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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)

Friday, Jul 30, 2010
Last Monday, we took the 1000 head of yearlings from the Break Tree Pasture to the lakes.  It was an all day drive across many miles of sand hills and finally arrived at the lush, green, wet pasture which was our destination.  Along the way the cattle were stretched out sometimes close to a mile long, a line of walking animals that went up and down hills with riders along each side.  Five guests were there to help including Scott and Cathy from Buena Vista, CO, Joanna from England, Katie from Tennessee, and Jack's mom Lisa also from Tennessee.  It was quite a sight to pop over the last hill where the cattle ran down to the rich green meadow, their new home for the next 15 to 20 days. 
Posted by Jeff G. on 07/30/2010

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant
This is the beautiful Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome Serrulata) that is growing all over the ranch right now.

I wasn't sure what it was called but thought it was a really pretty flower or maybe even a weed and enjoy checking them out and watching the bees drunkenly fly around them.

With a little research I found out that this is a summer time plant commonly found in the Southwest that can grow up to five feet tall.

The Native Americans in the Southwest used this plant for several things - boiling and using as a green in meat stews, cooking the seeds to put in bread, making medicinal tea for fevers and stomach aches, creating a special concoction for treating sore eyes, steeping and using the liquid as a body and shoe deodorant and making a black paint for decorating pottery.

*Thank you to the GardenSeed blog for all of the great info.
Posted by David L. on 07/29/2010

Goodbye, Jack.
Today we said goodbye to our 5-month intern and friend, Jack. During his time here, he contributed greatly to the ranch in all areas; he fenced with the best of us, rode (and trained if you ask him) horses to the far corners of the ranch, became a solid contributor at both Zapata and Chico Basin brandings-- something that takes most people years, and won us all over as close friends.  Regardless of his daily direction, Jack headed out with a smile on his face and returned with each job well-finished, and eager for the next. His attitude and work ethic were inspirational to all of us and something that we'll be hard-pressed to find in his replacement. 

For those of you who didn't have a chance to meet him, here's a picture. And for those of you who did, here's a picture of the Jack you surely came to know and love alongside the rest of us. 

Posted by Tess L. on 07/28/2010

A Good Night
Last weekend Matthias and Paula from Germany and the Reiss family from New York spent a lot of time in the high prairie with us moving cattle. They were all great guests and Matthias and I got to talking about the wonders of whiskey. He is a connoisseur and thinking of starting up his own distillery in Germany.

The picture above was taken right at sunset when the girls and the horses decided to go to the top of the highest hill to get a good view. The silhouettes and the colors made for a pretty cool picture.

Everyone had fun and after a big meal we all sat around and Duke and I had our first public "concert". We played all night long and dug deep into the song list and ended up playing for a few hours. By the end of the night we probably played every single song we knew between the two of us, which means Duke knew most of them and lead the way. Like a human juke box. It was a fun night.
Posted by David L. on 07/23/2010

Yesterday afternoon, the clouds rolled in, opened up, and dumped a full inch of rain on the Zapata side of the ranch. We have been waiting for this storm for months now so that we can have the cattle grazing on it into the fall.  Over the next couple weeks, we'll almost be able to watch the grass grow, especially if we get another storm soon.

Posted by Tess L. on 07/21/2010

The Ed Room
Yesterday we had meetings in the Ed Room, which is a big restored barn right next to the lodge.

The meetings always seem to be productive here because one side of the barn is completely made up of windows that look out over a pasture and in the room are plenty of helpful meeting tools. The room is stocked with a huge projection screen, projector, speakers, giant writing pads and easels, conference tables, 50 plus chairs and wireless internet. So if we hit a lull in a meeting we usually end up watching funny YouTube videos or heading out to the pasture to see the cattle and crew until we're ready to get back at it.

We've had everyone from school groups to Fortune 500 companies and upper level management use the Ed Room and the meetings always seem to be productive. I think something about the fresh air helps the thoughts breathe and flow.
Posted by David L. on 07/16/2010

Artist Gathering Photos
 Take a look at our facebook page for the first of hopefully-many-to-come photo albums from this years Artist Gathering. Painter Mark Rittorno was nice enough to send along a disc full of images from the 3-days he spent on the ranch. Click HERE to take a look and be sure to become a fan for continual updates about the ranch!

Here's a sneak peak of what you'll find when you visit the page:

Posted by Tess L. on 07/12/2010

The Owl Family
There's an owl family living in the old Medano headquarters and every day we see them flying around. They have huge wings and glide around effortlessly from tree to tree.

Tess saw the two babies when they were little white puff balls and now they are all grown up.

I can't tell the difference between the babies and the mom anymore, so this could be one of the babies.
Posted by David L. on 07/09/2010

FEATURE: Quivira Coalition
The Quivira Coalition is a a non-profit organized to engage ranchers, conservationists and scientists alike in forwarding land health and educating the public on techniques of good land stewardship. Their annual conference is something we look forward to attending each year.

Take a look at their website and register today for this years event: November 10-12 in Albuquerque, NM. 

Click HERE to be directed to their website.
Posted by Tess L. on 07/08/2010

Artists Working Together
If you are an artist or have ever been a part of a live model session you may already know this, but I found it amazing that all of the different artists, and all truly skilled and seasoned at what they do, were able to agree on one position for the live session we had on the last afternoon.

There are countless positions the horse could have been in, the rider could have been in, where they stood and on and on and on, but everyone came to agreement with great ease, which was subtle but fun to witness.

In so many common meetings it takes hours to come to an agreement on certain things, but all of these artists settled, agreed and got to work in a matter of a minute or maybe less on something that would completely effect and dictate the outcome of their art. The "work" of painting, sketching, etc. and getting right down to it held the most importance though, so they did not delay and that passion of getting down to business was the fun part to see.

Everyone was intently focused on their piece for almost two hours with very little talking and at the end each piece was completely different from the next, reflecting the artist's physical vantage point and what they chose to focus on.

Some focused on the horse, some on the rider and some on the mountains and sand dunes that made up the background and they all came out great.

We had a blast this year and as Tess said are all looking forward to the shows this Fall, where all of the work from the gathering will be on display. We are still deciding on a date and location so stay tuned.

*Let us know if you have any good ideas for a show location in Denver or Colorado Springs.

Posted by David L. on 07/02/2010

Moving Horses
In order to utilize the grass we have in the best way possible, we have been grazing horses on the Medano side of our ranch when we are able. The horses love being over there due to the lush green grass in their trap. We are fortunate to have several water sources flowing through the Medano, providing wonderful grass for the bison, and occasionally, the horses. In order to move them from one side of the ranch to the other, we run them as a herd on horseback. It is fast moving and a great time for all of us. The few guests who have helped us have loved it as well! This picture of Charlie Brown and Cookie is from the last move we made. We will be moving them again tomorrow bright and early in the morning, in order to get ready for our next couple of busy weeks. We look forward to all of our guests who will be arriving in the next week- can't wait to share our ranch and our fun with you all!
Posted by Asta R. on 07/01/2010

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