Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Ghost Story

We stayed at The Big House this year at the HF Bar Ranch -- rather than one of the little cabins as usual.   The house once belonged to the ranch's founder, Doc (Frank O. "Skipper") Horton.  I'm told the doctor couldn't continue practicing because he was color blind, so he left Iowa and went West with his brother-in-law, a Chicago financier, to seek his fortune as some sort of cattle rancher.  It doesn't seem that was a very profitable venture for him, but many of his friends from back East would take the train out to visit him and found they enjoyed hunting, fishing and riding in the beautiful Bighorn mountains.  They'd stay for a month or more, and Doc Horton eventually suggested that, rather than staying in his house, they build cabins of their own for future visits, and so they did -- picking cozy spots near the stream that forked out from nearby Rock Creek.  Those cabins are the same ones ranch guests have been staying in for the past 70+ years. The ranch turned from cattle ranch to dude ranch, and Skipper Horton succeeded big at something -- just not what he'd set out to do.

Anyway, when we were given The Big House for our stay this year, we were also given an earful of ghost stories about the place being haunted -- and when you walk inside the house it's clear to see why. The downstairs hallway has a single 60-watt bulb lighting the hallway.  It's eerie and darkish, and the hallway is lined with dusty books and a model of what looks like a human spine (think Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde).  Most of the furniture is original, and that of course lends a certain sense of either macabre or nostalgia to the home.  I found the stories laughable and the upstairs part of the house charming and sunny. I loved staying there all week and didn't want to leave.  I should probably mention, though, that on the third night I woke up around 2 a.m. and saw the dark figure of a man standing at the end of my bed, staring at me.  After about ten seconds he disappeared.  I don't mean he walked out -- I mean he dissolved.  Now I'm fairly clairvoyant about things, and I can read people pretty well without really intending to, so I'm used to that; but those are just feelings and impressions. This is the first time I've ever seen a presence. It was interesting -- and it seems he was only interested in looking at me. Nothing evil feeling-- more just curious, like, "what are you doing in my house?" I waited to see if anything else was going to happen; you know,  those horror movie things like creaking doors and banging shutters.  But no.  I guess he was satisfied seeing who it was that was sleeping in the bedroom of his house.  (I'd like to think he was happy with the new woman in his bed, LOL.)

So there's your ghost story.  And here are some pictures from Horton House at H.F.Bar Ranch:

Below: the view of the ranch house (where we eat)
 from the Horton House. 

I could go on and on here with these pictures, I took 
so many. I may have spent an hour watching the light change
from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. the first morning in the house. 
Old houses are so beautiful in that way, 
watching the light filtering through the
 windows and seeing how things look 
different every quarter hour.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I wish I had better internet service out here because there is so much I'd like to tell you and so many pictures to show you.  Anyway, here is one some of you have seen on facebook or twitter that my husband took of us at dusk on a ride. The weather has been changeable -- some days 60 and some days 90 -- but always pretty sunny, which is good.  The week before we arrived there was golf-ball sized hail, which is not so nice when you are out on a trail.  Riding out here at the H. F. Bar Ranch for the past 8 years has spoiled me for any other kind of riding, and I always look forward to returning each year.  I'll write more when I'm home again in a day or two.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ally and Bill's Wedding July 23, 2010

The weather was beautiful. A little windy and my hair got messed up but who's complaining?  A little hot and humid and we were all schvitzing, but who can complain.  I lost one of the brand new citrine and diamond earrings I just bought for this occasion and got sand in my contact lenses every time that wind kicked up and I was so busy talking I forgot to eat the food, but really who can complain? Not me. Did I mention I got my first moving violation for driving through a red light that day?

Ally's cousin Kathleen

flower girls

Allison's brother Ben walked her down

         the vows

          sand ceremony

the rings (aka the trembling of the hands)

         the groomsmen

the spring lake gazebo

           "senior" flower girl and ring bearer

            cocktail hour on the porch

sand dollar place settings


 watching the first dance....

           ... choreographed and practiced...

....and there's the dip

this dance was for Lou.

white chocolate seashell favors

"junior" flower girl and ring bearer

          Ally and her cousins

         Ben and Kate

Uncle Al and I ignoring the conga line

Ally and Bill remembered to dance all night
and enjoy their own wedding.