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What's New on the Ranch and on the Web


Grace Vandevert McNellisOn March 9, 2022, the ranch lost a dear friend who loved the ranch all her life. Grace Vandevert McNellis was born on the ranch on July 4, 1929, went to school in the one-room schoolhouse and graduated from Bend High School. She moved to Gig Harbor, Washington with her husband but brought him and their five sons home to the ranch every summer. She welcomed the new residents of the ranch, continued to visit every year, and wrote two books on the history of her family and the ranch. Lively, generous, and much beloved, Gracie will be sorely missed.

In 2021 the ranch renovated the schoolyard and playground of the one room Vandevert Schoolhouse. The ranch refurbished the foot-powered merry-go-round, built a stone platform around the hand-powered well, refurbished the picnic table, and installed a brand new swing set. Grandchildren welcome. Seventy years ago David Vandevert says he and his schoolmates had an enormous fallen ponderosa for a jungle gym and pirate ship. The pump has been here for almost a century.



Book cover with snow-covered Mountain HemlockThe Mt. Bachelor Murders, a new mystery by ranch resident Ted Haynes, was published on February 2, 2021, and is available at independent bookstores throughout Central Oregon, including Sunriver Books and Music. See an enthusiastic review of the book in Cascade Arts & Entertainment. To view a Roundabout Books Zoom presentation of the book by Ted on February 11 click here.


Elk off porch facing cameraOn September 1, 2020, the elk herd paid a visit to an owner lot. The one in the photo at right is waiting for the cocktail hour to start.


In 2020 river otters ate many of the fish in Rainbow Lake and the ranch brought in some new ones (fish, not otters). For a YouTube video of the lake restocking click here.



On February 26, 2020 the ranch web site added a 14,000 word history of the family of Grace Clark, the mother of William P. Vandevert, founder of the ranch. Grace's brothers and their descendants were a well-traveled and adventurous lot, lucky to survive some of the scrapes they got into. For the Clark family history, click here. Also see a letter by Thomas Clark, Grace Clark's brother, that describes his early days in Oregon and the Clark Massacre that took place on the Oregon Trail.



In October 2019 a larger elk herd than ever before visited the ranch. Over sixty elk, more than could fit in the photograph, spread out across the horse pasture.

Book Cover - Mirror Pond MurdersRanch resident and author Ted Haynes published, on June 17, 2019, a new murder mystery titled The Mirror Pond Murders - set in Bend and at a fictional community based on Vandevert Ranch, Crosswater, and Sunriver. Mirror Pond, a sequel to Ted's earlier mystery, Suspects, was written up in Cascade A&E and is available through local bookstores and Amazon. Ted presented the book at Sunriver Books and Music on July 20.

Man in rough building welding steel slats to build truckbed sidingIn between massive snowplowing in the winter of 2018-2019, with ranch employees plowing in shifts for 24 hours straight, Bryan and Austin built new steel side racks for the ranch truck. The previous wooden racks threw splinters and had to be replaced every few years. The ranch bought the steel and ranch employees fabricated and installed the new racks, saving the ranch considerable dollars.




Red Trailer with white plastic water tank and multiple spigots and hoses.On Friday, September 21, 2018 the ranch acquired a brand new custom water tank and trailer, with all the fixings, to quickly suppress fires (and incidentally suppress dust when required).  The trailer was designed and built by a ranch owner's company and provided to the ranch at cost - a substantial discount.  The trailer carries a large tank, a gasoline powered pump, and multiple spigots and hoses. 





In 2018 Bryan and Austin repaired and refinished over forty trail, road, and other road signs on the ranch. They also installed new culverts and land bridges on the trails to improve them for riding and walking, in addition to leasing a bigger and better mower for the trails, which have never been better. They also refinished all the picnic tables and benches. This summer they replaced the buck and rail fence on both sides of the Homestead Road.


Grace Vandevert McNellis and Ted Haynes, co-authors of Vandevert - The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch, were interviewed about the ranch by expert interviewer, Donna Seebo, on her weekly program, Warriors for Peace. You can listen to the lively hour-long interview by clicking here.


2017 - Bryan and Austin have nearly completed the new storage bunkers near the wood storage shed. The bunkers will be used for wood chips, gravel, and logs waiting to be cut for firewood. The ranch staff installed the rebar for the floors and an outside contractor will pour the floors, sloped so water drains out the front of the bunkers. It will be easier to take gravel and chips out of the bunker without picking up rocks and dirt than it has been to retrieve these materials from piles on the ground. The bunkers are part of a comprehensive effort to clean up and organize the working parts of the ranch.


The beaver population increased dramatically this year and the animals have launched an early fall attack on aspens along the Little Deschutes. They fell the trees and then take the smaller limbs so they can eat the leaves elsewhere at leisure. They destroyed five to seven trees before homeowners put up wire fencing around the remaining aspens.




This year (2017) the ranch installed no trespassing signs on the bridge over the Little Deschutes to discourage boaters from trying to take their boats out of the river on the ranch. Thousand Trails has agreed to advise people launching at their beach that they need to go all the way through the ranch before they take out.









Possibly due to the unusually wet winter and spring of 2016/2017, the ranch has seen exceptional numbers of California Tortoisesell Butterflies (yellow/orange) and Pandora Moths (brown/gray). We've also seen Cottontail Rabbits where they have never appeared before.




The Horse Club (nine ranch families) acquired its fifth horse this year, probably the best and sweetest horse yet, named Cooper. Cooper (at left) has his own corral but seems to get on very well with all the other horses.

Ranch resident and author Ted Haynes has published a contemporary murder mystery titled Suspects set in a fictional community based on Vandevert Ranch, Crosswater, and Sunriver. The book had an enthusiastic and very well-attended reception at a reading by Ted on July 1 at Sunriver Books and Music and has gone on to success in other locations. Available through local bookstores and Amazon.





Building sheathed in red steel with large central rollup door.The new firewood storage shed was completed over the 2016/2017 winter and has firewood in it with room for plenty more. The building is framed in wood and sheathed in steel. It was built entirely by Bryan and the ranch staff.The board is exploring ways to provide more storage for individual owners but this building is not it.



Vandevert now has its own collection of poems inspired by the ranch.



The Vandevert Ranch Association annual meeting will be held at 9:00 AM on Saturday, August 5, 2017, upstairs in the barn.

In the fall of 2016 the ranch designed and contracted for reflective signs and tall stakes to mark the addresses of all the lots on the ranch in the winter - when snow often obscures the "summer" address signs. Being able to find the right house is particularly important for emergency vehicles. The owner who drove the project cooperated closely with the Crosswater Homeowners Association which adopted the same design. The signs demonstrated their value in January when all of Central Oregon experienced a very heavy snowfall.




On the last day of Cooper's summer job at the ranch, Bryan, Cooper, and Austin finished framing the walls of the new firewood shed and raised the lintel over the big front door. The building will keep firewood dry and make it easier to load when needed for homeowner fireplaces.


On August 17, 2016, the Sheridan forest fire broke out about four miles west of the ranch and burned about 300 acres of Descutes National Forest land. Prompt action by firefighters brought it under control. Though the fire never threatened the ranch, it made ranch owners watching it grateful for all the fuel reduction and fire break work the ranch has done over the years. The photo was taken from the barn. The fire didn't seem to bother the horses but a covey of quail sat on one owner's (unburnable) stone patio for hours during the fire's first hours.



Fence TeamIn July 2016, Bryan Adams and his team (Cooper on the left, Austin on the right) completed the new half-mile rail fence along the ranch's northern border with Crosswater. The rails are pressure treated and attached with screwed-in log hogs. The fence will last for many years to come.

This web site has begun a catalog of dragonflies and damselflies that make their home on the ranch.


Jack, at right, is the newest member of the horse club. He doesn't quite trust his surroundings or his fellow members yet but we're sure he will come around.

Construction has begun on the first new house built on the ranch in ten years. The house on Rainbow Lake was designed by Locati Architects.

In January and February of 2016 we lost two beloved and important previous ranch residents, Mick Humphreys and Dick Gatley, both of whom built houses on the ranch and were instrumental in charting the early evolution of the ranch community.

Horse Shelter 2015In the summer of 2015 the ranch added two horse shelters to let horses get out of the sun in the summer and to protect them from wind, rain, and snow in the winter. The ranch also extensively reconfigured the corrals, paddocks, and gates and brought water to each enclosure. When completed the ranch will have nine corrals with gates between them plus one central round corral. Many of the corrals will have gates that open into the 30+ acre pasture. Also, the Horse Club brought several new horses to the ranch.










Vandevert Family ReunionHand Crank Phone WE 1317On July 4, 2015 the ranch celebrated the happy reunion of fifty Vandevert and Catlow famly members, organized by Tom McNellis and Roger Vandevert. At the time, Grace McNellis graciously made a gift of the Western Electric 1317 hand-crank telephone that served the Vandevert Homestead. The phone was refinished by a homeowner and will eventually find its place upstairs in the barn where the homeowners hold their annual meeting. The ring to signal a call to the ranch was one long and two shorts.









Rebuilt RampNew Buck and Rail FenceOver the winter of 2014-2015, Bryan Adams and the ranch staff made major improvements to the ramp leading to the river by the bridge, making it more secure and easier to climb up to the ramp from the river. The team also completely replaced and rebuilt the buck and rail fence along the Barn Road.








Ice formed in places on the Little Deschutes during a cold period between Christmas 2014 and New Years Day. The view in the photo at right is from the bank where the Vandevert family's ice house stood, near a turn where the river slows and ice forms most readily. The Vandeverts did not have electricity and the ice, packed in saw dust, made it possible to make ice cream for the July 4 picnic.

The Homestead is visible over the willows and Newberry Crater is in the distance.







Elk with HorsesAt left, a herd of elk visited the horses in December, 2014. The horses seemed to be looking to the wrangler (who took the picture) for some sort of explanation.

The 2015 Vandevert Ranch Association annual meeting will be on Saturday, August 1, 2015.

Cascade Sotheby's has produced a high-quality two-minute video to enhance the marketing of the ranch.

The First United Methodist Church in Bend contacted the ranch in 2013 to learn the history of a stained glass window dedicated to Kathryn Grace Vandevert. Kathryn Grace grew up on the ranch and died at age 28 in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Vandevert descendants did not know the window existed and were surprised to hear about it. The windows in the church, installed in the early 1920's and renovated in 2014, were designed and built by Povey Brothers of Portland, artists who were famous nationwide for their stained glass. The window was almost certainly donated by Kathryn Grace's two brothers, Clint and George Vandevert, who were among the very few doctors in Bend at the time. In August, 2014, Grace Vandevert McNellis, Kathryn Grace's niece, saw the window for the first time.



Storm DamageThe strongest hail and wind storm to visit the ranch in over twenty years hit at 4:00 PM on Tuesday afternoon July 29, 2014. At least fifteen major trees were downed, though not our most prominent ponderosas. Bryan Adams and the other ranch employees did a terrific job of promptly clearing roads and driveways. Click here for more photos.

New Horses Snip and ArieIn the spring of 2014 eight families at the ranch formed the Vandevert Horse Club. The club plans to own five horses in common and already has three, including Snip and Arie, the two males pictured at right, and Little Sister (Little Sis) who had previously belonged to a single family. In addition, a new ranch owner has brought Champs (short for Champagne) to the ranch and will soon bring another horse. This summer the ranch will have more horses than it has had in several years.

Grindings on North Access RoadIn late spring 2014 the ranch paved the north and south access roads, and the road to the barn, with recycled asphalt pavement ("grindings") over the previously existing dirt and gravel. The new pavement virtually eliminates the dust raised by the old surface. Grindings are much less expensive than conventional paving but require retention of the 10 MPH speed limit on these roads to prevent washboarding. The photo at left shows Schoolhouse Road with conventional paving in the foreground and the North Access Road, with grindings, in the background.

In October 2013 the ranch opened up a view to the river, looking upstream from Hashknife Road about 500 feet east of the bridge. The view extends about 100 yards upriver.


This September the ranch rebuilt most of the main gate. A motorist unfamiliar with the ranch crashed into the gate at night earlier in the summer. The gate on both sides (incoming and outgoing) is now better built, sturdier, and better looking than ever before. Ed Adams, who has done much of the log work on the ranch and is the finist log builder in Oregon, did the work.


In August 2013, the ranch resurfaced Hashknife Road from the bridge to the turnaround at the end of the road. The paving included a pre-layer (to fill the hollows and provide a level surface) and two "lifts" of new asphalt. The road looks great and should last many years. The ranch also seal-coated Schoolhouse Road and the balance of Hashknife Road.

Vandevert owners enjoyed a terrific barbecue at the barn with a live band, beautiful table settings, great food, smores, and a little practice with the hashknife branding iron. Many thanks to Debbie D. for planning and organizing the party. At the barbecue, the Vandevert family make a gift to the ranch of the wind-up phonograph (and 78 rpm records) that the family listened to before the Old Homestead had electricity. Earlier in the day, at the annual meeting, owners were treated to a showing and DVD copies of the well-produced and inspiring developer's marketing video from the 1990's. A copy and a transcript can be found online by clicking here.


A new book of short stories set in Central Oregon, titled On the Road from Burns was published July 3, 2013. Some of the sixteen stories could well have taken place on the ranch. Ted Haynes, author of the stories and co-author of Vandevert - The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch, gave a presentation on the book at Sunriver Books and Music on Saturday, July 27.

We can now listen on this website to Grace Vandevert McNellis reading from her 1999 book, Home on the Vandevert Ranch. Grace's delightful voice and personality come through clearly. The recording makes it sound as if she is in the room.

As of December, 2012, the ranch web site includes a Photographic Addendum to the 2011 book on the history of the ranch,Vandevert.

Chesapeake Bay RetrieverThe newest resident of the ranch is nine-week old female Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Chaco. Chaco arrived on September 27 and has already made a complete circuit of Schoolhouse and Hashknife Roads (followed by a serious nap). Chaco has taken to retrieving rubber balls and gives every sign of being "birdy".


Smoky SunriseThe smoke from the Pole Creek Fire near Sisters generally blew north, away from the ranch, and the sky was clearer at the ranch than in Bend. But the ranch did get some smoke, as shown in this photo taken shortly after dawn on September 25, 2012....This August the ranch acquired, from a ranch owner, a used white Chevy Silverado dual-cab pickup truck in excellent condition. The employees will now be able to travel on ranch business on and off the ranch without using their own vehicles. The ranch logo looks great on the truck.


lodgepole by rockpileRiding MowerIn June of 2012 the ranch purchased a riding mower that will do a much better job on the horse trails than the tractor did. The ranch will also use the mower for the grass around the barn that is not in our landscape contactor's scope of work. Also in June, the giant lodgepole by the rockpile (photo at right) died and was taken down. The ranch foreman counted 140 rings in the stump. This same lodgepole appeared as a young in tree in the background of the photo taken of the Vandevert family in 1895.

The 2012 annual meeting date has been changed to Saturday, August 4.

Sample of Thinned Forest

In 2012 the ranch will begin an ongoing project to thin the common forest along Hashknife Road west of the river and selected other locations. The thinning is pursuant to Oregon Senate Bill 360 (the Oregon Forestland-Urban Interface Fire Protection Act) which requires owners to reduce excess vegetation that can fuel fires. The thinning will also improve the overall health of the forest. Some Vandevert owners have already self-certified defensible space around their individual properties. The photo at right shows a sample of thinning near Hashknife Road and the Homestead Trail.

A group of generous owners provided a $25,000 matching grant to the High Desert Museum in the name of the ranch. The grant matched individual donations of $1,000 or more given at the High Desert Rendezvous held on August 20, 2011. An additional incentive to the individual donors was a free copy of the book, Vandevert. The museum raised over $50,000 in less than five minutes.

Mary Vandevert, a niece of William Plutarch Vandevert, wrote a fascinating if not entirely trustworthy memoir of her life that is now on this web site. See especially her description of a 1917 horseback trip that she and Kathryn Grace Vandevert took from the ranch over the Cascades to Cottage Grove and back again. Also see the transcript of a 1953 radio interview with William Plutarch's eldest son, Thomas William.

The recreation section of the web site has recently added photo galleries of excursions to Tyee Creek, Thompson Reservoir, the La Pine Frontier Days Parade on July 4, and the La Pine Rodeo.

The authors of the book, Vandevert, held a well-attended reading and discussion of the book on Friday, July 8 at 3:00 PM at the Deschutes County Historical Society in Bend. Another reading by one of the authors is scheduled for Friday, August 19, at 4:30 PM at Crosswater. The book is available now at the historical society, Sunriver Books and Music, the High Desert Museum, Books, Boxes, and Business Services in La Pine, and on Amazon.com. The book can also be found at Deschutes County Libraries in Bend and Sunriver

May 1, 2011 - The 98-acre property southwest of Vandevert Ranch, bordered by Vandevert Road and South Century, is listed for sale with Sunriver Realty. Book Cover


February 1, 2011 - The Robleda Company published Vandevert - The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch by Ted Haynes and Grace Vandevert McNellis. The 208 page book with 70 photos and diagrams, a bibliography, and an index, has won advance praise from Oregon newspapers and authors. It is available at the Deschutes County Historical Society, Sunriver Books & Music, other local bookstores, and at Amazon.com. Personalized, autographed copies are also available.

February, 2011 - Lot 4 has been sold. Only two properties at the ranch are currently listed for sale.

January 23, 2011 - Warm weather in January quickly melted the heavy snow that fell in December. The result was very high water in the Little Deschutes, almost coming over the road by the bridge. The river usually flows well below the willow in the center of this photo, taken by the ranch wrangler. This January the river rose over its banks and flooded the meadow behind the willow.

Hashknife BrandJanuary 17, 2011 - The Vandevert Ranch Association acquired title to the Hashknife brand for horses in the state of Oregon. The brand was used by the Vandevert family for eighty years but ownership lapsed when the developer of the modern ranch moved on. A new four-inch stainless steel Hashknife branding iron is available for the use of owners. See the history section of this website for a history of the brand, once the signature brand of the third largest cattle company in the United States.
Hashknife Branding Iron


November 1, 2010 - The original Developer's Marketing Video, produced in the early 1990's and about eight minutes long, is now available in the modern history section of this web site.

October, 2010 - The Upper Deschutes River Coalition thinned trees and cleared underbrush to create a shaded fuel break on the strip of ranch land east of South Century. This improved the view from South Century considerably and reduced the risk of wildfire. The project was supervised and largely executed by the ranch's own former manager.






DocSeptember, 2010 - There is another new horse on the ranch. "Doc" is a "dead broke" horse who seems to be very fond of humans. Doc is owned by Osprey.

September 8 - The ranch held a lunch, briefing, and a tour of the ranch for top real estate brokers that was received well. Ranch owners may view a report on the meeting and the book given to the brokers in the Owners Only section.

September, 2010 - Lot 18 has been resold. We now have 21 lots with a different owner on each lot.

August 14 - After the annual meeting, the board set July 9, 2011 as the date for the annual meeting next year.


PatchesAugust 13 - There is a new horse on the ranch. "Patches", owned by Osprey, is a mellow 13 year-old mare who will be great with children and on the trail.

July 3 - The 2010 annual meeting date was changed from July 31 to Saturday August 14.

July 2 - Escrow closed on Lot 18. We have a new owner! The same couple also bought the house on Four Peaks with escrow due to close in early August.

Slough with Willows ClearedJune, 2010 - At the request of a Crosswater neighbor, the ranch cleared willows and brush away from the slough at the north end of the ranch. Photo at right is taken from the Crosswater fence.

June 15, 2010 - A three foot by five foot backlit display ad for property at the ranch now appears at the Redmond Airport. The ad was developed by a ranch owner and is funded by Bev Sherrer, local real estate agent, and by owners who volunteered to contribute. There is no cost to the Vandevert Ranch Association. The phone number forwards to a line Bev has dedicated to inquiries about the ranch. A copy of the ad appears below. (Scroll down past ad for more news.)

Display Ad

Floor Joists

May, 2010 - The ranch staff is rebuilding the foundation and platform for the teepee for use this summer. See photo to left.


March 30, 2010 - Ted Haynes and Grace Vandevert McNellis are writing a new book titled Vandevert: The Hundred Year History of a Central Oregon Ranch. The target date for publication is February 1, 2011.

March 2, 2010 - The annual meeting of the Vandevert Ranch Association will be held on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

February 12, 2010 - A cougar was sighted at Crosswater, next door to the ranch. The following week, our ranch wrangler saw a small cougar by the bridge. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will patrol the area and will try to obtain a tracker to come and pinpoint the animal’s location. If you meet a cougar stand tall, spread your arms, and try to look as big as possible. Shout loudly and act confident. If a cougar attacks, fight rather than play dead.

Margie by Fence

January 2010 - Margie, the big blond Belgian who has stabled at the ranch since 1995 (or even earlier) and has been beloved by all (equine and human), retired to La Pine. She is in a good place, conveniently across the street from our wrangler.

January 1, 2010 - Ranch Photo Gallery added to web site.

December 27, 2009 - Wikipedia published a biography of Michael Pauluzen Van der Voort, a Vandevert ancestor and early settler of Dutch New York (New Amsterdam).

November 12, 2009 - Photos of butterflies caught on the ranch have been added to the web site.

Copyright The Vandevert Ranch Association Neither the Association nor its members guarantees the accuracy or completeness of information or representations on this Web Site. Buyers should obtain definitive information from their real estate agent.