Rancher to Rancher Tour
The Yamsi Ranch is situated in the heart of the region with multiple springs bubbling from the hillsides forming a slow moving creek. The first spring is 10 CFS which with the inclusion of many springs bubbling from the ground quickly runs at 50 CFS. It is in a basin of good grass and wetlands with a perimeter of Logepole and Ponderosa Pine. There is a four foot layer of pumice for soil. Snakes refuse to crawl across it because it’s hard on the bottom half of their bodies. This ranchland was purchased from the Klamath Indians 97 years ago. Taylor Hyde states that it is well to know the cycles of wildlife and manage accordingly.
Gerda Hyde has given her life to raising cattle and managing the ranch with her sons, John and Taylor. She says that now she is trying to let go and it is hard! She kept us well fed with a great ranch breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage, and full meals enjoyed in the shade of her yard throughout the day. She says that as they were beginning the ranch, they had a hired hand who wasn’t really much good at ranch work so Uncle Buck asked him what he could do? He said his dad was a stone mason in Italy so Hyde’s put him to work making the local rocks into a pleasant stone ranch house. A neighbor gave them an old narrow two story home that was in need of repair and John moved it to Gerda’s yard and added on to it through the years. This gave an extra place for the recreational guests to stay beyond Gerda’s homes extra beds.
Yamsi Ranch has a combined income from cattle and recreational fishing and trail riding. A combination some would say was impossible. s we walk through the native grass pastures, I note a great variety of plants. Becky Hyde confirms that there are over 50 varieties of native grass, rush & sedges in their pastures. When asked how their nutrition compares with range grass Taylor states, “there is less variance of nutrition of the wetland grass.” Their winter feeding is creating more grass along the edge of the pine forests. They said that they feed all across the land, Joe Jayne, a nephew says, “Everything is dirty!” This distributes the “organic litter” and manure evenly across the land with no buildup that smothers grass and encourages a lowering of succession to annuals. This grass has changed from fox-tail to native bunch grass. A mix of grass hay, alfalfa and barley hay are fed to cattle till shortly before calving. Then the cows are fed Alfalfa to increase their vitamin A intake. Barley alfalfa is fed to the calves all winter.
Gerda Hyde has given her life to raising cattle and managing the ranch with her sons, John and Taylor.
They thin trees whenever time permits which keeps the remaining trees in better health. The Ponderosa have a life span of 200 years while the Lodge pole live 80 years. Lodgepole needs fire and Ponderosa doesn’t. As we walk through the corrals we notice large gate posts that are original to the ranch. The pitch in a Ponderosa lasts long after the tree is cut and protects it from disintegrating.
The stream, the headwaters of the Williams River, is what botanists and fisheries biologists would use as their best example. Jerri tells me that there are what is called, Mares Eggs, a form of colonial algae which botanists tell her signifies pure water. She described it as dark green with little bumps on it like a frogs back. She wanted to show us one but the water was too deep and she said she would sink from view if she tried to wade. The stream is fenced from cattle and ditches distribute water across the land and make watering places for livestock. They have installed “water lanes” to assure the cattle water from any pasture. The creek is a great example of a healthy wet meadow stream. Some have said that they need willow for it to be a “proper stream” so they have established some willow and have put bull panel cages around it to keep it from being grazed by native or domestic animals. With these willow bunches interspersed through the valley, the Neotropical bird population may increase. They are watching this closely so as not to affect their fly rod fishing customers casting ability.
They have installed 5 flat bottomed culverts, one with no bottom, (easier on fish) for water to spread across the basin, encouraging more wildlife.