Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Desert Boy the train

I mentioned in my last post that one of the ways that I can keep Desert Boy hiking is having him pretend to be a train. Seeing him in action will give you a better idea of what that entails--with the arm motions, different speeds, sound effects, and youthful energy. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sub-alpine Hike

A couple weeks ago I wanted to go on a hike. My husband was at work, which meant that it was going to be me and the kiddies. So I mentally geared up. Even though it can be a bit of a challenge to go for a hike with two young ones, I really wanted to get out of the desert heat and escape to the mountains. So we packed our backpacks (Desert Boy is required to carry one now, although I take out most of what he puts in it), and headed up to 10,000 feet to the trailhead. The temperature was fabulous, in the 60's.

The trail I selected was a loop, about two and a half miles long. I carried Desert Girl in a baby carrier, which meant Desert Boy was going to have to hike the entire way by himself. I knew physically he could do it, but mentally he would have to be persuaded. So we played games, and he remembered one from a previous hike, where we looked for hollowed out stumps.

The flaky bark on this Engelmann spruce caught my eye, a victim of spruce beetles.

I showed Desert Boy all the flaky bark at the base and the numerous holes in the bark on the tree. He probably won't remember it at all, but sometimes I can't muffle the ecologist in me! Even if my audience is a three-year old.

Bridges and elevated walkways are automatically counted in the fun category, and they don't take any extra persuading to cross.

We spotted this unusual knot in an aspen tree. Where I grew up, the Native Americans and early settlers sometimes twisted trees like this to mark trails, but I'm not sure what caused this one.

Then Desert Boy started in on the "Are we there yet?" questions. I had told him that we were going to visit two lakes, and although it was apparent that we weren't at a lake, he couldn't resist asking the question.


So we started a new game: throwing pine cones.

It was a pretty good game, lasting about five minutes.

Then it was back to, "Are we there yet?"

Fortunately we found some more distractions: some deer and then this Uinta chipmunk.

Then we proceeded with more of the same question.

Finally we got to the lake, and both kids were delighted. Desert Boy was mainly happy because I would finally let him eat a snack, and Desert Girl was happy because she could sit.

She cooperated with me for a scenic photo.

And then she said, "Come on mama, isn't that enough? I think you're taking too many photos."

Desert Girl can be opinionated like that.

Besides taking photos of my adorable kids, I also took lots of flower photos. I've been able to keep up my A Plant a Day blog better than I expected this summer, and in the process have been able to learn many more plants. I even jumped into the grasses, a plant family that has intimidated me in the past.

Oh, and if you're wondering what the flower is, it's some kind of aster. I'm not actually one hundred percent sure which one. I have a few (or more than a few) photos of plants that I still have yet to identify. So when it's all cold and snowy this winter, I'll be able to reminisce about the warm summer weather by looking at my 'unknown plant' photo file.

It was obvious that winter isn't all that far away by the low level of the second lake. Most of it had evaporated or drained away during the summer.

Some other people were at the lake when we were, and Desert Boy decided that they were his friends (we had never seen them before, but Desert Boy didn't let that stop him). He wanted to hike back to the trailhead with them. So when they left, we scurried to pack up our backpack contents and started running after them.

Desert Boy followed closely for a long way. Then he got distracted by some logs.

He wanted to walk on the logs, and I told him to go ahead.

He was balancing carefully. Oh, and if you're wondering about the outfit, he picked it out. He really wanted to wear the pajama bottoms, and I didn't see that it mattered, so I told him fine. He has quite the fashion sense.

He continued playing on the logs until he fell, then we managed to catch up to the other hikers (who had stopped to talk to other hikers). We followed them back to the trailhead, Desert Boy entertaining them by pretending to be a train. He was a very loud train, especially since he had packed his train whistle, but they fortunately didn't care.
It was a great hike, especially once Desert Boy stopped asking, "Are we there yet?" He didn't ask that any after the first lake.

Thank you to all hikers who encourage little kids--it does make a difference!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Emma Laughing

Sometimes there's nothing like a little baby laughter to totally brighten your day, to make you reevaluate your priorities, to lighten your load, to help you live in the moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Day at the Fair

On Saturday we went to the local county fair to watch the nieces and nephews show their animals, enjoy the exhibits and booths, and eat some yummy, unhealthy, hey-I-only-eat-it-once-a-year fair food (like fry bread).

We got there in time to see the large class of steers. Before entering the arena, the steers (and in some cases, the kids) were given a last brush. Note that Caleb has his number on in the above photo.

The steers were led into the grassy show arena.

Clay, Alyshia, and Caleb were all in this class, and had really big steers! Alyshia's had been behaving on the ranch, but in the show arena he kept wanting to make a getaway, making Alyshia run after him.

They walked them around so that the judge could get a view of all sides.

Note Caleb's shirt now. There are safety pins, but no number. Where did it go?

Apparently his steer thought it would taste yummy and ate his number off of him. Completely.

Clay smiled as he listened to his mom.

The judge ended up awarding Clay, Caleb, and Alyshia blue ribbons. He commented that their steers looked like they were from a commercial cattle ranch. He was right about that!

Next we walked around the booths. Desert Boy had fun collecting free stuff like yoyos and balloons and crayons. He also really liked this game where he threw ping pong balls into a house that had areas open to show where fires could burn.

Then it was back to the arena to watch the Showmanship round. Megan did a good job with her sheep. We were informed that Desert Boy will be able to take a sheep to the fair the summer after next. Yikes, that seems soon! And I know about nothing about sheep!

Alyshia's misbehaving steer kept up the act the second time around, while her dad and uncle looked on from the fence.

Caleb (with a new number attached) did a good job and won a Grand Champion for the junior showmanship class. That meant he got to compete in the round robin and also show a sheep and a pig; the latter was a new experience for him.

Caleb's steer.

After visiting more animals like ducks and rabbits and chickens, we went through the exhibit hall and wandered around again. We were lucky to catch a competition about to start.

It was the watermelon eating contest, and Desert Boy was willing to compete in the 0-3 year old division.

On your marks, get set...notice the boy on the left and the girl on the far right didn't really think it necessary to wait for the "go."

They had one minute to eat as much as they could. The girl next to Desert Boy needed a little coaching.

She's taken a couple bites, while Desert Boy keeps chomping down. Usually he hates the seeds, but he didn't complain at all about them.

It seemed like a long minute, but finally the time was up. The kids had to stop eating and the judges tried to figure out who had eaten the most.

And the winner was Desert Boy! He got a nice first place medal. He also achieved a very slimy shirt, hands, and face.

He was happy to keep eating the watermelon. And Desert Girl was happy to assist. She'll be ready for this age group next year!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Last Saturday we went to a nearby town for the team roping competition. I had never been to such an event before, and I was very excited to see what it was all about. When we got there, several of the participants were walking and trotting around the arena to get warmed up.

It was also a fundraiser for the local junior and senior high schools, which will be taking a trip to Washington, D.C. next year. Some of the kids were there to help with the event.

And then it was time to start. In case you've never been to a team roping event, here are the basics:
1. Two people chase a steer with horns and try to rope it.
2. The first roper is called the header and tries to lasso the horns.
3. The second roper is called heeler and tries to lasso the two back legs.
4. They only get one try.

This event wasn't timed, so they either succeeded or not. A success could be full, being both back legs roped, or partial, with just one back leg roped.

There were two competitions, a morning and afternoon. For the morning competition there were 35 teams. Some people only went once, while others went more than ten times. Each competitor had to pay $25 to compete. The purse was split between stock charges (a fee to take care of the steers), and the winning three teams.

Glen was the guy who organized it. He's been to many roping competitions and makes it look easy.

Here are the steers in a chute waiting for their turn to outrun the ropes.

While the cowboys and cowgirls waited, they practiced their form.

When the team was ready, the header nodded at Blake, operating the chute. He opened it, and a steer raced out, followed by the horses.

I've tried roping a fake steer standing still in my inlaws yard and couldn't even manage that. Trying to rope a moving steer from a moving horse takes a lot of practice.

Once the ropers either missed or caught it, the steer was taken to the far end of the arena where the teenagers took off the rope, if needed, and let it through to the holding pen.

The speed is really impressive. Each try at roping was over in less than a minute.

Above, the header is getting the rope around the steer's horns. Each steer wears protective head gear.

Here's another header trying to catch a steer.

Desert Boy was happy to spectate with Carol and Sam while I wandered around with Desert Girl taking photos.

More ropes waiting their turn. The roper on the far left might be familiar to you from previous posts.

It's Lee, our 90 year-old cowboy. He was lamenting that he was no longer a good roper. He's still better than 99.9% of the population! I sure couldn't do what he was doing that day!

It was neat watching the ropers swing their ropes. They don't use just any old rope, they have very special ropes for roping, with a certain heft and flexibility. After being used for awhile, the ropes develop kinks and have to be retired for basket making or odd jobs.

Ben had a really good camera and probably got much better photos than me. Someday I may get a better camera, but first I have to be willing to haul it around!

Sam concentrated hard on the competition.

This young cowboy watched intently. I wouldn't be surprised if he's competing in ten years.

After all the steers had had their turn, it was time to bring them back for another round.

There's a little score booth where the score keeper can keep track of how everyone is doing and announce who's up next. Out of 35 teams, about a dozen were successful ropers in the first round, so they went on to a second round. Only three were successful then, and there were no ties, so it was only three rounds long.

In the afternoon there were ties, so there were many more rounds.

Here the header has roped the horns and the heeler is swinging his rope tried to get the back legs.

Caitlin and Creg were one of the teams that were tied, so they had to rope many times.

Caitlin has successfully roped the horns.

And then Creg gets a leg. The steer is quickly released.

Meanwhile the younger kids found a chute to play in. We also ate a delicious barbeque lunch and bought some bake sale items to support the fundraising efforts.

And out in the arena, the roping continued. It was getting pretty warm and the kids were ready for their naps, so we got ready to go.

I don't think it's something that I'll ever be able to do, but watching the competition was quite entertaining. And now I can say I've seen some team roping!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates