Every year on a ranch follows a certain rhythm. From winter weaning to spring calving and summer brandings, the animals and the land move through familiar cycles that dictate the nature of our work. But these patterns are animated by a shifting group of interns, wranglers, visitors, and friends and by new projects. From participating in Filson’s fall campaign to the sighting of new migratory bird species to hosting our first tent camp, 2017 was a memorable year.
We welcomed the renowned Lasater Beefmaster Foundation Herd to the Chico, where they’ll be temporarily homed. The Foundation Herd represents the original genetics of the breed when it was founded in the 1930s by Tom Lasater. In 80 years, no new blood has been added to the herd. Our relationship with the Lasaters dates back to when Ranchlands founder Duke Phillips III grew up on a ranch neighboring the Lasaters’ in northern Mexico. Duke subsequently worked on the Dale Lasater Ranch for ten years, where he became thoroughly acquainted with the Beefmaster philosophy, much of which has been incorporated into Ranchlands’ management model.
After two fruitful years, we said goodbye to the McAuliffe Ranch.
Calving season is often a long and grueling season. This year it was especially so at the MP Ranch, where Nick Baefsky and Amy Wright oversaw the bulk of Ranchlands’ first calf heifers. Long hours at all times of day and night were spent in the “calving palace” assisting these first-time mothers deliver healthy calves.
Branding season is a beloved time of year for many. Our crews and neighbors come together across ranches to work the year’s calves and share company.
A fabulous group of wranglers led this year’s guest season at the Zapata, highlights including perennial favorites such as rides through the Great Sand Dunes, Cam Schryver’s horsemanship clinic, and Bonney MacDonald’s literature workshop.
Our first Ranchlands tent camp was a lively week of horsemanship and roping lessons from Cam Schryver, bareback swims in the lake, and outdoor dinners on the prairie.
Late summer monsoons brought record rainfalls that kept new grass growing well into August.
Photos 1-3 by Forest Woodward.
Forest Woodward, Max Lowe, and Charles Post shot and produced Filson’s fall campaign at the Chico in the spring. It launched in September along with a selection of our mercantile products sold through Filson retailers.
Photo by Bill Maynard.
The fall bird banding station concluded after capturing and banding over 900 birds of 60 different species, including several never captured before, such as a Baltimore Oriole and Pacific Wren. A young birder David Tönnessen observed a Tropical Kingbird at the Holmes Grove–the first reported sighting of this species in Colorado.
At this year’s bison works, we succeeded in finding several of the few remaining cows in the herd with residual bovine DNA. Our management of the herd in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy and USGS is close to restoring the herd to genetic purity.