Zapata Ranch Daily Journal

To view entries by location, click on a ranch name: Zapata Ranch // Chico Basin Ranch
Tom Shandley shaking out a loop.
July 11, 2016

The Art of Roping

Take a look at some of the loops thrown at this years brandings.

June 6, 2016

Troop 400

“I have no words to say that could express the gratitude we have for your generosity. I was amazed when you answered so quickly and opened your land to us. Not long after our arrival the boys realized how unique this opportunity was to stay on the ranch. We were able to see the buffalo herd in the distance as we arrived late Friday evening. The view and perspective of the dunes was second to none.

We appreciate your hospitality to

Continue Reading

May 9, 2016

Spring

Spring is here in the valley and there are signs of it everywhere. The cottonwoods are greening up, hearty wildflowers are bursting through the ground and wildlife and their young can be spotted all around. Pronghorn, bison, and elk calves pepper the valley and mule deer fawns, jackrabbits, and a variety of birds can be seen around the lodge. I’ve even seen gray foxes just down the road from the ranch, which was very exciting. Spring is truly a special

Continue Reading

May 3, 2016

The Bison Posse

How many adult riders does it take to move a herd of kiddie bison? Fourteen. Obviously.

That was the size of our posse this past week when we pushed the remaining managed bison herd into the corrals on the Medano side of the Zapata Ranch. The wee woolies were getting prepped for their long road trip to the Land of Tatonka aka South Dakota aka the location of our newest ranch management project aka their new prairie home.

I always jump at

Continue Reading

April 14, 2016

Sprung

Spring snuck up on me this year.  I took some time off to head back to Kansas for a week in late March.  There was no mistaking that spring was in full force there, given the golf course-like pastures.  Here in the high desert, it’s a bit more subtle.

Before I left we’d been around a few fences and hadn’t really noticed any green yet.  There was a green hue, but perhaps I thought it was wishful thinking or my mind

Continue Reading

April 13, 2016

New Arrivals

Last week the MZ took on 103 new soon-to-be mother cows.  They’d spent the fall & winter at the Chico and had started dropping babies in March.  Twenty-five calves took the ride outside of mom here on the semi.  They also sent us another 56 yearling heifers.

Forty-five cows arrived on two trucks first.  Kate & Andrea helped me unload them into a holding pen as I counted them off.  Soon truck three arrived with the pairs & yearlings.  The yearlings

Continue Reading

March 14, 2016

Ranch-to-Table

Growing up in California, I always had great access to produce that had been grown no more than 50 miles away. It felt like farm-to-table at its finest when I presented a dish with several different varieties of vegetables and was able to say, “this entire meal is made with local produce.” Unsurprisingly, it took a bit of adjusting moving from coastal California to landlocked Colorado. But thanks to our local co-op, Valley Roots Food Hub, I’m getting to that

Continue Reading

The birds announce their passage overhead with a distinctive trumpeting call.
March 14, 2016

Sandhill Crane Migration

Every spring and fall, Sandhill Cranes stop over on the Medano-Zapata Ranch during their annual migration.

Photos by Matthew DeLorme and Madeline Jorden

March 12, 2016

Stoked on Stoats

I’ve lived on the ranch for three years now and it seems I have one or two really pivotal wildlife sightings each year. I’ve seen bears, bobcats, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, beaver… An endless list really of varied and exciting species… but today I saw my first Stoat! I had seen Long-Tailed Weasels aka “big stoats” in my mammal books on the area, but never come across one in real life, so I was practically giddy when I saw one pop

Continue Reading