Meet the Locals
Fruits of Our Labors
can’t stop planting fruit trees. Bud and the Save the World Club have planted about every variety of apple, pear, apricot, plum, cherry, and peach tree, and berries too. Anticipating global warming, Bud keeps planting peaches at 8,500ft. His hundred year-old orchards that survived the forest fire, droughts, and bears keep us in jam, dried fruit, and cider all year. We’re learning how to graft from those old settlers’ trees.
Milk Goat Coop
Keeping milk goats can be a big commitment. Once the milk starts flowing, those nannies need milking twice a day, every day. That’s why our goats are cooperatively owned. Each owner/member milks once a week and takes home all the milk, yogurt, and chevre we can handle. In the summer, the campers do the milking and make hand-cranked ice cream. Our goats specialize in giving gallons of sweet nutritious milk and eating everything in sight, including noxious weeds.
Yaks eat 1/2 of what a cow needs, lose less weight over the winter, grow healthier and tastier meat, enjoy drinking snow, graze in a tight herd, have trouble-free births, defend their young, thrive at high altitudes, have sharp hooves, and are very athletic. These traits make them ideally suited to keep our brittle alpine grassland vibrant. Their wool, the finest in the world, does not itch. Igore and the ladies are also notorious escape artists.
Chicken poo is the most nutrient rich manure. We let our chickens apply their own fertilizer out in the field, instead of in a warehouse full of cages. How do we keep the coyotes from eating our birds? The chicken ship! It’s a henhouse with wheels and no floor. This chicken coop was designed by NASA. No joke. Our layers can snack on weeds and bugs, in the sunshine and fresh air, while building soil all around the ranch.
Navajo-Churro Sheep were the first domestic stock in the New World, arriving with the conquistadores in the late 1500s. The hardy sheep became central to the Navajo way of life, providing food and fiber. Their naturally multicolored fleece is valued in Navajo weaving. The US government tried to exterminate the sheep twice, but the Churro survived along with the traditions they embody. Navajo-Churro prefer to give birth in blizzards.
Sun Fed Beef
Sunlight gets converted into calories by little solar collectors called grass. Unfortunately, humans can’t digest grass. Cows are perfectly designed to meander around eating grass. Oddly, a lot of cows live in confinement eating grain and other cows. They get sick. On the ranch, we don’t have to mess with hormones, steroids, antibiotics, pesticides, or cow clones. We just let cows do what comes naturally: eat grass. Then we eat them. Simple.
Norwegian Fjord Horses are small, have a gentle temperament, and like working with children. In 4,000 years of domestication, the Fjords have changed little from their wild Mongolian ancestors. They are stout enough for logging, plowing, and packing, and agile enough for riding and jumping. Pound for pound, the Fjord is the strongest horse around. For 25 years, our horses have trained summer campers using Natural Horsemanship. Now we’re asking the Fjords to help with the heavy farm work so we can put the tractors out to pasture.