Last Monday was the first day of activities for us at the Homestead. First, my parents, Dylan and I went on a carriage ride through the woods of Virginia.
The guy driving the horses was a fictional character with a heavy accent who said things like "whoah there feller." He told us that we had to sign up for falconry while we were there, and in the same breath he told us that recently, a falcon had stabbed its talons into the falconry guide in front of a whole group of guests. The guide tried to pretend that everything was fine as he was slowly suffocating to death. Finally, when the falcon released its grip, one of the guests said, "There's blood coming out of your shirt." Falcons also dive at a rate of 200 miles an hour, but we should really sign up for the class.
The next day, Jaclyn, Dylan, Dylan and I went horseback riding. I don't have any pictures of that. That is because I was scared out of my mind the entire time, and in fact had to have my horse "leashed" with the guide's horse. That's right. There was a group of 7 year olds behind me, but I was the one who had to have help from the guide. I didn't even try to control my horse, Zip. I just tried to pretend that the ride was almost over and that he wasn't pooping.
On Wednesday, I went to archery with my dad and Dylan. I got a bullseye!!!!
Also, my target was about 30 yards closer than my dad's. That's him showing off on the right.
In the afternoon, all seven of us (not my mom) went to the rifle range. The woman at the desk said, "Have you ever shot before?" And my sisters and I shook our heads no, while looking panicked. I think Jaclyn even cried. Within the next 30 seconds, she showed us how to load the gun, gave us 150 bullets, and sent us down the path to our death.
We were COMPLETELY UNSUPERVISED shooting at targets. We easily could have killed each other and claimed it was an accident. After my first time shooting, I had done pretty well, a couple of 10s (bulls eyes) a 9 and an 8.
(Jaclyn and Lauren outside of the shooting booth, amused at how redneck we have become)
I was visibly sweating/shaking after my turn and said "I don't want to do this again." But when my next turn came up, I stepped up to the challenge. And look what happened:
That's right! I am a sharp shooter. I can easily kill a human from a distance if I need to. I keep reminding Dylan of this.
On Thursday, we went for a walk through the Cascades gorge. For some reason, the tour guide makes it take 3 hours to go maybe a mile. I think it's that long so he can hear himself tell jokes/puns that whole time. If you don't laugh at one of his jokes, he says, "Come on! That's hilarious!" until you do laugh.
Finally, Friday was our last real day and all 8 of us--that's right, Steph Vernace included!--went on a canoe ride down the lake. The guide assured us that at least a third of us would fall in the water, but I can proudly say that 7 of us made it safely and dryly to the end of the trip. We saw some turtles, and there were a couple of small rapids which were fun. We even stopped at a point and Dylan jumped off a rope swing into the lake.
That pretty much ended our trip. The only other thing worth noting, is that Virginians do not understand the concept of Vegetarian. In the last 11 years of not eating meat, I have NEVER met so many people who look at me with heads cocked to the side, saying, "So what DO you eat??" At every meal, the chef had to come out from the kitchen and talk to Dylan and I about what we would eat that night. Often, she would TELL US what we were having for dinner, "You're having potato skins for an appetizer, pasta for dinner, and a raspberry sorbet for dessert." Aye, aye Captain. Once, she said, "Hmmm no meat AND no seafood...ummmmmmm." It was awkward.