I could end this blog post right now by answering the above question with two words.

You’re hungry.

I will explain, but first, I need to crow a little. I have known for days what I was going to write about today. No panic, no stumbling about the internets trying to find something good to write about. I was prepared and ready to write this. Every teacher and professor I ever had would be not so much proud as they would be stunned and amazed.

Now back to the explaining.

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian scientist that many of us are familiar with. He did experiments with dogs involving Classical Conditioning. If you have dogs, you will probably know that when it is dinner time for them and you are dishing up the kibble, they get all drooly. Happy and excited, too, but almost always drooly. The esteemed Nobel Laureate Mr. Pavlov noticed his drooly dogs and began to ring a bell everytime he fed his dogs.

This is where those of you that have been to Black Mountain Ranch get the joke and start laughing.

For those of you yet to come visit us, keep reading to see how this helps you tell the time at Black Mountain Ranch.

Soon, Pavlov noticed that he could simply ring the bell and his dogs would start getting all drooly and excited, thinking that dinner was coming right up. The dogs’ salivating was a conditioned response to the stimulus of his ringing the bell before feeding them.

At Black Mountain Ranch we like to eat. I’m not talking Twinkies and Slim Jim’s either. We think that life is too short to eat bad food. Especially when you are on vacation! Our Chef’s put all their training to use three times a day, all week long, to make sure that they serve food that you will remember. That fantastic food of theirs is served at 8:30 for breakfast, 12:30 for lunch, and 6:30 for dinner. Ever day, all week long. We like to say that riding horses is just what we do to pass the time between meals.

Brice will be mad at me when he reads this, but I hate to wear a watch and almost never do. I should, but I usually don’t. Most of our guests are on vacation and ditch their watch along with their cell phone when they realize there is no cell signal anywhere near our  remote corner of Routt County, Colorado.

Years ago, our kitchen staff noticed that, even though everybody knew that lunch was at 12:30 sharp, many of us didn’t know when 12:30 actually was. We were certain that lunch would be after breakfast, and sometime before dinner, but it might be 1:00 before we realized that lunch was waiting on us. So they took a big, old schoolhouse type bell and set it on the corner of the porch upstairs at the lodge and would ring it real loud at mealtimes to let us know that it was time to eat, and we would come running.

dude ranch lunch bell

It can be 12:29 and I can be out fixing fences or cleaning guns down at the shooting range and be totally absorbed in what I am doing. I will probably not have the faintest idea what time it is. About 12:29, my focus starts to fade from the fence, to wondering what might be for lunch. I usually tell myself that, although it will be something great, I just had a fantastic breakfast a couple hours ago, and I’m not really all that hungry.

But I tell you what, it turns out that old Pavlov was right. When that bell rings at 12:30, I am STARVING.

And that is how you can tell what time it is at Black Mountain Ranch. If it is morning, and you are hungry, it is probably 8:29. If you had breakfast, then went for a ride, and are hungry, it is probably 12:29. If you had lunch, went to the shooting range for a bit, and then sat by the pool for a whole and are hungry, it is probably 6:29.

Any way you cut it, leave you watch at home when you come visit us at Black Mountain Ranch. But when you hear that bell ring, come running, because it is time to eat.

Be sure to check out Jimmy’s last post where he debated who had it better. The Outlaw Josie Wales, or himself at the modern day Black Mountain Ranch. And check out this great post about our own Jenny, the mule. She’s a smart one. Just be glad she doesn’t have thumbs!

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