Zapata Ranch Daily Journal

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch
March 27, 2015

The First Two

Montana left the house at 5:15 a.m. Lane 6 was as quiet as were we. The coffee was hot but hadn’t fulfilled its purpose yet. Kate was starting the fire at the corrals so we could see to saddle. I caught Blue and Montana, Cinco.
The trailer was loaded with horses and the truck with riders. Kate and I handed the walkie-talkie back and forth as the navigation of the move was pointed out to a

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March 24, 2015

Almost Summer

A look at the forecast revealed an early summer day even though it was early March. Sixty-eight degrees for a high. The darkness gave way to light as I made my way down lane 6 to the lodge. I choke the bike and it gave a try. One more and it fired up. As I let it warm up I took a call from Scott. Elk had torn down a good section of fence,

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March 13, 2015

The Call

“ The cops just stopped by. A seven year old boy went missing from the dunes. He was last seen at 5 p.m. heading west.”

I read those words on my phone. It was from Scott. It was Sunday evening. I was reading The Crossing. After that I was thinking of my son. He was fast asleep and safe, but I couldn’t help think of him over and over and all I saw was

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Photo by Roger Wieck
March 12, 2015


Last weekend Chris Pague, Senior Conservation Ecologist for the Nature Conservancy, pointed out a likely coyote den near the lodge after we followed a yipping coyote. This afternoon, a few of our Sandhill Crane Photography Workshop guests came in to ask what was making such a loud noise outside the lodge. I told them that coyotes had a den nearby and walked out to the spot Chris and I had visited over the weekend. Sure enough, I spotted her right

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March 5, 2015

Spring Prelude

I picked up Scott at 7. We ran the Big South fence and checked voltage. Elk activity was looked for on the road. Herds of elk run through the fences so we have to make sure the fence is up and hot every day.
We headed to pick up a charger. I put one together the day before, but it was a no go once I hooked it up to the fence. The new charger was

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February 26, 2015

New Heifers New Ranch

Ranchlands has recently begun managing a ranch in New Mexico. Little Duke flew to Durango three weeks ago and purchased some bred heifers for the ranch. We decided to stage them at the Zapata for a few weeks until some fence work got done at the new place.
Before they left we needed to brand them, so yesterday Duke and Amy came down and helped. We started by gathering them out of a pasture next to the corrals.

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February 20, 2015

Bring on the Snow!

We’ve had an incredibly mild winter so far in the valley and the snow has come and gone a few times. This weekend we are due to have a huge snow storm so we are keeping our fingers crossed that our last weekend before seasonal staff and guests arrive is filled with sledding on the dunes ( highly recommended) and watching the flakes fall.

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February 19, 2015

Weaning Time

A few weeks back we weaned and sold the calves at the Zapata. Planning is always an important part in everything we do at the ranch and this was no exception. Two months before, we had decided to sell the calves through Superior Livestock Auction. Kenny, a Superior rep and neighbor, came out and filmed the cattle.
As we approached the sale date, Kate, Jessie, and I progressively moved them towards headquarters. The day before, little Duke,

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February 13, 2015

Valentines Day

It turns out that CJ our Maintenance Manager at Zapata is quite the romantic. This morning he delivered flowers and chocolates to all the ladies on the ranch this morning. It made our day!

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