Category Archives for // CONSERVE


Conservation has long been a cornerstone of our operations. Since our livelihood depends on the vitality of the land, we have a vested interest in keeping these ecosystems healthy and thriving. Because we work closely with conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, we are able to take advantage of science-based management methods to which ranchers have not traditionally been exposed.

January 31, 2014

The Deepest Stirrings of Spring

February is almost here, a mixed bag for us. In it hides the “deepest stirrings of spring” as Emma, our intern from Great Britain (who is sadly leaving tomorrow) put it so well. Normally it is full of bright clear skys, cold mornings and warmish days. You begin feeling a difference: the animals behaving a little different, bits of fur hanging on bushes, the tiniest bits of green.

I should say perhaps not a difference, but a hint of it. With this change, always comes the building

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January 30, 2014

Just Ahead of the Storm

Trying to time work and weather is always a gamble. We have a lot to do this week, and often work in poor conditions, but getting caught out in a prairie storm can be dangerous rather than just uncomfortable. So yesterday morning, we checked the forecast and the radar. The storm that was originally forecast for the morning hours was supposed to delay until late afternoon and the wind was not supposed to be too severe. We decided it was worth the risk to

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January 28, 2014


Yesterday, we processed all the steer calves that were weaned earlier this week. We sorted off any outliers- calves that were either too small or too big to fit into the group, and ended up with a nice set of even looking calves. We weighed and vaccinated them before settling the group out in a pasture close to Headquarters. They will be rotated through a few high quality pastures in the next month before they are shipped.

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January 27, 2014


One of the best, Nick “Suave” Baefsky came back to the Chico over his last
Christmas break. It was great having him here and one of the greatest treats
was his Border Collie “Liz”. She is turning into a great hand and has an
incredible character.

I noticed her keeping the bike at idle while Nick was
closing the gate after arriving back at headquarters. Riding along on a
motorcycle or horse is a great skill a working dog can learn. Checking fence
on a bike is

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January 23, 2014

Road Trips

Trotting around our pastures in the winter, a network of highways and interstates becomes visible. It’s the paths left by jackrabbits and cottontails. There tracks often stick to a few distinct routes that go for hundreds of yards and then fork and continue on like that with little driveways branching off under a chico brush or into a hole under the hardened snow and sand. I wondered while I was searching for some escaped bison, if those travel patterns persist in the other seasons

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January 20, 2014

Moon Set

They say cowboys take a lot of pay in scenery; like watching a full moon settling in to the prairie skyline on the trot out this morning. Not a bad way to start the day.

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January 17, 2014

Silver Friends

With the snow and sub-32°F temperatures that have stuck around since a week before Thanksgiving, we have a few animals that could use a bit of help. We’ve been bringing them into the corrals over the last few days to doctor, supplement their feed, and provide a little shelter from the San Luis Valley winter. It’s quite the crew with a handful of bison calves, a few beef calves and a horse or two. They’re not always really sure of their new corral mates,

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January 16, 2014

Full Day on the MZ

I had a great day today at the MZ. I started the morning at 7, interviewing Jeff (with Isaac) for a biographical film we are making about him for Ranchlands Review. We went for two hours talking about his life. It was fun going back to the very beginning when he first arrived at the Chico, 14 years ago as an excited, wide-eyed boy.

On the way over, driving in the early dawn, Jeff and I caught up on how the extreme winter conditions are affecting

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January 15, 2014


The last couple of days have been busy preparing everything for next week, when we will be weaning all the steer and bull calves from the main cow herd.  We’ve been hauling hay, fixing fence, building gates, and making sure the corrals are in order to accommodate such a large herd. Pictured above is everything Michael needs to hang gates and make other corral repairs. Tomorrow, we start moving the cows towards headquarters from West Chico, the largest pasture on the

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January 11, 2014


While driving home the other day I encountered this wall of tumbleweeds that are stacked up on fences everywhere. They are non-discriminant, snagging on barbed wire, sheep mesh, and electric fences all over the Chico and high plains. I missed the photo opportunity, but the other day the county was plowing the tumbleweeds roads with their snow plowing rigs so that cars could pass through. A friend of ours was driving around out east and found himself stranded when tumbleweeds

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