Monday, June 19, 2017

3rd Annual Summer Surprise! A Tennessee Dude Ranch!

Honestly I don't know how we are going to top this years Summer Surprise with the grandkids.
It has been our rule that we don't over indulge but I must say that I think we broke that rule.

As usual, they didn't have a clue when or where they were going.
hence...summer surprise.
The mom and dad knew because they had to do a little preparation.
So...on Wednesday we arrived at their home and kidnapped them.

First stop?
The Space Museum in Huntsville, Alabama
I will say that all the kids enjoyed it, but I think 8 and above is probably a better age choice ;)

these two have a really special relationship.

One of their favorite things to do on SS (free breakfast) in their PJs

We stopped at the ohsofun Unclaimed Baggage Store in Scottsboro, Alabama

While we didn't find anything, Evers was super stressed about the amount of wedding gowns people had lost πŸ˜‚

On to Rock City!
What a fun, pleasant surprise!

They have a wonderful little bistro on top of the mountain and I swear it looked like Napa below.
(I was dreaming at that point)

and that wine took the edge off of the incline railway.
(I don't do real well with tracks that go this steep)......
just sayin

and now for the real surprise!

The treat of all treats

A real live Dude Ranch
in the middle of Tennessee!
y'all.  Get ready for photo overload.

We all got to meet our horses.
All little planning helped them perfectly match us to our horses!!!!

The land was just simply breathtaking.
The rolling hills of Middle Tennessee called
Dunlap, Tennessee

Cate quickly became attached to her horse "Sunny"

that Cate

And Ever's horse was named Barney

Bennett had Mist

We immediately got to feed the chickens, meet the baby goats, and the sheep named Barbara

Unfortunately this little calf's mom did not survive the birth so the kids got to feed him

Barbara the sheep

This was the dairy cow named "Sheeba"
She was milked 4 times a day which provided milk, cream to make cheese and other milk stuff!

yep, those are her utters! She produces about 5 gallons of milk a day

that is Sheeba's milk!

We gathered eggs for breakfast

After the first day we were there, the next morning, we fed the horses, learned how to groom them, (scrubbed them, brushed them and cleaned their hoofs 😳)
I even braided my horses mane...why of course!

this was "W"s horse TC
(stands for Triple Chance)

I think Bennett was made to work on a farm.

And this was my beauty!

After all the chores were done, we had a two hour lesson on riding, packed a lunch and took off on a 4 hour trail ride.
This wasn't just your run of the mill trail ride.
We rode like real live cowboys, through rough terrain.
We even saw a snake😱

Brice our wrangler

We saw some amazing peacocks!

After our ride, we arrived back at the ranch, took the saddles, the pads, the saddle bags, the bridals off, hung them all up like regular ole cowboys do.
We cleaned the poop out of the stalls....yep.
watered and fed the horses, washed and washed our horses and went to bed.
Totally exhausted.

The next morning at promptly 6:30 a.m. we were back up working!!!
Feeding the calf, milking the cow, and feeding our horses.

And...getting ready for a good old cowboy breakfast.
Served from a covered wagon.

Yenny from Honduras cooks the most amazing meals!
She grinds the wheat and makes the bread from scratch, she makes the butter from the cream from the cow.  She even makes homemade cheese!
oh, and just let me tell you about the biscuits.....
This morning she made the homemade dough from wheat for us to make our own tortillas!

The kids (and adults) LOVED rolling our own tortillas and making them on and open fire in an iron skillet.

First we got to learn how to grind our own wheat like they did 1000's of years ago

the wheat

and after it was ground

we rolled out our tortillas!

and they were ready to cook!

and the result of our cowboy breakfast.

After another 4 hour ride, we cleaned the stalls again, fed our horses, and consoled Cate because she was sobbing about leaving Brice, Natalie and her horse Sunny.

(she thought she was going to get to keep him)

I can honestly say that we have raised the bar on our Summer Surprise vacations.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this place and the people who run it.

I would SO encourage each and every one of you to experience this vacation.
This is a wonderful Christian family! They are extremely safe and thorough and they make everything SO fun for children and adults alike.

This was truly one of the most wonderful experiences of my life!!!

If you happen to book a vacation with them, please tell them I sent you! πŸ˜‰
They can accommodate many, many people from family reunions, to small groups.  They also offer a huge variety of events such as cooking classes and lots of other fun stuff!!!
We will be going back...that's fer shur!
ye haw!!!

Have a wonderful day y'all!