2021 Highlights and Looking Ahead-2022

Focus Updates-

2021 In Review & 2022 Plans!

photo by J. Sherwood

With the 2021 cattle season behind us, we now pause and look back to see where we have been as well as look ahead to see where we are going. Where we have been is easy- mostly in quarantine on the Ranch and following the science.
It was a challenging time but, in many ways, much better than 2020! Many of you will understand that the daily routines of the Ranch do not differ a whole lot from year to year. What did change was the absence of guests and more relaxed employee restrictions concerning covid. A degree of added security with vaccinations was a welcome.

Environmental Challenges: 

2021 started with a snow pack close to average. However, the runoff was inadequate as most of the water went into the ground and the stock ponds did not fill. The reservoir only filled to about 65 percent. This cost us in grass for the cattle and a diminished hay crop. Water was short everywhere. Coupled with this shortage was a dry, hot spell with plenty of wind. Grazed pastures did not regrow which shortened our season. As if this was not enough, add a plague of grasshoppers to the mix and we had the perfect storm, so to speak. A year with many strikes against us-a pandemic, drought, plague of grasshoppers and forest fires in the west.

Trailing Cattle by K. Whitcomb

Spring Calves


We ran approximately 1170 head of yearling
cattle here on the ranch after we sold off a bigger end in California. Our plan
was to hold back a smaller end to ship later in September. However, due to the negative impact of the conditions mentioned in the preceding paragraph, we were
forced to ship everything in early August. The bottom line, it was not the year
we anticipated.

Cows: We did calve out 35 head of cows and sold the calves in November. They were purchased by local ranchers, heifers and steers separately.

April and Leah

Fishing was also impacted by the prevailing warmer temperatures and low stream flow. It was very good early in the season but the runoff started to
subside in mid-June and the daytime temperatures soared and remained warm from late June to September. Our stretch of river was protected as much as possible. It was rarely fished by a few relatives and friends that came to help out with the ranch work and who had a little time to tie a fly to their line and cast. There were days in August and September when the cubic feet per second (cfs) was recorded at only 12. A normal reading for this time of the year would be 20-35 cfs.

Highlights of 2021:

Family and friends came when they could to help fence, repair, work on the ditch in Fletcher Park, ship cattle and add some variety to the mix that was much needed. Oh yes, they also came with useful skills and some humor. Juan Carlos and Angel were able to return from Peru and it was wonderful to have them here again. They enjoyed having the extra help.

Projects Completed in 2021:

There were several key projects that were undertaken this past season: clearing willows from the reservoir ditch and the face of the reservoir. While more still needs to be done, it was an ambitious start.

A new fence along the south end of the West Cottonwood pasture was built. This should prevent cattle from getting out at this end of the pasture.

Every year requires trees to be cut from the ditch in Fletcher Park. This year was no exception and there were days spent doing this. It should help with improving the runoff this spring but we will have to wait and see. Of course, there will be more trees this year and the process will repeat itself.

Earlier, grasshoppers were mentioned, and we did contract to have aerial spraying done to control them. It seemed very effective.

Weed spraying was done in earnest again this year. A bigger sprayer was obtained from the county and more ground covered but the Canada thistle was out of control. We tried a late aerial spraying targeting this weed on about 100 acres. We won’t know the fruits of our labor until late spring.

Genghis and Buddy

Horse News:

We did send 4 more horses to Colorado Horse Network for adoption. These were some of old and not so old favorites that needed less strenuous riding and a forever home to live out their days. The lucky ones are: Paint, Buddy, Genghis and Blue Duck. It is always hard to lose a horse but in this case, we did not lose them as someone else found them.

On The Horizon….2022: 

Our yearling cattle are on pasture in California and we will probably run around 1150 head depending on what the rest of winter looks like for water in the grazing season. As of now, we have around 1500 head of cattle in California.

We send you our best wishes for 2022. As always, we enjoyed hearing from many during the holidays and getting cards with family news and pictures. Time to take down the old from the bulletin board and put up the new! Stay in touch and we will do the same.



With Nephews Steve and Dave

All our best,

Terry and Maureen