Monday, December 15, 2014

rainy day at the ranch

a couple of weeks ago on a wonderfully cool rainy day in southern california, i got to join the bean's class as a chaperone for a fun field trip to hurst ranch.


i actually thought i'd never heard of this place before until we arrived and i remembered that the teen attended a dance back in her freshman year here.  this is also a popular venue for weddings and other gatherings.  it's rather picturesque, even in the rain.




after a quick welcome in what looked like a ballroom, the kids were separated into several groups guided by volunteers dressed in ranching/farming attire.  our first guide was farmer george, who taught the kids all about farming and harvesting walnuts.



antique equipment was on display everywhere.





next, cowboy larry took them around the old bunk house and showed them what the living quarters for a ranch foreman looked like back in the day.


he also gave them a quick demo of how to handle a lasso.


 the bean was super excited to be chosen to turn the crank on the (nonworking) antique car.


 they all took turns cranking, shaking, passenger-ing, and "driving" the car.


the next station was my favorite - they got to juice an orange and then taste the fruits of their efforts.  fruits...get it?  har har har.





a couple of the boys were overheard grumbling "all that work for this little cup of juice?"  yes, boys. it ain't always all fun and games.

next up:  making fresh butter.  they were each handed a little mason jar with about a cup of heavy whipping cream in it, and were instructed to shake the shit out of it until it solidified.


it only took maybe five minutes of shaking (during which there was more grumbling heard out of the boys), and then this came out:


the guides slathered some of that creamy goodness onto saltine crackers, and everyone grubbed down - parents and teachers included.  it really was delicious, and of course it made me want to go home and make my own butter too (i haven't done it yet, though).


quick selfie!


then they took turns ringing the bell that told the whole ranch that it was time to switch stations.


just before they were dismissed to eat their sack lunches, they got to play on the old tractors.


we'd only been there for about three hours, but i was wiped out.  exhausted, i tell you!  keeping an eye on a handful of wiggly, curious, precocious 7-year-olds is a job i don't think i could be paid enough to do.  i gotta hand it to you teachers - not that i didn't already have mad respect for what you do, but damn.  ain't no way.  i just cannot thank teachers enough for all the work you put into teaching and caring for and shaping the minds of our children.

i'll stick to baking cookies, thankyouverymuch.  heh.

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