We had an exciting time on the ranch last week, beginning with a cattle round up on Sunday, and followed by corral work and pregnancy testing on Monday. (Check it out on YouTube, on the Grapevine Canyon Ranch channel, and see my step daughter, Sally, who is an obstetrician, taking her turn at pregnancy checking cows!! You will see this is quite a different approach to a human procedure – and the look of dawning wonder on Sally’s face as she felt the calf’s head is something to see!)
The corral work was followed by a cattle drive to the mountains on Tuesday, and hauling the culled cows to the sale on Wednesday. The sale was on Thursday, and today I had an exciting check from the sale, which was, for once, quite a bit larger than I had expected! Given that a cattle ranch pay day is just once a year, and that everything depends on it, you will see that to get a bigger than expected check is a bonus indeed!
But that wasn’t all there was to the week – the cattle sale over on Thursday, we had a lovely wedding here on Saturday. Over the years we’ve had lots of weddings at Grapevine, the bulk of them with a fairly small guest list, the bride and groom generally on horseback, out in the country, and quite often by the famous Gossip Rocks, where once upon a time the ancient people ground their corn and acorns (and, likely, gossiped as they worked).
However, this one was not on horseback – this one was a very formal wedding, the bride in a gorgeous white gown, her family and friends here from Sweden for the event, the dining room turned into a formal place with white tablecloths, linen napkins and white roses – just lovely. The ceremony was held out on the patio, with the guests seated in front of the bride and groom, the greenery of the rosemary hedge and the pool beyond making a lovely backdrop. Following the wedding vows, the guests entered the Cook Shack through the Wickieup screened porch, and then into the Longhorn Room for champagne, the dining room having been closed off until meal time. The kitchen outdid itself, and Ed, the chef, turned out about 60 perfectly grilled steaks, each to order, on the outdoor barbeque – mine was superb! After the meal and suitable toasts, the bar opened, and the party, with live music and dancing, lasted until midnight.
I must mention the toast, given by the bride’s father. It was translated from Swedish by her brother, as dad said his English wasn’t good enough (it was, but as it was a bilingual group, this probably worked better anyway) …. And the speech was great. He said that he had been born in a very small village in northern Sweden, very close to the Arctic circle. The village, in his parents’ time, was so small and so insular, that the people intermarried. However, his father did a most adventuresome thing in that he married a girl from the neighboring village! Then, years later, he himself married a girl from the south of Sweden – a whole country length away! and now his daughter was marrying a man from another continent, from the USA! It was a lovely story, a wonderful speech, and a truly beautiful wedding. May they live happily ever after! By the way, you can see photos of this, and other weddings we’ve had here, on Twitter at Magnoliaaz and at GOTORANCH. A You Tube video of this wedding will be posted next week.
As I said, we have had many weddings at the ranch, mostly on horseback, and in riding clothes, though I do remember one where the couple, from Paris, France, wanted a white wedding – and on horseback! We had a pair of good-looking white horses, so these were pressed into service, only to find, on the morning of the great day, that each had chosen to roll in some pretty fresh horse manure, so they were not white, but a motley green! Panic stations! Every hand in the barn was pressed into service, and in the end the sought after pure white effect was achieved by a generous application of talcum powder all over each horse – and they looked great! The bride, in white lace, sat side saddle, a wrangler led her horse, and the wedding was a real fairy tale event.
The ceremonies are held wherever the happy couple prefer. The formal white weddings are generally held on the patio, and the horsy ones out in the country, often at the aforementioned Gossip Rocks, a beautiful and romantic spot.
A few years ago we had a real Apache wedding there. At the time we had an Apache wrangler, and the happy couple asked him to officiate. He was very colorful – habitually wore his hair long, Apache style, he always dressed the part, and everything about him was genuine – he was serious about his heritage. So he talked to a medicine man and learnt the lengthy Apache wedding ceremony. Appropriately, in this instance, the bride and groom were both on Paint horses – and, as there had been no rain, the white was white, and the sorrel was sorrel!
And, to complete this mine of information on weddings, remember that once you pick the date, we’ll do everything else – get the preacher or the judge, however you want it, make the wedding cake, order the flowers – and talcum powder the white horses, if necessary! So, if you have a wedding in mind, give us a call – and we’ll do the rest, be it formal white, or colorful country!