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