Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Visions of the Land of Little Horses

Almost four years ago C43 and I took the girls to The Land of Little Horses, in Gettysburg, PA. Since Q6 has been horse crazy I suggested she take a friend there as a birthday celebration. Yes, a birthday celebration. Since it didn't open until June, this was the first available weekend day that we could do it.

Q6 decided to invite H6, which we duly did. Then Saturday afternoon C7 said she didn't want to go. I called her bluff and told Q6 she could invite another friend and C7 could do the grocery shopping with C43.  So Q6 invited P6 and she also accepted. Sunday morning the girls were itching to go and off we went.

Here is the view from the front seat:

Girls in the back seat 1

One hour and 38 minutes we arrived, and had our picnic, which involved pasta, watermelon, applesauce, and cupcakes.

Q6 Wastermellon smile

Behind that watermelon smile is a Q6 who was feeling the effects of a triumvirate of girls. Big mistake on my part, because the other two girls were feeling especially close to each other, and while they didn't explicitly leave Q6 out of anything, I could see that they were not including her, and I was hoping she didn't notice.

But after lunch we went in, bought our horse food, and hit the horses. Of course, the first creature we saw was a donkey. But then we saw the horses!

Q6 and donkeyGirls with little horse

We went around and fed all the horses, although the girls were a little nervous because the signs all said to be cautious about nipping stallions.

This horse, however, was just wandering around. The girls loved it.


And there was one full-sized horse. She and her colt were in the stall and LOVED the horse food.

Q6 and horse

We decided to hit the 1:00 show, which the girls all loved. So much so that we also went to the 4:00 show. I liked it as much as I did last time. Amazingly, it was just as much talking as it was 4 years ago. The theme this year was "superheros" and all the animals had alteregos like superman, the teenaged mutant turtles, spiderman, and the power rangers. Even the llama and the counting horse.

Q6 and llama

The horse did MUCH better at his math problems this time! He got them all right. Or just about.

We headed down to the "valley" to take a wagon ride.  The wagon ride was hot and calming (read: dull) ...
3 girls on wagon ride

... and after the ride we played there for a bit, until P6 fell and skinned both knees, but 2 band-aids made all better.  We then played and then we found the following, and took pictures in every one we subsequently came upon until my batteries pooped out.

Q Black hat Q6 Black hat closeup
 Bucking Q6 Cowgirl

A little random silly and serious:
3 girls silly 3 girls at coops

And is this the same guy from our first visit?
Q on metal horse

(Q6 just now looked at the pictures over my shoulder and commented on how happy P & H are, and how her own smile was forced.)

When we arrived home I dropped H off, then I dropped Q off, then I dropped P off at the pool. When I got back home Q jumped in my lap and started crying and told me how unhappy she'd been the whole day because P6 and H6 hadn't played with her. While that isn't strictly true, she was the odd man out, and I know the day didn't go as she had imagined in her mind.  When you look at the photos you can see there isn't that pure joy that you want to see. But I hope the memories will gel as positive, even if she does have somewhat negative feelings about the whole day.

Oh, and C7? She said she regretted not going. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I received a lot of wonderful things on my birthday, but the most visually stunning was these:


And delicious!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

And finally ...

Q7 with her horse. Since I didn't get good action shots of her ...

On a cool-down walk:

Putting Lightning in his field for the last time:
Q6 putting lightning away

Neither girl had any fear of the horses. It helped that the horses were Arabian and a reasonable size, I think. Although still giant compared to kids. Hugging the horse:
Q6 hugs lightening

Brushing the horse:

Q6 brushing lightening

C7 with N:

C7 and Ninoo

And the girls in their bathing suits (this is what the room looked like):
Bathing suits in the bedroom

Friday, July 20, 2012

Square dancing!

Square dancing was a hoot! Thank you, Mrs. D., who led 4 sessions of square dancing every December in PE class!!   This was much more fun, though, because I was happy to make a fool of myself!

Before the square dancing began C7 took our photo:

OO face

Then we let Anna take the camera (C7 was hiding upstairs ... first reading/watching from the balcony, but then in bed. I think she needed some alone time).

I think these got cut off in Flickr, but still fun. Watch for Q6 and her very TALL partner!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Horse painting

I think the title says it all ...

It really was a very patient horse. The paint was cut with some shampoo and away they went, painting the horse.

Up close of a tree C7 painted
Horse butt painting

Here is the end result!
Girls and the painted horse

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Moving the cows

The ranch keeps cows to move them. Actually, so the guests can move them. Twice a week the cows get moved from the pasture to the corral, they gets penned at night, then moved back to the pasture the next morning. They know the routine, even if they don't really want to participate in the penning.

So our second full day we brought the cattle back to their pasture. Even the girls got to go, although each of them had a wrangler to help move their horses along.

I had a hard time taking photos on the cattle drive. I got some fuzzy bouncy ones. But it was fun. The cows knew exactly what to do, and did it. We just had to moooo-ve along with the cows and occasionally come up behind them to prod them on.

Papa on the cattle drive:
Papa and the cattle drive

Q6 on the cattle drive:
Q6 on her horse

And here is a teeny tiny bit of a video of the girls on horses:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

After dinner cattle round up

I planned to do the cattle round up with C7 and Q6, but at the last minute Q6 decided not to do it, so we sent C7 in with another family. Q6 hung out on the hitching post and under a tree.

Q6 on the hitching post

This was C7 in her hat and jeans (and dress, of course), getting ready to go. She had decorated her hat, although she did not want me to photograph it on her head, for some reason. You'll also notice the position of her hands ... she was forever yanking up the jeans because they kept falling down.

C7 in jeans and hat C7 with her hat

And here she is on Destiny, the horse.

C7 on horse

Videos coming up of C7 riding that horse. She was up penning the cattle (the owners and wranglers drove the cows up, mostly, and then the visitors penned them) but really wanted to go down to get some cattle. OK, I said, you are in charge of your horse, go do it. So ... she did! Mostly the action is fairly low key, but this was C7's 3rd time on a horse. I think she did fine. No fear at all.

Just after she gets on the horse:

Penning the cow. You can see Destiny is a spirited horse!

A little action.

And C7 attempting to go get those cows! Smack smack smack she tried to make that horse move!!

And an extra photo of C7, L8, and Q6.

C7, L8, and Q6

Monday, July 16, 2012

First horse rides

I did a bad job of getting pictures of Q6 on a horse. I thought I'd have more chances. But I didn't.

After breakfast we fed the horses carrots.

Q6 and L8 with the horse

Girls and a horse

C7 with horse

All the girls sat on the fence so we could take a photo ... seconds after this  next one the fence broke and the girls tumbled to the ground! Whoops! Luckily the fence rails are free; the ranch collects the mill ends from the local lumber mill.

Girls on the fence

First thing we had to do was a lesson for Q6. Because of her age she had to take a lesson, and it did her good. Actually, it did ME good to watch the lesson, because I was able to get some information about riding  western and reminders from the orientation the night before. Riding Western seems all to be about staying on  verses staying on with style that you do in English. No posting! Brilliant.

When the time came for our first trail ride we all had a brief lesson in the corral, but the girls all were unable to control their horses. The result was they all stayed in the corral for a lesson, and everybody else went on a trail ride on the blue trail. While we were out the owner of the ranch said that she'd have been fine taking just Q6 with us, because Lightning, Q6's horse, would have followed the owner's horse slavishly. But the sheer number of girls without riding experience made it dangerous.

The girls were disappointed they were stuck in the corral, and I don't blame them; it was hot.

That afternoon, however, we took another trail ride and the girls were able to take a modified trail ride on the blue trail while the rest of use went on the green trail, which was steeper. The cousins loved that!

Next up: Cow penning!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dude Ranch

Drive drive drive more than 8 hours in the car and we arrived in Tennessee, just 15 minutes early. So we waited at the gate of the French Broad River Outpost Dude Ranch.

Broad River Outpost Ranch Sign

And we took some photos while waiting. I love these.

C7&Q6 II C7&Q6 I

Eventually, though, they let us in. And this is the first view of the ranch we have. We stayed in the bit with the red roof, on the 2nd floor. Our room faced the mountain (West?) so we had a nice dark room in the mornings. The balcony here was accessible for everybody on the floor, though, so we could hang out there (when it wasn't too hot). I'm surprised there are no horses in this picture, actually.

The lodge

Once you got out on the balcony you saw this:

Panorama I Panorama II

That is a really big view ... basically 2 panoramas, back to back, hills to the left and right. We were lucky with weather, the thunderstorms rumbled through, but skirted our valley the days we were there. We heard a lot of rumbles, but saw little rain.

Tomorrow: our first time on horses!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

C7 LOVES plums!

C7 with plum

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cousins in the pool

I never got a photo of the girls in the salt-water pool in Wildwood Crest. Loved this pool! But here is one with C1 with her cast on. S was napping or something. Babies. ;)

Girls in the pool

Monday, July 9, 2012


You have not seen C7 in jeans since before she was 2. After that time, she really decided she didn't like jeans. Here is one of the last photos of her in jeans, learning to walk in Montana. Yes, barefoot, as she still is.

Celeste at Lake Yellowstone

But today, we went out and bought jeans. Not for any aesthetic reason, but because we needed them for the upcoming trip to the dude ranch in TN. You need to wear jeans to ride the horses. So, I managed to buy her a pair, and a cute shirt to go with it. Here is the absolute worst photos I could take of her as she attempts to unbutton and put a dress back on.

100_9585 C7 in Jeans and a plaid shirt

But, look, she's wearing jeans!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 6, 2012

Q6 passed her swim test -- she now can swim in the deep end of the pool! She got her swim band to prove it!

swim band Q6

To get the swim band you need to swim the width of the pool back and forth (this is basically across 6 swim lanes. How wide is that?) then tread water for 30 seconds. Q failed the first time ( the lifeguard thought she had touched the bottom ) so she did it right again and passed. Yipee!