Friday, June 29, 2012

Wind and Big Trees

Don't mix. I spent the morning cutting up large limbs that fell off the cottonwoods around the corrals. Then we hauled them off to the burn pile. It was a lot of hot work with the chainsaw.

This afternoon I spent helping to create a fire plan for the ranch. I commented that my concerns weren't about fire, but about the old cottonwoods around the buildings and the danger of falling limbs. So guess what happened later? A limb fell on a vehicle. It wasn't pretty. I didn't take a picture of that...

The ranch has been responsible concerning the trees and had a forestry company out this spring for three days assessing the safety of them. I think they need to revisit and do their job.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lots Doin'

Putting together first aid kits, jumping vehicles, writing up storm plans and getting my box of Bantam chicks settled.

They are so stinkin' cute. They are a mix of D'unccles, Silkies, Cochins and Japanese. Not sure what is what yet except the clean legged Japanese and some of the Silkies. Also one drowned...they are so much smaller than regular chicks. Not sure how that could have been avoided. One other is a bit weak...I think a silkie. But I have a bunch so a few lost isn't that tragic. Just sorta sad.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Laundry and Fire

It's been a slow week. The only one we are likely to have this summer. Yesterday we were given the day off, today we ran errands and picked up laundry. It was a Suburban full!

On another note-Colorado is burning. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. I miss fire season, yet I don't miss the anxiety surrounding it. I feel the severity of the fires burning through Colorado could have been avoided. Lawsuits over the cutting of beetle killed forest, delays in fire management plans and decades of fire suppression have lead to an abundance of high fuel loads. Fire is inevitable and the blowup this year had been predicted. Unfortunately with fire, nobody can predict when, where and exactly how bad a fire season will be. Educated guesses, sure, but I don't think anyone thought what is happening here would have happened to this degree. Humans always try to control stuff and it has been leading to mega fires year after year. I think it's really sad because it's always at the expense of human life, property, and natural resources. By disallowing natural fire for so long, fire is not going to act in a renewing manner in these large fires. They are burning too hot and are taking everything that makes them a resource in other circumstances with them.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Team Building

When it gets slow we team build....on the river in Salida.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


The butterflies are prolific this year. They are all around the lodge, drawn by the gardens, and in the fields full of wildflowers.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Our pivot is full of knee deep grass and wildflowers.

There also is a bird nest above the tack shed door. The female doesn't seem too concerned with our coming and going. I'm not sure what type of bird this is, but it looks like a mockingbird.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sheds and The Rodeo

We had a guest with a wicked eye for elk sheds today. They looked kinda funny strapped to his saddle!

A few guests wanted to take in a real rodeo so we took a couple from Wales and another guest to the Alamosa Stampede. Wyatt was my date.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In Bloom and On Fire

The ground cactus are in bloom right now. They really brighten up the desert landscape in some areas.

On the flip side, all the fires burning around here are filling our valley up with smoke. I miss firefighting when the fire season is this bad. The picture was taken driving West into Alamosa this afternoon. There is very little visability

Too bad my MIL is certifiably crazy, 'cause the plan was to have her watch the baby when I went out on fire. But she burned those bridges when she cursed him to hell for being baptised. The bad mother I am... Just another reason to pity her I guess. Nobody sane does that.

On the positive side, I wouldn't be working at the Zapata if I was on fire instead. I'd be making a lot more money though...oh well.

Ringo gave me a hard time today in the arena. I said left, he said no, I said yes, do he said make me...and walked backwards to the destination he wanted to be in instead, namely next to the herd.  I had to problem solve that.  It required dismounting everytime he refused to walk forward after getting him to stand, making him bend to the bit, walk in the direction he wanted, remounting and trying it again. After an hour he decided it was easier to go where I wanted him to rather than face the hellion pushing and pulling him around from the ground. Yeah me. Round two tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

2 in 1

Sorry I forgot to blog yesterday! Monday morning was a bit of a challenge (not everyone who stays here is as interesting or friendly as others) so I jumped in on moving a few strays back to the cattle herd to relax.

When we moved cattle last week a cow and her calf were left to catch up. When they caught up, the cow had three more calves with her that she had rounded up on her own. Sometimes mommy cows never cease to amaze me.

Today was a relaxing ride with a family from Florida, a gal from the East Coast, and a guy from Portland. They were fun to talk to and show around on horseback. I forgot to snap a picture today, so I added in one I got while wrangling horses one morning since I did that today too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Great Conversation

I meet the most interesting people at this job. They come from around the world to this spot and almost everyone has interesting stories. Today I said goodbye to a gal from New Zealand who came out here on her own for a week, and I hope we can keep in touch. I thought it was so cool she traveled all the way here on her own because she wanted to ride 'Out West'.

I also spent the week with a great couple from Holland. They have been so thought provoking in their conversation. I think I could listen to them for a month straight and never get bored.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bratty Toad

I think we found the only toad in the world that sticks its tongue out at horses that almost step on him.

It resides on the Medano Ranch.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lessons in Sorting

Today we taught some guests how to sort out cattle. They did really well and had a ton of fun.

While working, the owner flew over in his plane and landed in the field. I get a ride one of these days...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On Top of the World

Overlooking the Sand Dunes towards Mt. Blanca

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Love, Zapata Style

While moving cattle today we interrupted this couple: a bull and his sweetheart taking a break from the herd. They must have been babysitting the calf cause he caught up to his momma later.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Snarl, snarl, growl

Gave a pair of travel agents from England a horseback tour today.
They loved it. I think.

Look at what is taking up resident in one of the pastures...there's actually a pair that popped out to surprise us. It's a badger in case you couldn't tell ;-)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Cattle Mooooove

Drove cattle for 5 hours today across a few thousand acres. I rode Charlie and he and I had a great day. We made a good team and covered a lot of ground looking for missing pairs and leading the drive. I love running across the open range on my own. It's so quiet and peaceful. Just you and your horse...

I padded the saddle some and kept checking to see if it was pinching. It seemed to work alright. I know its just a temporary fix, but at least its in the right direction.

A truck was backed into my car today on the ranch, so that's in the shop now to get the front redone and a new radiator. It was a total accident. Nobodies fault per se. It's covered and will get fixed. I guess its an occupational hazard of working around big trucks and trailers...when you drive the teeny tiny car that is always missing from view during mirror checks.

I feel bad I haven't been checking other blogs, but I don't have internet except what's on the smartphone. I have a neat little blogger app for posting, but can't see other blogs real well. I also have to take all my pictures with the phone. I'm really having fun choosing a short post each day about work.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Some Days Are Better Than Others

As a wangler we get a variety of riders. Including first time children who either have no fear, or are terrified by the thought of horses. I had a mix today and took this picture of two of them riding the dunes right before Charlie flipped me over his right shoulder while lunging through deep sand. Two of the boys thought it was awesome when I did a somersault and landed on my back in the sand. One of them froze in fear. Nice. Thank God it was deep sand or I'd be a cripple.

I know his bucking is a pain issue with a poorly fitted saddle. I'm sure as he lunged up the dune it slid and pinched him. He has crazy high withers and I cannot find a good fit thus far. But I'm working on it.

I spent the rest of the ride convincing this kid his horse wasn't going to do that and he could take control rather than have his grandfather lead him on a halter. It worked and he picked up the reins. Yeah me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Sand Dunes

Easy day. Nice ride with guests along the sand dunes and worked on reining with Ringo at a trot. Wonderful!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Early Morning Rides

Today I got up at 5:15 to bring in horses. It was early, but boy is that a great time for a gallup across the fields.

The rain brought some much needed moisture. Sand Creek, adeptly named, had water creeping down it this afternoon!

Monday, June 04, 2012


Although it ruined our plans to move bulls from one pasture to another, it was enjoyed and much needed.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Yes, that is Mac. It was much needed. His coat was picking up every stick, pricker and thorn out there.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Fencing-part 2

It continues! Though I was on a beautiful part of the ranch all morning.

There are some journalists here from Europe and I get to provide some insight later while I work some young horses. I'm better on horseback right now anyway as my feet hurt. I've forgotten what wearing boots all day will do to your feet.