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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Yesterday was beautiful as we pushed and sorted around 200 heifers. The sun was shining with a few clouds here and there covering the blue sky. Today, as expected, we have lots of snow. Both the Subaru and the Dodge got stuck at the top of the hill at May Camp and Michael is coming to rescue the crew to take them to head quarters to work. Some drifts are nearly up to your knees. There is a 90% chance of heavy snow today, according to the weather online. We will see what happens. The prairie is really pretty all covered in white!


Picture of Aidan Moon on Napoleon March 23, 2010.
The picture on left was taken on March 15, 2010 and the picture on right was taken this morning on March 24, 2010 of the completed May Camp fence.
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/24/2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Oh what a beautiful day! Everyone is spread out on the ranch working hard on their projects.
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/18/2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
The interns, Chase, and I worked on the May Camp picket fence yesterday. We are getting close! It looks really good!

Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/16/2010

Monday, May 15, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Here are pictures of the Saddle House that is connected to the leather shop that the kids were working in yesterday.

Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/16/2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Why ranch life is great for kids!
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/14/2010

Friday, March 12, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
WOW, it is a beautiful sun shinny day here at the ranch. All that wind blew in an awesome day! There is a crystal clear view of Pike’s Peak with a snow capped peak.

Chase was able to finish up the back hoe work yesterday with only a little bit more dirt moving to do once it has all settled. This is a special weekend as we have students from Fountain Valley High School staying at both our Lonestar Schoolhouse and Bar JH. They are here for a unique prairie and western experience. So far, they have gotten great weather! We hope they have a fantastic time while they are here and can learn a lot.

Have a great weekend!
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/12/2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Today is extremely windy and it feels like something is blowing in, but the weather isn’t calling for a storm. Pike’s Peak can still be seen behind the low hanging clouds.

Chase is currently working on May Camp Drain Project #2. He will be finished either today or early tomorrow. It is another drain project that requires quite a bit of digging with the backhoe and taking measurements to purchase supplies from town. He has all of the supplies ready and a lot of the digging done with th pipes in place. He had a large load of river rock gravel delivered yesterday for the completion of the project.     

Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/11/2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Back at the Ranch: Wow, after a great “all staff meeting” on Monday, we have an exciting road in front of us. Each and every person working here has planned an awesome spring. We are hitting the door running right now as we prepare for our spring season.
As I was driving the low road today to get to head quarters, I found out how friendly the Beef Master bull calves really are. They all started running for my car, looking for cake. The crew has been feeding them out of a truck, so they are used to getting feed from a vehicle. This is a picture of Sophie feeding the bull calves. 
Picture courtesy of Sidonie White.
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/10/2010

Saturday, March 5, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch

History from 1950-2000


“Oscar Appelt Senior, a Texas cattleman, bought the 150,000 acre former Drinkard and Emmert ranch and other ranch property south of Colorado Springs in 1945 for $300,000 cash.  He lived there for nine years.  He died in about 1954.  In 1949, the Red McMahon and Mike Levis ranches were purchased as well and increased the Appelt holdings to 175,000 acres, an area of 20 x 25 miles.  It was planned to be stocked with 2,500 Herefords.  This area has Black Squirrel, Chico, and Willow Creeks running through it.”


This concludes the last of the Chico Basin Ranch history series.  Hope you have enjoyed looking back in time.  Be looking forward to life on the ranch beginning again next week.

Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/05/2010

Friday, March 5, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
History from 1900-1950 continued
“While at Chico, a doctor prescribed leisurely walks in the sun for Artus, who looked for beds of kaolin, feldspar, and deposits of clay which could be used in his experiment. His health improved, he went back to his potter’s wheel where he turned out simple vases, pots, and bowls from the gray ranch clay. He designed his toast cup on a pedestal. 
In the fall, he returned to town where he met Professor William Strieby, the Colorado College chemistry professor, who was also expert in mineralogy of the region. Interested in Van Briggle’s attempts to perfect a matte glaze, Strieby gave Van Briggle a corner in the lab in the basement of Cutler Hall. He used a crudely built kiln of clay and brick to work on glazes that had been used by Winfield Scott Stratton (a student of Strieby-source below*) for assaying test ore from his mines. Later, his father sent him a gas-fired kiln from his former studio. 
As his physical condition deteriorated, Artus went back to the Holmes Ranch, where he modeled a number of designs for vases and bowls. By fall he returned to town.”
For more of Van Briggle’s history at Cutler Hall, visit this site: *http://www.coloradocollege.edu/welcome/walkingtour/cutler.php
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/05/2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
 “The following description probably describes to some extent what he (Artus Van Briggle) found at the Holmes Ranch as described by Richard Green, who lived there during the 1940’s when the ranch was owned by Oscar Appelt. 
“The place where I live is the most beautiful place in El Paso County. This place is a small part of the big Appelt Ranch. It is known as the Holmes Ranch. This is situated on the west side of a large natural hay meadow (probably the Casita). There is a wide stream which runs through the center of this meadow; it is always green with water cress. Below this particular meadow there are three more large meadows. At one point, the stream and springs have been dammed up and made into a big lake (Vega Pond, built in late 1800’s, oldest reservoir on ranch, dry now, today, for the first time in anyone’s memory). This lake has been well-stocked with fish. I only have to get my rod and walk a short distance and there in the shade of large cotton woods and willows I catch the finest fish.
Our house is a modern six-room house with two porches. The houses on the ranch are all painted white and the out buildings are red. Even though we are 35 miles from town, we have beautiful blue grass lawns, shrubs, and flowers.
Mr. Appelt lives in the old Holmes Ranch house. This is a good old house with walls 24 inches thick, deep window seats, and each floor is a different level. Though the house has been here a good many years, it is still strong and in good condition. It has 8 or 10 rooms and is modern. It has a pretty yard, which is very large.
It has several bunk houses. In the early fall, a hay crew comes and cuts the waist high Vega grass in meadows and bales it. Last year, Mr. Appelt got about 23,000 bales of Vega Hay. This is very fine for cattle. It consists of blue grass and timothy and many other grasses.
Another attraction for Mr. Appelt’s Ranch is his airplane. He takes me for a hop every now and then. Most of all, I like the round-ups in spring and fall. When I grow up I hope, I too, shall have a fine big ranch, as fine as the one I’m lucky enough to be living on now.
(It is unknown whether Artus Van Briggle lived in the main Holmes house or in one of the bunk houses during his time at the Holmes Ranch.)”
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/04/2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
History from 1900-1950
“1899-1900: ARTUS VAN BRIGGLE decided that matte glazes and ceramics allowed expression for him better than canvas. Health deteriorating due to overwork, long hours, no leisure time, developed TB.  Friend from Paris, William Thorne, recommended Colorado Springs. He arrived in March of 1899. He brought a few pair clothes, small turning wheel, some tools, and vases, plus, the first piece of pottery with the first glaze he perfected in Cincinnati. He lived first with the Sutton family on North Tejon Street, and then he went to Chico Basin Ranch owned by M. and M. William Holmes. Artus was always jolly and well-liked and enjoyed entertaining people. He spent much of his time playing the piano for the family and ranch workers every day. He played by ear and loved fun and good jokes.”
For more history on Mr. Van Briggle, visit: http://www.vanbriggle.com/history.html.
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/03/2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
"The Skinner and Tabor Ranch sheep ranch was started in 1878 by Lewis C. Skinner and Horace A. W. Tabor (“Haw” Tabor of the boom and bust mining and political fame).  It was later managed for over 39 years by the heirs of the two original partners, Maxie Tabor and George Skinner, and was known as the Bar JH Land and Cattle Company.  (Picture of what Bar JH looks like today.)  Eventually it too was sold to Emmert and Drinkard and added to their acreage in southeast Colorado. 
By 1945, when this 150,000-acre consolidation of ranches was finally sold by Drinkard and Emmert it was considered to be the largest ranch east of the Rockies in Colorado.  Oscar Appelt was the Texas cattleman who bought the ranch and other ranch property south of Colorado Springs in 1945 for $300,000 cash.  In 1949, the Red McMahon and Mike Levis ranches were purchased as well, and increased the Appelt holdings to 175,000 acres, an area of 20 x 25 miles, that included Black Squirrel, Chico, and Willow Creeks.   He planned to stock the ranch with 2,500 Herefords. After living at the ranch for only 9 years, Mr. Appelt died in 1954.  After his father’s death, Oscar Appelt Jr. sold the ranch to the Arizona-Colorado Cattle Company, a corporation with stockholders, which was the largest private land owner in the state in 1967."
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/02/2010

Monday, March 1, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
Happy March!!
History of the Chico Continued:  "One of the first was originally known as the Tolle Ranch. A neighbor to the south of the Holmes Ranch, along the same spring-fed riparian axis of the Chico Basin was owned by the elderly bachelor, Emmanuel C. Tolle, who homesteaded in the area in 1869. Bill Holmes remembered a day when a beautiful young school teacher from Iowa appeared at their door inquiring directions to the Tolle Ranch. Mr. Tolle, had hired her to teach at the school on his ranch. She later married Mr. Tolle, but the marriage soon ended when Mr. Tolle died, although she retained the ranch. Mrs. Tolle later remarried, this time to Mr. Nuckles of the Nuckles Packing Company in Pueblo. A few years later, he also died, leaving her his entire estate. She then married for the third time to Mr. Lou May. At this time, fortunes turned for the worse, and after a succession of misfortunes and losses, the couple was forced to sell the May (Tolle??) Ranch to the Drinkard and Emmert Company.
Two other ranches in the locality purchased at about the same time by the Drinkard and Emmert Company were the Rose Ranch, just south of the Holmes, and the Skinner and Tabor Ranch. The Rose Ranch was originally settled by Mr. Degraff in 1871, the same year that William Holmes started his operation. His original claim was on 160 acres, but like everyone else, he ran stock out on the government-owned range. He primarily dealt in sheep, running around 6,000 head. Wool rather than meat was the cash crop for the early sheep operations. Mr. Degraff was very successful with his sheep, bit in 1887, he switched to shorthorn cattle. With this, he also proved successful and was recognized as having some of the finest shorthorn cattle in the state. Later, the Rose family, a prominent ranching family in the southern part of the state yet today, acquired the ranch, and were the ones to sell it to Drinkard and Emmert."
Posted by Anonymous A. on 03/01/2010

Friday, February 26, 2010
Category: Live from the Ranch
"A later addition to the ranch buildings included the completion in 1886 of a beautiful 10-room home with 2-foot thick walls and wide window seats, built entirely of sod cut from the adobe bottomland at the headquarters area. Holmes’ experience with the fine cabinetry on clipper ships led to the inclusion of many fine features in the house as well.   Lawns, a white picket fence, and gardens surrounded the house. Orchards were planted to the southeast, and some trees survive to this day. The old spring house can still be seen in the marshy area to the south. There would have been cottonwood and willow trees growing in the sub-irrigated land to the south, with springs for livestock and irrigation. Later additions included bunk houses and a reservoir below the large southern irrigated hay meadow (today’s Vega Pond) which was used to irrigate the arid plains along Chico Creek.   Other spring-fed reservoirs were built that watered a ribbon of hay fields strung along the riparian axis of the Chico Basin.
  Riparian Area on the Chico
After over 40 years of ranching in this area, William Holmes died in 1918. His son, Bill, took over as ranch manager. However, in 1926, the heirs of the other partners forced the sale of the ranch. It was purchased by a large livestock commission firm in Denver that played an important part in the history of ranching in this area of Colorado—the Drinkard and Emmert. This partnership between Drinkard and his brother-on-law Emmert began in 1914. They were responsible for the consolidation of several of the nearby ranches into one entity."
Posted by Anonymous A. on 02/26/2010

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