What's New on the Ranch and on the Web
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.
In 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.
In 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.
On 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.
Over 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.
At 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.
The 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.
In 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.
In 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.
The 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".
The 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.
In 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.
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.
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.
January 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.
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.
September, 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.
August 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.
June, 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.)
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.
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.