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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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December 17, 2015

Learning the Landscape

It’s easy to be fooled by the prairie pancake that makes up the pastures of the Chico – at first sight my eye travels far to the seemingly endless horizon without a dip or drop in sight. After some time trotting out to find the cattle to gather, the flat terrain gently rolls upward, the rest of the crew on their horses slowly turn to dots as we cast our net wider and ride further from each other. The rolling

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December 2, 2015

Snow & Science For The Win

Last week Sam and I threw our saddles in the truck & headed south to the McAuliffe, our sister ranch just over the border in New Mexico. We were going down to help a) keep the gals moving in the corrals during a second round of preg check (that involves a vet & a long plastic glove, you get the picture) and then b) drive the preggers heifers to their new winter digs. It was a 10-mile haul at the

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December 1, 2015

Moon Rise and Sunset

This past week an intern and myself went down to the McAuliffe Ranch in Raton to assist with bringing cows in for pregnancy checks and moving the herd to a new pasture. While we were there we also helped to open up a head gate that a pair of beavers had clogged up. It was brisk work trying to get the sticks and mud unclogged from the pipe but the views made it more than worth while.

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November 12, 2015

A Fence Breakdown

The crew rode out to move our big mob of cattle recently and after the last cow finally meandered through the gate, we still had one more task to take care of: breaking down an unneeded electric fence that divided the herd’s new pasture. Usually this task is done with a truck and/or motorcycle (plus a good playlist or podcast to listen to because you’re gonna be reeling in polywire for AWHILE) but since all of us were already way

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October 20, 2015

Tractor and the Girls

This past week some of the crew journeyed down to the McAuliffe in New Mexico to help move the cows down off the Mesa where they had been grazing for the summer. The cows stepped out at a brisk pace and made the 12 mile or so journey down to the ranch pastures before lunch. I was happy to be back in the saddle on Tractor, one of my favorite horses, who had earlier in the month traveled down to

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June 3, 2015

Goodbye

The past week was packed with enough events to fill a book. We prepped for our largest branding, slept under a lightning filled sky, welcome two first-time visitors, and said goodbye to a long time manager and his family.

The branding and camp-out were reminders of just how special our Ranchlands crew is. Everyone was eager to teach those that were visiting and effortlessly created an atmosphere free of judgment and full of camaraderie. Looking around, you would see people bursting

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May 20, 2015

Goodbye Maddie

All too frequently Chico has to say thank you and goodbye to interns after they complete a job well done. Last week, Maddie left for a job in our nation’s capitol while Butters and Maddie’s string of horses continues to look for her each morning. What Maddie doesn’t know is the tenacity of the Chico Virus, incurably inflicting interns with the passion and yearning to return again and again (Kerstin three times and Fabio times five). Don’t

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April 11, 2015

New Things

On the first of April I joined the Chico crew as the newest apprentice. I was attracted to the Chico not only for their land stewardship and animal handling practices, but also for the wealth of knowledge the individuals that work here have to offer.

This week we were joined by Peggy Gurnett, a guest Horsemanship instructor who specializes in halter starting young horses to assist us in halter starting this past years weanlings. As the week progressed, it was

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April 9, 2015

Desiree

Last week we welcomed Desiree to the Zapata family. Desiree is our new cook and one of our team leaders. She has already made a brilliant impression on us as someone who is passionate about food, where it comes from, how it’s prepared and making sure there’s lots of people around to enjoy it. From chicken pot pies, superb bison tenderloin and TO DIE FOR banana cream pie she’s keeping the team and guests fueled for busy days outdoors. However

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