Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Dude Ranch Monday
I can't help but love living on a Colorado Dude Ranch in the winter. The snow gently blankets the ground and all the buildings that, in the summer, host dudes from all corners of the earth. It's like the whole ranch is napping. Resting up for the tireless hours of work coming in the warmer months.
This is a typical Monday here. Here is what is going on:
Here a few of the horses that are wintering at the ranch gather in the corrals for some hay.
The entry to the ranch is a different site from the summer. Tire tracks wade through the snow, cabins hide in beneath snow covered roofs.
A curious face peer from around the barn. Unfortunately, I don't have the grain he's looking for!
Tyler is caught feeding the ducks bread scraps. The ducks are in a pen for the winter to keep them warm and safe. Boy, do they miss the pond!
Icicles are a treat. Free decorations that glimmer and shine!
A chickadee visits the ranch in search of a feeder. This guy, along with his friends the red-breasted nuthatch, the stellar's jay and magpies empty the bird feeders about every other day!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Drowsy Water Ranch Monday and it is Warm!
The last few days have been absolutely beautiful. We've had unseasonably clear, warm (well, 30's, but that is warm here) and dry. They're the kind of days that make you count your lucky stars that you live in Colorado. And on the eve of a monumental change for our country, these days remind us how lucky we are to live in this free nation. Even out here, in the snow covered hills, we remember that.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
What we do in the winter Part I: A Drowsy Water Ranch Date
You know you've been livin' in the boonies for a while when you decide you want to go on a date with your husband and you are not talking about dinner and a movie. You're not thinking a nice stroll in the park. Your not even thinking a concert might sound fun. You know you're a bonafide country girl when you want to go on a date with your husband and you want to go feed.
What do I mean when I say "go feed"? Well, around here the term "feed" is a verb meaning "to distribute hay to horses and/or cows". Ranchers feed hay, generally, and they feed it via multiple means. Some toss small bales from the back of a truck. Others might pitchfork out loose hay from a wagon. We feed our hay using a tractor pulling a haybuster and large round bales.
And really, the event is the perfect rancher date. Look at that tractor. Two people don't really fit comfortably in there. You have to sit REEEAAAALLLYYY close. You load up the hay at the ranch then you drive in the tractor, nice and slow, the few miles to the feed pasture. Along the drive, there is time to talk and laugh. And did I mention how close you have to sit?
Once you get to the pasture, the cows and horses come running for some food.
Next, the teamwork begins. Two people make feeding easier. You both have specific jobs to complete that work towards meeting the same goal. Isn't that just a fun date component right there? One of us will hop out of the cab and feed pellets to the horses and cows while the other one fires up the haybuster and starts feeding piles of hay. The haybuster is controlled from inside the tractor cab. It takes a full round bale of hay and and spits out smaller piles of hay on the ground.The horses usually get the first pick of hay piles.
Once all the horses get situated at their hay piles, the cows get their own hay piles. The horses pick through the hay, only eating what is green and good. The cows aren't so picky. They eat it all. Even if it has a touch of brown or mold, they don't seem to mind. The cows eat their piles then hang around until the horses have picked through and eaten the good stuff out of the other piles. Then the cows eat all that is left of the horse hay piles, too.
Next, we break the ice. This is tough work and usually makes you sweat. Again, a good date component, wouldn't you say? Below, Justin, in his attractive new muck boots, chips away at the water hole that is along the Colorado River.
Finally we get to the entertainment part of the date. Here, Justin shovels ice chunks out of the other water hole. Aspen, the dog, does incredible acrobatics everyday while trying to catch the ice chunks. It's really hilarious. She gets soaking wet, does back flips, jumps and turns. It's quite the show.
After the ice is broken, our work is done. We load back up in the tractor for our nice, slow, close drive home.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Colorado Dude Ranch Monday at the Barn-new snow
Around here, the snow creates a lot of work and it creates a lot of play. That means Ken is out plowing snow, Randy Sue is out feeding horses and cows, Tyler is permanently wearing coveralls, and I, the lazy one, am drinking a lot of hot drinks in front of the fire. But we all downhill ski, cross country ski, snowmobile, and snowshoe when we can - that is the best part about the snow-so it is not all bad.
In the next few weeks I'll be doing my best to explain two things. First, the question we get so often this time of year: What do you do all winter?
Monday, January 5, 2009
The first Monday on a Colorado Dude Ranch
Greetings, earthlings. Welcome to a new year. Around the ranch, we have plenty to look back on and a lot to forward to. Here's a few highlights from our ranch photo log from the last year, in no particular order.
Fall in Grand County.
Moving cows to summer pasture.
The spring flood.