What a Month! Part 1: CityKids Storm the Ranch!

What a Month! Part 1: CityKids Storm the Ranch!

Whew. And you wonder why I haven’t posted more. (Or maybe not.) And I wonder why I still haven’t finished my book. Here’s the answer. It starts with a rodeo. August 4: Yup, when I landed back here in Californee we went straight to the rodeo in Santa Barbara. I love […]

Whew. And you wonder why I haven’t posted more. (Or maybe not.) And I wonder why I still haven’t finished my book. Here’s the answer. It starts with a rodeo.

Rodeo bull rider

August 4: Yup, when I landed back here in Californee we went straight to the rodeo in Santa Barbara. I love me a rodeo for five reasons:

1. cowboys
2. all the cool stuff the cowboys (and cowgirls) do
3. hot dogs
4. cold beer
5. mutton busting

Rodeo - mutton busting

Mutton busting is when brave but terrified 5-year-olds hang on for dear life to terrified sheep running for dear life. Here it is on YouTube.

Me I was happy at that age in Tarboro with Miss Bobbi’s tap dancing classes.

Rancho La Zaca’s own cowboy, all-rounder and moral compass Wyatt Cromer rode in the Wild Cow Milking and nearly hot his’self kilt by a very ornery giant cow.

Brahman cow, photo by Jim Kelly. That fence she's standing beside is 6 feet tall. I'm telling you no good can come of tangling with this cow.

And anyway why would you want to milk a wild cow when there is milk right there in the refrigerator?

Keeping us company at the rodeo and a few days at the ranch were eight fantastic young’uns and their fearless leaders, Leon and Letitia McNeil, who stopped to see us on their way home from their annual “City Kids Adventure.” This year they traveled to Alaska, Alaska, in an RV, an RV, from San Antonio, Texas, a distance roughly equivalent from Earth to the moon. With 14-year-olds.

San Antonio CityKids at the rodeo

Leon and Letitia are two of those amazing people you meet once in a great while who change people’s lives. We met Leon quail hunting on friends’ ranch in Texas, where he works weekends as a dog handler.

Dog handler, teacher and mentor Leon McNeil in the field

During the week he and his wife teach in San Antonio and work with an extraordinary group of young people who work very hard and often under very challenging circumstances to earn the privilege of being part of the group, and if they’re lucky, going on the summer adventure.

CityKids cook with Chef Stephanie Valentine

Find out more about City Kids here, or email City Kids Adventures at cka@idworld.net.

Yours truly gave a mini-workshop on etiquette and table manners, which everyone practiced beautifully.

We did just about everything there is to do around the ranch–rode, shot, swam, sketched, puzzled, made pizza, toured a winery and a brewery, visited area colleges, slept in tents, and ate every morsel of food in Santa Barbara County. There is not one breadcrumb left.

We had a drawing class and a clothesline exhibition over the mantle.
Viticulture and winemaking talk by our Oak Savanna Vineyard Manager Felipe Hernandez

We had a ball. They had a ball. His Grace and I felt blessed to have them. I try not to say mushy stuff like that but it is the truth.

Meanwhile, book deadline looms …

Panic, via photobucket.com

August 7: HG and I went to see friends and to visit the fantabulous Lotusland, which I did manage to scribble about here.

So what about you? Have you been able to relax, catch up on your reading, do a little gardening… or have you been as frantic as I have? Not that it isn’t all good fun stuff, but wtf?

Week 2… To be continued…

 

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