Branding Shots
Category: Live from the Ranch
The ground crew waits for the last few unbranded calves
Posted by Dan B. on 07/26/2013

Branding Shots
Category: Live from the Ranch
 Kate and Cody watching the action at Wednesday's branding
Posted by Dan B. on 07/26/2013

Making a Hand
Category: Live from the Ranch
We branded Tuesday and Wednesday, possibly for the last time this year. We were joined by a crew from the Zapata as well as friends and family from as far away as California, Texas, and Illinois. Many in our crew had never branded before this season, but it's always amazing how much skill, confidence, and competence each new team member picks up over the course of a year. The patience and teaching ability of the veterans is no small factor in that transformation. Above is a picture of Colt, a friend from Texas, learning how to hold calves, along with his sister, Cody, who administered the vaccinations. Their dad challenged them to "make a hand," or learn the ropes so that they can be contributing members of the team.  It looks like they're well on their way.
Posted by Dan B. on 07/26/2013

Horsemanship Clinic
Category: Live from the Ranch
This week, we were joined by Cam Schryver (and his daughter Cora) for a horsemanship clinic for the Chico staff. Cam helped us work some of the new colts we’ve been training, showing us techniques to use for groundwork and while horseback. We all enjoyed his easy-going nature and simple, practical approach to working the colts--but his good humor and calm demeanor belie the fact that Cam is one of the most impressive and exacting riders and horse trainers you could meet. Here’s a glimpse of Cam in action on his horse Sticks at the 2011 Extreme Cowboy World Finals:
Posted by Dan B. on 07/28/2012

Summer Fun
Category: Live from the Ranch
There's always plenty of work to be done but summer provides some awesome recreation opportunities on (and off) the ranch.  Here are a few quick glimpses at how we're enjoying summer, Chico style:

Corn husking contest before a Bunkhome BBQ.

Newly christened May Camp International Airport, ready for...

4th of July Husky rides, provided by Duke.

And of course, another rodeo, capping off Pike's Peak or Bust Rodeo Days.
Posted by Dan B. on 07/16/2012

Ranch Rodeo
Category: Live from the Ranch

Last night, some of the Chico crew attended the Championship Ranch Rodeo in Colorado Springs. Ranch rodeos are different from the rodeos most are familiar with, as they feature working cowboys participating in activities that test skills required for everyday ranch work. Events included trailer loading, bronc riding, and wild cow milking. 

While the atmosphere inside the arena was festive, the crowd was keenly aware of the on-going wildfire situation just miles away. It was announced during the rodeo that anyone displaced by the fire was given a ticket to the night’s activities and provided with a meal—just one example of the community coming together to support our neighbors experiencing difficult times.
Posted by Dan B. on 07/01/2012

Jeder Tag ist ein Tag des Lernens
Category: Live from the Ranch
Was ich an der Chico besonders mag, ist die Vielfalt der Menschen, die hier arbeiten. So viele unterschiedliche, faszinierende Lebenswege und jeder kann dem Rest irgend etwas interessantes beibringen. Wie Kerstin gestern gesagt hat: “Jeder Tag ist ein Tag des Lernens.” Kerstin hat ihrerseits versucht, uns etwas Deutsch beizubringen. Einfache Saetze wie “Wir treiben heute Bullen” und “Das Pferd steht auf der Weide.” Der kulturelle Austausch ist jedoch beidseitig. Gestern zum Besispiel hat Franziska, unsere deutsche Besucherin, an einem unserer regelmaessig stattfindenen Softball-Spielen teilgenommen. Sie hat vorher noch nie gespiel und sich als Naturtalent entpuppt! Wir hatten viel Spass, ihr die Woche ueber unser Leben auf der Ranch zu zeigen und wir hoffen, dass sie hier das ein oder andere gelernt hat, was sie Zuhause mit Familie und Freunden teilen kann.  
It’s Always a Learning Day
One of my favorite things about the Chico is the diversity of the people who work here. Everyone comes from a different, fascinating background, and everyone has something interesting to teach the rest of us. As Kerstin said yesterday, “It’s always a learning day.” For her part, Kerstin has been trying to teach some of us German, starting out with short phrases we use in our every day ranch life such as “We’re moving bulls” and “The horse is in the pasture.” The cultural exchange goes both ways, though. Yesterday, we were happy to include Franziska, our German guest, in our bi-weekly softball game. She had never played before but was a real natural! We’ve had a fun week showing her our life on the ranch, and we hope she learned a few things she can share with family and friends back in Germany.

(Many thanks to Kerstin for the translation!)
Posted by Dan B. on 06/23/2012

Branding Season Winds Down
Category: Live from the Ranch
With only a few brandings left, Stuart is making an effort to learn how to drive the branding wagon and handle the team. Above, he walks the mares to a corral after unhitching the wagon before Wednesday’s branding.

Usually we hold herd on horseback, but Kerstin decided she could handle it on foot. Notice the look of fear in the cows’ eyes. 

Brandings are hard work but there’s plenty of time for enjoyment, too. Here, the ropers provide entertainment for the ground crew. 
After an early morning wake-up, a hard days' work, and a lunch cooked over the branding fire coals, Stuart demonstrates the post-branding nap.
Posted by Dan B. on 06/16/2012

Beating the Heat
Category: Live from the Ranch
We’re still nearly two weeks out from the official start of summer, but we got an early taste of summer weather this week. Temperatures peaked today just shy of 100 degrees, sending humans and animals alike scrambling for shade, water, and other ways to beat the heat. After pushing a herd of yearlings to a water tank in a new pasture, Michael’s dogs decided to take a dip. As the dogs walked circles through the tank, lapping up the water, it looked almost enticing enough to join. Almost.
Not to be outdone though, the year’s first Chico Swim Team practice is slated for 3pm tomorrow in the May Camp pond. London 2012, here we come!
Posted by Dan B. on 06/09/2012

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