Mommy, see da’ horsey?

Yesterday went much smoother. Plans, shmans. After our sunrise on the porch, it was time to get ready for horseback riding. Steve, the stable man said Sydney could come to the stable early to help curry and saddle the horses. I made sure breakfast happened early and she headed out. Rob and I took our time getting there. I don’t know about him, but I was a bit apprehensive about mounting a horse and going for a ride…something I haven’t done in at least 30 years.

When Rob got there, the blacksmith (he gave the official name of his profession to Rob, but I can’t remember) was there, shoeing horses. Steve had Sydney currying and brushing and saddling horses and they had become great chums. Rob has some really great footage of the two guys, father and son, that were shoeing. We’ll upload videos when we have a more constant INTERNET CONNECTION. Sorry, don’t mean to get loud when I say that…it just comes out that way…like the word WATER to a thirsty man. First, Steve asked Sydney if she wanted to climb a set of steps and mount from there. He chided her a bit and sweet talked her into mounting from the ground. But, then he ‘bout talked himself out of a tip by getting her to challenge us to do the same. Quite impolitely, if I might add. Taunting us. The brat. And, laughing hysterically all the while. Rob’s horse came out next. Damn. He mounted from the ground. (Quite nicely, too.) What in the hell am I gonna do if I fall on my fat arse right in the middle of this paddock? Out comes my horse. The tallest one of the lot. ARGHHHHH. But a beautiful red/brown color. The kind of color you want to quilt with. Okay, not gonna lie to ya’. I done myself proud on the back a’ that gelding horse. Up in the saddle in one pull. Steve even commented “Looks like you done that before.” It was a very proud moment.

The trail ride was wonderful. The scenery was great, natural beauty around and over the mountaintop. We saw deer that had no fear of us, living in this protected wildlife refuge. We had to wait for them to cross in front of us, so they wouldn’t spook the horses. It is dry here and the hot day on Monday left the mountain dusty. At one point, we were at the highest point in Carroll County, Arkansas. Me. On horseback. Can ya’ believe it?

Okay, I have no idea what that face is about, but I promise, we didn't make her cry. That's Steve next to her...all 109 pounds of him. Talks to those ponies like they were little boys.

The whole time we were out, Steve talked. Steve is a very interesting man and if conversation lapses, all you have to do is ask him a question and he’ll tell you what he knows about it in his slow country drawl. Rob asked how he came to live and work on Pond Mountain and he told us stories about his neighbor that is 78 and was born on the mountain. He told us that Judy bought the mountaintop, home and land, from the people the owned the “Tony Home Perm” company. Remember them from a long time ago? Steve has a horticulture degree and came here to landscape and ended up working on the mountain for Judy. When the stable man retired, Judy was looking for another. Steve said “I can do that” and that’s what he does now. Why? "Cuz the work is easy and you just spend your days horsin’ around". Steve’s been riding since he was three. He started on a bucking bronco. He rode that horse and rode that horse…until the quarter ran out. We loved it. Course, Sydney had to tell him we were enjoying his stories, so for a minute, he was embarassed 'cause he wasn't telling stories. He was just talkin'. But, he warmed right back up in just a minute.

Sydney had to wear a helmet, much to her dismay, because she is under 18. At one point along the trail, her helmet came off and fell just under my horses nose. I saw it happen. I felt him jump under me, and while he was way too good a horse to be any danger, I still found myself doing all the right things to keep myself balanced, no matter what he did and to get a good hold on the reins. Another proud moment that no one saw. And, all from memory.

After that, and showers, we decided to give downtown another try. No pressure. If we find a place to park, great. If not, we’ll shop on the outskirts. And, of course, just when you take the pressure off, there’s an empty parking lot, two blocks from where we want to be, on a side street. Okay, so parking was easier because Tues-Thurs are the slow days in town, so lots of shops were closed, but we still managed to get into at least one shop of every kind we wanted. One yarn shop. One quilt shop.

This is the parking lot we parked in. It was a flat spot, chiseled out of the moutainside with stone and cement walls all around it.

The Quilt Shop we got into had gotten a bad review on the internet. Someone complained that the “hand quilting” was 3 stitches to the inch and the quilts were expensive. Now, I will argue with that. It is not true. The Quilt Shop had two different kind of quilts and you had to walk past the cheap ones that were indeed quilted 3 to the inch to get to the hand quilted Amish quilts in the back. And, suddenly the price went from $88 to $1500. And, the quilts were wonderful. I got caught taking a picture and asked to stop. "The Amish are private people and we respect their privacy by asking you not to photograph their original works of art." But, really, I don’t think she wanted me to be able to use the pictures for profit or to reproduce the quilts.

Out of respect, I deleted that pic, but not the others I took. I'm such a rebel. She came down to talk to us and somehow caught me on the spot about what we were doing in there and I just flat out told her I'm a quilter and I was pointing out to Rob why some of these quilts were less expensive and some were very expensive and that it was the size of the quilting stitch, etc. She talked to us a bit and explained that these quilts are one or two year projects and that they are each quilted by a single quilter so there won't be a difference in the quilting across the quilt.

The stitches were tiny. On these two quilts, probably 15 stitches to the inch and beautiful work, but I didn't see any of the fancy quilting I'm used to from the Amish. Most of it was straight line work. And, the quilt tops were very "un-Amish". But, beautiful work, nonetheless, even if I did get in trouble for taking pictures of it.

And, we got into a yarn shop where I bought enough olive green cotton yarn to make new carpet for the whole house. Okay, not really, but at least 3 pounds on a spool (believe me, I had to lug it around all day). Funny, I was bidding on very similar yarn a few days ago on ebay and my max bid was the marked price on the spool. And, I didn’t have to pay shipping. Can’t beat that. I like crocheting rugs for some reason and if I can do it on the cheap, I can continue to enjoy that.

We had a great lunch at the Local Flavor Café, which was on the opposite side of downtown from the truck. Huge burgers and sandwiches. Delicious fries. And, cold iced tea. Then, we walked back through town and shopped our way to the truck. We bought all the souvenir-trinket-fake-crap that tourists are supposed to buy. We are so normal.

Shopping here is a bit frustrating. First, there are lots of handcrafters and artisans. Well, we’re the kind of people that if we want handcrafted items, we learn to make them ourselves. And, we understand why someone would charge $43 for a skein of hand dyed sockyarn. It’s just that much effort. The other plentiful stores sell antiques, but the prices are so dang high that we aren’t picking much up.

Here's the banner that runs across one of the major three streets in downtown, announcing diversity weekend. Wow.

I did find this absolutely stunningly beautiful quilt. I coveted this quilt in the most sinful way. Tiny hand stitching. The beautiful green and white combination. I was running one hand over the quilt and wiping the drool off my chin with the other. But, the price was prohibitive. Prohibitive. And, these people don’t bargain. 10% off is the max. We did find one antique store where the prices were good and there were things I didn’t pick up there because it was our first stop. But, we might have to go back.

This is the valley from Inspiration Point.

This is $600 worth of sewing machines that I could buy any day on ebay for less than $200 including shipping. Remember. No bargaining. And, who can blame them. This weekend there will be ten thousand gay people here, all with disposable cash they want to spend. Bargain next week.

This is my little sewing area, before we put towels over the windows to block the heat. We were much cooler last evening. Course, over night, it gets real cool outside and we wake up freezing.

After shopping, we all went down for a swim and I had some sewing time and we grilled steaks and baked potatoes and had a salad for dinner and watched a movie and it was time for bed.

It was 110* yesterday on Pond Mountain. We covered the windows with towels and my plastic tablecloth/design wall. Same things we’d have done at home if it was 110* Good reasons not to cook inside the cabin. I got more sewing time and am about ready to lay my quilt out on the wall and take a first picture. It’s one of those “make 16 of these and make 16 of these and 16 of these and then sew them all together", so it doesn’t look like much until the very end.

Take care from the edge of the forest at 1788 feet above sea level. Where the deer and the ponies do range. Where a home perm mogul built a house that later became an inn that now shelters the family from Texas.

'Scuse me, Tea Party, but just how much more normal do you think it's gonna get?

Today, we drive to Joplin to have lunch with Rob’s best friend from high school. More driving. Yippee. Where’s my knitting? If I had a crochet hook, I'd start a new rug.



birdmommy said...

You said that the blacksmith had another name for his job - was it farrier? (we spent about an hour talking to one at the local pioneer village last summer. He is a real full time farrier, but volunteers at the pioneer village on weekends so people can see what the work was actually like).

Paul said...

i LOVE horseback riding, so hearing that you were able to made me a wee bit jealous.

I'll make a long story short... The first time I took my son horseback riding, I went along to, in my wife's words, "Keep him safe and don't let him get hurt". IN a ridiculously silly moment of complete lack of common sense, I decided to show off for my son and ride a horse I did not know bareback. The horse immediately responded to my kick, unfortunately my hands did not respond to my brain's signal to HOLD ON, and I wound up kicked off. I snapped my arm in two and got a nice ride in an ambulance. Because they feared possible neck injury I was completely immobilized much to the horror of my son who was momentarily convinced I was going to die.

Two days later I went back and rode that horse for real to prove to my son that the horse was not evil, his father just acted STUPIDLY!!

Enjoy your Vacation...

Becky said...

Fabulous day!! The blacksmith's professional title is a farrier. Sydney looks like she is having fun as well! I have never heard of the no photos of Amish QUILTS for cryin' out loud!!! That would put a ton of magazines out of business wouldn't it? I'd stop by a Wally world and get a crochet hook....chances you would have a rug complete by the time you get home!

Looking forward to the next installment!! Be safe!

Impera_Magna said...

Thank you for sharing your vacation adventures... I'm glad you three are having a great time!

Barb H said...

Lane, you must remember that one person's "normal" is another's "abnormal," and who knows what a tea partier's "normal" is? Sounds like you're having a great time on your vacation.

Vesuviusmama said...

What a fun post chronicling what must have been an amazing day!

Glenn Dragone said...

Glad you're having a good time.

I love the aqua and white quilt...

Piece by Piece said...

Glad you are having such a good time.

Marla said...

It sounds like you are all having a good time. Last time I was on a horse was when my baby was 2 years old. She is now 24. Hmmm. I bet you were more graceful than I would be. About the Amish. Yes they are private about not wanting to have their pictures taken but nothing I have ever read about them says anything not wanting their quilts being photographed. Sounds like that lady was trying to protect her merchandise from being copied. Hope you can show more pictures later. I want to go to Eureka Springs someday. By the way, Judy Laquidara from Patchworktimes.com goes to Joplin frequently. Do you read her blog? Let us know how Joplin is doing. I feel so sorry for that town.