Thanks to my wonderful mother, who well understands the appeal of a ranch (we lived on a cattle ranch for many beautiful seasons of my childhood), my husband and I were married at the 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott, CO in the late summer of 2006. We had not been back to revisit that spot since bringing home our daughter in 2008. Our first day in Vail dawned grey, but cleared into a stunner of a highcountry winter's day - warm, clear and dry. The very best of Colorado weather.
So we decided it was high time we introduce Q to the ranch.
4 Eagle's homesteader cabins date back to the 1880s. The larger ones are used for events, while the smaller ones are fitted out homesteader-style so that when you step inside, you can imagine yourself in another time.
In one of those small cabins, fitted with a small Christmas tree for the holidays, Q found a tin heart with a little cowboy hand-painted in it. Now, the Q has very definite ideas about what things in life she wants, and which she can do without. She had picked up various small objects in that cabin - a beaded star, a horseshoe, a couple of decorative coathangers, but put all of them back except for the heart, which she clutched possessively to her chest.
In turn, she pressed the heart to daddy's chest, and then to mine, before running across the snow holding it high over her head to see its shadow. Sometimes, you can buy some of the artifacts that you find scattered around the ranch buildings, so we set off to track down one of the ranch owners and ask if we might purchase this little tin heart for Q. Not only did she let us, but after hearing that we'd been married there, she decided that it would be a gift.
Out back of the ranch buildings, we found a rabbit hutch and a pair of Pygmy goats to nibble at our fingers. I don't know about you, but I love having my fingertips nibbled by goats. I indulge in it every chance I get (which isn't, let's face it, all that often).
I may have mentioned before, while I may be partial to goats, the Q is a bit of a rabbit afficionado. We had to physically carry her away from the rabbit hutch.
Inside the dancing tent, where the dance floor is strewn with fresh straw, and the doors made from layered Indian blankets strung on jute rope.
What a beautiful spot. It's lovely to revisit good memories and build new ones on top of them.