Writing the West at a Historic Colorado Ranch


Writing the West at Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 am to 3:30 pm

Writing the West is an art history and creative writing adventure led by the creative staff from the American Museum of Western Art and Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Every month at the AMWA,  Writing the West participants learn a little bit about the Museum’s paintings and artists, use engaging writing prompts to respond to the art, and share and discuss their findings all within a framework of Western themes.

What better place than the Rocky Mountain Land Library to talk about this special session’s theme: Wind. Wind has shaped the landscape and the behavior of people in and around Buffalo Peaks Ranch for centuries. Instructors from Lighthouse, AMWA, and the Land Library will curate a wind-inspired day pairing art, the scenery of the ranch, and of course, books to increase your knowledge of wind and inspire your writing.

The workshop fee is $25, plus a $3.03 ticketing fee. More details and directions will follow. Feel free to send any questions to jeff@landlibrary.org

Click Here to Register


 Browse among the Land Library’s books, explore the historic ranch buildings, or take a walk along the slow meanders of the South Platte River. 

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It’s been over 25 years since the last rancher left Buffalo Peaks Ranch, but sometimes that’s hard to tell. 


Along the way, you’ll discover that Buffalo Peaks Ranch is full of writing prompts, and views to inspire.

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The American Museum of Western Art—The Anschutz Collection is a local art museum in Denver. You will be surprised to see more than cowboys and landscapes on view. The three floors of galleries reveal a range of styles and subject matter, from the historic to the contemporary. We invite you to step back into the American West and allow western art to take you on a journey to discover which of the 300 paintings speak to you the most. Our goal is to educate and communicate the cross-section of art and history within Western American history from the early 19th century to present day.

Lighthouse Writers Workshop works to ensure that literature maintains its proper prominence in the culture and that individuals achieve their fullest potential as artists and human beings.

For more on Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s Summer Schedule, click here!

The Important Work of Daydreaming


A good place to daydream? Buffalo Peaks Ranch, photo by Jay Halsey

In 2013, author Neil Gaiman delivered a speech at the Barbican Centre in London. The second annual Reading Agency Lecture was titled Reading and Obligation. Neil Gaiman’s words on the power of books, libraries, and reading has guided the Rocky Mountain Land Library ever since.

Here’s just a short passage that we especially love!

“We all — adults and children, writers and readers — have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. I’m going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. It’s this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair….This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city exists because, over and over and over, people imagined things. They daydreamed, they pondered….

And then, in time, they succeeded. Political movements, personal movements, all began with people imagining another way of existing.” — Neil Gaiman, from his Reading Agency Lecture, October 14, 2013


The Land Library at Buffalo Peaks Ranch will always be a place to ponder, to daydream and, of course, to read.  As Neil Gaiman writes: “Books are the way we communicate with the dead. The way we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over.


“They daydreamed, they pondered…”  Buffalo Peaks Ranch with Reinecker Ridge in the distance.  photo by Carl Young

Explore the Ranch with an Artist’s Eye


3 Way Relationships: Artist – Land – Painting

an artist workshop led by Sandra Kaplan

Come paint with artist Sandra Kaplan at South Park’s Buffalo Peaks Ranch on Saturday, July 21st. Use the medium of your choice – watercolor, collage, oil, or acrylic. Both abstract and representational painters are welcome.
Sandra will paint while describing what for her becomes a meditative approach to the work. She encourages painting without preconceptions or strict general rules and emphasizes the artist’s connection to both subject and painting. The goal is for painter and landscape to mingle and meet in the finished work.
There will be individual instruction throughout the day, with a group critique at day’s end.
Sandra Kaplan has been painting for as long as she has memories. She graduated from Pratt Institute in NYC, is represented by the Sandra Phillips Gallery in Denver and has exhibited her work across the United States. For more on Sandra’s work, be sure to visit her website!
When: Saturday, July 21st, 10 am to 3:30 pm.
The workshop fee is $50, plus a $3.03 ticketing fee. More details and directions will follow. Feel free to send any questions to jeff@landlibrary.org

Click Here to Register


2016 workshop at Buffalo Peaks Ranch

Stay Tuned for an Exciting Summer Ahead!

This summer we will be hosting artist & writers workshops, our 4th annual Summer Book Club, Re/Call, a Labor Day weekend art exhibition with artists from across the country, plus much more.
Please join us this summer, and enjoy the inspiring learning landscape that is Buffalo Peaks Ranch!
The stories of people and the land couldn’t be told in a better place than this high mountain ranch, threaded by trout streams and elk trails, with traces of native tribes and early settlers still visible on the land.” – Jeff Lee, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Land Library

The Wild Wet World of Buffalo Peaks Ranch


A view of the Lambing Barn from the South Platte River. That barn will be the site of a River Hut Library, housing books on water & rivers!

This summer, Buffalo Peaks Ranch is as dry as we’ve ever seen. Maybe that’s why we headed to the banks of the South Platte River this past weekend. Here is the wild wet world that flows through this old ranch:


with beaver ponds:


willows in bloom:


Iris fields, and new wildflowers in bloom, with each passing week:


Water, our most limited resource in the arid West, will always be an important topic at the Land Library’s headwaters site.


For more on Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s River Hut Library, take a look at this book-filled earlier post, Water & Rivers at Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

The Great Globeville Wish List!

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Thanks to the tireless help of many volunteers, we have erected shelving at our new site in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood, and moved in over 30,000 Land Library books.
The Globeville library design plans has been underway ever since,  and it’s clear that the space is in need of some furniture!  We’re scouting out the following items from second hand stores and donations:
– Library Table (as long as possible, like the example above!)
– Two long folding worktables
– Armless benches
– Wall plant holders
– Rugs (4-6′, square or round)
– Desks
– Office chairs
– Upholstered chairs in good shape
– Coffee table (round or oval)
– Table, wall and floor lamps
– Throw pillows in good shape
– 1-2 floor fans
– Cool object to hang over the door
If you have something you think could make a good addition, please send a photo and dimensions to: jeff@landlibrary.org
Note: if you have an item that’s not on the list, but you think would be great anyway, please let us know!

It was fun, but the heavy lifting is officially over!

Stay tuned for our first volunteer work days, when we’ll actually be touching the books, and getting them ready for the shelves in Globeville, and at Buffalo Peaks Ranch.
We hope to have our first sessions sometime in June, or early July. If you missed our volunteer sign-up in the Spring, email jeff@landlibrary.org, and we’ll get you on the list!
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Join us in Globeville!

Join us in July!

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For Two Place-Based Writers Workshops!

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Environment as Inspiration:
Observing Landscapes, Bookscapes, Mindscapes with author Emily Sinclair
Saturday, July 7th, 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
Annie Dillard wrote, “Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization.” In this daylong class intended for non-fiction and fiction writers of all levels, we’ll explore how observing and writing about our surroundings — whether the natural world, the local coffee shop, or more imaginative environments, like the pages of a favorite book — enrich and deepen our work.
Our day together will be spent writing, reading, and discussing our own work and that of published writers, with the goal of drawing inspiration from the physical world around us. Writers will leave with new ways of seeing and understanding place.
The workshop fee is $50, plus a $3.03 ticketing fee. More details and directions will follow. Feel free to send any questions to jeff@landlibrary.org
Poetry and Place with poet Jodie Hollander
Saturday, July 14th, 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
Returning to Buffalo Peaks Ranch after very popular 2017 & 2018 poetry workshops, Jodie Hollander and attendees will discuss several aspects of writing and poetry including structure, development, and the creative process. Come prepared to write your own poetry, and explore questions with an internationally published poet.
Jodie Hollander studied poetry in England, and her poems have appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, and Verse Daily. Her debut book, The Humane Society, was published in 2012, and her most recent collection, My Dark Horses was published by Liverpool University Press. For more on Jodie Hollander’s work, be sure to visit her website.
The workshop fee is $50, plus a $3.03 ticketing fee. More details and directions will follow. Feel free to send any questions to jeff@landlibrary.org
For much more on our 2018 Ranch Schedule, see our full schedule here!

Finding the Cosmos in the Bramble


Andrew Beckham returns to Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

Finding the Cosmos in the Bramble: A Photographic Study of Seeds, Stars & Sedges

Saturday, June 9th, 10 am to 3:30 pm

Join artist and photographer Andrew Beckham for a day of exploration and photographic inquiry along the banks of the South Platte at Buffalo Peaks Ranch.
In the morning, we’ll look at a range of photographic approaches to seeing the land through the lens (literally and metaphorically) of cosmology, followed by significant time in the field, making images and collecting natural objects for further photographic study back at the Ranch. Andrew will share techniques and ideas for how to creatively engage with the “cosmos in the bramble.”
Suggested Equipment: DSLR, tripod, laptop with PhotoShop or similar software. For field exploration: sturdy boots, backpack, water bottle, layers (fleece, rain jacket, etc.).
Workshop fee is $50, plus a $3.03 ticketing fee. More details and directions will follow. Feel free to send any questions to jeff@landlibrary.org

A Vortex of Brambles — Andrew Beckham

Andrew Beckham serves as the Visual Arts Department Chair at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colorado, where he teaches aesthetics, photography, works on paper and the illustrated book. In recent years Andrew has devoted much of his creative practice to the design and construction of artist’s books, some of which have been placed in the Special Collections Departments at both the Penrose Library at the University of Denver and the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Two of these books, The Lost Christmas Gift and Firmament, have been acquired by enthusiastic publishers (Princeton Architectural Press and GFT Publishing) who have helped to bring his work to a much wider audience.


In the fall of 2013, Andrew Beckham’s first solo museum exhibition was installed in the Taylor Museum at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.


 “Andrew Beckham is a lot of things, but I would consider him a visual poet, using language both written and visual to construct nuanced work that is compelling, fragile, and poignant.” — Aline Smithson, Lenscratch

For more on Andrew Beckham and his work, be sure to visit his website!