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I first found Lynn Bonelli on Instagram and we followed each other and commented on each others posts. After several months I finally met her in person at a market at Four Seasons in Dolores. I sought her out and introduced myself – we both claimed to “fan-girl” each other. I had home roasted coffee in the past and made it a point to try her roasted coffee and was not disappointed. There’s nothing better than fresh in my book.

I’d meet her again in the parking lot of City Market in Cortez (a nice in-between point from McElmo) to get more coffee, breads, jams and fresh eggs. She is quite the “maker.” Months later when she posted about her variety of apple trees, I asked if my mom and I could come visit and get some apples as a giveaway for an event I was having (I produce events for a nonprofit). With this visit I learned she had so much more going on with her ranch in McElmo Canyon when I toured her gardens and met her “wayward” animals. Each animal has a story and her story brought her to Montezuma County.

You can find video demonstrations, daily animal musings and see her latest thrift store find on her social media channels. Here’s a sample of what Mutiny Ranch is all about – I sent her a few questions, that she kindly answered. You can see more at and learn how to become friends with the animals at The Mutiny Ranch.

What brought you to Southwest Colorado?

We first came here in 2014 while we were still fulltime RVers. We wanted to see the Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park. We had no idea what to expect in terms of the tours or the area. We happened upon a campground called Echo Basin in Mancos. It turned out they were just opening for the season and asked if we would be interested in helping in exchange for an RV spot. We ended up staying for 6 weeks! It was at that point I knew this was where I wanted to live but we still had a lot of the U.S. we wanted to see (including Alaska) so we traveled an additional 2 years before coming back. 

What is the Mutiny Ranch and what are your hopes for it?

Mutiny Ranch is, first and foremost, a dream come true. After spending four years traveling the US in an RV looking for a new place to live, this area really spoke to us. Once we obtained a small piece of land it felt natural to open it up to animals in need. My husband, Clark, and I are both huge animal lovers and we felt drawn to do something “good”. And, after four years of full-time travel, the animals offer us some much needed grounding. 

Here’s who is living at Mutiny Ranch… 

Margarita, a standard donkey, came to us through DenKai Animal Sanctuary. She was surrendered to them after her own became unable to care for her. Margarita was a bit of a loner at DenKai where she lived with another bonded pair of donkeys. We knew we could offer her a forever home where she could feel special.
Hank is a mini donkey. He came to us when my friend, Sherry, was looking to help another friend rehome his donkey. Hank is a least 37 years old! He lost his goat herd family to predators and it was only a matter of time before he either died of a broken heart or a predator got him too (he’s really small and old). We were thrilled to be able to offer Hank a forever home where he could not only live with goats but have a donkey friend as well. Donkeys have a huge herd instinct and do not do well alone. He’s now completely in love and totally infatuated with Margarita.
Maggie, our mini-horse, was the first of our large animals, even though she’s tiny. She had a lovely home but her previous owners also had two small children. Recognizing they didn’t have the time they would like to dedicate to her, Maggie’s owners found her a new home her at Mutiny Ranch. Despite he size (29” on a good day) Maggie is the pasture boss.
Dot is our pigmy goat. We found her through a Facebook post and my heart melted. She was being sold because none of the other goats in her herd would accept her. She was the outcast. Her previous owners also recognized that it might be better to rehome her. Dot and Maggie became fast friends and a bonded pair now.
Fletcher is my sweet baby. Well, actually, he’s a pot-belly pig but he’s also stolen my heart. He came to us from a nearby farm where he was causing trouble. Although he was just a little pig at the time, he was creating chaos and digging up gardens. He was also starting to fight with his dad for dominance. His situation was getting precarious so we decided to let him move here. It was the best decision ever! 
Dolly is our newest resident. She’s a larger goat with beautiful horns. She also came from Denkai where she was surrendered along with her 30+ year old companion horse when her owner got extremely ill. Unfortunately, the horse passed away leaving Dolly all alone. Her situation was so sad and I just knew our little herd would welcome her. Dolly loves kisses!
Mileva and Albert are our Red Bourbon turkeys. Mileva has a bum leg from an injury when she was a tiny peep. Albert came from a nearby farm where they had too many toms. Turns out Mileva needed a boyfriend and Albert is the sweetest guy. We’re happy they will be able to enjoy long lives here at Mutiny Ranch.
Heckle, Shelia, Lisa, Chessy, the Chicken Formerly Known as Prince and all the other chickens not only give us eggs but they entertain us every day. They will live here even after they retire from egg laying. They’re part of the family!

Any other hidden talents? OR What would you like to learn to do?

I’m not sure if these are “talents” but I make a pretty nice sourdough bread and roast my own coffee. So maybe my talent is an ongoing curiosity to learn new things and not worry about failing. 

Last question – What brings you joy?

We really believe in paying it forward and, although we rely on donations ourselves to help pay for veterinary, farrier and feed bills, it’s intrinsic to our mission to give back as well. We give back in time and dollars. Right now we are offering our small batch, home roasted coffee for sale at DenKai Animal Sanctuary (helping animals in the Four Corners area) and Three Chicks Bakery (helping women in crisis and recovery).  A portion of each sale is given directly to these non-profits. One of the things that brought us to Montezuma County was an intense desire to be part of a community…to have a purpose and a positive impact on others. It’s such a gift to be able provide support to these non-profits that serve our community.

I’m so excited about this stage of my life because somewhere along the way it occurred to me that some of the simplest things bring me the most joy. It can be getting up early and going on a walk-about and seeing the sunrise captured in a dew covered spider web. Or a flock of birds all clinging to a patch of sunflowers in the fading sunlight. Of course, the moment we know an animal is in safe hands brings me joy as well. But I think it’s really the wonder of life itself I love most.