Tag Archives: Chain Lakes

January ewes on the Red Desert

ewes grazing on Cyclone Rim allotment


Today was a Goldilocks Day–not too hot, not too cold, and not windy at all. I took our banker, Kim Brown, from the Yampa Valley Bank in Craig, Colorado out to the Red Desert to take a look a the sheep. Conditions were perfect, with enough snow for the ewes to water on, but not so deep that they couldn’t access the dried grasses which we count on for winter feed. Everyone looked happy–the ewes, the bucks, the dogs, and Pepe, Leo and Guillermo.

Pepe unloading dog food–we buy a pallet a week

guard dog checking us out

a curious Hampshire ram lamb, also checking us out

the last of the corn

sheep on the skyline at Chain Lakes

guard dogs on the job

Guillermo, Kim and Pepe in Cyclone Rim



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January on the Red Desert

ewes at Chain Lakes

The past two winters have been hard winters by anyone’s standards. Conditions were especially harsh on the Red Desert north of Wamsutter, where we winter our sheep. In 2018-2019, the ewes and bucks were snowed in on the Cyclone Rim allotment for weeks, and we couldn’t even get to the Chain Lakes allotment. In 2019-2020, the winter started early, so we found frozen sugar beets in the northern part of Wyoming and trucked the sheep to farms.

Now we are in drought. We have received around 65 percent of normal moisture so far this winter. An easy winter is easier on both livestock and herders, and on us as we drive back and forth to the sheep camps. The sheep depend upon snow for water for most of the winter. We’ve had several days of wind and thaw, which takes the snow and leaves bare sage and steppe. We now wait for a good winter storm, which we hope will bring much-needed moisture. Winter snow brings us spring grass.

Enough snow. Not too much. Not too little.

Joel with guard dog puppy.

Sentinel ewes

Pat and Pepe at Cyclone Rim base camp

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Posted by on February 5, 2021 in Animals, Dogs, Family, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep


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Doings at Chain Lakes

Scott, Pat and Matt at the #2 Well at Chains Lakes


We lease grazing from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on their Chain Lakes Wildlife Habitat Management Area northeast of Wamsutter. It is a wonderful area, with healthy rangeland. Part of our lease is an agreement to maintain historic water developments to benefit both wildlife and livestock. Here we are with Scott from Pronghorn Pumps and Matt from the Game and Fish, making plans to repair this long-time watering site.

British Petroleum is drilling new oil and gas wells on the same landscape.


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Doings on the Red Desert

Pat and Guillermo surveying the desert

Leo and Luis–twins separated at birth

Which one of these is not like the other–flaring from new drilling in Chain Lakes

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Posted by on December 12, 2017 in Family, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders


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Sage chickens–sort of

chickens at Chain Lake

So just when you think you’ve seen it all…

A couple of days ago, Pepe called Meghan at the cookhouse. He is tending sheep on our permits on the Red Desert. I heard Meghan say, “gallinas?! domesticados?!” (chickens?! domesticated?!).

Apparently, someone turned loose some hens and one rooster. Meghan called the BLM Range Conservationist, who tried, unsuccessfully, to catch them. The Chain Lakes allotment is checkerboard, with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department owning every other section. Mike, the Range Con, then turned the matter over to the Game and Fish.

They are fowl, if not fish.

What’s amazing is that they haven’t been eaten by coyotes!

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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife


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Hasta la vista, bucks

Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday that we were hauling the rams out to the ewes, in order to expedite the birth of lambs in spring. After seven weeks with the ewes, it is time for the bucks to go back to a long stretch of bachelorhood. As Pepe told them as we loaded them into the trailer, “Hasta la vista…See you next year!”

Pepe and Avencio catching the buck who didn't want to leave the ladies.

Pepe and Avencio catching the buck who didn’t want to leave the ladies.

Bucks loading up.

Bucks loading up.

Pat and the crew loading the bucks

Pat and the crew loading the bucks

Which one of these is not like the others?

Which one of these is not like the others?

Tiarnan, Pat loading bucks

Tiarnan and Pat bringing up the bucks in Chain Lakes

Eagle's Nest sign

So, which way would you go?

Sadie and lamb

Sadie had to share the floor of the pickup with this early lamb.

Oscar, Siobhan, Tim ready to unload

Siobhan helping Oscar and Tim unload the rams at Powder Flat.

Siobhan feeding colts

Siobhan feeds the colts.


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Working crew on Chain Lakes

Tiarnan, Pepe, McCoy and Christian at Christian’s camp on Chain Lakes.


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Optimal Livestock Services and the pregnant ewes

Geri Parsons, Optimal Livestock Services

Geri Parsons, Optimal Livestock Services

Pregnancy testing is one of the veterinary services offered by Optimal Livestock Services–Dr. Cleon Kimberling, veterinarian, and Geri Parsons, vet technician, proprietors.  We ask them to pregnancy test our ewes who are expecting white-faced lambs.  When we know which ewes are carrying twins, we can manage them separately so that they can get extra nutrition and care.  At lambing time, we can make sure they have better shelter because the white-faced lambs are more vulnerable at birth than the cross-bred lambs which have black-faced Hampshire fathers.  You old ag majors remember the lessons about “highbred vigor” which results when different types of sheep, or cows or whatever, are mixed.  The purebreds are less hardy, but they are the lambs which grow into our replacement ewes (or at least the females do).  We need both.

Geri recently showed up to check our ewes, who currently reside on the Red Desert, north of Wamsutter, Wyoming.

Meghan and Pepe bringing in the ewes

Salomon, Meghan, Pepe and Eamon bringing in the ewes

Pepe and Maeve, at work

Pepe and Maeve, at work

Siobhan and Sadie, corral help

Siobhan and Sadie, corral help

Eamon and Tweed, bringing up the ewes

Eamon and Tweed, lending encouragement

preg testing crew:  Richar, Salomon, Pepe, Eamon Geri and Meghan (and Sharon behind the camera!)

preg testing crew: Richar, Salomon, Pepe, Eamon Geri and Meghan (and Sharon behind the camera!)


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