About Us

The name Ocate is the Apache word for windy gap or valley of the winds.

Creating land since 1992

One day in the summer of 1992 we heard about a ranch in Mora County, near Ocate. At the top of a small rise we came to the ranch gate. A dark wooden sign with white locked lettering stood among agave cacti and long stands of grass. It read “Twin Willow Ranch”

 

Our history

Joe Rivera owned a ranch, which had been passed on to him by his father, Conrado. The Rivera family had lived in the region for many years and owned other property nearby. Conrado bought this property in the 1930s to be near  his aging father, Reyes Rivera. 

Joe Rivera owned a ranch, which had been passed on to him by his father, Conrado. The Rivera family had lived in the region for many years and owned other property nearby. Conrado bought this property in the 1930s to be near  his aging father, Reyes Rivera. 

Besides the little red barn we saw near the entrance, the only  building on the land just beyond were a modest, single story, white frame house, a shed, and off in the distance, a shepherd’s hut that we were told, was part of the original homestead.

With Joe’s Rivera permission, we drove along a rugged path to the top of the first mesa, Lefebres Mesa, named for the French family that long ago settled via Canada to Taos. We came to discovered the orginal name of the ranch was “Lefebres Ranch”, though the family  has no remaining tie to it. From there we gazed out over the rim at the breathtaking exapnse of the ranchland below. We continue to explore the land, discovering Lefebres Creek, which flows out of the moubntains, goes underground, and eventually empties into the Canadian River to the south.

Twin Willow Ranch- now Twin Willows Ranch- covered 1, 100 acres, almost equally divided between the pastureland and high country. At about 7,5000 feet elevation, it rose 8,900 atop the mesa. The green pastures extended to the foot of the mesa, which was cloaked in scrub oak and stands of huge, healthy Panderosa pine, White fir, and Douglas fir.

After  exploring the land and peered out over the valley, we all agreed that the land was simply extraordinary. We loved the mixed of pasture  surrounded by forested mesa.We wanted a ranch that we would enjoy as a family, a place where we could hike, ride horseback, care for animals, especially rescue animals. Mos of all, we wanted a ranch that would serve as a destination, a place from our everyday lives, where we could all come together.

Twin Willow offered all that and more. We knew the search was over-We found what we were looking for. We bought Twin Willow Ranch from Joe Rivera.

 

Right behind the little house on the hill, I used to have the woodpile because of rats. I was thinking what kind of brand I was going to get. I was chopping wood up there and I looked down and saw those twin willows and I thought, “I’m going to call this Twin Willow Ranch because there are only two willows and they are the only ones in the whole valley.

Joe Rivera

The shepherd’s hut-a small, 150-year-old structure made of logs and mud-was in ruins when I bought the ranch. It was once part of the original Lefebres homestead. We restore the whole structure and honored the local tradition of finishing the exterior with a mix of clay and straw.

Twin Willows Ranch book

Our Mision

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We were also heartened by our efforts to save Meadow, a 6 month old calf that has lost her hooves and half of her ears to severe frostbite.

Our Team

 Much of our life on the ranch is driven  by the seasons, our animals and the lands. Our task is honoring the simple life and beauty of Northern New Mexico.

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CALL US

+1 (575) 666-2028

FIND US

179 CR 08, Ocate, NM, 87734