Thursday, May 8, 2008

Big Heart Ranch

My friend Wende lives on the farm down the road at Big Heart Ranch - a well named place for 10 retired horses.

Wende and her family have a big heart, not just for horses, but for everyone they know. Big Heart's reputation for good care of old horses is well known in our area, and horses come from over 150 miles away to have a safe and loving retirement. When it's their time to move on to Horse Heaven, Wende has the most wonderful ceremony to bid them farewell, before she buries them on the farm.

Her oldest horse, Count, is 36. Since Count made it through this past winter, I think he will be around for a good while yet.

If you ever want to spend the night at Big Heart Ranch, you can stay in their converted chicken coop. It has everything you need to be cozy and comfortable for a weekend stay.

What you receive in entertainment will far exceed the minimal cost to stay!
Wende and her family love having foreign exchange students. Last year Mathis came from Germany, and pitched right in to help with whatever farm chores needed to be done.

When his mom came for his high school graduation in May, she stayed in the bunkhouse, and loved the coziness of her private quarters.

Last year Wende's horse, Harley, took a bad fall on a steep trail, and Wende broke her leg. We all pitched in with chores as she organized us from her make-shift bed in the living room. She had time to think about redecorating that room, so my friend Chris and I were drafted to create a horse themed quilt for her.

Ride 'M Cowboy was the result! I pieced the quilt and Chris added the beautiful 'lasso' machine quilting. I found the silver conchos on ebay and used some leather latigo for the lasso. Wende found an old fireplace poker to 'thread' through the tabs and mounted some horseshoes to hang the poker.

Each time I thought I was finished with the quilt top, my husband would ask me a question. "Where are the spurs?" So back to the machine I would go, put in my silver metallic thread and added spurs.
"Where is his belt?" "Shouldn't there be some silver on the bridle?" "How about some horse shoes?"
I was really happy that he became such a quilt critique, because it improved the quilt immensely. He taught me a lot about quilt embellishment!
The quilt label reads: "For Wende, Even an injury on the trail can't keep a good cowgirl down for long. HTTY" (Happy Trails to You)

One of our dear horse friends passed away this year. Before Jane died, she made arrangements with Wende to care for her best friend, Aja.
Being with Aja is a little bit like being back with Jane again. I don't think Aja is as sad as we are, he's among new friends at Big Heart Ranch.

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