Chico Basin Ranch

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about CHICO BASIN RANCH

The Chico is an 87,000 acre cattle ranch on the eastern plains of Colorado. Its sprawling ranges of short grass and sandsage prairie, spring-fed lakes, and creeks are home to diverse populations of birds, pronghorn, deer, fish, prairie dogs, coyote, badgers, and much more. Owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Ranchlands, the Chico also offers education, farming, recreation, sporting, arts, and hospitality programs.

May 8, 2013

The Cavalry

The last week and a half, we’ve had two guests visiting, Hans and Alex.  This is Hans third time on the Chico and Alex’s second.  With all the shifting and shipping of cattle, there’s been a lot of riding and long rides at that.  Luckily for us though, Hans and Alex have been able to step right in and help out.  I don’t think the cavalry usually had the ability to call in more cavalry, but that’s what this feels

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May 3, 2013

First Owlet of the Season

A Great Horned Owl nestling poked its head out of a tree cavity for the first time on May 3rd.  Always popular with school groups and protected from potential predators by the tree nest.

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May 2, 2013

Oasis

With only a few snow showers this spring adding up to at most a few tenths of precipitation, we’ve entered into a new phase of reevaluating and then implementing.  Today we continued our work of bringing in dry cows yet to calve to sell next week and aggregating our cow/calf pairs into our pastures with sub-irrigation.  It’s not ideal, but it’s pretty easy to see from the picture above it’s the only place with green grass.

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April 19, 2013

Pivot

We keep heifers that are close to calving on a circular, pivot irrigated field, and ride through them many times throughout the day. Jeff (ranch manager) set up a couple of pens in the middle of the pivot. We keep all the tools necessary to tend to cows and calves at this central hub. If a heifer or calf has a serious problem, we bring them to those pens and tend to them. Pictured above is Jeff’s dog Hector, keeping

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April 8, 2013

Saddle Making

This is the stage we are at with the first saddle.  It’s amazing how long it takes.  What I’ve learned, in its most basic form, is that it boils down to two things: fitting and shaping each piece of leather as exactly and completely as possible, including tacking it into place, then, permanently putting it on.  It’s especially about the pre-fitting and shaping and molding, making sure its exact, that you have the right amount shaved off, pulling just tight

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April 8, 2013

Running in the Horses

When are working on horseback, the horses are run in either in the evening last thing, or first thing in the morning, depending on when we are leaving.  Notice the young mob at the last.  These are the young weanlings that we have just taken off the mares and are halter breaking.  Part of their training is putting them in with the remuda so that they get used to running into the corrals without acting crazy and flying all over

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April 6, 2013

Saddle Making

I’ve been making a saddle for Julie, and following that one, I’ll make another one for Grace.  A friend, Duncan, who runs a leather shop in Buena Vista, and is long time saddle maker, has spent the last two days with Jonathan and me in the workshop.  My hands are tired after over 12 hours working today.  Photos to come.  Its a life-time desire, making a saddle is the pinnacle in leather craft for me.  Duncan has been a life

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