The suggestion was greeted with enthusiasm – and, as the date was the first day of spring, it was deemed most suitable to eat out of doors. I picked out a lovely spot – those of you who have been here and have taken part in the horse games, will know the place – the huge outcropping of rocks behind the Old Arena. Actually, what I had in mind was the lovely little meadow beyond, and, as always with anything I plan, it took quick shape in my imagination. Around the corner behind the rocks, lovely view of the canyon …..
So we planned the day. Everyone volunteered some edible, toothsome item to bring – and I drew the beverages. Now to my mind, beverages means lemonade, and maybe water – and, if you’re near an electric outlet, coffee. I had visions of a couple of little carafes and blankets on the grass. Luckily, Anne volunteered to help. She would, she said, organize the drinks and I need do nothing except point her to the spot when the time came.
Accordingly, on Sunday morning, she appeared at the house in a vehicle laden with containers of water, lemonade, champagne, orange juice, orange slices, ice, iced tea, hot coffee, glasses, napkins, paper towels, and two small folding tables complete with table cloths. Viewing all this, and remembering that it is a good little hike up to the spot – and that, actually, I had never even been there without the use of a horse – I began to doubt the choice of the location, and made some half hearted suggestions of more likely places – like my front yard?
But Anne is made of sterner stuff. No problem, she said, and let’s ask Danny to lump all that up there on the Polaris. It became obvious after the first load that my little meadow was totally out of reach – we would have had to carry all that stuff up a hill, stumbling among rocks and tufts of grass, to say nothing of the cow ploopers, as the pasture had most recently been occupied by the ranch bulls. We looked around for a handier site and compromised on a spot not far from the arena gate, nestled up against the rocks and under some mesquite trees. It has a lovely view of the mountains and the lake below and, best of all, it was only about 50 ft. from where the Polaris stopped. It took three trips to drag all that stuff up there – and that was nothing compared to what all appeared when my friends arrived – all good ranch women, and therefore used to feeding hordes of hungry men, they were loaded with enough goodies to feed a tribe of 50 for a week. Danny drove – and drove- and drove – and the rest of us set up the tables, and the drinks, and the food —-A good time was had by all – the weather was lovely and warm, and everyone was ecstatic about the views. After a lengthy lunch – and I must say that this was one of the few times in my life when my stomach actually ached because it was so full – I took the gals up for a little walk to see the old bed rock mortars – the grinding holes in the big rocks made over many centuries by the ancient people, by the women who sat there and ground their acorns and corn. They were very impressed with the sight, and we all mentally rebuilt the Indian village, imagining it as it must have looked all those thousand or so years ago, in this quiet, lovely canyon, when all our destruction of nature and the hustle of the modern world was still far in the future. About 3 pm we began to pack up – and I haven’t eaten a full meal since!
And this morning, Anne and I went riding. Anne is a beginner rider, but catching on pretty fast, and in fact, today she was the star. I had taken my great horsy friend, Comanche, along for the ride, as he loves to run alongside, free, enjoying being with me and with his buddy, my other horse, Tequila. We were going from the Lake Pasture into the West Noonan Pasture, via the wide swinging gate we call the Rock Gate. I opened it, we all went through, and I turned back to close it. But Comanche saw me going towards it, and he wasn’t going to be left behind! As quick as greased lightning, he ducked around me and darted through the gate and down the trail towards home. “Damn!” I said. “Comanch’!” I yelled, ”come back!” He stopped, turned around with a questioning look, and came back through the gate. We stepped away from the gate a little, and I turned towards it again to close it. And, wouldn’t you know it, as quick as a snake, he was through it first again, and down the trail! Again I called him back – and he returned. And again …. But why go on – this circus went on several times and I could never beat that horse back to the gate in time to close it with him on our side of it.Finally Anne offered to try. She was riding Dakota – and, being a beginning rider, she had never done anything like this before. It’s quite a trick to sidepass a horse to a gate, grab it, and sidestep him alongside it, bringing it with you to close it – it takes balance and good horse control. I am proud to tell you that she sidled Dakota up to that gate, swung it shut – with Comanche darting around, probably wondering if this meant the game was over and he had won?? – and closed it. I was most impressed. Great job, Anne! Then we took a lovely ride along the Canyon Trail, down to South Fork Tank which is still running over at the spillway, and slowly meandered home. I guess the moral of the story is that if you take your spoilt pet horse along, and he doesn’t want to understand English, you’d best have a companion who can cope!
I spent the afternoon on my patio, beside my donkey depleted foliage, and, as the afternoon was so warm, I dragged out a lounge chair and actually fell asleep in the sun. So nice to have spring and summer on the way! I doubt that I could live in a really cold climate – not being a winter sports person, I would get cabin fever, and commit mayhem. As it is, I got a good start on a suntan, and I am looking forward to the months ahead.
The spring flowers should be out soon – in fact, Danny said he saw some little sprouts of Indian wheat coming up, and the grass is already green and tasty, as the two donkeys, Miss Katie and Miss Sarah, would testify – they were far out on the pasture today, on the hill by the Middle Gate, enjoying the first taste of spring. So come and visit! The best is yet to come….