for whatever reason, start and end very busy with up to ten newborns in a day.  The next couple of days after that are slower with maybe half that many.  We have organized ourselves now with two pens set up in the middle of the calving pasture where heifers in need of help can be taken and cared for easily.  Help ranges from pulling an extra big calf out to helping a newborn stand up or bottle feeding a young one until it can stand and nurse on its own.  We also were happy to have Stuart arrive from the Chico.  He will be here to help calve for two weeks and then he will switch with Nick and then Amy, both also from the Chico.   
Posted by Jeff G. on 04/04/2013

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