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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It Takes A Village. Plus Some Cows, Horses, and Great Neighbors

You know what I wanted to be when I grew up?

A cowgirl.

Yup. A cowgirl.

I pictured myself something like this:

Lassoing me some cowboys... and maybe the occasional cow.

But not so much like this:

Cuz that's just too darn glittery. And patriotic. (I mean, I love America and all, but I don't think I need to look like a flag to prove it.)

And definitely not like this:

Instead I grew up to be an English teacher married to a comic book loving attorney and living in Orange County.

So instead of herding cows, I herd children. Which is harder-- in some ways-- because you can't just put them out to pasture for weeks at a time. Especially in the summertime. Believe me, I've tried. They keep finding their way home and complaining, "it's too hot to play outside" followed by "can I play Wii?"

But summer is about freedom, you say.

Not when it means kids inside my house all day, it don't.

And so my summer is spent herding them between different bodies of water--the pool, the lake, the beach, an occasional water fountain. When they tire of one I take them to another. As long as they are good and worn out by bedtime, the day can be counted as a success. 

Sometimes we even throw Disneyland into the mix. But not often, because it is the Hottest Place On Earth-- not the happiest--during the summer.

All in all, it's not a bad life. Quite good in fact. So I haven't really missed my dream of being a cowgirl.

That is until I planned a little Jane Austen- length sojourn in the country. (You know how her characters always go to some poor shlep's country manor and stay for an inordinate amount of time? Ya, that kind of sojourn).

You see, my parents bought this place waaay out in the sticks in a little village called Avon (how appropriate is that for an Austenesque visit?) -- just past Paradise. For real--that's not some cliche "they live in paradise" comment--it's really named that. Those pioneers, they knew how to name a place.

 From my windows at home I can see my neighbor's yard--which is lovely--and the street. And if people drive by at the right time of day they may get a view of me streaking across my hallway in my underwear. Not quite as lovely.

This is the view from my parents' house:
Nice, huh? Plus, if someone happens to have their binoculars out and sees me streak across the hallway in my underwear, they likely have the same kind. So, you know, it's not as embarrrassing to be caught sans pants here.

And,another bonus, while my neighbors are quite nice, my parents' neighbors are saints. And I don't mean that in a Latter-Day kind of way. They're actual, honest to goodness, on-the-path-straight-to-heaven, kind of saints who took it upon themselves to teach my kids how to work. And not the empty the dishwasher, fold the clothes, kind of work I've tried to teach them. 

Nope. They're teaching them the herd the cows, move some pipe, shovel some sh...tuff, kind of cowboy/girl work that never ends. So Girl 1 and Girl 2 have been watering horses, herding cows, and showing calves at the Cache County Fair. And here are the pictures to prove it:

on the cattle drive

At the fair

At the fair

That's right. My California surfer girls have gone country.  From their pigtails and belt buckles right on down to their jeans and boots. There's no flip-flop wearin' when you're troddin' through cow poop up to your ankles. (I've even hopped on board by takin' up my Idaho/Utah accent again. This way I can be country, but keep my open-toed footwear)

They also got themselves a little education in biology and genetics when they asked where their calves' daddies were and the 15 year old neighbor told them "Iowa" and then his daddy sang them the song he sings to his heifers called When I A.I. You. (for the uninitiated in cow breeding,  A.I. is short for artificially inseminate).

Then those saintly neighbors came and sang us some songs while they played their fiddle, guitar and bass. And it was some mighty fine entertainment. Even better than the Disneyland Band.

And I'm sorely tempted to stay here. But, as I did not marry Mr. Darcy, I had to leave poor hubby behind in the salt mines of his California law firm to earn the money to fund my kids' dude-ranch-on-the-cheap experience.

Thus, we will soon trade in the boots and manure for flip-flops and sand. But hopefully my kids will take back an appreciation for hard work.

If not, I've got them scheduled for another cowgirl experience next year. Who knew workin' so hard would be the most fun they've had all summer?


Debby James said...

The best part of your blog is the picture of Emma WITHOUT a book in her hand! Your blogs are really funny. The vomiting one was super funny, but I stopped eating my melon in the middle of reading it. Something just didn't taste right. Keep the laughter coming!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I"m getting you a t-shirt with that first picture on it.

Becca said...

Love. Love the cowgirl pics. Love the sexy udder cow best. Love the Jane references. And mostly, LOVE how dropping final "gs" and losing all internal "ts" takes you right back to your Utah?Idaho roots.

Melinda said...

Love it, thats so cool they got to do that! Now I need to find me some poor schlup to take me and my kids on for the summer...

Enjoy Birth said...

Can I pay you to take my boys with you next summer? They would LOVE it! I guess I could come too and keep an eye on them as I sit on the porch drinking lemonade and reading.

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