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How did we get here? Starting a Ranch when we didn't know we wanted a ranch - Charlie needs a lady!

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6/24/2023, By Julie Van Hise


Yup...to grow a herd, it takes more than a bull...ya need a cow too!


Hi! I'm Julie Van Hise. My husband, Chris, and I are 1st generation ranchers and owners of 4 Bear Ranch - a ranch that not only provides for our family but provides for the local community as well. In 2017, we bought our home unknowing of what it would transform into in 4 short years. From mountain wilderness to mountain ranch wilderness - we have lovingly worked hard in building our dream! How did we get here? Starting a Ranch when we didn't know we wanted a ranch? It's actually kind of strange really...So we have Charlie Brown our bull, and want to grow the cattle herd...we obviously next we needed a heifer or a cow!


We knew that Blarney Ranch didn't have any cows or heifers available with us when we picked up Charlie Brown - otherwise, we would've gotten them at the same time. So we started our search...it didn't take long! While there are not too many large Dexter herds out there, there are several small homesteads, farms, and ranches similar to ours that have Dexter Cattle. Right down the road in Clinton, Montana was a little red heifer for sale. The ranch was downsizing at the time, as like anyone, they also have their ranching adventure and story.



Off we went to go look at this little heifer of which was named Uptown Girl. She was a petite little thing, shy, but sweet - so we took her on. We loaded her up and brought her home! Charlie Brown was just happy to have a friend. We kept Lucy in the round pen for a while until she became comfortable with her surroundings. The sheep would go under the fence and visit her often. We renamed her to Lucy "Lulu" in the Sky with Diamonds. Lucy has been on quite the adventure herself, and today is our Milking cow! But back then, she was our timid, shy, little heifer, that we eventually put in with Mr. Charlie when she was about 12 months old.


We were one step closer to our goal for the starting herd - 1 bull and 2 cows. We were also content and good with our newly acquired cattle pair if no other opportunities presented themselves. But another one did...cause social media has a way of doing that...hmmmm...what to do...as this next opportunity was a mixed breed.

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