Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve really written about life here on the Ranch - mostly because I don’t want to bore you with the same ol’ stories all the time. But I definitely have some catching up to do!

We have OFFICIALLY made it through the guest season! Our last big group of guests leaves the ranch tomorrow, and we just have a few people trickling in and out in the next few weeks. Three women will be in this next weekend and two men in late October (just before we leave). There may be a few others, but that’s really it. Wow!!!!! So now we’re working in reverse - moving from the outdoor kitchen back indoors (thank goodness - the days have been getting cold), closing down some of the cabins for the winter season and “mouserizing” them. (That’s a new verb - it means preventing the mice from nesting in the linens). Getting ready to pull all of the flowers as their season ends. Pulling up what isn’t cold-weather hardy in the garden. Basically, undoing everything that’s been done. We may even be moving back into the bunkhouse so they can shut off the water to our cabin, although the verdict is still out on that one.

Speaking of gardens, did I tell you that we had our first frost on LABOR DAY?! I mean, I know we’re in Wyoming, but sheesh! It snuck up on me and killed the squash plants, the peppers, the beans and half of the outdoor tomato plants. Bummer. The good news? The Cauliflower are still growing (crossing my fingers that they get large enough to FINALLY harvest); the beets, carrots, celery root, potatoes, onions and peas were totally unharmed; and through some major fluke, the frost missed the melons, which were saved because they’re pressed up against the glass of the greenhouse. There are some decent sized melons on the vine right now, and I just hope I get at least one of them ripened. Even without threat of frost I’m covering them with plastic at night now - they like warmth.

I am very excited to report that I harvested my first potatoes this weekend, and Tony served them as part of his seven course meal. They were Yukon Golds, mashed, and so beyond buttery - if you’ve never had fresh dug potatoes before, you’ve never really HAD potatoes. The flavor is incredible! Something about the fact that I actually GREW POTATOES makes me preen a little. Which is totally silly considering that potatoes are the EASIEST plant I’ve ever grown. Put em in the ground, make sure they get some water every couple of days, and when the plant starts producing blooms, you know that there are some thin-skinned “new” potatoes to be dug up. If you’d rather, you can wait until the plant withers and dies, and just dig up potatoes as you need them. The longer you leave them in the ground, the hardier their skins get. Seriously - plant em, give em some water and dig em up. And you can even do them in barrels or trash cans if you want - they take up very little space, and it’s so exciting to dig them up!!!!!

I am ALSO excited to report that I harvested my first eggplants last week. Why am I excited? Well... eggplant is a tropical veggie and likes really warm temperatures. And we’re in Wyoming. Wyoming is ALWAYS cold at night, plus we only had about a month of nice, warm weather this summer. By keeping the Eggplant inside the greenhouse where it’s nice and toasty, and keeping them in pots instead of raised beds, I was able to keep the plants warm enough to produce fruit. As Sheldon Cooper (from one of our favorite shows - THE BIG BANG THEORY) would say... “Bazinga!”

Indy chased one of the cats up a tree this week - again. He reports that it was a total blast and he’s very disappointed that he didn’t get the cat this time. (I was rooting for the cat’s escape - I just can’t tell Indy that, it’d break his heart). He also would like me to tell you that he caught a bird and a mouse in the garden this week and couldn't understand why his mama wasn't thrilled with his dead, mangled treasures.

Last weekend, while all the boys were out of town, Kimmie and I went to a fundraiser for the Valley School - it is a modern, one-room schoolhouse that serves the Upper Southfork. They're raising money for a new playground set, and Heidi and J.W.'s kids will attend school there, so we thought we'd go support them. Great classroom (recently remodeled), and only 7 students in 5 grades. Yes, America, there are still one room schoolhouses. And you know what? The kids at schools like that get to have things like this tepee set up for them. How cool is that? What did you do for recess today? Played in the tepee! I only ever got to stay in a Tepee at Girl Scout Camp in 2nd Grade, and I came home a week later with mats in my hair and wearing the same underwear I wore when I left. (TMI, I know... but in 2nd grade you have better things to think about than changing your underwear or brushing your hair!)

The tepee in the process of being put up. They put it together traditionally - it was very cool to see!

Jason and I are getting ready to head off on our “work” drive to New Hampshire. I should know exactly which day we’re headed out soon. What I do know is that Jason is dropping me at the Airport in Albany, NY on October 5 so I can take four different flights to get back to Cody. What I also know is that we should be making a brief detour through Ann Arbor so I can see my Alma Mater for the first time since I graduated. This way we get to celebrate our 1st Anniversary together (something that I think is VERY important), and I get to get off the ranch for a few days (also important since I’m getting a little itchy to get going right now)! This also means that Jason will almost certainly miss my birthday (his trip continues to several different cities), but since it’s just my 29th I can deal. If it was my 30th? We’d have a problem. :) Either way, he’ll probably be back on the ranch around October 18-19, a week before it’s time for us to finish up and head for Florida.

Speaking of my Alma Mater, Michigan is now 3-0. Go Blue!

Hmmm... what else? We’re really getting excited for our fall/winter adventuring and are considering trading our week in Paris in January for a week of scuba diving in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas or Cabo in February. We are still planning on two weeks in South Africa at the end of January. Then, to fill both of our desires to go back to Europe, we’re talking about a couple weeks of traveling on the cheap to several countries (including France) next Fall after we finish our season at the Ranch. Who knows how it will all pan out, but both Jason and I are fully committed to embracing our adventure while we are footloose and fancy-free!

So that’s it for this longer than intended update - Check back for the tales of Napoleon the Hummingbird and Bertha the Bee!

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