February 28, 2014
We had about 500 elk as our lead animals on our move today. We were moving a group of 150 cattle from our pastures over to the San Luis Lakes State Park, to begin intensively grazing there. It turned out that the elk herd that has been hanging out on the ranch and Great Sand Dunes National Park for the entire winter, happened to be right in our path. Not being real sure what to make of us, they trotted off down a fenceline.
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
February 18, 2014
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
February 6, 2014
Our group of weaned calves headed to their new home yesterday in western Kansas. This picture was taken November 13th which basically marks the last time these calves saw bare ground and temperatures above 32 degrees. On that day we trailed the calves 14 miles to the Sudan fields, their home for the winter. Since then, they’ve been getting along in one of the harshest winters the San Luis Valley has seen in a while. In the end, it made
January 29, 2014
A welcome from our CEO and founder, Duke Phillips
January 23, 2014
Trotting around our pastures in the winter, a network of highways and interstates becomes visible. It’s the paths left by jackrabbits and cottontails. There tracks often stick to a few distinct routes that go for hundreds of yards and then fork and continue on like that with little driveways branching off under a chico brush or into a hole under the hardened snow and sand. I wondered while I was searching for some escaped bison, if those travel patterns persist in the other seasons
January 21, 2014
Because of the harsh winter conditions, the sudan grass that we are grazing our 300 calves on has not lasted as long as we planned and therefore we have decided to sell them early. Although the weather has not been in our favor, the cattle market is, which helped make the decision to sell rather than hold out for several more months.
On Thursday we will prep for the Friday sale by weighing and sorting the ones that will go. A small percentage of
January 17, 2014
With the snow and sub-32°F temperatures that have stuck around since a week before Thanksgiving, we have a few animals that could use a bit of help. We’ve been bringing them into the corrals over the last few days to doctor, supplement their feed, and provide a little shelter from the San Luis Valley winter. It’s quite the crew with a handful of bison calves, a few beef calves and a horse or two. They’re not always really sure of their new corral mates,
January 16, 2014
I had a great day today at the MZ. I started the morning at 7, interviewing Jeff (with Isaac) for a biographical film we are making about him for Ranchlands Review. We went for two hours talking about his life. It was fun going back to the very beginning when he first arrived at the Chico, 14 years ago as an excited, wide-eyed boy.
On the way over, driving in the early dawn, Jeff and I caught up on how the extreme winter conditions are affecting
January 1, 2014
Last night we brought in the New Year at Jeff and Carla’s house. We ate food and had conversation. Mainly, we jammed to some tunes. Jeff has an impressive collection of vinyl records that often make a showing whether for a New Year’s Eve get together, an impromptu dance party, or a lunch break. Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Paycheck, Hank Williams Jr. (pre Monday Night Football), Jimmy Buffet (pre making songs with Alan Jackson), Corb Lund, Bruce Springsteen, and others provided the entertainment. Some songs