san luis valley

Category Archives for // san luis valley
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

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February 22, 2016

A Bison Move

During bison works, we wean some calves and bring them down to the lodge corrals.  Here, we train them to electric fence and acclimate them to seeing a person afoot and horseback so that they are gentle and easy to manage.  Once they’re ready, we turn them out to a small pasture where they can graze and learn to follow a feed truck. We keep them in this small pasture as long as we can so we can keep a close eye

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January 22, 2016

Office Coyote

I spend the majority of my day in the office, but that is not to say I don’t see a lot of incredible things from my window. Lately a lone coyote has been loitering around the lodge grounds, behind the office in particular. The dogs let me know with a low growl every time it’s around and we watch through the large office window until it leaves. Usually it’s just passing through, but today I watched it do a few

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January 19, 2016

A Bison Gather

Yesterday we moved the Zapata bison herd to the Medano side of the ranch.  There are no facilities to process, e.g. pregnancy check, vaccinate, the bison on the Zapata.  Several folks from our sister ranches came to help.  Most of us saddled up and rode out to gather except for Duke Jr. who drove the cake truck.

Tom, from the Chico, and I rode south to bring up 6 heifers from the Elk pasture that Duke Jr. spotted from the mountain

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August 13, 2015

Fenced Out

I took some guests camping on the Medano side last week. The wranglers and I were setting up next to an old set of corrals. Essentially the corrals were an enclosure as nothing can get in and graze. There was a remarkable difference in the forage in the corrals compared to just outside. I borrowed Andrea’ phone and snapped a few pics.

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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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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 6, 2015


My 8-5 is nearly always spent answering calls, taking reservations, assisting with marketing strategies, updating our social media, preparing for the guest season and anything else that may come up at the lodge. During the winter we have a fairly small crew, so I am sometimes asked to assist with larger-scale livestock moves. Yesterday was one of those days.

We trailered our horses down Lane 6 to the “Idaho-Utah” pasture– two pastures that when combined by an open gate expand

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February 2, 2015

Ferris Bueller

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Ferris Bueller

Yes, life does move pretty fast. You can plan and prepare all you want, but we all get behind once on a while. That’s why you always need a plan B. In today’s world of independence and self-reliance, we tend to forget that we all need a helping hand every now and again. Neighboring is a tradition that is,

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