Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The coolest thing about raising ranch kid is watching them get to do fun things for the first time. We took Peyton to her first day of pre-school on Monday and, in the last week, she has had a few other firsts.
Her uncle Ryan recently flew home in his newest obsession--a 1977 Piper Turbo Arrow III. It might be older than Justin and I, but it is a perfect first plane for Ryan's flying and flight instruction. He's been taking his family on flights, teaching Justin and Ian for a private pilot's license, and doing other fun things liking buzzing the supper ride last night. Peyton got to go on her first flight with Uncle Ryan last week.
They flew over the ranch and pointed out few neighbors' ranches too. She loved every second of it. I thought she might take after her mom and get sick in small moving vehicles, but she didn't. She didn't have anything but cheers and smiles the whole flight. I have a feeling she might learn to fly at a young age.
Then, later in the week, we took her out on her first real trail ride.
She rode Bobby Sox up to the honeymooner cabin. We ponied her most of the way, but she did beautifully. She's starting to get the reining down, but not quite enough to get Bobby all the way to the honeymooner.
She is a real cowgirl at heart. Oh, Chase came too--asleep in the backpack.
What a fun summer it has been watching this flying cowgirl grow. We can't wait to see all her other firsts!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
How to Pen a Steer
Thursdays at the ranch start out slow. We lolly-gag to the barn then mount up for a leasurely ride up the mountain to our breakfast point dining room. There, atop the mountain, you relax while enjoying the majestic view and the magnificent food. After riding back down from the point, the morning is filled with ample opportunity to read a book, relax in the yard, play in the creek, or take a little snooze.
After lunch, the tone around here changes. Teams are named for the afternoon's event and normally calm guests start slinging foul names and gestures at one another. Sweat starts gathering at brows as whispered conversations regarding attack strategy occur behind pulled-down cowboy hats.
It's team penning time. Time to get the game faces on. Time to get your posse and get them doggies.
Here's how the afternoon works: After the wranglers bring up the steers from the pen down the road, the arena is set up with the steers at one end, two barrels near that same end, then a pen at the other end. Teams of three riders are named. No spouses on the same team--we don't have a divorce lawyer on staff to handle such conflicts. Then, one team at a time, riders enter the arena. The riders take their horses to the far end where the steers are relaxing and are told to sort out three steers from a small herd.
The wranglers keep time. Once a rider passes the barrels headed towards the steers, the clock starts. Once all three steers are in the pen, the time stops.
The team then starts pushing the steers down the arena.
Typically, if the steers have a good leader, they'll walk down easily if the riders push nice slow.
Occasionally, you'll get a wild steer or two that just want to run crazy around the area and back to the herd. Other times, all it might take is one patient cowgirl to make them go where they need to go. A few shouts of "yip" and "hey-cow" are helpful too.
Finally, the three riders and three steers make it down the arena. The riders then have to turn the steers into the pen. This maneuver often proves the trickiest part of the whole event. Sometimes the steers get within inches of going in the pen before bolting sideways and galloping back to the other end of the arena. Proper horse placement around the pen is key at this stage.
Once all three steers are in the pen, time is called.
Next team, please enter the arena!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Mouths to feed and tails to grow
We have a few mouths to feed around here this time of year. Yes, we feed our guests first and foremost, but then we also have the horses, the cows, the pigs, the chickens and the ducks.
Probably our two biggest eaters this time of year are the horses and the pigs. The horses eat grain twice a day and then hay and grass throughout the day and night.
The pigs are treated twice a day to gourmet slop. We feed most of our waste food from our kitchen to our pigs.
From steak and salad to eggs and pancakes or even homemade carrot cake--you name it and they probably eat it. They go through pounds of food every feeding and typically triple in size throughout the summer.
The End. (ha, ha!)
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The horse boss and some horses
He's the head wrangler and the horse-boss. He oversees the wrangling, feeding, saddling and doctoring of the herd and he manages the barn staff. With a herd of over 115 horses, this means a whole heck of a lot of work. But Ryan loves it. He knows the horses, the rides, the riders, and the ranch. You want to know anything about any horse, you can ask him.
You want to be his understudy, do you? First things first then. Let's work on learning the horses' names.
Here are a few of the herd. Can you guess who they are?