The first activity for the day was a horse ride through the property. The talk over breakfast was how we would handle Jonah during the trail ride. When we arrived the previous day, he would not talk to anyone and he would not touch a horse despite strong insistance on feeding one. We decided to play things by ear and headed down to the horse barn to prepare for our horse ride. We needn't have worried. He was a different boy altogether. Mr Chatterbox hopped on without fuss and rode on his own horse! Lara got on a horse but scared herself when her horse started to move. She spacked a wally and ended up staying behind with Oma and Opa.
|Vic getting the horses from the upper pastures early in the morning|
|The communal building|
|Deer were everywhere|
|Dumper the horse|
|She got on, but didn't want to stay on unfortunately|
|First child on|
|Second child on|
|Ready to go|
I was very grateful that the horses were well trained. I have never been on a horse before that wasn't "led" and so was relieve when my horse went into auto mode and followed the other horses. They seem to know to walk nose to tail. We walked right along a cliff right to the top for a magnicifent view of the property. Once again, I was so glad the horses seem to know what they were doing! I was sure we were going to fall off a few times...I was so proud of Jonah. He had no fear. We could hear constant chatter at the front and adjusted himself on the horse when necessary. He even trotted with no problems and handled steep inclines both up and down. He turned around and waved his hat around a few times much to his father's anxiety. On the ride Mal managed to drop my lens cap and then the lens hood somewhere along the trail. Luckily for him, we retrieved both. Someone must have designated today as bear day. We saw another bear, this time one with her cub.
|Off we go!|
|We were very close to the edge!|
|Jonah having a blast|
|A very blurry scenery|
|Back to the ranch building safe and sound|
After our ride, Malcolm foolishly attempted golf with all three children. They fought over the clubs and balls so Malcolm deposited them at the common area and tried again by himself. The children magically found Vic for more uno, Jonah settled himself inside with domino tiles and Malcolm returned content. He convinced the whole family to go up to the 5th tee at the top of the cliff to hit towards the horse barn. Just as the last ball was hit, we heard someone cry out "Lunch!" from down below. We had the best cheeseburger ever for lunch! They had half pounder patties made from the cattle on the property, followed by brownies, cookies and lemon slice.
Vic was intent on making Oma and Opa do something active and managed to convince then to go on a short hike. We took the 4WD truck across the river where Vic allowed Jonah to drive! The child was in heaven. Never mind the fact that we nearly hit a cow or two along the way. Sadly, we had to park the truck and continue on foot up a short but steep incline for another birds eye view of the property! Lara drove us home, as we wanted to go tubing down the river in the sun this time around. Vic took us 500 yards further upstream in the truck. My parents surprised us by coming along! The excess people just hopped on the back of the truck. The water temperature unfortunately had not changed. Opa had great difficulty getting in. He fell out a few times and spent most of his float down paddling like a duck. Oma had too much fun shrieking and laughing at Opa.
|Family golf. Jonah was having a "no picture" moment|
|Relaxing before lunch|
|A serious 8 burner BBQ|
|The ladies starting on their lunch|
|Off road driving by Jonah|
|Crossing the river in the truck|
|Wish I had a Vic to carry me up the hill!|
|The children are off to lead the way|
|The property borders the National Forest|
|We've reached the top!|
|Look to the right|
|then to the left....there's our cabin!|
We timed our tubing well as the weather turned cold and the rain came just as we finished. However, this was the end of our activities for the day. During a break in the rain, the children got to feed deer by hand, this was followed by a shooting session with a .22 caibre rifle. Everyone except Jonah had a go. Elliot and Lara impressively hit the target a few times!
Unfortunately, we had to stop before the rain bucketed down. It was a good time as any to start dinner. We had a Ginormous turkey (26 pound), candied carrots, the most excellent stuffing, and finished off with one of my favourites, pumpkin pie. The children seemed to have developed an affinity for feeding the deer, and happily did this until the sun set.
Vic had promised the children a bonfire. He was zipping up and down the hill straight after dinner collecting things. By the time we arrived at the teepee, he had the fire going, blankets set on the ground and marshmallows ready for roasting. He wanted to show the children how to make s'mores. Jonah had loved his horse ride so much that he wondered off by himself to the barn trying to feed the horses. We had to retrieve him to go back to the bonfire. It didn't take much to convince him to stay!
|Vic giving us our lesson and laying down the rules|
|If Elliot missed, he had to kiss all the girls in his class. He didn't miss.|
|Lara's turn. Even the 6 year old could hit the target.|
|Oma and Opa not wanting to be beaten|
|More deer feeding|
|Jonah roasting marshmallows with Vic|
We have had the most amazing time here at the ranch. It has been so nice to have good old fahioned fun with the children. No stuffy rules, no restrictions because of OH&S, no fears of lawsuit. Nothing but using common sense. The children really were encouraged to have a go and not be afraid. The staff were phenomenal. They are so friendly and would bend over backwards to make sure we had a good time. Even old Gary was a cheeky man. Vic and Jody were excellent with the children. They made a huge effort to engage the children as well as the adults, making sure that everyone could participate in the activities. Malcolm's parents would love this place.
Alas the story has a sad ending...still no fish for Malcolm!