At last! At last! Thanks for your patience while we were getting this here technological dilemma taken care of. There are still things not yet transferred from the old system, so apologies for some chronological disorder within the next few posts, but we’ll get ‘er all worked out here! Just loosen the reins and enjoy the ride…. “time” is sometimes overrated anyways…that tends to be the motto in our neck of the woods. FIRST and foremost, we want to make a special recognition of these marvelous folks you see here. Would you believe that they were the VERY first guests to make reservations with Jerry and Cheri under their new ownership of the ranch? And here’s the whole story. They already had tentatively made plans to come to the ranch before they knew about the change, but when Jerry and Cheri contacted them to let them know and introduce themselves (and see if they were still interested), they were still in! And now look. Seventeen years later, here they still are. Guess we’ve been doing something right all these years….. So THANK YOU Ron, Sandy, Sam, Harriet and Judi for your continued friendship all this time and being part of our early memories with this incredible place. It’s quite meaningful to us to have people who have “grown up” here with us. Now, many of you know of Cheri’s accident early in the season and her amazing comeback from all of that, but you might not have known of the second surgery she had to have the last Friday before our closing week. Nothing major, but just a clean up of a few things the doctor wasn’t satisfied with. And this picture here? Is Cheri. 5 days later. Leading the Breakfast Ride. If you’ve ever met a more determined woman—I’d like to meet her….<bowing to her cowgirl highness>… Oh and this picture is purely meant to make you wish you were here. (Successful?) Here comes the breakfast ride! When I tell you the colors were incredible this Fall…..multiply that times 100. I wanna be a cowboy when I grow up. And we couldn’t resist sharing this painting-like photo. A favorite! Did I mention within the last 5 words that the colors were insanely gorgeous this Fall? Cause we just can’t seem to get over it. Thus you must endure the repetitious beautiful scenery photos (quit your moanin’.) And then you have the trees that start to look like your staff…..(told you it was an unusual Fall—try to top that one!) Alas, there is truly no greater compliment to us, than when those who come here want to share this place with those they love the most. It shows us how truly sacred this place is to them. Kim was here with a large group our closing family week and just a few weeks later, she brought back her (absolutely wonderful) parents to share the ranch as well for the first time. And the first time we saw ole David swing up on his trusty steed, we knew that cowboy had come home! We are delighted to hear he and Ann might be bringing their whole brood back next summer to celebrate a big anniversary! With finger crossed, we can’t wait to meet the whole family! And speaking of family, our closing week was a time of LOTS of it! Dale’s parents came for the first time and it was such a pleasure to have them here! They did a lot of fishing with Dale and hitting up all the things to do in the county—it’s hard to fit it all in in a week! Likewise, Chad’s parents came for 2 weeks (a yearly tradition) and certainly livened up the party around here! (Ummmm…this is the incorrect way to harness fyi….) Oh! And just look at that happy anniversary couple! Still facing new and exciting adventures together—true love! Absolutely nothing can come between these two I tell you! Uhhh…..well almost nothing….(I tried—really I did.) At least the view was nice when Janie pushed him off the mountain! And here’s a few pictures from our closing Buckhorn night—nearly (dare I say??) as wild as our opening Adult’s Week! Look at those hats! We thought about turning these bandits in for the huge reward that was listed on their Wanted posters, but….we knew they’d be getting a time-out if we did—so we kept them instead. Maybe some hard ranch work will turn them from their outlaw ways! However, these wild ones we sent straight to the slammer. They will likely get out on an insanity plea, but we simply couldn’t sleep at night knowing we left them out prowling around. (Bless their hearts….) But then we have this sly villain….. …not only did she threaten the lives of anyone attempting to ring the bell in her stead, but she also (might want to not read this part aloud if there are children in the room) put a HUGE red flower on her horse to wear!!! Ahhh!!!! Is there no decency?? What kind of a person—I mean—what has happened to mankind?? We are appalled. We will avenge you Bruiser. She will pay….oh wait. She did…. Alright then. No harm, no foul. (Bruiser is recovering with the help of some counseling, for those of you interested. He should be suitable to carry guests again by next summer.) And congrats to Deb’s hubby Pat for his big win! We’re sure to take care of our winners! And THEN??? What a treat! Every now and then we have guests that give us back one of the best gifts—a little piece of themselves. These guys put together a few hilarious song parodies for our listening pleasure—now we can’t wait for the cd to come out! One more look at your rowdy hosts! The “last supper”—so to speak—was bittersweet as we shared dinner with our final ranch guests of the season, but at least we went out with a huge celebration! Two birthdays and an anniversary! And LOTS of cake (and that’s always something worth smiling about...) **On a side note, this is an adults only week, but the Ranch Kids live here year round and occasionally make it over to see their returning guest friends. Thus the occasional small child in a photo—just so ya know!**
But the real birthday girl? The one with the biggest anniversary? She sat back quietly smiling listening to her new friends retell their stories from the week --relishing their desires to stay and excited plans to return. She chuckled to herself remembering the story Jerry was boisterously retelling from a few years back of some daring ride up Elk Mountain and how all the guests roared with laughter as they came riding back into her barn. Oh the stories she could tell….100 years? Was that possible? Had it been that long? Well if you’re as old as you feel, than she was still yet young. Because it was impossible to feel anything but renewed every time a young child climbed trustingly and hurriedly into the saddle for the first time and went sauntering out her gates. Unable to feel anything less than beautiful as new flowers were planted in her ground and returning flowers bloomed and reached to the sky. And honestly, how could she not feel fresh and made-over every time her floors and walls were scrubbed clean and adored by each new guest—running their fingers appreciatively over the old wood and bumping happily out of her screen doors? Yes the truth in fact, is that her guests—as in all of YOU—have kept her young all of these years. Without you, there would be none of it—no ringing bell, no laughs echoing down off the mountainsides back down into her valley, no squeaking swings, no snorting horses munching their hay. We dare not imagine a time without those things. So on behalf of our beloved ranch—we extend our deepest gratitude to all of our wonderful guests—both present and past—who gave her this year the greatest gift a ranch could ever get….. ……………………………..your love and presence all these years. Happy Anniversary old girl. Here’s to 100 more.