Peace Like a River, a novel by Leif Enger

Eleven-year-old Reuben Land narrates this harrowing cross-country journey prompted by his older brother’s murder of a bully. Davy, the brother, becomes a fugitive. The rest of the family—father Jeremiah and Reuben’s younger sister Swede–set out from Minnesota to find him. We chewed our knuckles listening to this book-on-tape during our own drive back to Maryland, as Reuben’s family tracks Davy down, one step ahead of the law.

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The Work of Wolves, a novel by Kurt Meyers

Dakota rancher Carson Fielding is hired to train horses by land baron Magnus Yarborough and becomes entangled with Yarborough’s much younger wife. In revenge, the wealthy rancher sets out to slowly starve his wife’s horses to death. Fielding teams up with Lakota math whiz Earl Walks Alone and German exchange student Willi Schubert to try to rescue the animals. Meyers weaves Lakota mysticism with tension between ranchers who love their land and those who seek to develop it.

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The Hearts of Horses, a novel by Molly Gloss

This is a quiet story of Eastern Oregon ranch life at the time of World War I. Nineteen-year-old loner Martha Lessen goes to work training horses for rancher George Bliss and his neighbors. She gets crossways with a hired hand who abuses horses, helps a German family after a wagon accident, and is courted by a persistent Irish cowboy who tests her determination to lead a solitary life.

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The Diary of Mattie Spencer, a novel by Sandra Dallas

LOCAL AUTHOR.

No one gets the lingo and the culture of the westward wagon trek like Denver’s Sandra Dallas. Mattie leaves her Midwest home with new husband Luke to create a life homesteading in Colorado. As recorded in her “diary,” she copes with the hardships of frontier life and tries to learn more about her stranger of a husband. One of Linda’s favorite books, this one transports you back in time.

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The Meadow, by James Galvin

LOCAL AUTHOR. An American Library Association Notable Book.

Raised in northern Colorado and owner of a ranch in Tie Siding, Wyoming, James Galvin has crafted one of the most authentic (and poetically beautiful) descriptions of ranch life we’ve ever read. You’ll meet Lyle, Ray, Clara, and App, the quirky characters that live along the Colorado/Wyoming border. They try to tame the landscape, but it tames them.

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A Dog For All Seasons, a memoir by Patti Sherlock

We heard Patti Sherlock read an excerpt from her new book at the Jackon Hole Writers’ Conference, and we’re pleased to host her during her stay in Loveland. People who love dogs and people will be captivated by her book. Author and Animal Behaviorialist Temple Grandin calls it “A moving memoir of a loving relationship with a dog and the trials and tribulations of living on a western sheep farm.  All people who love dogs and yearn to return to the land will love this book.”

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Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, a novel by Laura Pritchett

LOCAL AUTHOR. Winner of the Milkweed and PEN Center West Awards.

Wonderful interconnected short stories that knit together the lives of Renny and Ben, estranged grandparents trying to preserve their family cattle ranch while daughter Rachel struggles to protect her children from an abusive husband. The family perseveres through a forest fire, a harrowing rescue of an orphaned calf, and a shocking act of violence. Laura is a neighbor of ours, and we vouch for the authenticity of her beautiful descriptions of ranch life.

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The Tenderness of Wolves, a novel by Stef Penny

David J’s all-time favorite historical mystery set in the 1860s Canadian frontier. A French trader is brutally murdered and scalped. The prime suspect, a lonely teenager with a troubling secret, disappears into the frozen tundra as winter approaches. His world-wise, gutsy mother teams up with a disturbingly attractive wolf hunter, himself a suspect, to track her son down. A mild-mannered Hudson Bay Company agent follows in cold pursuit as the raging, blinding snow, itself a major character in the book, impedes them at every step.

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By David Jessup

On the final night of Sylvan Dale Ranch’s Native American Week a few years ago, Gray Wolf presented one of our young guests with a cobalt necklace he had owned for many years.  Gray Wolf is a Northern Cheyenne who hosts a special program each year at our “tipi camp.”  The guest was a sixteen-year-old girl who had spent the week here with her mother.  Several times during the week she had treated her mother with disrespect.  Up at Cow Camp she actually called her mother a B—-.  One of the wranglers picked up on this and asked Gray Wolf if he might talk to the girl.  Read more on Gray Wolf and the Cobalt Necklace…

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By David Jessup

Grass-fed beef is more expensive than grain-fed, feedlot beef.  At least that’s been the pattern until recently.  Now, it appears, the price gap is narrowing. 

Consumers have been able to partially overcome the price difference by buying grass-fed beef in bulk directly from ranchers.  By purchasing a whole, half, quarter, or eighth, you save between 15 to 26 percent of the cost of individual cuts and an even greater percent over what you would pay for grass-fed beef at the grocery store. Often friends and family will split a bulk purchase to get the best value. (We call it “cow-pooling.”) Read more on Why is Grass-fed Beef More Expensive? Or is it?…

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