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What's Where When

It's never too late to start observing nature and keeping records. Phones, cameras, and social media make it easy to share. Collective observations by all of us (citizen science) can be a powerful tool for understanding the landscape. Citizen science and phenology are gaining attention. An ACES goal is to facilitate our community's observations and reporting of nature. Direct engagement with the natural world connects us to our environment, providing intellectual, spiritual, and physical sustenance.


Way down below the snow is an area called the subnivean zone

“February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those?” – Tom Just to the left of the snowshoe hare print are some tiny mice tracks!Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume


The Fox

Fox in the snow

I have been told that a fox stands atop a roof along the morning commute. Fox on a roof: a strange image to conjure, like “swimming cat” or “skateboarding dog” – the juicy stuff of YouTube. The mind is tempted to fit everything into its “place”: foxes in the woods; people in the towns; white snow on the roofs. Break down those walls in our minds and the forest creeps in.


Pine Marten

Pine Marten

Winter is here in Aspen and our first big snow fell on January 7th. Of course I was out snowboarding on the mountain. Unfortunately a few wrong moves on my first run and I found myself in a tumble. To make a long story short, I fractured my arm. It was definitely a bummer… but this blog isn’t about me feeling bad about myself. Nature always seems to have a way of turning things around for me. Just a few days later I was waiting for guests to arrive so I could lead a snowshoe tour at Snowmass.


Why Do You Farm?

Posted in Ranch Report
Pig

I was just signing up to join a web community of young farmers and was asked on the survey, Why do you farm?  Those four little words really got me thinking, and here's what popped out!


Community Calls Speaker and Workshop Series

Posted in Bulletin Board
Bottom Ranch

Rock Bottom Ranch presents the Community Calls Speaker and Workshop Series!

Every Tuesday in February and March 2012
Community Calls Speaker Series invites Roaring Fork Valley food and wildlife experts to discuss issues of sustainable food production, wildlands preservation, and local economy through an evening lecture with time for questions.

Utilizing Our Local Ingredients: Embracing Fat

Posted in Ranch Report

At ACES’ Rock Bottom Ranch, live remarkably happy and healthy pigs. They spend their days wallowing in baths of cool mud or grazing in the pastures. They are given respect and attention by the steady flow of staff and visitors that frequent their domain, and used as educational tools to demonstrate to the public the importance of preserving heritage breed pigs.


In the Woodpile

While splitting some aspen on Sunday I came across a perfect circular hole the diameter of my finger in one of the cut ends. A strike with the maul and the wood split along the hole. Inside was what looked like a green leafy cigar divided into six sections. In each chamber a leaf-cutter bee larva (genus Megachile) is overwintering. Inside it is nourished by pollen ball provided by the female who dug the cavity, cut the leaves, and laid the eggs. Leaf-cutting bees are solitary bees unlike hive forming honey bees and yellow jackets.


The Mind of Big Willy

Posted in Ranch Report

As we hear reiterated at many a ranch educational program, fall is a time of harvest. We collect apples from trees, pumpkins from the vine, dig potatoes and carrots, and so forth. On our field programs, students join in for cider pressing. They take turns spinning the crank of the apple-crusher, and all sing the song: “This the way we crush our apples, on an autumn day.” Next we turn the topmost crank, and the press mashes the fruits.. “This is the way we press our apples...” And the sweet cider oozes out. Meanwhile, a 600-pound beast watches.


Small and Savage

Posted in Ranch Report
Napoleon the Rooster

Among the egg-laying hens, there lives a one-pound rooster with 100 pounds of testosterone.  He has become known as Napoleon, for want of a better name.  Rarely does five minutes pass without the little bantam unleashing his high and squawking crow. The full-size chickens, turkeys, and peacock are like giants next to him.  Nonetheless, Napoleon walks with the pride of a king.