I've known Mom and Dad for years. I taught Mom in 4H when I was a leader in a time long ago and far away. I find it fitting that their children can spend some time at our farm and do some learning about equine and riding.
Yesterday was our first full day. And wow what a day it was.
The girls had some very long faces when mom and dad pulled out and drove away. I thought "Uh oh, I am in for it. The kids are going to be so heartsick and homesick, they won't make it very long."
Well, that hasn't happened so far.
We ate breakfast and before we went out to do chores I sat with the girls and we made out a menu for the week and made up a grocery list.
Then we headed out for chores. Rich came too. The girls got busy with feeding the hounds and putting out hay for the equine. Grace I could tell right off had eyes for 15. And why not? Everyone who has met her has really fallen for the little bay horse.
We did so many things yesterday. I'm not sure I can keep track of them all. So perhaps I'll just try and make a quick list.
The first 'lesson' in riding an animal is how to be safe around an animal. We spent the cool morning hours learning about how to safely lead Fred. How to make Fred make right and left turns while leading him. How to stop him and back him up.
Fred is a pony mule and does well with kids. He can also be a bit of a challenge. I thought of using Siera to teach the girls about leading with a rope and halter. However Siera is too polite and too good.
Fred is just about perfect, but will make the kids work for it.
If it was too easy, it wouldn't be a good lesson.
Painting on the porch
Play in neighbor's goat pasture
Fill the old stock tank aka Mt. Tank
Play in the water
Take 15 out
Apply lessons from the morning to 15
15 has always been very quiet and has nearly impeccable manners when being groomed. It was interesting to watch Grace and 15 interact. At first 15 was fairly wide eyed and watched Grace carefully.
By the time Grace was done with her, 15 was so comfortable she was dozing in the shade.
Play in Mt. Tank
Take Morris swimming
I have to give the old dog credit. He went along with whatever the girls wanted to do. He was busy most of the afternoon following them so he could just be near them.
They asked me if Morris could go in the stock tank and swim. I said only if they helped him back out.
Second lesson with Fred
In lesson two with Fred the girls learned how to mount and dismount. They learned the importance of an emergency dismount. Grace is tall so the challenge of mounting Fred was not an issue.
Evelyn is small so there was a challenge to get up in the saddle. However Evelyn is an avid climber and an athlete like her sister. Getting mounted soon became a non issue.
The girls learned balance and how to ride with poise. We first learn to ride and sit a saddle with no reins in hand and no stirrups. Fred was good, the girls were excellent.
Evelyn jumped in when I started to put the hamburgers together. She helped make them. I was surprised a little but it was a very pleasant surprise.
Grace engaged Rich in conversation and they chatted while Eve and I worked on supper. I could tell by the tone of Rich's voice that he was really enjoying it.
Rich had spent most of the afternoon taking a nap and had stayed inside because it was so hot and humid out.
We cleaned up and everyone decided that it was time for bed. Morris went up the stairs last night to sleep with the girls. His skipped his spot on the couch for better sleeping quarters. He rarely passes up an opportunity to snuggle with a kid if they are willing.
This morning I woke up early as I usually do. I thought about the girls visiting. Outside the fog was dense and I could see that the dawn was going to be amazing. So I stepped out on the porch to watch the sky change colors.
The fog glowed as the sky brightened. The colors began to change from a pale pink to a dark pink, to nearly a brilliant red and then just before everything faded, the fog turned orange ...
and day two began.
Then it hit me. Two Sisters.
Okay. This week I'd call it: Two Sisters Camp
I went inside and made coffee. Day Two had begun.