December 2017


Merry Christmas everyone! We have had such a wonderful December that we almost forgot it was winter until a couple days ago when it suddenly turned cold and snowy! Now we are having a lovely white Christmas.

There isn’t much going on around here until we are into the New Year:

  • Neal is going to the Native Prairie Restoration and reclamation workshop in Saskatoon in February.
  • Neal will be attending the Prairie Conservation Forum AGM is in the Calgary Cabela’s meeting room on January 18th.
  • Otherwise it is budget and annual report writing and staying warm.

So wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Good night to all and to all a good night!



A perfect sun rise

looks like we have a pole cat!

a perfect sunset

A perfect sunset

November 2017


Three flowered avens

Happy fall everyone!  It has been so long since my last post that I am not sure where to start…So lets review.  We had a lovely spring with some moisture then we had no moisture for the rest of the summer.  We did have a decent grass year because of the spring moisture however, things were getting very brown by early July.  The fire hazard was very high and there were several fires in the Brooks area but not on the Ranch.  We had an increase in our local great Blue Herons, I’m guessing it was due to a shortage of water in our drought affected area.  I tried on many occasions to get a picture but they move way too fast for me, one morning there was a group of 5 flying out of the canal!

So here is what has happened (last few months) and what will be happening around the Ranch:

  • The pheasant season has gone well, there were a lot of hunters early in the season but now with the snow they have slowed down.
  • The cows all went home on the 28th of October.
  • Neal attended the fall SRM meeting in Lethbridge.
  • Neal is currently working on the 2018 budget.
  • We did have a summer student, Ashley Dyck, from the U of S, she worked on ground truthing for the GVI.
  • We had the barn tinned in May and it looks great and really keeps the weather out!


March and April 2017


Two little blue flowers on the prairie now!

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz….I know where the birdies is 🙂

Welcome back spring with all your lovely sunshine and birds and grass and greenery!  It is lovely out there, out here.  All our spring birds have returned, the ducks, geese, swans, robins, meadow larks, black birds and all the other birds.  Even the lady bugs are back and the ants….there is an abundance of those this spring.

As we prepare for the summer season there are a few things that have been going on:

  • We are excited to have Ashley Dyck starting as our summer student this year.  She will be continuing on with the GVI research and helping implement the invasive species plan.
  • Neal attended the AIA conference in Banff this spring.
  •  Lethbridge college had a field trip on the Ranch Neal assisted in teaching about how range management affects wildlife.
  • Cows come in on May 20th this year
  • Neal took his applicators tutorial course at the end of March and is planning to test in May, he hopes it will help him implement the invasive species plan.

Well that seems to be all that is exciting and happening around the ranch these days.  Enjoy the rest of your April and happy Easter and spring to all.

Shannon, Neal and the boys







Career day

on career day I had an artist and a Rancher!


February 2017

Well the ground hog didn’t have any good news for us in the west and so far he was right.  We have been having lots of cold and snow.  Even though we welcome the moisture we don’t enjoy the bitter cold that came with it!  We were fortunate to be in Fernie skiing when the powder came and were storm stayed and got in another day of skiing :).

I must say we had at least on winter weather phenomena  this year and I have a photo of it!  We had thunder head clouds and Dinosaur Provincial Park had thunder and lighting that day.  It was like a summer storm day just not green or really all that warm!  We did however get a snow shower…my camera of course froze up so no pics of the rain drops!  We also had lots of fog and hoar frost, the frost is always beautiful and one day we had two pheasants sitting in the tree out front!

So there are a few things going on around the Ranch this month:

  • We have had the first of our lambs born, just after the bitter cold, triplets and all are well.  These will be for the 4-H projects
  • February 22 is the closing day for summer student applications for summer work on the Ranch
  • Lethbridge college has confirmed that it is coming out in April for a field day
  • Neal has been working on the year end reports
  • We have been busy with building maintenance and getting everything ready for spring

With the long dark days of winter behind us (hopefully), we are looking at sunshine and melting snow 🙂  We have not seen any geese yet which is very unusual as we normally see a few scouts in early February.

Valentines day, bloody valentines day!  Should be a day of love but is usually a day of dread!  Good luck to everyone, in or out of love and relationships, remember that love is all around us and it is usually easier to find if we close our eyes and open our hearts 🙂  Best of luck to everyone,

Shannon, Neal and the Boys


Tank the momma and baby Eunice, welcome spring 🙂

January 2017

So happy new year everyone 🙂  I hope 2017 is treating you all well and that you are staying warm.  Hopefully all the bitter cold weather is behind us as spring is very slowly approaching but every day brings us one day closer to the growing season.

Things are very quiet around the Ranch at this time of year but we do have a few things happening:

  • Neal attended the PCF AGM in Lethbridge last week
  • We have posted our summer range technician position to all the Universities, if you know some one who is interested feel free to contact us for more info
  •  We have begun implementing our invasive weed management plan for this year starting with burning of downy brome on the Ranch
  • Neal is attending the AIA annual conference in Banff again this year
  • Neal is actively working on his pesticide applicators course and trying hard to love it

This winter has been foggy and cold, I have no pictures to share 😦  But I most certainly will have some for February.  Until then stay warm and happy!  I can hardly wait to hear what the ground hog has to say about our spring weather!!!

Shannon, Neal and the boys

December 2016

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope the holiday season finds everyone happy and healthy.  This is the time of year for rejoicing and reflecting, so I hope everyone has an easy time finding things to rejoice about and that all your reflecting is merry 🙂

On the Ranch we are always grateful for all that nature provides us, we have the weather, the view and always an opportunity to do something positive for the environment and as I always say “if your’e lucky enough to live on the Ranch…you’re lucky enough!”

So just a few photos from 2016 on the Ranch and Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.








See you next year,

Shannon, Neal, Boyd and Reyd 🙂

September, October and November 2016

Red poppies for remembrance day


Well it has been a bumpy road this fall, technology wise!  Lots of problems and lots of lost photos, but we are back online and not anticipating any more issues.

I hope everyone has had a great fall, the weather has been fantastic, I know everyone thought it was all over but the shouting when Thanksgiving came with snow and cold but mother nature has blessed us with a lovely October and November thus far 🙂  So the big question is what has been happening around the Ranch?  Lets see…

  • The bulls went home the last week in August
  • The cows went home October 20th
  • According to Neal it was a great year, the cows and calves were in excellent health with only a few to treat, one bull had a rough go but he recovered with minimal treatment
  • The pheasant hunting has been great with more hunters out than we have seen for a few years now
  • Upland hunting seems to be very popular on the ranch again this year
  • The Foothills Restoration Forum had a Range Health School out here on September 14th and 15th
  • Perry McCormick, the Ranch’s DU management committee representative, is retiring at the end of November.  He will be missed but I’m certain we will see him around during hunting season…the Ranch is part of his history
  • We have seen more Great Blue Herons this year than we have in the last 11 years.  I have a picture of one that was on the canal just yesterday
  • Neal is glad the weather is holding out as he still has some work to do on the barn and around the yard
  • When the weather does turn cold he will be keeping himself busy with budgets, computer work and plans for next year
  • I know we will all be taking a moment on the 11th to remember those who gave their all for our fantastic freedoms, Lest We Forget

I have added many photos this time to make up for all that have been lost, until next month, peace be with you,

Shannon, Neal, Boyd and Reyd


August 2016

As we sit in the autumn of summer slapping at the hordes of mosquitoes…I can’t help but wonder what happened to July?  All that rain has given us lovely grass and more wee biting bugs than we have seen in several years!

So what has been happening around the Ranch besides bug swatting?  Lets check it out;

  • Mica is finishing up her summer student stuff, data entry of all the interesting things that she has discovered this summer
  • Bulls are being rounded up to go home
  • Neal is busy sneezing, suffering from sage and kochia allergies
  • Grass is growing and cows and calves are getting fat
  • We are hosting the Range Health Assessment course in September and 65 people have already registered
  • We have already had calls about hunting season which opens early September

I had a bunch of photos for the web page on my phone and in the process of taking them off my phone they have some how become misplaced so I will look for them again and when I find them I will post them, until then have a wonderful end of summer 🙂

Shannon, Neal, Boyd and Reyd


July 2016

people on a flat bed trailer with straw bales

one of our fine modes of transport for the 30th anniversary tour of the Ranch


We are now in the throws of summer and the temperatures are below normal and slightly wet!  This is good grass growing  weather but not great beach going weather, but we will take it!  Our unusually cool summer has been going very well with these exciting things going on:

  • First off our 30th anniversary celebration was a great success, we had a fantastic turnout for the tour and even better for the supper!
  •  There were some of our local dignitaries such as the honorable Martin Shields, our Reeve Molly Douglas and our local council member Tracy Fyfe!  There was also many local community members who have never really been out and about on the Ranch so it was very exciting to have them out to see what we do and how the “Old Ward Place” looks now.
  • The PCF was also in attendance as it fit right into their summer tour!
  • There were many local DUC members as well as EID members.  It was fantastic to see so many people interested in the Ranch and what we do, thank you for making our celebration such a success!
  • It’s Stampede week, Yahoo!  And that means that we have a display on the Cattle Trail, be sure to check us out.  Neal and Mica (summer student) have been there chatting to everyone about this wonderful place.
  • Mica has been very busy working on the vegetation inventory for the GIV, she is quite happy that the weather has been cooler than normal as it gets very hot out there on the prairie.
  • Boyd is having moderate success with his 4-H pheasant project.  An old released pheasant cockerel has managed to get into the enclosure and has taken the little birds under his wing and is spending a lot of time talking to them and teaching them all the little things they will need to know to survive in the wild!  We are very happy about that.

Well that is what has been going on around here this summer.  Hope you are all enjoying your summer because it is never long enough 🙂

Shannon, Neal, Boyd and Reyd


June 2016




pin cushion cactus in bloom

Well June has arrived and things are very busy here on the Ranch.  We have a summer student who is working very hard with Neal, doing fencing, checking cattle, doing repairs and maintenance around the Ranch and getting every thing ready for the Ranches 30th anniversary celebration coming up very soon!  We have had some nice rainy days so the grass is growing and all the critters are happy.

So what exactly is going on around here this month?  Here is a short list:

  • The Ranches 30th anniversary celebration June 22
  • collaring cattle to monitor grazing behavior
  • School is soon out for the summer!
  • ABMI is out doing their monitoring training again
  • Bulls are in and working hard
  • 20160605_131708

    Wild Prairie rose in bloom

    $-H sheep show and sale is this Saturday at the Silver Sage, come on out for beef on a bun and watch kids show off their hard work!


Scarlet Mallow, a wonderfully scented native flowe


Our prairie landscape


Boyd with a pheasant from his 4-H project


Reyd learning to ride