Zapata Ranch Daily Journal

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch
October 4, 2014

End of Season

The guest season is drawing to a close here at Zapata with just two weeks left. People always wonder if we just put our slippers on and relax for a few months afterwards, but the reality is these upcoming months are as busy as any summer month!
Recruiting for the 2015 season begins, marketing plans swing into action, the ranch and lodge are winterized and if course bison roundup and processing begins. So as with any ranch… the list never

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October 1, 2014

Bison Detective

I always said that if I wasn’t a rancher I’d have been a detective.  Sometimes I get to be both.

We’ve had a few bison on the Zapata side who have decided that they don’t care much for fences.  I’ve had the hunch that it’s just been a few bad apples, but figuring out which ones is the trick.  I had them narrowed down to a certain bunch, so I put them into a separate pasture.  They took their sweet time,

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September 30, 2014

Changing of the Guard

First the moisture brought more greenery than we’ve seen in a long time. Now the green is turning to browns and yellows.

Fall is here in full force and color.

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September 29, 2014

Motorists and Moving Cattle

I was moving some cattle off water last Wednesday back into a BLM lease we have.  The cattle have to travel under 150 highway through a tunnel.  I got the girls started and they did the rest.  Mothers bawling for their calves to gather up and go, quickly turned into a solid convoy of quiet cattle moving back out to pasture.  It was nice.

As I sat and enjoyed the sight so did several motorists along 150.  At least two vehicles

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September 13, 2014


A few weeks back I wrote about getting a bison out of the lake.  The reason she had so much trouble is because of the design of her feet.  It’s not that it’s a bad design.  The hoof was simply doing what it was designed to do: penetrate the soil, that is.  It’s a great design out in a pasture where it was meant to be used.  Cattle and bison hooves do a great job of penetrating and aerating the

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September 12, 2014


We’ve recently had an exciting edition to the Zapata crew. Executive chef Robbie Douglas joined us two weeks ago and has already made a brilliant impact. Robbie’s passions are local produce, seasonal goods and  cooking outdoors. He has already cooked a number of early morning breakfasts over the fire at the corrals while the guests and crew saddle horses before sunrise. Robbie’s wonderful family have moved to the ranch and settling in fast with plans of chickens, ducks, gardens and hoop houses

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September 4, 2014

Medano Creek

Medano Creek flows through the Great Sand Dunes National Park each spring and summer with runoff.

August 15, 2014

Simple Pleasures

Today we had a friend visit with her twin granddaughters from Switzerland. One of the highlights for the twins was riding in the back of the truck to the corrals. It’s fun getting to do the things you don’t get to do everyday and some of those things like riding in the back of trucks are always fun.  It feels like you’re going somewhere on a mission, somewhere special, all loaded up to go, exposed to the elements. I think this is

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July 30, 2014


There is water in places I have never seen before. Micro ponds are popping up all over the prairie. The standing water and rain has been very peaceful and reminds me of the Colorado I knew growing up, where every summer afternoon the clouds would roll in right on time, shoot some lightning, sound some thunder, and leave a dusting of rain.

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