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Leaving the Ranch

by Cassidy Gillard

Well, it is that time of year again. I’ve moved out of the Columbine, and into an apartment in Boulder. The most accurate way to describe leaving the ranch is that you begin to feel homesick in your own home. The daily rituals of the ranch become so engrained in your soul, that adjusting back to “the real world,” where you have actually spent more of your time than at the ranch, becomes difficult and strange. So I’ve been coming up with my own daily rituals and routines to pass the time until camp starts back up again. If you’ve been wondering what you could do in your spare time, here are a couple of things that I’ve come up with to maintain that beautiful connection with the outdoors that being at the Ranch provides.

Running: There are tons of excellent trails all over Boulder that take you through beautiful terrain. Here’s a photo from Coot Lake, which has a 1.2 mile trail around it. There are incredible views, and the trails around Coot Lake connect with Boulder Reservoir. It is very dog friendly, and whether you’re walking, running, or just want a peaceful place to sit and look at the mountains, this is an excellent place to visit.

Use fresh fall veggies and learn new recipes! Here is a recipe for Pumpkin Carrot Soup, which is perfect for these chilly fall days:

Ingredients(Serves 6)

2 lbs / 900 gr pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into ½-inch pieces

1 lbs / 453 gr carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped 2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

4 cups / 1 lt vegetable stock

2 cups / 500 ml water

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful sage leaves


Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkinand carrot pieces on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of oil and toss to coat.

Roast for 30-35 minutes or until golden and tender.

In the meantime, heat remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion, a pinch of salt and cook, stirring every now and then for 15 minutes, until soft and translucent.

Add garlic, mustard seeds. coriander, cumin and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes,until fragrant (and mustard seeds start to pop).

Add roasted pumpkin and carrot pieces and give a good stir. Add vegetable stock, water, and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth (alternatively transfer the pumpkin mixture in batches to the jug of a blender). Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Add more stock if needed to reach the desired consistency.

Put sage leaves to frying pan and fry in oil 1 minute, until crispy. Transfer the fried sage to a paper towel-lined plate.

Divide soup among soup bowl, top with fried sage and serve.

My last suggestion for you is something that brings me an incredible amount of peace and time to be thoughtful. Go for a hike or a drive in the mountains. I personally love driving, and I understand that it’s not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but there is so much to see and appreciate about the wild Rocky Mountains, or any mountains, for that matter, and if you have mountains to appreciate, find a way to explore them! Visit for some great information about hikes all over the country, and I hope you will be inspired to get out to the mountains before the big snows start to fly!

That’s all for now, friends. Check back in a few weeks, and I’ll have some stuff to say about those beautiful creatures we call horses!

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