We are in New Mexico, visiting our great good friends, Jack and Tuda Crews. Several years ago (can it be 15?!), they left Wyoming and moved to Bueyeros, New Mexico, where Tuda’s family has ranched for many generations. The Ute Creek Ranch has been recognized for its conservation practices, including the New Mexico Society for Range Management Excellence in Range Management award. Tuda and Jack have vastly improved their range and their riparian areas, in spite of many years of drought.
Pat, Jack and Tuda look at the Aqua Balls on their watering tank
The Aqua Balls reduce evaporation by 91 percent. This saves 16,000 gallons of groundwater in a year, at this tank alone. The tank is windmill driven and also provides water for wildlife.
Each watering tank on The ranch has an overflow pond, which provides bird habitat.
St. Francis overlooks the ranch headquarters, and the Tuda Libby Crews Wild Bird Sanctuary.
Northern New Mexico used to have lots of sheep, but these were the only ones we could find.
Patrick and Sharon O'Toole are ranchers in the Little Snake River Valley on the Wyoming-Colorado border. They represent the fourth generation on the six-generation family ranch. The O'Tooles raise cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and children on their high country ranching operation. The transhumance operation stretches from north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Wyoming's Red Desert.
Pat has served in the Wyoming House of Representatives, the Western Water Policy Commission, and is currently President of the Family Farm Alliance, representing irrigators and water users in the western United States. He is active with several conservation and agricultural organizations.
Sharon is a writer and poet. She writes extensively on western issues, and the relationship between landscape, animals and people. She is widely published as an author, essayist and editorial commentator.
Pat and Sharon have three children. Their daughter, Meghan and her husband Brian Lally, live on the ranch with their children, Siobhán, Seamus, Maeve and Tiarnán. Meghan has also served on the Wyoming Board of Agriculture and the Environmental Quality Council, She and Brian are active in community service.
Daughter Bridget lives in Phoenix with her husband, Chris Abel, where she works in health care communications. Chris works in the food distribution business.
Son Eamon and his wife Megan live on the ranch with their sons, McCoy and Rhen. Eamon is a horseman and natural resource manager, and Megan is a flight nurse. Eamon is a member of the Wyoming Beef Council and is active in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The blog traces the activities and life on the ranch, from the mundane to the fabulous.
September 20, 2015 at 1:12 PM
do the aqua balls prevent freezing as well as evaporation?
September 20, 2015 at 1:35 PM
Jack and Tuda said that six below, a thin layer of ice formed. The black balls absorb heat.
September 20, 2015 at 4:19 PM
Wow!!!! Now that’s pretty cool!! Aqua balls huh? I’ll have to look in to them!
September 21, 2015 at 4:40 PM
Great to see Tuda Crews is still doing good work for ranching and the environment; we met at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. And I definitely will look into aqua balls!