As always, today, we will honor and remember
those closely impacted by the events on this day in 2001.
Last Saturday, my family explored another hidden area of the ranch.
We hiked the riverbed for a few miles throwing and collecting rocks,
examining fossils, admiring the rough landscape,
finding (and keeping) bugs, and seeing the most
beautiful iridescent beetles ever.
We also discovered a very old, twisted, and withered
juniper tree shaped like a dragon head (or, if you're Lottie, a goat).
Someone put a Twizzler in his mouth as his tongue.
We decided to name that ranch area "Dragon Tree Wash."
Another fascinating discovery
was made by Mr. Nielson, who found a gorgeous deer skull/rack
tangled up in a washed-out river bed.
It's going to be a treasure in our new home someday.
We also picked juniper needles and rubbed them
between our fingers, smelling and reminiscing
about Christmas and how different our holidays will be at the ranch.
Then the sun began to set, the wind picked up, and the sky clouded over.
It was time to head back. Plus, I needed to start dinner
(veggie soup, thanks to Boss Nielson's garden--
the garden that keeps on giving!),
as it was our evening to feed our missionaries.
Visiting and leaving the ranch is a process.
Several gates must be unlocked and opened and then locked and closed again.
The first rule at the ranch is: ALWAYS LOCK THE GATES.
So, if we have visitors, one of us always needs to pick up
our guests then and escort them out.
After dinner, I asked the Little Nies to clean up while
Mr. Nielson and I bundled up and drove
the wheeler in the pitch-black night
leading the missionaries in their truck out of the property.
A few times on our way home, Mr. Nielson turned off the wheeler lights
as we sped along the road, and I hated that.
We came home and snuggled together around Mr. Nielson's phone,
(we don't have a TV) to watch the BYU vs. Utah football game.
The kids and I wore our Cougar blue shirts all day, hoping for good luck.
Sadly, it didn't work.
Better luck next year, Cougs!