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Welcome to Our Patch of Heaven!

Howdy friends! In honor of our 100th year in operation (it's incredible!), the Bar Lazy J is going high-tech! Now not to worry--there's still none of that allowed here while you're on vacation, but while you're away and anxious to keep up with what's going on (or you just need your "ranch fix"), come check in on our ranch blog where you'll find hoards of photos, we'll follow our staff and you'll hear all the latest happenings first! Of course reading about it isn't nearly as good as the real thing, so we hope to see you out on the trail real soon, but until then, check out what's happening and leave your comments--we love to see that our friends have stopped by! Happy trails everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

We Are Thankful For

The moisture when it falls…


But that there is always a sunny day right behind it.


Our summer guests, but also our winter guests….


We are thankful for the beauty that abounds here….

                                                                   …even when no one is looking.


Good food to eat. (The hay-- not the animals. We’re talking about their good food!)


For horses that are fat and happy…


And silly.


And for our extended ranch family!




But above all we are thankful to have such wonderful friends and call this place home.


Oh—and for pie! Let’s not forget the pie!


Hope your Thanksgiving was as happy as ours!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It’s Good to Be (Back) Home

      Jerry and Cheri are proud of what this ranch has become to so many others. And they deserve to be. They never could have guessed when they purchased the Bar Lazy J in 1995, that it would come to mean as much to their guests as it did to them.  Although the ranch already had her own “magic”—which is what drew them to it—there was quite a bit to be done. Seventeen years ago, they could have only dreamed that it would be what it is today.  But when you live on the river in the mountains giving people the vacation of a lifetime, where do you go when it’s time to “get away”?

     In 1995 when Jerry and Cheri left their lives in Michigan, they sold everything and risked a great deal to make the Bar Lazy J their own.  Born and raised in Michigan, Jerry traveled the country as a sales manager for a large direct marketing corporation. Cheri was a high school physical education teacher and a track, cross country and swimming coach.  Great-Aunt May didn’t pass away and leave them the family fortune—they earned every penny.  And it was with great faith (and hope) that they sold their homes and possessions and completely rearranged their lives.  But they both whole-heartedly believed the risks and sacrifice were worth it. (Aren’t we all so glad they did??)  So 17 years later, you can imagine their surprise when the couple who had purchased their lake house from them all those years ago, called to let them know they were going to sell it. And what a joy for Jerry and Cheri to now have the means to buy it back !

       The house on Loon Lake is now their home away from home for several months during the off-season of the ranch. Since their repurchase, they have done quite a bit of work to restore the North Woods look and feel. With knotty pine interior, hard word floors, a high ceiling and stone fireplace, along with the woodsy-themed interior, you can imagine why it’s easy for them to feel at home while they are away from the ranch—and not just because it’s a familiar place to them.  There is a peace and serenity sitting there on their deck overlooking the lake similar to what you feel overlooking the river at the ranch.

      Here they are heading out just a few days after the close of the ranch!


     So since early October, this is where Jerry and Cheri have spent a much- deserved lengthy vacation. Cheri came back a few weeks earlier than Jerry to once again begin the basketball season coaching here at Middle Park High School in Granby.  And after finishing up a few projects and spending a bit more time with family, Jerry headed back with Rocky and Queen to make it just in time for Thanksgiving. And for that we are thankful!

     But we all know Jerry and Cheri are experienced sharers of the places that they love so much—so it comes as no surprise that starting this year, they have begun offering the house on Loon Lake as a rental property during the summer while the ranch is open. With a capacity to sleep 12, they knew it would be a great place for large or multiple families to get together and make some memories as well. (They have a way of providing those opportunities, don’t they? I’m on to them…..) As a BONUS—anyone who has been a guest of the ranch either in the past or currently on the books, receives a 20% discount on their stay! So check out the site if you’re interested in a future getaway or even if you’re just interested in the great pictures of this beautiful property. Words don’t do it justice.

Here’s the link!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

“As The Ranch Turns”…..


      Who knew even horses had relationship drama?? Ughh! We turned a few new horses into the big herd and immediately the “big man on campus” tried to sneak in and steal away the one mare. But her boyfriend wasn’t having it! We watched captivated for an hour as he tried different ways to get it done—being pretty clever actually-- but in the end? Love conquered all. And we all learned that a ‘cowboy horse’ handles things ‘the cowboy way’—way to fight for your woman “Easy”! Set to music just for fun!


Horse Drama at Bar Lazy J

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Last Goodbyes.

      It takes several weeks of collective hard work to bring the ranch back from her deep sleep in the Spring, but in the Fall? The task of tucking her in for a winter’s rest is done in more or less than a week. Still, it takes a great deal of elbow grease and tender care from each one of our staff, so to thank them one last time for their ceaseless productivity, Jerry treated them all to one last staff dinner. And what a treat it was! Most of us had not been up to Grand Lake Lodge where the food was divine and the views……well, see for yourself…. DSC09170_thumb



A little pre-dinner fun!


Then to our seats for a toast and thank you from the Bosses.


A gorgeous lodge! We highly recommend. It just opened back up this summer and for the time being will only operate in the warmer months, but it was pretty spectacular between the food and the views. Quite a historical place. (And we have a “thing” for historical places you might say.)


Likely the only time you’ll see us all sitting! And being waited on no less!


Our 2012 staff was once again a phenomenal group of individuals and our gratitude goes out to each of them for their part in keeping things running smoothly from day to day and putting a smile on the faces of our ranch guests. It takes a lot of work to make it look like no work at all and the engine wouldn’t run without each of its components! We hope to have several of these guys and gals back for our next season, but we know life will call some of them in different directions. So until we meet again, we wish all them happy trails and look forward to seeing them soon either way—always a part of our ranch family!


With our last night to kick back behind us, we set to the task of putting the ranch to bed for the winter. Like I mentioned before, it takes less time than opening up, but there’s still lots to be done! By now, almost all the trees had turned and the first sign of closing was the fresh layer of fallen leaves gathering on the lawn and down the drive.


Then the teepees came down….


The swings and toys stored away (who put that teepee back up?!)…


The furniture where our friends lounged and enjoyed the river and one another was carefully stored inside the rec barn safely away from the coming snow.


Then the ladies got to work on the cabins!


Too cold for the pool I’m afraid.


But we still got wet! Lots to power wash before putting it up for the winter. Can’t imagine how those cinches got so dirty…….


Or those blankets…..


Hmmmmmm….there are a few of these….but Ron is on the job! (And cursing my name for posting him in this rain slicker. But really….it’s totally his color.)


So he washes….


And washes…


And –well, you know…..


Almost done! Just 50 more! Plus the ones in the staff tack room… and then some in the truck… and did you check the red barn? …and he’s certain there’s a blanket conspiracy and someone just keeps grabbing the ones he already did and throwing them back up there just for fun….(We were…shhhhh.)


Then there are saddles to be cleaned and oiled—another big job. But Chris insisted on doing these all by himself—generous huh? What a guy! Smile


I think his smile says it all!


Don’t forget the buckets!


Meanwhile, Shane worked to get shoes pulled and feet trimmed as load by load, the horses were finished and sent out to their eight months of winter pasture. It’s true they work harder than most in their four months during the summer, but they quickly change gears when we turn them all out—and who wouldn’t enjoy a job that got you 8 months off in a row? Nothing to do but eat and be sassy--not a bad gig! We gotta take care of our ponies!


     Then the water is turned off, the kitchen cupboards boarded up, and the staff begin their trickle back to their lives away in other small and big towns all around the country.


(Who do you suppose this vehicle and its content belong to?…..probably a family of deer I assume. Migration habits have really changed!)

And then once they’re gone?


She sleeps…..




Still, the flowers will last a little longer until the first cold comes.


And off in the distance we see the signs that it won’t be long.IMGP1796_thumb7

Sleep tight sweet ranch. Others will be dreaming of you while you take your rest. It’s time for us to take watch now, so you go on and close your eyes…..see you in the Spring old friend.