20 July 2014

Carus and Scout

A friend has been giving Carus riding lessons and another friend is allowing her to ride her horse, Scout.

Scout is such a sweet horse! We love him.  Carus was exclaiming the other day "my horse!" when I tried to pet him. She halters him and leads him into the arena.  Then she brushes him and cleans his hooves and helps with saddling and putting the bridle on.  

She is doing really well.  This week she was released from the lead and had to do some exercises where she would stop Scout with his front legs as close to the orange cone as she could - and she did really well with it stopping him at just the right moment several times.  

And it hasn't taken Scout long to figure out that time with Carus means cookies. 

I am so thankful for good GREAT friends!

05 July 2014

Independence Day

We hosted a BBQ yesterday - good food and better company - made me happy.  

But I found a lot of contentment later that day, after the BBQ, watching fireworks with Carus.  Adam didn't want to go and Robert stayed home to keep an eye on Leia who does not like the booms at all.  

Near dusk, we went down to the school. It has a very large field; actually it is more like five very large fields together.  The town's firefighters block off half of it and put on a fireworks show for the town for free -- they do accept donations.  I have no idea how much ordinance they have but they do put on a good show for about 30 minutes.

The streets surrounding the school have cars and trucks parked along them, extending blocks and blocks away. Those closest to the field have people arranged in chairs around them or sitting in the truck's beds.  The houses nearby have their families and their friends arranged on blankets and chairs in their yards, porches, and decks, and in driveways.  These are big fireworks that can be seen for miles, and heard even further.  

The fields of the school start getting visitors around mid day with those wanting to stake out their spots early and continue to fill as the sun sets.  They have a sound system set up with music playing -- a mixture of pop, country, and rock -- and surrounding those speakers are dancers, toddlers and young kids in the charge of older siblings with the occasional adult shaking it up with those half their size.  All are dancing in that way where it doesn't even matter if your rhythm matches the music, all the joy is just in the moving.  

Blankets and chairs are spread out in groups, and there is lively conversation and laughter everywhere.  There are also dancers, one or two, spread throughout the groups here and there.  There is a long line for the one port-a-potty. (The other two are blocked off. I don't think it was done on purpose, just sort of happened).  There doesn't seem to be any negative feelings - no complaints about bugs (because mosquitoes had a smorgasbord to choose from), no complaints about the long privy line, and very minimal childish whines of "when will it start?" There was a line for a food cart with firefighters dishing out refreshments.  I didn't go closer so I don't know what exactly what was available.  The line was long enough for it to appear popular though. 

As the sun started to dip behind the mountains, the excitement built.  The buzz of conversation took on an electrical charge, each person feeding off the other's anticipation.

On the portion of the field that was blocked off, firefighters had been hard at work setting up the cakes of display fireworks and arranging their safety equipment -- just in case.  (One year there was an incident where one bundle tipped over and shot the mortar off along the ground. No injuries or fires, but a reminder of how dangerous explosives can be.)  Their hook and ladder fire truck was next to the field with the ladder suspended and a large flag hanging from the bucket. The flag barely waved, there wasn't much wind.  It wasn't a very hot day - warm, with a light breeze that was dying as the sun went to bed and the humidity was rising.  

Finally, the sun went down, shortly after the predicted start time of 9:30 p.m. and as the Star Spangled Banner started to play over the speakers, the fireworks began, both coming to a crescendo together.

The show continued for about 30 minutes with a lot of the usual suspects and a few pyrotechnic displays I haven't seen before, with the lights of each glitter and flare illuminating the smoke trails of the ones before it, which was lovely itself.

At the end of the show, Carus and I packed up the blankets we brought to sit on and cover with (prior years got a lot cooler than this year) and joined the crowd slowly exiting the field to walk the 5 or 6 blocks back to where I parked the car, and headed home.

(The video below is a teeny bit of the fireworks at the beginning of the show. If you can't get it to play, click here to view it on Instagram. )

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