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Bison Adventure with the Logan School
Category: Live from the Ranch
 This week we had a group of students out from the Logan School in Denver.  We loaded them up into our wagon, and headed out onto the Medano bison pasture where we were greeted by a few hundred of Zapata’s finest.  They were learning about colonies, and we talked about bison herd structure, the role bison play in the ecosystem, and how we manage our heard of 2,500.

They were a great group of kids, who asked wonderful questions.  A bison tour is exactly the kind of field trip I would have loved as a child, so I was just as excited teaching them as they were to be visiting!

And of course, no trip to Zapata would be complete without a meet and greet with Gordon!  After lunch, the students and teachers took turns petting our little bison mascot, and fell in love with his big brown eyes and fluffy winter coat.

Posted by Kathleen M. on 10/05/2013

Rain Rain, Don't Go Away!
Category: Live from the Ranch
 Thanks to frequent afternoon thunderstorms throughout July, the grass is greener, the cows are plumper, and Medano Creek is flowing again!  The creek dried up early this year because of lack of snow melt.  However, the summer monsoons have brought the water back down the mountains!  Here at the ranch we got just over 3 inches in the month of July.  For a valley that gets less than 8 inches of rain annually, that's fantastic!!  Though it may not be the best for riding in, mother nature has been kind to Zapata guests, and (usually...) only brings the rain and thunder once we are all OFF of our horses!
Posted by Kathleen M. on 08/18/2013

A Lunchtime Guest
Category: Live from the Ranch
 We stopped for lunch while riding out in the Dunes, and were joined by a surprise visitor.... a baby kangaroo rat!

Spotted by 8 year old Clara, the cute little guy hopped under the shade of one of our chairs and hung out for a while.   

Posted by Kathleen M. on 06/15/2013

He snacked on a leaf...
Category: Live from the Ranch
 Kangaroo Rats are just one of many neat animals that live in the dunes-- living out their entire lives in the main dunefield.  They collect seeds from various grasses and hide them in moist sand below the surface.  After a few days collecting moisture, the seeds provide a bit of water-- enough water in fact that kangaroo rats can go their whole lives without drinking.  To top that off, these little guys can jump up to 5 feet in the air to avoid predators!

It was pretty special to get to see one so close up!
Posted by Kathleen M. on 06/15/2013

Baby Bison Becomes a Babysitter
Category: Live from the Ranch
 Since we found him last season, Gordon has become quite a personable little fellow.  Whether helping us tack our horses, grunting a welcome to guests, or being led around by an 8 year old, he always wants to be a part of the action.

More recently, he has become the welcoming committee/babysitter for new horses.  He kept Kate’s horse Black Friday company when he first arrived, and now he’s palling around with my new horse Booker.  Gordon will help Booker get settled in during these next few days before I turn him out with the herd.  He also provides an extra service-- getting a horse that has never seen bison before accustomed to these new animals he’ll be seeing a lot more of!

Posted by Kathleen M. on 05/04/2013

The Heart of the World
Category: Live from the Ranch
 “As long as I live, I'll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I'll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I'll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can." – John Muir

 

Zapata Falls is particularly magical this time of year.  After hiking up through the pinyon and juniper woodland, birds chirping, sun shining, you enter the cool recesses of a slot canyon, round a bend and come face to face with a massive wall of ice—a piece of art sculpted by nature herself.  The sun shines down through the frozen falls, leaving the canyon awash in cool blue light, and it feels as if you’ve entered a different world.

Posted by Kathleen M. on 05/03/2013

Medano Creek
Category: Live from the Ranch
 First flow filling our tracks.
Posted by Kathleen M. on 03/31/2013

In the Right Place at the Right Time
Category: Live from the Ranch
While riding up the dry bed of Medano Creek, we were shocked to round a bend and see the very first spring snow melt winding its way towards us.  A foamy tongue of water finding its way through the sand, turning the dry creek bed into a stream before our eyes!

We stopped and watched its progress, marveling at our luck of being in the right place at the right time.  The horses stared too, snorting and side stepping out of the way as the stream of water reached their hooves.  Unsure if this strange serpent was friend or foe.  It slithered on past us, filling our tracks as it went.

From upstream more water filled the channel, and in an instant Medano Creek was alive and flowing.  Then on we rode up the newly formed creek, splashing towards the mountains bathed in springtime sun.

Posted by Kathleen M. on 03/31/2013

Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013
Category: Live from the Ranch
 The air was brisk this morning and snow still clung to the ground from the storm a few days ago, but it was clear spring had arrived.  The sun warmed our cheeks as we rode out to gather and sort more heifers, and you couldn’t feel that touch of winter in the wind anymore.  Our riding guests for the week-- the Bizzell family-- joined us for the day.

 

Back from our ride, we had lunch at the corrals under the shade of the cottonwoods, and paid a visit to local Zapata celebrity—Gordon the Bison.  8 year old Jake Bizzell became fast friends with Gordon, and even helped the fuzzy guy practice being led!  Gordon has taken to the halter well, and is quickly becoming a charming bison ambassador to our ranch guests.

Posted by Kathleen M. on 03/26/2013

   
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