Monday, August 8, 2022

Three Girls and Their Herd

After I uploaded all of these photos of the granddaughters, I began to wonder if I really needed to write what appeared to be one huge  granny brag post. Yes, I am so proud of these girls for their interest in 4-H and their parents for how they are raising their daughters in these odd times. Not all children have the opportunity to have animals, to work hard to show them in completion, and especially not to be afraid to compete with the possibility of probably not winning first place or the reality of even coming in last. They are developing life skills and learning hard lessons. They are learning how to overcome disappointment as well as being a gracious winner.

Mariah, a 20 year old mustang (yes a true mustang born after her mother was captured in a mustang roundup in Arizona) arrived at the the Larimer County Fairgrounds July 30th and spent four days completing in various events, from English Showmanship to Western Showmanship to Ranch Work, and finally gymkhana. Lucy has had her six years and, yes, you can teach an old horse new tricks.

After winning the English division (actually she was the only one entered in her division--but still she did well-- the Western events began with  showmanship, where the rider displays her horse, making it look the most perfect and beautiful as possible. It's not always easy to get a horse to pose perfectly as the judge walks around looking for the the tiniest flaw.

I took hundreds of photos of the different events and it was so hard to decide which ones to post, but you will get the idea. Completion was tough, even though there were 5 in this division. All were excellent riders with beautifully trained horses. We've watched this girls ride and grow for five years and they all just get better and better. The least little mistake will determine a winner. As was the case in this event where Lucy just didn't execute the pattern as accurately as was required and placed 3rd. Over all, Lucy and Mariah won the Western Division, too.

In the Ranch Work set of classes, one event required her to rope a steer. Fortunately a successfully placed rope wasn't required to place in the event because she won all of her ranch events.

Another challenge in the Ranch Work is working with real steers who have minds of their own and tend to cling together where there is safety in the herd. The point of this competition is to select a steer from the herd and "track" it or follow it for at least 15 seconds. The rider can track only steer, but no more than 3  steers for 15 seconds each.

While Lucy is just learning about working with cattle, Mariah knows cows since her previous owner competed in this sort of completion. 

Some steers are docile and play along with the game; others are more insecure and want to get back to their friends.

While other competitors had some difficulty with the calves, Lucy and Mariah were smooth, collected, and calm and won the ranch work division.

 For the horse show, Lucy won overall the English, Western, and Ranch, but was 5 points behind the rider who won grand champion. 

I don't mean this to be all about Lucy and Mariah, but her sisters decided not to participate in the horse show this year.
With the horse show over, Mariah went home and the goats came. Again too many photos to choose from, so but you will get the idea.

Mabel and Pansy are just babies, about half grown. Lucy bought them when they were just a month old and bottle fed them. Now weaned, they will freshen (or be ready to milk next spring) when Lucy will begin her goat milk soap enterprise. 

Showing goats was an entirely new experience and most of the other competitors have been showing goats from the beginning--kids have to be 9 years old to compete in the 4-H fair.

The girls became interested in goats when little sister Lily decided that since she didn't have a horse, maybe goats would be fun, so she and her older sister bought two Boar goats or meat goats, bigger, stronger than the milk goats,  Showing goats is not just a matter of herding them around the arena in front of a judge. They have to be correctly groomed, which requires a lot of work and good technique with the electric clippers, a good bath, and a blow dry. They also have to know how handle the goat in the show arena.

Fair prep begins at home as Lily bathes and blow dries Ann.


Dressed to the 9s to keep clean while she waits her turn in the show ring, Ann looks like a winner.

Lily and Ann worked hard before the show learning what is needed to show a winning goat, but theses kids were skilled goat handlers and Lily was out shown. It's tough having high expectations and hopes and then things don't go the way we imagined them, but that's okay. Not everything goes our way, as Lily learned.

The work to get the goats ready to show actually began at home days before the fair. They were clipped and snipped and lead around the yard and taught how to pose. Dan is quite cooperative as Ellie clips away unwanted hair.

Because these are meat goats, they get a circus ultrasound--I'm not quite sure--to determine their density? Dan takes it all in stride.

Lily's turn in the show ring.

Elinore showed her Boar Goat, Dan, with about the same results. Competition was stiff and the other kids were good.

None of us are sure why Elinore decided to show a hog! Meet Frank, a show pig. These two have quite a special friendship, but not showmanship. The competition is always about the knowledge and hard work before the show and then all of the requirements of good showmanship in the ring and knowing what the judge looks for. 

Goat Sale

Unless the girls decide otherwise, the Boar Goats will go to the 4-H sale with the proceeds shared with the 4-H and the goat owners. It's a hard to spend a year working with with an animal and then sell it, but that's part of agriculture.


Frank, the Hog
As if goats weren't enough, Ellie also took on a hog to show. She and Frank have actually become quite attached to each other, but ultimately Frank will go to the sale, too.

The girls entered 4-H Home show, too with a variety of projects.

Ellie's graduation cap to won grand champion in the leather division, which she made for a good friend who graduated in Animal Science at Colorado State University.

Lily made a cat house for her little cat Sabrina.

Lucy hand tooled a leather belt. Lucy also entered a small quit piece, but it wasn't displayed where I could get a good photo. It, too, won champion.

Ellie added to last year's entomology collection.

Ault Fall Festival
As fair began to wind down, Saturday was our little town's fall festival. The Head Gardener pulls the museum float. Here, he's coming from the neighbor where he picked up the float.

The park on Main Street is full of exciting things to do and see and buy and eat.

The man loves his tractor

Tis is the interior of our museum. It is the old pump house for the original well that provided water for the town. With a grant from the Colorado State Historical Society, we were able to finish the inside for a small museum. We held an open house for the public to see the beginnings of the museum. I'll be writing more about the project as we go. After the open house we headed to the fairgrounds to watch Ellie show Frank and visit the art exhibits.

Fresh cut flowers from the garden.

Gone Fishing

Nathan summer ended with a week with us. He spent most of the time at the fair with the kids, but the he had the Head Gardener have been learning how to fly fish, so while Mariah was settling in at the fair, Nathan and the HG were taking a fly fishing class that began in a classroom in the morning and fishing on the Poudre River in the afternoon. He loved it! So they ended Nathan's week back on the Poudre for one last cast before it's back to school.


Children need things to do. They need goals that challenge them to learn and grow and gain understanding about them and the world around them.  It doesn't matter where they live, can find their won niche when parents and grandparents show them the way and then let them soar. 

These children are so fortunate to have a rural life and animals to love and care for. While the girls live on a small average and Nathan lives in a city cul-de-sac, he has the best of two worlds. He can navigate the city but he is also gets to experience the country life, which he really enjoys. 

As summer winds down, there is still plenty to do here at the Garden Spot, especially as everything was put on hold as I tried to keep up with three girls, one boy, a horse, 4 goats, and hog. (I wore out when the rabbits had their turn.) I am thankful that I'm not these kids's mom! Bless the mothers who herd these four youngster around, giving them goals, values, and challenges. 

I don't often refer to a previous post, but since last week's post didn't get posted on Mosaic Monday, please take look at it as I write about the plight of the Monarch butterfly that has been put on the endangered species list. I give suggestions that gardeners can do to provide important food and habitat for the migrating butterfly. And I encourage you then to spread the word about how to save this beautiful species. 

Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for joining me today. 

I'll be joining Angie for Mosaic Monday. See you there. 


  1. Your must be so proud of your grandchildren. The pictures and stories behind them were so good to read and look at. Thank you for sharing them.

  2. Ah, Thank You. The kids have worked so hard. It's nice to see them active and participating in something worthwhile.

  3. How good to see children engaged in interesting things, with a purpose, rather than spending hours on social media. Well done all your grandchildren!

    1. You are so right. They are busy girls who are well guided by their parents.

  4. Ann - the grandkids of my best friend are very involved in 4-H. They show goats, steers and lambs. So I have a very good sense of what it takes to be a good showman with the various animals. Competition can be tough!!! Our fair starts on the 16th and I am looking forward to it!!! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!


The Last Hollyhock

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