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Ranching is not only a job, it’s a way of life that connects people to the land, both physically and spiritually.

February 14, 2013

Drought, selling cows

Duke, Stuart Amy & myself met on Tuesday afternoon to check in. The dress code was neckties & work clothes. The topic of conversation revolved around the drought, & that we are going to sell off a substantial chunk of the cow herd over the next months.We were all quiet & thoughtful & a little goofy looking, as we sat & talked about what the ranch might look like with fewer cows on it, & where we’ll focus our time

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February 13, 2013

Beefmaster records

Duke tasked Amy with certifying the Beefmaster cows. The Beefmasters are a pure bred group of cows (Beefmaster is the name of the breed). We haven’t registered this group for the last eight years. And now it’s time.

The re-certification process involves going through years of calf records (lists of numbers indicating a momma cow and her calf) & matching the current group of cows, to the ones we had certified 8+ years ago. Some records are incomplete, and numbers are

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February 11, 2013

Mechanics

The Blue Dodge didn’t want to start today, so it got a solid run around behind little Duke’s truck – the pull start worked with great success!

I’ve never been very mechanical and have enjoyed learning little in-and-outs that are necessary when the machines break down. The malfunctions are inevitable and the hard life machines live on the ranch makes breakdowns a frequent occurrence. Because of this we all become impromptu mechanics, building on the experiences from our last mechanical challenges.

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February 8, 2013

Sandhill Crane Workshop

There are just over three weeks left until one of our favorite workshops of the year– the Sandhill Crane Photo Trip! For the third year, professional photographers Mike Forsberg and Dave Showalter will join us at the ranch to lead a group of students on a photo-excursion across the valley to capture the 27,000 cranes that migrate through our area annually.

We’ve just had a last-minute spot open up so give us a call if you want to join us! March

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February 7, 2013

The Quonset

This week has been dedicated to reorganizing and improving the Quonset (the big red hangar looking structure at HQ).  Here Harper is planing 1 of 6 new work benches we’re building for the metal and auto mechanic bays we’re creating in the Quonset.  He’s planing it smoother than Suave’s new felt brim.  For those unfamiliar with Suave’s new headwear, it’s pretty darn smooth.  For those familiar with the Quonset, note the west door is open in the background.  Eli, Michael

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February 3, 2013

Pivots

On the west side of the ranch are three “circles” or “pivots” of farm ground that we lease out to neighbors who use it to grow organic potatoes and barley.  The field is in the shape of a circle because the irrigation method is a ¼ mile long sprinkler that pivots at the center of the field.  As a rotational crop they plant a fast and tall growing grass called Sudan or Sorghum or a variation of the two.  This crop can be

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February 1, 2013

Warmer Days

The months of December and January here were really cold and finally, last week, the weather broke.  We have now had several days above freezing and most of our snow has melted.  We had moved our cattle to pastures where the feed was tall enough to stand above the snow and now that the snow is gone we are moving the cattle back to those pastures where the feed was buried.  As the next couple of months unfold, the cattle

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January 31, 2013

Kit

He’s still alive and kicking it.  Cholla is a hell of a drug.

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January 29, 2013

Schoolhouse Proverb

A photo by Jeanie Mitchell of an inscription left by a member of one of the many volunteer groups that put time and heart into the schoolhouse.  Thanks to Bill Maynard for forwarding it on.

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January 22, 2013

Lone Star School House

After the Lone Star School House fire, things have been very quiet and sad at the Chico.  Its like an old friend died.  I can’t say how sorry I am that this happened, the responsibility that I feel, the loss.  Its one of the vestiges of the past that was a symbol for many things.  It touched the lives of so many children and grownups alike: school kids, boy and girl scouts, hunters, guests and all the families that have

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