Blogging at the Belle

Would you rather be at the Diamond Belle right now. Watching the sun or stars. Enjoying the sun or snow. Watching the critters. Relaxing in the great room. Whipping up some grub in the kitchen.

Something Fishy at Diamond Belle Ranch Walker Lake

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 07/23/20 Topics: Comments: 1

Walker Lake

Like all private fly-fishing lakes, for years every spring Diamond Belle Ranch has planted new trout stock into our 44 acre Walker Laker, to supplement the big linkers that have often wintered over. And for years we corralled those new plants from a company called Trout Lodge due to their superior quality.

Some years Trout Lodge focused on egg production and they were unable to provided enough fish for all the very fish connoisseurs like us who wanted them. But this year we are jumping for joy to announce that the Trout Lodge plants are back this year and they are stellar rainbow trout.

Even though we were closed to fishing for a while in early spring due to the dang COVID restrictions, as we opened late spring, the fishing has been robust. The fish had lots of time to acclimate, and were ready to go!

In summer we close fishing to let those pesky trout thrive and grow. So we expect fall fishing to be HOT HOT HOT!!!

With the amount of natural feed in the lake, the new trout are growing like crazy and will be monsters come mid September when we open back up for fishing.

Visitors can choose to stay in our majestic Wauconda Lodge then pay a small half or full day fee to cast their lines. Or they can purchase a day paps if available depending on lodge occupancy.

Fishing is limited to 10 anglers per day, fly fishing catch and release, electric motor boats. We are open year round, with fishing in Spring and Fall. Call today to reserve your spot, space is limited.

You can learn more about Trout Lodge and their beautiful rainbow trout at TroutLodge.com

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Lodge Caretakers, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0768 – 07/23/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Peace during chaos

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 06/30/20 Topics: Comments:

As the period of stay home stay safe starts to ease a bit, it’s a good time to reflect on what it’s been like here at Diamond Belle Ranch.

For the most part, since we live fairly remotely, we generally only go to town once a week during normal times. So this really didn’t change much.

I guess the biggest difference was that we appreciated that we live in a place where we are extremely happy to stay home for longer periods of time without leaving the property.

Taking a walk around the lake or just sitting and watching the wildlife breathing deeply of the tranquility, these are the things that bring peace in a world of chaos.

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0765 – 06/30/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Precious Gift of Nature

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 06/19/20 Topics: Guest Ranch, Wildlife Comments:

Our early morning visitors.

This lovely doe has twins almost yearly and generally brings them by for us to see. This year she brought them by as BRAND NEW babies! They were still wet even.

What a precious gift!

The Diamond Belle Guest Ranch sits in what might be called a shallow bowl. The hills of the Okanogan Highland isolate us from the South and North. To the West Mount Bonaparte towers above..

Pastures on the east, roll up gently so we are completely alone. No neighbors. No prying eyes. No one close.

National Forest public lands surround the ranch on all sides which means we are a haven for wildlife. Deer of course, but also an occasional Moose. Canadian Geeze and birds galore..

Guests come here for many reasons, peace and solitude, the crisp clean air, stunning sunlight and our warm majestic Wauconda Lodge.

But it is the critters they see that surprise them, the many and the types. You are likely to see some you have never seen before. But you must visit.

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0762 – 06/19/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Diamond Belle Bird Watchers Paradise

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 04/08/20 Topics: Comments:

This is the time of year when the birds really start coming in for a visit. The snow is working hard at melting off, and the lake ice is getting thinner by the day.

So far we've seen, Canada Geese, Blackbirds (both red winged and yellow headed), Black Capped Chickadees, Blue Birds, Robins, I believe Greater scaup ducks, and our ever present, eagles and ravens.

In the next week or two we should start seeing sparrows on their journey from Capistrano. We'll have many more ducks of several varieties, and the blackbirds will arrive in full force filling the air with the beautiful sounds of their mating calls!

This is always my favorite time of year when life and activity return to the ranch after a long winter's nap.

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0739 – 04/08/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Breezy Spring Day in the Okanogan Highlands

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 03/25/20 Topics: Fishing, Guest Ranch, Weather, Wildlife Comments:

It's another beautiful sunny day in the Okanogan Highlands today. A bit breezy, which gives a little chop on the open area of the lake. Fishermen like to call that a chironomid chop.

The aerator has worked beautifully all winter keeping this area of the lake open. If you could get out to the open water, I bet the fishing would be amazing!

The early geese appreciate it and seem to know where to find the open water this time of year. I bet there isn't any other open water for miles!

We are ALL looking forward to spring ice off!

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0734 – 03/25/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Good Morning World! Get Some Fresh Air.

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 03/22/20 Topics: Goldener Inns, Guest Ranch, Inns, Ranching Comments: 1

The sunrises here never disappointed me. Certainly some are more spectacular than others.

This morning as I contemplate all that is happening in the world, I am greeted with a lovely sunrise. It's a brisk 17 degrees this morning, but stepping out on the porch I hear the black birds have arrived.

The eagle is calling his or her mate. Lots of different little song birds that I cannot identify are singing their "good morning" songs as well. It reminds me that the world keeps going no matter what our current state of affairs looks like.

Friends, this too shall pass. I am personally looking forward to some self distancing today by brushing my horse and cows...one of my favorite things to do in the spring.

Go out and get some fresh air and enjoy the day.

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0733 – 03/22/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Goat Patrol Gotta Love 'Em

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 02/22/20 Topics: Agriculture, Weather Comments:

Goat Patrol

Although it is still frigid at our 4,200 elevation, today February 19th was bright and sunny. Seems like the green things will be greening up soon. Maybe its time to call the Goat Patrol to visit our Diamond Belle Guest Ranch.

Wayne and Jenny Knoz have a unique workforce. They bring out friendly employee goats to your farm, field, pasture, lawn, hillside or mountain to mow down whatever you want removed in an environmentally friendly manner..

Natural weed control, brush trimming, grass mowing, fuel suppression, pasture maintenance and yes they fertilize while they work.

Plus I must admit they are charming and friendly. Maybe more so than most human co-workers.

So if you has a weed that has gone to seed, this is something you need. Goat PatrolGoat Patrol 509-954-7682.

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0719 – 02/22/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Mysterious Diamond Belle Ranch Larch Trees

By Wm. May
Published: 01/15/20 Topics: Comments:

Growing up on the coast of Washington State meant everyone lived near the forest were the lumber industry was king. Almost everyone in the town worked in the "woods" or were dependent on it. But apparently my education about trees was lacking.

Before America had middle schools, in most school districts there were Junior High Schools. Grade school was grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Junior high was seventh through ninth and high school was just three years Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

My father ran a truck shop where loggers bought vehicles and had them maintained. All through high school I drove a delivery truck up and into the gargantuan Olympic Peninsula often leaving at 2:30pm and returning home at midnight. I have seen my shares of trees.

In Junior High everyone had to take a class all about trees, including memorizing their Latin names, what they looked like and how to differentiate between them. During the Holidays we collected tree boughs, made wreaths and sold them for pocket money. I knew my trees.

Fir trees were the preferred species for lumber. Spruce and Hemlock also contributed. Due to its weather resistant properties, Cedar was preferred for roofing shingles and shakes. Alder was considered junk wood, and ground into pulp to make paper. We had very few pines.

As a treat, graduating Junior High ninth graders were taken on field trip deep into the mountains to help plant seedlings. Naturally the organizers gave us the steepest hillsides to climb hand over foot, digging a hole with a quick whack of a "Rindt Hoe" (a shovel like an ax.)

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My classmates were so exhausted, everyone slept in the bus on the way home and we all conspired to never to become loggers.

Late last Autumn, I was invited to the Diamond Belle Guest Ranch in the Okanogan High Lands of Central Washington. Driving up from the valley below, on a meandering dirt road we seemed to be stepping back in time. But I was disappointed to see that a few of the evergreen trees had yellow needles and were dying off.

"What a shame to see those trees dying." I said. Having read about a certain Beetle that was killing off pine trees across upper North America I presumed that to be the case on the ranch.

As we settled into comfortable couches in front of the Wauconda Lodge towering fireplace, I asked the Caretakers Trisha and Steve how long the trees had been dying off. They looked at each other and then at me and said, "Dying? What do you mean?"

As I explained my observation of the trees, and boasted of my evergreen credentials, they began to smirk ever so politely.

"Well you see those are Larch trees and they do that every year. But will return to green in the spring."

"So they are not dying?"

"No, that is their cycle. They are Larch Trees. "

I was stymied, paused a bit, and then decided to fess up. I told them of my "extensive" knowledge of trees and how, apparently, I knew nothing about Larches, probably because they do not grow at the Coast..

Of course, I was greatly relieved to find that the trees were healthy, as was everything else about the Diamond Belle. Nothing in that landscape has changed there in thousands of years.

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Author: Wm. May, Diamond Belle Guest Ranch
Blog #: 0725 – 01/15/20
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Christmas Eve Peace at Diamond Belle Ranch

By Trisha & Steve Pomeroy
Published: 12/24/19 Topics: Family, Holidays Comments:

There could be no more Christmassy place in the entire world than at the Diamond Belle Ranch. The sky is black as night, no pollution, no jetliners overhead, not a breath of wind.

Each and every star stabs through the black blanket of night. The waning moon is but a very slight sliver of light. But along with the stars the aspens and pines are illuminated as if from a back light.

We sit on the porch. It is frigid but we are warm in the glow of the universe. Very little discussion. A great deal of wry smiling and even a few giggles.

To extend our stay out of doors hot chocolate was brewed before, spiked with a bit of coffee to stave off the drowsy as we linger in the Adirondack chairs, head tilted back wondering at the unfathomable majesty of the world above.

But the ranch itself is majestic. All year round of course, but during winter its enveloping reach can not be ignored. No neighbor lights. We have doused ours too.

Under the frozen lake, surely the fish are straining to see through the ice and up to the stars. They do sleep, but not tonight for tonight is Christmas an we can only hope the world is wrapped in the peace we enjoy here.

It is like this every year. Our custom. The privilege.

The night will not last forever. Soon we must go inside. To sleep. To dream of sugar plum fairies dancing..

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Author: Trisha & Steve Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0723 – 12/24/19
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

Dark Skies at Diamond Belle Guest Ranch

By Steve & Trisha Pomeroy
Published: 11/15/19 Topics: Gratitude, Guest Ranch, Ranching, Wildlife Comments:

Dark Skies at Diamond Belle Guest Ranch

Because Diamond Belle Guest Ranch is so high in the Okanogan Highlands, because our 700 acres are surrounded by National Forest and mountains, and because neighbors are so far away you might be presuming that nights are pitch black dark here.

But you would be wrong.

Here, with the absence of man made ambient light, not even with the most unintentional, when dusk falls the skies explode awake, the stars jab the sky and put on a show that humans have been marveling at since they first looked up.

The International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education.

The idea is to turn off lights, redirect downward those which must stay on, and send no light skyward because it destroys the view of the cosmos and is, after all, a great waste of energy.

When the lights go out, the Diamond Bell returns to a time where thing slowed down, where our senses woke up, and where our minds can soar to the sky, to the solar system and to the universe beyond.

It can open the mind, excite creativity, and produce emotions of health, happiness and safety.

There are over 130 destinations in the world that have pledged to eliminate light pollution and return the heavens to their dark but stunning origin.

Although Diamond Belle Ranch is not yet an official member of Dark Sky initiative, we support the goals of the group and have taken definitive steps to douse our lights, lessen our reliance on electrical usage and yet provide the comforts that guests prefer.

Best of all, Dark Skies ensure that our guests arrive at a place perhaps like no other they have ever been. A place of peace and quiet blanketed with the stars, the moon and a joy they may never have experienced and may find no where else.

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Author: Steve & Trisha Pomeroy – Caretakers, Diamond Belle Ranch
Blog #: 0724 – 11/15/19
– 767 Acres wilderness guest ranch, surrounded by thousands of acres of forest service, with 44 acre private fly fishing Walker Lake. Majestic Wauconda lodge sleeps up to 23 over night guests, and up to 250 daily visitors for private weddings and groups. Nearby by but far from Spokane, Wenatchee and Seattle Tacoma. – DiamondBelleRanch.com

YourShare Launches Program for Timeshare Resort Vacation Rental Mastery

By Kate Quinn
Published: 10/29/19 Topics: Comments:

Vortex Managers, has announced the formation of a new program for struggling timeshare resorts that helps them rent out unused weeks. The "Yourshare" program helps resorts get their fair share of the fast growing vacation rental market.

It combines savvy vacation rental executives, along with revolutionary software that solves the puzzle of how to promote timeshare units into the vacation rental website channels as well as hotel channels. Plus it provides local and regional advertising that no other management firm provides, all without upfront costs or ongoing fees to the resort.

Every timeshare magazine, website and conference includes extensive discussion and diagnosis of why timeshare resorts are struggling.

After the rapid development of resorts starting four decades ago, the properties now suffer what the industry summarizes as "Aging Properties and Aging Owners" notes William May, the YourShare leader who heads up the program..

Owners who purchases shares long ago have grown older, often on fixed incomes, they travel less and may even be unable to travel to the property they once adored. All the while older properties require escalating maintenance and operating costs, far greater than inflation. With no way to offset their costs, owners are giving away shares but even that often proves impossible. So they are stuck.

In resorts, many unit sit vacant many nights of the year. Some resorts have tried to dent the vacation rental industry and some large timeshare management firms profess to be in the rental business.

"Unfortunately, most resorts don't know how to do it and the timeshare managers have not invested as heavily as they should to master rentals, " Says Penny Taylor, of Yourshare. "They were caught napping while vacation rentals stole their consumers."

"By charging large monthly flat fees to resorts, timeshare managers lack the motivation to do every possible thing they can to secure rentals." observers May, "They have sat on their hands while the vacation rental industry has taken away their visitors.".

Some management firms own all or parts of timeshare exchanges so taking rentals is not in their best interest. When they do attempt to compete in vacation rentals they often advertise only to the hotel channels, while ignoring the vacation rental market which is growing much faster.

On the other hand Vortex, which operates the Goldener Inns and Sunspot Vacation Rentals networks grew up in a very different world. "In Vacation Rentals, managers work on a commission only basis, so we only make money when the owner clients do." says Penny Taylor, "We have to perform and get results for owners or else. That means we can never rest. "

There are timeshare advertising websites but they seldom produce much income for several reason. First they can not compete with the giants and never create sufficient visibility. They ignore regional and even local marketing because its expensive. And they brand themselves as timeshares which is not attractive to many guests in the vacation rental market.

Instead, the Yourshare program partners with all the giant websites to make properties ubiquitous to consumers. The resort handles the property like always, and Yourshare does the advertising, reservations and guest coordination.

The program creates regional and even local central reservation websites, and even new websites for resorts, so they can be personal and local as well as global. They are not promoted as timeshares but as :"vacation rentals" which is of course accurate.

"Dovetailing timeshares into the vacation rental system, proved more complicated than would be imagined," said "Salman Arshad, chief web software architect at Vortex managers on the YourShare project. At a vacation rental every date is available unless the owner blocks it off, but in timeshares no dates are available unless an owner opens the dates. They are backward.

"We operate in numerous markets with free-standing homes, or condos inside buildings and even other specialty lodging places including guest ranches." added Arshad. "So operating a system that handles both methods proved complicated, but we solved the riddle."

Vortex employs its own inhouse software staff, and re-engineered its HelpBookme.com systems to allow timeshare condos to be easily marketed into both the vacation rental channels as well as hotel channels. "We are the only people who have it" notes Taylor, "We put every home on AirBnB, VRBO, and hundreds of other websites."

Yourshare launched quietly in 2018 as an Owner Direct website, contracting directly with share owners and selling their dates to the public. "Frankly, the consumers see no difference. If marketed properly, to them a timeshare is just another nice vacation home," notes Taylor. "In fact, timeshare resorts are usually well kept up, in good locations, pleasant staff and with plenty of amenities."

The timeshare industry's big mistake is that they ignored vacation rentals, and its too late for most to catchup unless they have help from seasoned vacation rental pros.

The Yourshare concept came about over some time. "At first we offered our services directly to the resort, but they never responded, and all while the "Aging properties and aging owners" problem was biting them.

Within a year we were procuring more nightly rentals than the onsite manager, and producing more income to owners. "We approached another resort, again without response, so we launched there too as Owner Direct."

"Recently a competing resort in that community called and said, 'Hey we would like to get some of that money' so now we are working directly with them and with good results." said May. Their onsite management team were well seasoned and anxious to have a plug and play system like Yourshare.

Yourshare re-built that resort's website, advertised them on hundreds of website and even created Dynamic Range Photos, 3D tours, floor plans, printed materials and other tools that have proven to be so effective in the vacation rental lodging business. It was done in very quickly.

After perfecting the entire Yourshare process, the company is now expanding geographically and has launched its services nationwide. "We like to work for resorts who recognize they need help, but we are also happy to work directly with owners if asked. So if the resort board doesn't ask us, we go in and help owners anyway."

"Best of all," said Taylor, "Vacation Renting brings in more visitors to each Resort and every one of those visitors are potential timeshare buyers." In the long run, that could be the biggest benefits to legacy resorts.

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YourShare.biz is operated by Vortex Managers headquartered in Seattle, WA. Along with its affiliate Sunspot Vacation Rentals and Goldener Inns networks, YourShare offers vacation rental booking, advertising, marketing and reservations to timeshare resorts looking to increase their income without upfront costs or ongoing fees. For more information, call YourShare at 818-922-8292. See owner details at www.YourShare.biz and other resorts at RentYourShare.biz.

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Author: Kate Quinn, YourShare
Blog #: 0713 – 10/29/19