Did you MISS us?? Wow--thank you all for the kind, pleading letters to get a blog post up. We love to know you’re thinking about us and needing your BLJ fix even in our off-season! There has been quite a lot going on here, so let us fill you in and we solemnly declare we will get you more posts from now until our season starts next May (we’re already excited about that!) Now to catch you up! Jerry and Cheri know what it means to give their guests a wonderful vacation. And since that’s what they do all summer, their chance to travel and enjoy some off-time comes in the Fall and winter. At the close of our season, they headed up North to sail the Great Lakes and visit parts of Canada. We don’t get many whales and dolphins in our parts—gasp!-- so it was quite a treat for them to spend some time on the water and with their friends the Foshas who own Drowsy Water Ranch also here in Grand County. Check out that schooner! Meanwhile back at the ranch…. Winter moved in rather slowly, but not without a few dustings during the peak of the color changes. Which makes an already beautiful scene….. …even more spectacular. Only in Colorado can all the seasons collide is such a show of colors! Here’s a peek at a bit more of the area under our first drop of snow. Simply amazing, huh? We have to agree! But in true Colorado fashion—and changing temperatures-- the snow quickly melted off and we had warmer, sunny days all the way through November while the leaves finished changing. About that time, we brought in some big guns to make a slight change in our ranch scenery… Sadly one of our old pines in front of the main lodge has been losing it’s strength over the past several years. In order to protect the buildings in its path, we chose to have it brought down before it fell in a storm and caused damage to our historic cabins. Even the tree was looking a little concerned…. So in came the tree service and bit by bit, they carefully worked to bring it down: Now don’t be sad for our beloved pine—leave it to Jerry and Cheri to make something beautiful out of what they have in front of them. Rather than cut the whole tree down, they have devised a plan to keep the “heart” of it here on the ranch. We can’t reveal the exact project yet, but we can say it might possibly involve an artist and a chainsaw…..we’ll fill you in next Spring! We love that we get so many inquiries about the horses over the winter. Many of you are probably wondering how your horses are doing on their “vacations” as well, and since they do not currently allow horses to have their own Facebook accounts, we’re happy to share what they’ve been up to. We believe their current status would read: “Another day in paradise!” At the end of our season, we turn them all out together with hundreds of acres to graze and run until the snow begins to fall. Once the grass is buried, they are dropped hay daily to keep from encouraging the elk from coming down and taking over their food source. We check on them quite often to make sure everyone is happy and healthy and this time we brought the camera so you could see for yourselves! This was our greeting--can’t hardly beat that! Look at how they parade in step! (It took years of training….years I tell you.) A quick hello and then it’s back out to the flats for a run. They sure love to show off! Kick up those heels kids! Then back to say hello one more time. Oh how we love our fur babies! When everyone finally comes to a stop, we walk out and check them one by one. We get quite the entourage at our heels! A little male rivalry, but don’t worry—it’s all for show. We don’t keep any “studs” around here, but those boys sure love to strut their stuff. The logistics of the herd are incredibly interesting to watch. Just like horses in the wild, they form their cliques and have distinct social behavior. We love to sit and watch the “drama” play out at times. Especially when you know their personalities like we do, we can just imagine what they’re saying to one another. Perhaps we need to stage a video and voiceover….here’s one we did from last year in case you missed it. A little relationship drama you’ll actually enjoy. We call this ongoing drama, “As the Ranch Turns…” http://youtu.be/PcECYkotG5c ……..Hey, anybody see any palominos around here? They got their camo on. Makes ‘em tough to find…oh well. We’ll find them eventually. So here’s one of the main things we’ve been up to the last month! No, no, no….not stealing anyone’s furniture…. This is Jerry and Cheri’s new home! Just 9 miles up the road, they purchased a beautiful log home with million-dollar views of Elk Mountain and peaks all the way to Steamboat. Although their “commute” to the ranch will now be 15 mins. instead of just across the street, they are thrilled to have their own private piece of Heaven to return to at the end of their regular days at the ranch during our season. Oh and for the record—yes. This was the best way to get the furniture in. Thank goodness for Eddie, Chad, Red and Derek. And the hummer truck! Simultaneously, they moved the Yurich family into the Willows to enable Tammy to take over more of the office work in the off-season. This will be allowing Jerry and Cheri more and extended opportunities to visit family while the ranch is closed and make more trips out to the lake house in Michigan possible. If anyone deserves some R&R, it’s those two! Speaking of—the house on Loon Lake was a major hit with many of our regular ranch guests this past season! Thank you to everyone who gave such wonderful feedback of their stay on the lake. We are so happy those that have made it are enjoying it so immensely and reservations for next summer are already coming in to rebook. As a reminder, Jerry and Cheri offer a special discount to guests of Bar Lazy J who’d like to stay a week at the house on Loon Lake in Michigan. Check out the details, if you might be interested: http://www.vrbo.com/424728 We have a ton of pictures of the ranch under all our snow we’ve been getting the past few weeks that we’ll share in our next post. But we wanted in closing to pay tribute to the best snow dog we ever had the pleasure of knowing. Queen has joined King dog to chase ground squirrels on the other side. She lived a long, happy life here on the ranch and she will be dearly missed on Cheri’s daily rides and hikes. Oh the stories we could tell and will hold in our hearts. Our ranch dogs mean a great deal to us and are an important part of our large ranch family. We appreciate all the loving words that have been sent our way on her behalf from staff and guests alike. We are grateful she was able to go with her dignity like a true Queen would. Thank you for the memories Miss Queen Bean. We’ll see you on the trail old friend. There’s only one Queen! Love ya girl.