Thursday, September 06, 2012

life on the farm

My mother had actually suggested that we take our vacation in Spruce Pine, seeing as her knitting group has been going to that same exact location for the past 20 years.


Every fall or every spring, or sometimes both fall and spring, at least 25 women from my mother's knitting group would descend for a weekend on the mountain with their knitting needles and yarn.  When I'd mentioned to my mom that we wanted to stop and take the children horseback riding for a few days, she suggested that we consider Spring Maid Mountain because she thought we'd really enjoy it.  This was my first time visiting (but won't be my last) because...


Once again, Mom was right. 


For the entire four days we were there, not once did we see another visitor to the Mountain.  Since we visited the last week of August when most of the children in the area had already begun school, we were practically the only ones there and felt like we had the place to ourselves.  Soon after we'd arrived, Charlie looked at me and said, "I'm afraid that once the novelty of running over the suspension bridge wears off - the kids are going to be totally bored." 



How could they be bored here?


That defies logic!

If all else fails, we can make shadow puppets!


But as we walked around that first day, there were no horses. No people. No sounds except the wind in the trees and the river running across the rocks. 


While this was the perfect setting for me and Charlie, I could see that my husband might have a point.  


As we stood on the edge of the woods and the kids began teasing each other and I began to think that it might be time for bed (them) and a glass of wine (me), something rustling nearby caught our attention. Just then, beautiful horses began descending off the mountain and out from the trees, two by two. 



They'd stayed in the woods during the day when it was warm in the sun, but began to descend in to the grasslands in the cooler late afternoon. Within a matter of minutes, we counted sixteen horses and we gave them 16 x 4 different names (because each child had their own preference). 


The taunting stopped as the kids went bonkers. 


Carolyn, the greatest animal lover of our children, looked at me and with the most excited happy smile I've ever seen grace her beautiful face, said "MOM.  This is the BEST place on earth. Can we stay here FOREVER? I never want to leave!"



After we stood and fed the horses handfuls of grass for no less than an hour, we began walking back to our cabin. As we passed the barn, we saw two orange cats squeeze out through the door. 


When we walked over to investigate.... 


What to our wondering eyes should appear but a fluffy kitten. 



First there was one. 


Then two. 


Then three. 


Then four.  


And our children, who'd already felt like they were in heaven...




Were instantly lost in a sea of delirium. 


That night, as we sat down for dinner - the children bowed their heads and in unison - they all prayed that we never leave this wonderful, wonderful place... 


But IF we have to leave, that everyone gets to take a kitten AND horse home.  Considering there were four kittens and sixteen horses, the kids quickly did their math and determined that they could each have their own kitten and FOUR horses.  When I saw how quickly the kids whipped out that calculation, I realized that they're a whole lot better at math than they've been letting on. 

Turns out, our fears of the kids growing bored were completely unfounded. There's nothing, and I mean nothing, that brings out excitement in a young child (or their 41-year old mother), like a day on the farm.  I'm lucky that my husband has an ounce of sense, because he's the one that talked me down from bringing the farm (in the form of kittens) home with us. 

Thank goodness at least one of us is practical.