as seen by Jay O'Brien
see photographs of pastures by clicking on links
The XL's main advantage is its diversity. On the north, there is great flat grassland; on the west, there are rough pastures with good winter protection and on the south there is sandy soil which responds rapidly to showers. The pastures are:
Antelope, Tom, Railroad and Plains: At the north east end of the ranch, these small pastures have an incredible turf and year after year produce the best gains. Tom used to be part of Plains with another section that was a trade-out with Crawford. When the trade-out section was fenced out, it was named Tom because he ended the trade-out. Railroad is where the railroad shipping pens used to be near Masterson.
Six Section and North Gaut are great hardland grama grass pastures on the east side of the ranch. Six Section used to be called Six Section bull pasture. These pastures have been cleared of mesquite.
Little Gaut and Bull Pasture are gently rolling pastures on the east side of the ranch.
Baird and River Bend are in the southeast corner of the ranch. They have more sage and are not as good of pastures. Baird was named after a homesteader, whose house is still visible.
Paloma and Triste are gently rolling grama grass pastures in the north central part of the ranch. They used to be one pasture. When it was split in the eighties, the south end was named Triste, the Spanish name for a morning dove, because it was sad what the oil roads did to that good pasture. Paloma is the Spanish word for white wing dove.
East Lit is a rough, not so good pasture south of Triste. East Lit, Byrd, Corsino and West Lit used to be all one pasture.
North Claybrook, South Claybrook and Loophole: Gently rolling pastures west of the headquarters in the center part of the ranch. Good turf. Loophole was part of East Lit, as was Byrd. It was named after the Bivins' tax lawyer Vester Hughes. It was thought that Loophole made a better pasture name than Hughes.
Byrd: Named for Pete Byrd, a past foreman of the ranch. Byrd started work for Lee T. Bivins in the early 30's on the TL ranch near Endie New Mexico. In the early 40's, he moved to the XL and was foreman of that ranch until his death in the '50's. Pete's wife Edna was one of four daughters of Bud Crawford, who owned the ranch to the northeast of the XL.
Byrd's main geographic feature is Sand Creek, which runs from its northeast corner to its southwest corner. There are springs toward the south end. Corral Creek cuts across the South East corner. There are springs at Camp Big Buckem, where Corral Creek crosses the fence between Loophole and Byrd. Located in the south central part of the ranch, the soil is generally sandy loam; however there are areas of Acuff loam and clay loam. There are cedars to the west and mesquites through the center of the pasture. The two largest mule deer bucks I have seen on the ranch were in this pasture.
Chimney Rock is named for a prominent rock formation. In the south central part of the ranch it is gently rolling sandy country. It is rotten country in that a horse's hooves can fall through the surface at almost any place into holes underneath. Quail hunting is better than the grazing.
Leon and Butte used to be one large pasture called Butte. The Butte is a butte near the corner of Potter, Oldham, Moore and Hartley Counties. Leon is named after Leon Labrier who was foreman during the 1980's. Leon is a good gently rolling hardland pasture. Butte starts getting a little rougher and wastier.
West Lit is named after the LIT ranch which was owned by Lee Bivins and is now owned by Jay O'Brien's brother Bill. It borders the XL on the west. West LIT is the roughest pasture and the most scenic pasture on the ranch. The north end has a moonscape of red clay and two large mesas. Indian Creek, which starts in Leon and Paloma, runs north to south through West Lit and on through Corsino. On the east side of the pasture is a deep tributary of Indian Creek and Bootlegger Springs.
Corsino means small deer in Spanish. It is a scenic, but good pasture on the southwest corner of the ranch. On the small Corsino Creek is a set of ruins near a large spring. In 1876, Sandoval Plaza was established by a sheepherder who came from New Mexico. He was a large operation running as many as 10,000 sheep. When the land was put up for sale, he moved on.
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