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Welcome to Our Patch of Heaven!

Howdy friends! In honor of our 100th year in operation (it's incredible!), the Bar Lazy J is going high-tech! Now not to worry--there's still none of that allowed here while you're on vacation, but while you're away and anxious to keep up with what's going on (or you just need your "ranch fix"), come check in on our ranch blog where you'll find hoards of photos, we'll follow our staff and you'll hear all the latest happenings first! Of course reading about it isn't nearly as good as the real thing, so we hope to see you out on the trail real soon, but until then, check out what's happening and leave your comments--we love to see that our friends have stopped by! Happy trails everyone!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It’s All Up in the Air

        There is lots of wildlife on and around the ranch. Our guests have been known to see just about all the larger species Colorado has to offer—including deer, antelope, elk, moose, bears and even mountain lions. But for those of you who enjoy the winged wildlife, here is a peek at just some of the other beautiful creatures we have flying about the ranch. Most of these shots were taken by our Lodge Hostess Lisa—so we thank her for sharing them!

        Our “Spring” comes later than most people’s. We mean that by way of the temperatures. The birds migrate here later than birds back East so they begin their nesting season later as well. The parents need time to to find materials and build their sturdy homes. By the time the eggs are then laid and incubated, most baby birds we’ve seen  make their appearance in late June and into July.

Here are some robins who thought the Bar Lazy J looked like a good place to raise a family! Lucky birds!



wire[6]        The hummingbirds are a favorite among the guests and with plenty of flowers blooming all season on the ranch, we find ourselves smiling as we watch their darting antics around the gardens and feeders.  Over the years we’ve even found that by holding entirely still, we’ve been able to convince a few of them that our fingers were a resting perch as they landed for a short drink.  Here are some amazing time-lapsed shots of a tiny nest and mama as she raises her two little ones!


Outgrowing their little home….


And finally heading out on their own!



        This bright Western Tanager is sure a beautiful sight among the browns and greens of the sage. These birds were first recorded on Lewis and Clark’s expedition back in 1803. Their red head actually isn’t a pigment their body produces. It is derived from their diet of insects who get it from the plants they eat. Cool huh? So if you’re thinking of going red head….just a thought.



        Look at this handsome juvenile red tailed hawk. You’ll notice he does not yet have his red tail. They develop these after the molt in the year after they hatch. This guy has been hanging around the ranch all season. His favorite spot is down by the barn or up in the tops of our tallest pines. Lots of good hunting for him with all these ground squirrels around! Next year he’ll have his flashy tail and maybe we’ll see him some more—here’s hoping’!



        Another hummingbird! Wait. Whoa. That’s an uhhh… “different” looking one than we’ve seen before.  That’s because this “bird” is actually a moth! Sphinx moths are rather large moths, and are frequently misidentified as hummingbirds at first glance, since they hover over flowers, uncoil, and suck the nectar of flowers--hence the nickname “Hummingbird Moths”. Butterflies get all the praise for being the most beautiful winged insects, but you have to admit--these guys have their own kind of beauty and awe-factor. Not to mention we appreciate the pollination! Thanks Mr. Moth!



        One of the most common birds you’ll see close by the ranch are these “mud swallows”-- although their real names are “Cliff Swallows”. In the early summer, these  birds can be seen in swarms landing on the banks of the river to gather bits of mud to build their strong adobe-like, gourd-shaped homes. The swallows catch insects in flight and you can often tell when a new fly hatch has taken place when you see hundreds of these birds swooping through the sky. Their nests often number hundreds up to thousands in one location and as their name suggests, they prefer an overhang where there is protection from the elements and other predators. In this case, our bridge over the Colorado River has become a site they return to year after year.


I wonder if they can do custom commissioned pieces….




        And check out this rare sighting on one of our rides. These Nighthawks are rarely seen because of their night time feeding habits and dart-like flying patterns. You might mistake them for bats in the evening hours if you weren’t paying attention to their size. We happened to wander upon a breeding ground area for these migratory birds during one of our rides and saw several mothers using distraction methods to lead us away from their young. (We’re fortunate they did not use the “attack method” they are sometimes known to use also….now THAT would have been an adventure ride! Ha!)


        Here mama pretends to be injured as she limps in the opposite direction of her babies. We were grateful for her heads up, because while her display obviously did not cause us to be lured away by her, it did give us a heads up that her “nest” (They don’t have a nest. They lay directly on the ground.) was nearby and to give that area a wide berth. And it’s a good thing, or else our horses could have easily put a foot in dangerous proximity to her fledglings. The babies are so well camouflaged, they are nearly impossible to spot, but one of our wranglers with a sharp eye spotted them under the sage so we were able to share a quick lesson in survival methods given by these interesting birds.


Can you see her babies?IMG_8331


        Look at how well these little ones are hidden under the sage brush! Amazing how well they blend with their surroundings and how faithfully mama guards them. We were thrilled to catch a rare peak of these guys. Just goes to show there are beautiful sights in every direction as we ride—even at your feet!



Next time you’re here, keep an eye out for all these and others. There are endless amounts of wondrous beauty around us!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We’ll Never Get “Over” these Rainbows!

        At last we’ve been getting a summer with more typical afternoon showers and that has things as green as we’ve ever seen them for early August. But we’re surrounded by something else we don’t remember seeing for years and years and it has everything to do with the great moisture as well—crazy amounts of wild berries! It’s truly a year for the taste buds of the bears (we haven’t seen them at the door of our freezer lately thank goodness) and we think it’s because of all these delicious berries in abundance EVERYwhere. “Organic pick-your-own” blueberries at every turn—fill your buckets! Not as sweet and quite a bit more seedy than your grocery store variety, but still a fun treat when you can grab a handful off horseback along the trail.  Unless there is a bear already present there. In which case we yield to the bears…



We love this. Just look at this precious photo depicting the strong bonds of friendship made and cherished here every week at the ranch. The only thing that could make it sweeter…..


                                                                …..IMG_9686is a photo bombing by Jerry.





(Oh but maybe it wasn’t Jerry….maybe….it was his evil twin…)



        Another familiar face some of you old-schoolers may remember! “Sam” was a wrangler for us starting back in 2002 and again in 2003 and now lives in Missouri with her husband and son Alden. She and Alden have made visits out the past two years for a week and it’s been such a treat to see Alden bask in the magic of the ranch like all kids do. It brings something to life in them entirely different than any other place. Such a joy to see them both!



        Hmmm….can you guess what this is? We’re posing for your Christmas cards this year—with a few extra kids and dogs! (Easy right?)  Not sure yet how they turned out but…’ll find out at Christmas! (Torture I know.)



Head ‘em up and move ‘em out!


      There’s no wastin’ daylight around here!


        Another staff night to rejuvenate and laugh with the ranch family. We headed up to do some bowling and have you ever noticed how different everyone’s personal bowling style is? Perhaps it even reveals something about their personality. We have absolutely no single solitary idea what that might be. But uh—let’s just check it out…..

We have the high-leggers. The low-leggers. And the two-leggers. (Notice no boot-leggers. That’s good.)


        Aw yes. And of course: the Freddy Flinstoners. (This would be one of our line dancing superstars right here, so if you’ve done the Cotton Eyed Joe with us—you recognize the reference! The rest of you will just have to make it out so you can find out for yourselves! <evil laugh>)


Then you have the score calculators-- hmmm….wonder why that is…(Perhaps because she’s been a coach for 40 years…she’s all about playing fair… good sportsmanship… and her name is synonymous with really high scores….)


Gotta love the enthusiastic fist pumpers…


The “I’m gonna just turn around and smile no matter how I do"-ers….


There are always a few trash-talkers….


The celebratory dancers….


The spontaneous-but-actually-not-really-so-spontaneous line dancers….(Hmmm….just pointing out that “White” guy is totally off….)


And last but not least, we have the self-loathers. Bowling causes you to look deep within your soul….recognizing your imperfections….


But it’s so nice to know there are close friends nearby who love you just the way you are. Who would never laugh at you. Or make you feel any more foolish.


Oh and there is absolutely no gloating. Ever.


Cause that’s what family is for!IMG_9552IMG_9544


        We mentioned before the rain has kept things green and gorgeous and even the rain itself makes for some spectacular views. Here are just a handful of recent photos to show you what you’ve been missing! IMG_9485IMG_93101091068_10200288213069613_534343119_o1013011_10151792704804095_1522385205_n998569_10151792688794095_979929638_nIMG_9483IMG_9472

(No, no—no gloating….ever. Don’t forget.)

Come join the fun!