Category Archives for // spring
March 23, 2016

North American Porcupine

The North American Porcupine is fairly easy to see in winter months on the Chico in trees where they feed on bark. Usually nocturnal, this one was feeding on the ground in the Chico alfalfa field in the morning. It is a rodent with quills on all of its body except for the stomach area.  Prior to mating in late summer, the male performs an elaborate dance for his prospective mate and as you would expect (not) he sprays urine

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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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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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May 19, 2015

Spring Changes

Spring is a time of year that we all look forward to: green grass, new life. This year we’ve had more rain that we can ever remember having before.

April 7, 2015

Green Grass

The crew and I moved the bison and the cattle into one pasture yesterday. The grass is growing fast so we want to get as many animals on it as we can. Then we can rapidly move them through the pastures so that the cattle that are calving now and the bison who will calve in a month can get the nutrition they need for the new mouths to feed without overgrazing.
The move took most of the day.

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April 3, 2015

Poetry with Jake

There once was a hole
Deeper than a ten foot pole
It made Jake glower
But he was not sour
Because digging is good for the soul

The end.

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April 1, 2015

Getting into Things

I am a serious collector of hobbies. I have interests in art, nature, community building, ecology, and horseback riding. I’m also what you could call a joiner. If there’s a group of folks out there doing work or hosting activities surrounding one of my interests and I happen to get invited, I always say yes.

That’s how I ended up meeting the ranch’s resident birder, Bill Maynard. He maintains the Birding Blog for this site. I heard Bill needed some field

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March 27, 2015

The First Two

Montana and I 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

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June 21, 2014


After seeing countless baby animals each Spring, Tess and I added our own to the mix. Woods Neal Leach.

If he keeps up with his current size he might end up being bigger than Uncle Duke and we’ll surely encourage pinning Uncle D as often as possible.

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May 30, 2014

Iris Season

It’s iris season at Zapata! Each spring I look forward to the first bloom which always comes sooner than anticipated (mid-end May). All of the meadows on the northern side of the ranch turn purple with flowers that only last a couple of weeks. The iris is commonly called the “Western Blue Flag” or “Rocky Mountain Iris” and is native to CO. It tastes bitter to livestock, so the bison leave it untouched for us to enjoy.

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