Happy 4th of July From Rancho La Zaca

Happy 4th of July From Rancho La Zaca

I’m back at the ranch this week and Cowboy (for new readers, His Grace the Cowboy is my sweetheart) and I have my nephew and three of his buds flying in from Georgia. For their 18th birthdays my nieces and nephew each get a trip with Auntie anywhere they want […]

I’m back at the ranch this week and Cowboy (for new readers, His Grace the Cowboy is my sweetheart) and I have my nephew and three of his buds flying in from Georgia. For their 18th birthdays my nieces and nephew each get a trip with Auntie anywhere they want to go. John Rex wanted to come to Rancho La Zaca, aka Fort Awesome especially if you are a boy. Which John Rex is 100%.

Cowboy on his horse
The Cowboy cuts a striking figure in the saddle. But with that hat he could also be an extra in '''In the Heat of the Night.''

It’s my third summer at the ranch in Los Olivos, California, (where His Grace resides) and my second 4th of July. I am somewhat composed this year, but for that first one back in 2010, I was a wreck. So unfamiliar I was then with how things work around here and what’s in this storage room and that barn and who does what and what-all. And on top of it we had six house guests and kind of a mini-rodeo-horseback-riding thing and 40 coming for dinner. And fireworks. His Grace knows how to give a girl a heart attack, I mean have a good time. And that we did. Have a heart attack, I mean have a good time.

Whitney on horse
This is Whitney. Her motto is ''No fear and a fast horse.'' You do not mess with Whitney.
Popcorn
My motto is ''No fear and a box of popcorn.'' These little wax paper bags make a cute way to serve it, thought up by Chef Stephanie Valentine.

I had pulled a muscle riding (don’t ask) the day before which forced me to be a spectator at the mini-rodeo thing on the 4th. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to have hurt myself. But my friend Anne Louise was a sport. We grew up riding together–English–but she got in there and yippy-i-yayed with the best of them. And her hair still looked good.

Anne Louise on horse
Anne Louise on Picasso. Picasso is almost 30 years old, if you can believe it. And he still likes to GO.

We also did a little shootin’. Sporting clays. No interference from pulled muscle here. Also you cannot fall off of a gun, whereas you can a horse.

Shooting at RLZ
His Grace, left, and Anne's husband Richard. I think Anne and I whooped them but I am hazy on the details.

We went down to the pond for supper, and some of the younger boys threw a line in. There are 7- and 8-pound bass in there. When you catch one it feels like a hippopotamus, which I had to look up how to spell.

Fishing at the pond
Boys fishing at the pond

Then Chef Stephanie barbequed chicken, roasted corn, grilled vegetables, coled slaw (I know that’s not a verb but I’m on a roll), baked rolls (speaking of rolls), and sliced watermelon.

Watermelon
Watermelon
Chicken on the grill
Chicken on the grill
Grilled vegetables
Grilled vegetables
Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob

I went to work on the tables and tried to make peace with the polyester cloths and napkins I ordered in a panic two days before. Don’t anybody strike a match near these things, but they looked all right. In a pinch.

4th of July at Rancho La Zaca
Stars and stripes set a patriotic if polyester table
4th of July at Rancho La Zaca - the buffet
Come and get it

When the sun went down we got into some serious hula-hooping. It may not be a stretch for you to surmise that His Grace looks better on a horse than in a hula hoop. Out of respect I will leave that to your imagination. Notice I am leaving myself in a hula hoop to your imagination as well.

Peter hula hooping
This is our friend Peter Rabbit and his sister Maddie. Peter is about two feet taller now. Maddie is already tall.

The main event, fireworks across the pond. The neighbors and ranch workers all come and bring their chillens, and it’s great.

Fireworks at RLZ
Boom
Brie watching fireworks
This is our friend Brie, who is married to (other) real cowboy Wyatt. I love this picture and how happy she looks. And behind her is Penny, Chef Stephanie's mama. She looks happy too. On the other side is Stephanie's brother Don.
Fireworks at RLZ
Oh say can you see!

What a great country we live in. Blessings and a safe, happy 4th to you all…. Now let me go see about gettin’ ready for those boys. There will probably be no food left in the state of California by the time they leave.

The professional-looking pictures of the food, table, and  the last one of the fireworks are indeed professional, by John Fitzpatrick, who also happens to be Stephanie’s husband. The others are by me.

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