D Burt loves dude ranching, as evidenced by her email handle dburtluvsranchlife, and we love her! Diane (affectionately known as “D”) is the ranch’s operation manager, which means that she hustles between the office, kitchen and cabins to keep us all on track ~ which is not a simple job. She’s often the friendly voice on the phone or email. She’s a jack of all trades for whom old fashioned hospitality truly comes from the heart.
Diane grew up Los Angeles, the grand-daughter of first generation immigrants from Italy. She tells old-time stories of grape smashing parties to turn California grapes into wine the old fashioned Italian family way. On her birthday my labor of love is to attempt to make polenta the “real way” where you stir it for an hour or so! For over twenty years, Diane worked in the cruise line business based in LA, where formal entertainment and the occasional donning of formal ball gowns was necessary, not to mention heels at all times.
Then one day she shocked everyone, including herself, and took a summer job at a guest ranch in Montana where she did everything ~ baking, serving, housekeeping, you name it. Then she headed to Arizona for a long stint as the house manager of the Bellota Ranch, owned by Tanque Verde Ranch. When the Bellota Ranch closed suddenly, the Tanque Verde owners called Elkhorn wondering if we might have a spot for a special employee who was suddenly out of work. D joined our crew right before the season in the swing position. Then she returned to a management role at Tanque Verde for a couple of years. When Elkhorn’s office manager role opened up we tracked D down and convinced her to return to Elkhorn to a year-round position. She moved into “Homestead,” the oldest building on the ranch. Fast forward 13 years and we’re so fortunate that she continues to call Elkhorn home!
We are sure happy that D traded in high heels and found her way to ranch life here at Elkhorn!