Fixin’ Up for the Fourth of July

Oh say can you see. Here it is again, time to star spangle the banner.

RLZ July 4
Flowers and flags at RLZ July 4

Kicking off summer is truckloads of fun at Rancho La Zaca.

RLZ July 4
Time to unload the truck. Gettin' ready to get ready - RLZ July 4

Here’s a post on the first Happy 4th of July I was part of there, in 2010.

This time last year you may recall we had my nephew John Rex and his buddies to the ranch to eat, drink and shoot us out of house and home to spend time with his beloved Auntie and Uncle Tom. We were so touched that when I came out of the coma I wrote about it in Chasing My Tail. Moving and poignant.

At least I wasn’t up a tree. Be careful up there, Juan!

RLZ July 4
Juan hanging flags in a feat of derring do. RLZ July 4

I was more like knee deep in dahlias and delphiniums. I believe this was the first time I  did 17 flower arrangements by myself in one day. And possibly the last.

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Keeping them cool in the loo. Flower arrangements by moi, for RLZ July 4

But they were pretty and patriotic. Dahlias, delphiniums, white stock, and fluffy “green trick” dianthus.

RLZ July 4
Dahlias, stock and delphiniums - red, white, and blue - for RLZ July 4

Our hearty team assembled and cut up a little on the banks of the pond. That is Jackie back there making a face while Susie and Amanda try to look all innocent. Stephanie is wondering if we have enough.

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Team RLZ - From left, Chef Stephanie, Susie, Jackie, Amanda RLZ July 4

Meanwhile over at the range…

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Stars, Stripes and Shotguns at RLZ July 4

…a fierce but friendly sporting clays competition ensued.

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Molly get your gun, coached by Owen, who is thinking of going blonde. Crack shot John in back. HG standing there like Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Sporting clays - RLZ July 4

…While I fussed about the tables and all. An old beau of mine used to call me Frantic. That is kinda what I was on this day. But it came together.

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The table is set. RLZ July 4

Stephanie is never frantic. She is a marvel, and so is her barbequed chicken.

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Chef Stephanie, a grill's best friend - RLZ July 4
RLZ July 4
Nephew John Rex in the gingham shirt at left, his buddies and His Grace at right. They are going at it and hoping to impress the pretty girls at left. My lovely friend Kate is at far right in the front. She has boys and is married to a boy. She understands.
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Another perspective and more lively conversation - RLZ July 4

By the way, if you’re having a big crowd, consider one long table. It’s a great look and you won’t worry about uneven seating at smaller tables – 14 crammed around one while two or three are at another, feeling unpopular. We used picnic tables with the benches attached. It’s easy and it’s neat. The pennant flags and big paper lanterns are a lot of look for the money.

Strings of pennant flags available at Big paper lanterns at Luna Bazaar.

Have a safe and Happy 4th. What a great country this is, and how lucky we are to live here.

RLZ July 4
Table set by the pond - RLZ July 4


  1. Frances, Happy 4th to you and yours !! We ARE
    lucky to live in this country and to have you sharing your interesting comings and goings with us. Love those dahlias..
    xo Becky

  2. Hi Frances,

    Absolutely gorgeous! What a party! Did you already do this, or is it from last year?

    btw – I just finished decorating our dining room in the country. Please stop by to see the final photos if you have free moment.

    Emily @ Town And Country Shuffle

  3. In the photo of His Grace at table if one looks at the very end of the table what looks like a hydrangea is in actuality Ike! He’s helping with your red white and blue theme.

  4. Amen, Ms. Frances. We are lucky and blessed to live here. Hooray for the red, white and blue and as His Grace would say, Magnifico!

  5. By the way, when IS the (“Bee” as in cottage) book you referred to in last year’s July 4th post coming out? Update, please! Have a lovely 4th!

    1. Hi EB and thanks as always for your comments and all your great energy. Thank you, too, for asking about the Bee book! It will most likely be out Fall of 14… fingers crossed. Love, Frances

  6. We are really blessed to live in this great land of ours and so it’s always an honor to celebrate the beauty of the red, white, and blue. Thank you for showing us your pride.

  7. Happy Fourth of July! I always get a chuckle reading your posts…17 arrangements in one day! Now that’s a lot of arrangements! Thank goodness you didnt have to fire up the bbq, too! Give Stephanie a big hug for me! and HG, too!

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