Throughout the summer, as guests found out that I was staying at the ranch over the winter, nine times out of ten I was greeted with one response: “You better get a hobby!”. I even had a guest offer to teach me how to knit! There were also a few promises I made to some annual guests that I would be able to play guitar when they returned next summer. Well, now that I am two months into my first winter at Paradise, I can respond with proof that our day to day jobs here at the ranch do in fact keep us quite busy. Jace, our foreman, and Dan, one of our wranglers, have stayed on through the winter and are out facing the snow and chill every day to improve Paradise little by little.
While working at Paradise, I have realized one of the most significant factors that makes this place as enchanting and captivating as it is. The attention to detail is phenomenal in this business! Having high standards for the, what might seem as, minor things is what creates that, “I just left something truly special” feeling that fills our guests when they drive out through the FUN gate back to their real lives. Clay and Leah instill their dedication to quality through unfaltering expectations of the staff and most of all through their own everyday example.
As our weeks go Sunday to Sunday, the winter gives us the gift of time. We are able to focus on specific improvements while keeping an eye on our precious gem in the Big Horns.
The first outdoor winter project was the cattle pens. Our steer and cows that are used for kid's rodeo and team penning are kept on the far side of our arena. Dan and Jace have sacrificed the feeling in their noses and tiny shocks to their extremities as they welded their way through our October winter storm. Included in these new pens, they also built a special area for our calves. At the start of June, the babies stay in the barn and the kid's program gets to bottle feed them, but as they become old enough for grass, they stay out on the pasture. As summer grows however, so does the curiosity of the calves. Our new calf pens may keep us from shooing those little buggers from all the way up by crew housing.
The most recent project that has been mastered is the new horse corrals near the fly shop
The guys are taking advantage of the sunny day and working extra hours to get these corrals finished!
Kiya and Rowel think they are essential to the building process!
Well, maybe looking cute does help...
Here in the office, I am spoiled with heat and Pandora. Our reservation books continue to fill as I help organize family trips for 2014. We already have a few weeks completely full! As I describe the ranch to potential guests, it makes me more and more excited for dude season. It is a blessing to work and advertise for a place you truly believe in.
For those who think we sit up here freezing and twiddling our thumbs, I can tell you that we sure do stay busy. For arguments sake however, now that the dark rolls in at 4:45pm, I do have two knitted scarves and a couple (pretty horrible) songs that I squeak out on guitar. I guess I have to have something to show for my hobby promises.
As I listen to my "Classic Country" Pandora station in the office, I have heard Merle sing about the "Workn' Man's Blues" and Dolly woe about about working "9 to 5". Each time a song of that sort comes on, I look outside and feel grateful for my job. I'm sure any past Paradise staff will agree with me, that even when we are tired from a long week of cleaning cabins, chasing kids or leading trail rides, all you have to do is look around at where you are and every complaint seems disipate into the beauty of the mountains.