Category Archives for // Conserve
February 21, 2014


Hector and May romped around on the cushy carpet of residual grass that makes up parts of the San Luis Lakes State Park the other day. A full on body slam by May didn’t faze Hector much because of the nice soft ground he got placed onto. Years of growth have laid down an impressive bed of Baltic Rush in some of the meadow country in the Park. Without any real grazing to speak of in the past couple years, other than a group

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February 18, 2014

The San Luis Lakes

On the southwestern edge of the Medano we border an area called San Luis Lakes State Park.  It’s a beautiful spot which includes 1000 acres of wetlands and a couple good sized lakes.  Every few years we team up with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to implement planned grazing to help wildlife habitat, specifically wetland birds.  One of the main goals is to remove old, unpalatable and therefore undesirable vegetation.  The old vegetation forms a thick “mat” that makes it impossible

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February 14, 2014

Wanting More

It’s been foggy every morning, and the snow from last week is patched over the ground now with the warmth.  Moisture.  Penetrating the ground.  I can almost hear the geese and ducks coming; they always lead the great bird migration that comes across the ranch, covering the land in a blanket of movement and noise.  I can also hear the wind, that’s been strangely absent with the late snows that we’ve had.  It reminds me of something I wrote about

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February 13, 2014

Mother Nature- The Ultimate Architect

As Michael has written before, cowboys take pay in scenery. Luckily, Mother Nature is the best architect around. This is from a water tank that has been flowing continuously through the recent cold snap. With temperatures staying near zero degrees, water freezes to anything almost instantly. It amazes me how the ice can build on itself and create a unique piece of art.

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February 12, 2014

Sick Pen

These two horses were brought into the sick pen a little over a week ago, one with an inflamed and tender rear fetlock and the other with what appeared to be an abscess in its front foot. If you work with very many horses you either develop some good vet skills or have a really large bank account. We, of course, are the former and do almost all of our own vet work, generally successfully. This time I am afraid we are only 50/50.

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February 11, 2014

Snow on the Chico

We have been fortunate this winter at the Chico with some pretty mild weather. Up until now, we’ve only occasionally had to break ice in the stock tanks with a few cold snaps here and there. Everyday this week brought below zero temperatures and an accumulation of snow, sending us out on daily ice runs- chopping into the ice with an axe and clearing away the frozen chunks with a pitchfork, so cattle and horses can get a drink of

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February 4, 2014

Lead Animals

Working a group of young calves or yearlings can be difficult because they are so used to having their mothers around for support and direction. The work can always be accomplished but it often takes more time than usual because they don’t know to look for gates or walk in the normal directions their mature mothers might. In an effort to keep things easy on ourselves and create the least stressful situation for the calves, we introduce lead animals. The

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February 3, 2014

Long Days

This past week has been a two-man show. Amy is taking a well deserved vacation and we’re in between interns. It’s been a lot of work for Michael and I to keep everything moving forward and has steepened my learning curve as the newest apprentice. However, there is still time to learn and explore new places. Pictured is Bar JH, an old ranch homestead along the creek and my current favorite place on the ranch. While checking pasture and moving

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January 31, 2014

The Deepest Stirrings of Spring

February is almost here, a mixed bag for us. In it hides the “deepest stirrings of spring” as Emma, our intern from Great Britain (who is sadly leaving tomorrow) put it so well. Normally it is full of bright clear skys, cold mornings and warmish days. You begin feeling a difference: the animals behaving a little different, bits of fur hanging on bushes, the tiniest bits of green.

I should say perhaps not a difference, but a hint of it. With this change, always comes the building

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