It takes several weeks of collective hard work to bring the ranch back from her deep sleep in the Spring, but in the Fall? The task of tucking her in for a winter’s rest is done in more or less than a week. Still, it takes a great deal of elbow grease and tender care from each one of our staff, so to thank them one last time for their ceaseless productivity, Jerry treated them all to one last staff dinner. And what a treat it was! Most of us had not been up to Grand Lake Lodge where the food was divine and the views……well, see for yourself…. DSC09170_thumb DSC09169_thumb DSC09166_thumb5 A little pre-dinner fun! DSC09172_thumbDSC09174_thumb Then to our seats for a toast and thank you from the Bosses. DSC09233_thumbDSC09202_thumb A gorgeous lodge! We highly recommend. It just opened back up this summer and for the time being will only operate in the warmer months, but it was pretty spectacular between the food and the views. Quite a historical place. (And we have a “thing” for historical places you might say.) DSC09234_thumbDSC09222_thumb Likely the only time you’ll see us all sitting! And being waited on no less! DSC09223_thumb2DSC09225_thumbDSC09240_thumb2DSC09256_thumb Our 2012 staff was once again a phenomenal group of individuals and our gratitude goes out to each of them for their part in keeping things running smoothly from day to day and putting a smile on the faces of our ranch guests. It takes a lot of work to make it look like no work at all and the engine wouldn’t run without each of its components! We hope to have several of these guys and gals back for our next season, but we know life will call some of them in different directions. So until we meet again, we wish all them happy trails and look forward to seeing them soon either way—always a part of our ranch family! DSC09263_thumb With our last night to kick back behind us, we set to the task of putting the ranch to bed for the winter. Like I mentioned before, it takes less time than opening up, but there’s still lots to be done! By now, almost all the trees had turned and the first sign of closing was the fresh layer of fallen leaves gathering on the lawn and down the drive. IMGP1752_thumb4DSC09267_thumb1 Then the teepees came down…. IMGP1811_thumb2 The swings and toys stored away (who put that teepee back up?!)… DSC09278_thumb2 The furniture where our friends lounged and enjoyed the river and one another was carefully stored inside the rec barn safely away from the coming snow. IMGP1781_thumb4

Then the ladies got to work on the cabins!

IMGP1782_thumb6IMGP1783_thumb6IMGP1784_thumb7 Too cold for the pool I’m afraid. DSC09280_thumb2 But we still got wet! Lots to power wash before putting it up for the winter. Can’t imagine how those cinches got so dirty……. IMGP1749_thumb5 Or those blankets….. DSC09319_thumb3 Hmmmmmm….there are a few of these….but Ron is on the job! (And cursing my name for posting him in this rain slicker. But really….it’s totally his color.) DSC09318_thumb2 So he washes…. DSC09328_thumb2 And washes… DSC09330_thumb2 And –well, you know….. DSC09332_thumb2 Almost done! Just 50 more! Plus the ones in the staff tack room… and then some in the truck… and did you check the red barn? …and he’s certain there’s a blanket conspiracy and someone just keeps grabbing the ones he already did and throwing them back up there just for fun….(We were…shhhhh.) DSC09320_thumb2 Then there are saddles to be cleaned and oiled—another big job. But Chris insisted on doing these all by himself—generous huh? What a guy! Smile DSC09294_thumb2 I think his smile says it all! DSC09288_thumb2 Don’t forget the buckets! DSC09296_thumb2 Meanwhile, Shane worked to get shoes pulled and feet trimmed as load by load, the horses were finished and sent out to their eight months of winter pasture. It’s true they work harder than most in their four months during the summer, but they quickly change gears when we turn them all out—and who wouldn’t enjoy a job that got you 8 months off in a row? Nothing to do but eat and be sassy--not a bad gig! We gotta take care of our ponies! DSC09314_thumb3IMGP1746_thumb5536274_10152178500890571_619925186_n[2]      Then the water is turned off, the kitchen cupboards boarded up, and the staff begin their trickle back to their lives away in other small and big towns all around the country. IMGP1800_thumb2 (Who do you suppose this vehicle and its content belong to?…..probably a family of deer I assume. Migration habits have really changed!) And then once they’re gone? IMGP1794_thumb7IMGP1751_thumb3IMGP1790_thumb2 She sleeps….. DSC09272_thumb11DSC09269_thumb4 DSC09292_thumb5 IMGP1761_thumb2 Still, the flowers will last a little longer until the first cold comes. DSC09286_thumb3 And off in the distance we see the signs that it won’t be long.IMGP1796_thumb7 Sleep tight sweet ranch. Others will be dreaming of you while you take your rest. It’s time for us to take watch now, so you go on and close your eyes…..see you in the Spring old friend. IMGP1788_thumb5

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