Sunday, October 24, 2021

Bar J Guest Ranch! We arrived!

 I was so excited about going to Arkansas that I was awake and even UP before 8:00 Saturday morning!
Louis Dean, however, slept until nearly 10:00.......
so it was shortly before noon when we were on the road with Louis Dean driving for the first couple of hours.

I like road trips where someone else is driving so I can enjoy the scenery, read books and play my Word games.

The landscape is changing in the country.....just as we are getting used to seeing wind farms in the pastures and fields, now we also see huge areas of tress and bushes being leveled for solar panel farms.
So much is changing......

We switched drivers just as we were about to turn off of Highway 31 onto Toll Road 49 which took us to I20. I drove past Shreveport before Louis Dean took over again. We only stopped for fuel once and potty breaks and yet it was dark before we left Louisiana. And our directions skirted us around the town of El Dorado where we were planning on eating dinner seeing as we only had cottage cheese and fruit that morning and nothing since. Louis Dean was getting the shakes from low blood sugar and I was bordering on hysteria because it was dark and I could not see! And we were lost! We have have had a few lod remarks to one another as Louis Dean was making a u turn.....that straddled us in the very middle of the highway - with a car coming! It went around us and I continued to babble and carry on while Louis Dean backed up and pulled us away from the the precarious position we had been in.

I think me being so scared help Louis Dean pull himself together and he then managed to calm me down - some - by saying we shouldn't panic and that we can do what we need to do and everything was going to be okay. But first we needed to get something to eat and I could have kicked myself for not stopping sooner when we saw places. My thought was to drive as far as possible while we had daylight.

We parked at the side of the road and I looked up restaurants near me and got directions on my phone to Cafe 1891.
The photo on the site was of a taco I have my mouth all set for a margarita.

This was in the middle of what I call nowhere - meaning lots of dark streets and no city lights. would have to do and it was surprisingly good.
Louis Dean got a chicken fried steak and I had a chef's salad - both were really good - and we started to feel a little bit better.

As soon as we staggered into the cafe, I had called Summer and told her I had no idea where we were but that I would send her a pic of the address on the menu. She said she would be right there and we could follow her tail lights to the ranch. She is such a treasure and comfort to me. She came in all cheerful and upbeat and we immediately felt so much better and relieved that we would not have to figure any more directions out that night.

We just followed her red taillights!
Trust me when I say we would have never found the ranch entrance in the dark by ourselves.

There were wranglers and friends gathered around the campfire and everyone pitched in to help carry our stuff to the Annie Oakley cabin.

Isn't this the sweetest thing?
Once we had our belongings inside and situated, we joined the others y the campfire.

Sabrina had kept it going until we arrived knowing how much  we love campfires.

The Bar J is a horse camp as well as a guest ranch so there are lots of horses around.
And ranch kitties! And dogs since they also raise border collies!

We relaxed and enjoyed our first night here. Rayne entertained us with her bucking barrel ride.

We all laughed when Granddad decided he would do it, too!

It was a beautiful night and this is such a beautiful place.

Time to get ready for bed.
I had just lit my candle when Rayne knocked on the door and gave me the pinecone.
Perfect ending to this day.

Louis Dean and I both slept so well and woke up feeling grateful and blessed to be in Arkansas!

Meet Classy!
That's the Annie Oakley cabin right behind her.

The kittens are fun to watch!

We were watching Rayne working with a short horse inside a corral.....
and so were the dogs.

There's even a Belgium horse here and Rayne is hoping to ride him later this week.

Rayne loves working with any and every horse or dog she meets.....

but I believe Buddy is her favorite.

We all attended church services here at 11:00.

I love the cross light!

Seating for the children's class - bot for church and for horse camp.

Dinner was served right after the service.

Every one is happy to be here!
Here is Summer, Rayne and Sabrina with two sweet girls who work here with the horses.

Rayne and Sabrina went on several trail rides during the course of this Sunday.

Sabrina took this pic as she sat on her horse.

She is an excellent rider and that works out great since Rayne is so invested in all things having to do with horses.

While everyone was out and about doing things.....

Louis Dean was playing music with Macon, one of the staff here.

I love this photo that Sabrina snapped while Louis Dean was unawares.
Macon had to leave for a little while to take care of a plumbing problem.
Notice the horse had ambled up behing Louis Dean....guess he likes music, too.

Every evening Macon builds up the campfire in this great fire pit!
Louis Dean wants to make us one just like it.

It was time to carve my Jack 'o lantern and look who snatched up some of the pulp and seeds!
I think she actually ate a little bit and played with the rest.

Summer helped me with this one.
I did the eyes and nose - adding little eyebrows to him, while Summer carved the mouth and gave him a set of dimples. I'm using two LED tea lights in him and we carried him up to the pastor's home and set him on the porch. 

We closed out our day with Macon singing The Preacher and the Bear as we all gathered around the campfire.

I hear there's a lot of exciting things on schedule for tomorrow.....
a cow drive in the morning and an ice cream social that evening and all manner of possibilities for during the day.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Our Pumpkin Misadventure!

Who knew Louis Dean would enjoy The Great Pumpkin Project so much??
It's an Instagram group committed to putting the fun back in Halloween by leaving a carved jack 'o lantern in a spot hoping someone will see it and be surprised and smile.

A friend of mine carves a pumpkin for all 31 nights - and this is her third year to do so!
She is amazing in everything she does!

My original plan was to do two pumpkins total - one on Wednesday and the other on Thursday.
Except I did not expect Louis Dean of getting such a kick of the project! 

Thursday he wanted to draw the design.......
and then he hovered as I cut it out making sure I did it right!

He was so excited that he couldn't wait to take it to 'Sleepy Hollow.'

That's our nickname for this rustic gravel road that curves down into a tiny hollow and over a creek below. It was 6:23 when we turned on the road and the sun was not due to set for nearly 20 more minutes. We meandered a little while searching out another spot for Friday's Jack since we had already gone to town and bought another pumpkin.

We came back to the ranch and, once it was dark, Louis Dean decided we should go back and see our little buddy shine. Off we went and we were so disappointed! No light glowed!
LD used a solar light from the yard and apparently it had not charged well.
No worries!!!

We went back to the ranch and retrieved the Ranch Jack!
Louis Dean had recharged the solar light earlier that day so it was burning brightly.

It was really dark by now.....

It's straight road driving and next to no traffic ( we saw two cars the whole time we were out) so we went back and replaced the new Jack with the one from the ranch gate post.

And we put the new one in its place  - WITH a freshly charged solaer light in it!
Win! WIN!!

By the way, Dean did notice the pumpkin when he came home Wednesday night!
He stopped by to visit a few minutes before going on down to the house.
I knew it would make him smile!

I woke up this morning and went out to the front room to get coffee and found a note from Louis Dean.
He had gone to Home Depot. 
On his way back, he stoppped to retrieve the light inside the Jack so he could recharge it during the day.

What we did tonight was switch the pumpkin from one side of the road to the other side and up away  from the curve.

It will be perfectly seen off to the side and you come around that bend.

Then we went on to drop off tonight's pumpkin!

He's at the corner of Walt's Road and the paved road. Set off to the side, I think it will be visible to oncoming traffic and anyone turning will certainly see it.

By the time we were finished with him, it was starting to get dark......
so we drove back down the 'Sleepy Hollow' road to get a pic.

This guy looks different in the dark!

So tonight, we have three glowing Jack 'o lanterns!
The one at the gate will greet Crystal (Sherry's daughter) as she arrives to spend the weekend.

Our campfire from earlier this evening....

In the morning we will be heading to the Guest Ranch in El Dorado, Arkansas.
We'll get the solar lights from all the pumpkins and leave LED tea lights in their place.
I'm taking my knives and such so we can continue this project there.
I'm thinking Rayne will enjoy doing this with us!

You're never too old to have some fun!
And we are doing just that!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

My First Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Project!

 We were meant to come down to the ranch on October 16....
and that was pushed back to the 18th and then I woke up on the 19th and just did not want to get out of bed. Our revised plan was to meet Dean and Sherry at the bee meeting in Hillsboro that evening....
but I just couldn't. I was tired to the bone. After I messaged Dean and Sherry to let them know we would be down on Wednesday instead, I went back to bed and stayed there until after 4:00 in the afternoon.

 I finally got up and sewed on the quilt I'm making for a soon-to-be-born baby girl.
For dinner, I rubbed big baking potatoes with Crisco and sea salt and while they baked Summer, Louis Dean and I sat out on the driveway with wine and a appetizer tray Summer put together.

We tried a new wine called Sweet Red by Low Hanging Fruit.
This was a grape wine and I mixed it with my standby Chardonnay.
Summer said it tasted like grape Kool-aid but it went well with our snacks.

Summer can make even simple things look elegant!
I was feeling better by this time and we went on to have a nice evening and I was in bed by 10:00.

I woke up this Wednesday morning all rested and ready to go to the ranch.
What a difference in the way I felt just 24 hours earlier!
Praise God for sleep and the way he made our bodies to rejuvenate.

Summer picked up senior coffees at McDonald's and some sausage biscuits so it was a streamlined morning routine and we were ready to roll shortly after noon - heading South!

Our traditional first stop was the Lone Star Cafe in Hillsboro.
No kitties with us this trip so why not?

I put this pic on a Facebook post and my friend Rosey said.....
Title: Things that Linda Loves!!!

Louis Dean and margaritas!!

Our second stop was HEB in Bellmead.......
and look what I found!!

A Jalapino wine!!!
I love a ghost pepper margarita and Hatch Chili wine......
so I decided to try this!
Really good blended with a Chardonnay......
but I haven't found anything that didn't blend well with Chardonnay.

I bought two pumpkins at HEB because I am going to join in what I think is called The Great Pumpkin Project.'  It means you drop off a carved jack-o-lantern  in a spooky or not-so-spooky spot to be be seen unexpectantly by someone who happens to pass by.

As soon as we unloaded the truck, I poured myself a glass of that Jalapino/Chardonnay wine,picked up a couple of knives and and took my first pumpkin out to the front deck.....

and got to work.
It was SO much easier than I thought it would be.
I was working fast because I wanyed to get it all situated before dark.

Since this jack will stay on the ranch, Louis Dean put one of his solar lights from the garden to light it up.

We took it down to the gate entrance and sat ot on one of the posts.

My very first JACK!!!

I'm hoping Dean notices it when he comes home tonight after teaching his karate class.
We are up and kind of waiting to see if he stops by on his way down to their place.

I have a really good spooky place in mind for tomorrow's Jack drop!
Then I'm gonna need more 11 more pumpkins.....and more LED lights.
This was so much FUN!!!