Desert Hills Ranch

What better way to get your summer bucket list started off right than spending a day with an awesome summer adventure. 

Spending a day at Desert Hills Ranch with family.

A day at Desert Hills Ranch. Seriously hands down this is a hidden gem located in heart of  Ashcroft B.C.  A beautiful slow paced community that has so much charm to offer with old school western desert vibes. Ashcroft has a museum, well stocked grocery store, lovely tourist worthy location for community information. Lastly…  you could also bring your swim suits and check out our community pool to cool off.

desert hills ranch ashcroft bc canada

Goats at Desert Hills Ranch. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

mexican store ashcroft bc canada

Delish! Mexican Delights! Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

History in Ashcroft BC

Of course my oldest son Logan, age 13, says his favorite thing to see is all of the tractors. He loves to see the historical and ancient farming machines. Secondly if you fancy yourself an avid gardener or aspire to be. The options for making that dream a reality is beyond belief. Think Garden of Eden meets tacos and you have a pretty good idea of what its like on the ranch.

Going Mexican Food in Ashcroft

Speaking of tacos… if you crave Mexican food and fare. This is the place to be for all sorts of chips, beans, hot sauces and salsas. I love stocking up on all the essentials for the best taco Tuesday meal items. In conclusion you do not want to forget to mark on your calendar for salsa weekend if you are keen to make your own.

plants gardening ashcroft bc

Plants!  Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

ashcroft bc family fun

Family fun in Ashcroft BC. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

Fun Times at Desert Hills Ranch

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is fun for everybody! They have lots to see and do. Children,  I think,  have an especially great time here. As a Mom I appreciate the measures that the ranch takes to allow people to view the animals but also how clean they keep it. Along with the areas  to clean and sanitize hands often, and easy access to use the rest rooms. The barn is such a fun treat to explore every time and it is fun to see all the animal friends inside! Of course feeding the goats is so much fun! 

Fruits and more 

My daughter Amelia age 11 says her favorite thing to enjoy is the food. She loves to buy different fruits each week to try with the family and she loves the ice-cream. I feel zero regret buying ice-cream here for my family of 10! The price is right when it comes time for a cool treat. What a fun and affordable way to make the day that much more memorable! 

 

cows farming ranch ashcroft bc

Calf in Ashcroft

An Educational Opportunity 

Machines, where our food comes from, biology and botany are just a few subjects you will encounter on the ranch. As a homeschooling mama this place has educational field trip written all over it. And that is another perfect reason to come check out the ranch. This hasn’t been my first time blogging about my favorite ranch. You can read that post HERE . There is so much to see and do here, it really is a very enriching experience. My son Zach who is 6 absolutely loves that he got to see his favorite animal when he visited the barn. A baby cow was such a adorable treat for him to see so close.

kyle schell ashcroft canada plants

Lots Of Selection To Keep Any Green Thumb Happy

Flowers in Ashcroft BC Canada

This has to be one of my favorite parts of coming to the ranch. I love the huge selection of flowers, shrubs and trees they always have here. It makes adding curb appeal easy with the huge selection that they always have! I love that I can even dabble at pretending I am a homesteader with there great assortment of garden items. Cue the Little House On The Prairie theme song. I am so excited to try making a few different jams this season and give some canning  a try. We love getting our tomatoes and strawberries here. And filling up our garden rows with lots of other goodies as well. Corn, peppers, cauliflower to name a few! 

ashcroft flowers plants

Impeccable Selection Of Many Garden Items

Covid Pregnancy

Delicious Produce Awaits At The Ranch

In Conclusion 

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is never a day wasted. This place is really such a hidden gem. Surrounded by desert mountains. It has beautiful weeping willows to offer shade as you stroll around. They are always so kind and courteous. It truly offers an exceptional summer experience in the heart of British Columbia.

Therefore, if you are looking for more great all year around ideas for what to do in BCs interior. Please follow the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And keep your eyes on the Blog for some more great Summer Bucket List ideas! Thanks for reading! Have a great summer and stay safe. 

CONTACT INFO

Desert Hills Ranch

250 Elm Street, Ashcroft, BC

250.453.9876

deserthillsfarmmarket@gmail.com

www.deserthillsranch.com

 

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Saddle Making in Merritt BC – Part 1

Custom saddlery in the Nicola Valley specializing in working cowboy saddles

“It might surprise you as to who the customers are that choose the most ornate hand carved saddles? You guessed it. The roughest toughest cowboys around do ornate the best. Ha ha.”

Saddle Making in Merritt BC Canada – The Nicola Valley is blessed with a cowboy culture.  As a result, every cowboy needs a quality saddle.  The community of Merritt, British Columbia, Canada is my home, and it is the cowboy culture  that has grown my passions for leather work in the area of saddles, as well as, chaps, and custom carvings. 

First Steps to Saddle Making in Merritt

saddle maker in merritt

Cowboy Wade

The first step in Merritt saddle making is to select the saddle tree. To do so lets use my current customer saddle I am working on. I selected a 16”wade with a wood post (ie. larger diameter neck horn mostly used for roping cattle). Therefore my second decision was to select a 41/2” cantle. The reason for the taller cantle is to create a more secure seat for riding rough horses. In this case, it was a pick up saddle for competing in saddle bronc events at rodeo competitions. 

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Saddle Making Decorations 

saddle making designs

Custom flower design

The customer, a repeat customer I might add, decided on the tree and the exterior look of his saddle. (ie. rough out ). Furthermore,  my customers have design options when ordering a saddle from me. Many decorate the smooth side with intricate flower designs or a unique basket weave pattern. Therefore, the possibilities are literally endless. You ask? I can do it! Consequently this customer  chose a rough out (meaning flesh side of the leather for you newbies).

Leather Selection

The first thing I do is acquire saddle skirting from a reputable tannery. In this case Hermann Oak located in St. Louis Missouri is my go-to tannery. The acid (oak bark) process takes about 3 months long.  The finished leather is about 1/4” to 3/8” thick.

The second thing I do is apply a heavy 3/4”bark tan sheepskin (a tougher tan to withstand more abuse specific to the saddle industry). 

The Tools of Saddle Making in Merritt Canada

Horse shoe brand hdw

First of all, lets be clear, Don Loewen Saddlery uses nothing but the best quality materials available. I have found that the line of stainless steel hardware designed by and for working professionals, the horse shoe brand by Jeremiah Watt,  fits the bill perfectly.  In other words the cowboys of the Nicola Valley and beyond demand and deserve the best. 

Pattern Making

The patterns used in the saddle making process are very important. Every saddle maker should have their own style that can be identified at a distance. Therefore, it is clear to many, that the profile is a big part of what sells my saddles.

First… the saddle must be a comfortable functional product that is both balanced and pleasing to the eye. For example the grasslands of the Nicola Valley was the inspiration for the deep rounded skirt style that I designed for this client. 

Cutting the Leather 

The working cowboys in the Nicola Valley,  at least 30 to 40 full time cowboys, are employed and spend most of their working day in the saddle from pre-daybreak and into the late  afternoon . Having said that , these saddles take a real beating.  

The saddle parts that require more wear-and-tear or strength are taken out on the hip or but end of the hide, and the parts that require more stretch than strength come from the belly or flanks. The knife I use to cut the leather is a razor sharp head knife – a half round blade with a handle in the center.

In conclusion I hope you enjoyed this first segment. Part 2 will take on the exciting challenge of an all leather ground seat and shaping the skirts and some more of the knives and tools used daily in the saddle shop.

In closing I would like to leave you with the song “Mammas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” by Waylon Jennings. 

Merritt Saddle Making in Style

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