In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ranching of a Different Sort

After having a slow and lazy Saturday, one which Hubby took off from work since he hasn't been feeling well for the past few days, I decided it was time to get out of the house. Time for a drive. Head 'em up and move 'em out. Not all of the members of my family were initially thrilled with this idea. But once they saw where I was taking them they warmed right up to it. When my Aunts were here we took a drive to Hotchkiss via the most convoluted backroads imaginable. It was a fun and beautiful drive, but I don't think I could ever recreate that route. The goal of this original drive was to find an elk and bison ranch and then go thrift store shopping. Both things were eventually accomplished. Since Hubby and S were not with us on our voyage, today seemed like a good day to show them the ranch. Thankfully, I had discovered a somewhat faster and more direct route. It was a chilly, breezy day, but the sun was shining, which can make up for a lot. The bison were further off the road and therefore harder to get pictures of. The elk were right by the fence though. Now, as far as elk are concerned, I feel that I have always had a connection with these wonderful creatures. And not to sound all mystical or whatever, but I do think of them as S's spirit animal. I have had many very pleasant encounters with elk throughout the years, and they have always been in the wild. So to see them behind a ten foot fence with tags in their ears just like cattle was a little odd.

Across the way from the bison was a tree farm.
A pipe had sprung a leak and formed these beautiful icicles on the fence.

Mountain view of the West Elks from the road running in front of the bison and elk ranch.

M just had to get out and be closer to the elk.
After ogling them for a while and discussing the differences between raising cattle and raising elk, we kept driving and found ourselves at the Hotchkiss fish hatchery. The visitor center was closed for the day. However, we were still able to walk around the long troughs where the fish are being raised. This adventure delighted the children, especially T. Hubby discovered fish feed on the ground and the children spent the next forty-five minutes throwing feed into the troughs to get the fish to rise. It was pretty cool. S even got a fish to "bite" him. It was okay, he said, it felt like velcro. It was fun to see the Rainbow Trout ranging in size from three inches to twelve inches. The bison and elk ranch and the fish hatchery offer tours, so I know we will be visiting again soon. 

Munchkins in front of the fish troughs.

I can't believe I captured one jumping out of the water!

The hatchery sits right next to the Gunnison River.
These falls flow into the river.


  1. Love the "wildlife" pics. And the mountain pic is awesome. T looks like Papa when he was little in that pic of the munchkins in front of the fence. :)

  2. Look at how big those babies are getting! Love the shots. Glad to see you seem to be able to get up and move around. Send me your address. I have a packed box of goodies for you and the chitlins.