Mar 16th, 2010 Archives

Where the Wild Things Are — Dippers


American Dipper

The most aquatic of song birds, dippers or water ouzels are gray, robin-sized, with short, perky, wren-like tails. No skinny dippers, these are round, well-insulated feather balls, with stubby wings that allow them to fly under water. American dippers live only in the western mountains, from Alaska to Mexico.

Dippers dip. They bob up and down with quick knee-bends, apparently to allow a good view through the reflective surface of the water. Then they hike along the bottom of a tumbling mountain stream, hanging on with their toes, probing among the rocks for insects to eat.

Their nest is a hollow ball of moss on an inaccessible cliff above the water. Most summers there are two or three dipper nests along the Big Thompson on the Main Ranch. The lowest of them is just above water level at the north end of the bridge on the way to the early morning Breakfast Ride! This may be the lowest-elevation dipper nest in Colorado.

Come see us (and the dippers!). Invest some quality time communing with the dippers after that old-fashioned country breakfast!

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Horse of the Month — Dusty Rawhide

Born May 20th, 2009 “Rawhide” was the last of our colts to be born last year. We had all four colts (boys) and no fillies (girls) last year so it is fun to go out and work with the boys. Colts are generally not as sensitive as the fillies and this is proving to be true with this bunch.

“Rawhide” is out of our good brown mare “Sally” and by our stallion “Gold Dust Trail”. He is a beautiful Buckskin color with white socks with black dots in them on his back legs. It looks like he has holes in his socks!

Of all the “Sally” foals he is the friendliest and is the first one to come to the fence to say “Hi! Pet me!”

We have two full brothers to Rawhide; they are both buckskins, “Ben” who is 5 years old and “Rodeo” who is 2 years old. We have two full sisters, who are both bay in color — “Poco Jet” is 6 years old and “Cowgirl” is 3 years old. We know they will all eventually make excellent mounts for you.

Visit our Horse of the Month page

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Hubbard and Leone Tomlinson

Some of you may remember "The Duke" and "The Madam," Tillie’s parents from Arkansas who lived in the house across the River until their passing in the 1970’s.

Truck farmers by trade, they provided the ranch with fresh vegetables from a large vegetable garden that extended from the back of the cabins to the river.

This year some of the Ranch Crew is initiating a small vegetable garden that will provide some produce for guest meals. It has been named The Tomlinson Patch in memory of these two special people.

Five raised beds will be in place on the Hilltop tended by committed staff who desire to grow natural pesticide-free produce, yet another step down the road to sustainable green practices.

Nancy, graduate of CSU in horticulture, head gardener and certified yoga instructor, has a wealth of knowledge and will be conducting mini courses in the art of gardening the natural way.

We welcome your participation at your next visit!


“The Tomlinson Patch”

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At 5200 feet, March heralds the return of Spring to the Sylvan Dale Valley.

Heading down the hill to the office I was greeted by the chatter of house finches already scoping out their nests. The frozen waterfall at the bend of the river has all but melted, and the clean white snow that has covered the ground for most of the winter is giving way to patches of mud.

I can actually smell the earth awakening!

Frozen Waterfall

Frozen Waterfall

The mama cows have returned from their winter grazing in the Big Valley and their calves – 34 to date – are finding their legs and their mother’s milk.

I overheard Margie’s baby talking to a newcomer about how you will be returning this summer to help them find their way to Cedar Park where they will graze the mountain pastures.

Things will be hopping for us in the next three months as we prepare for your return.

Can’t wait!

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