Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

We Made-A-Wish!!!

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Make-A-Wish Fundraising Event

Our GM Michael and some staff – very wet after the zipline.

Thanks to all who came out and gave a hand at our Make-A-Wish fundraising event this past Friday!! It turned out being a great success. From 6:30 in the morning to 10:00 at night, there was always something going.

We had a great turn out for our 5k race in the morning, with Yanni Gullagher from Kanab coming in as the winner in 24 minutes, 51 seconds. He beat out a family reunion and two of his long-distance track friends. The first three to cross the red ribbon each won a prize; all participants joined us for a light breakfast of fruit and donuts.

5K Runners at Zion Ponderosa

Our amazing 5k contestants!

We also had a lot of fun at our carnival with face painting, a silent auction, chair massages, and many other fun events. An art student volunteered her time to come and run our face painting; our massage therapists came to offer chair massages and finger painting. Various staff members helped with balloon tying, go-fish, the slip and slide, and more.

Our BBQ was delicious and our general manager, Michael Kane, got soaked as we threw water balloons at him during his first ever zip line ride. Staff and guests all bought balloons to throw. At the end, the spare balloons were used for the noble purpose of an all-out water fight. The Muddyboot Band was fantastic and we had a lot of fun dancing to their great music. They were generous enough to donate their time and skill to our barn dance. Line dancing, country swing, and party dancing were all thoroughly enjoyed.

Through the day’s events and generous contributions from local businesses, we were able to donate $1,260 to the Utah Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This will help Utah kids and their families make it through many difficult medical issues and have wonderful memorable experiences. We are so grateful to all those who donated time and supplies to our event and to those guests who came and participated in the activities.

Oasis on the Plateau

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Here east of Zion, we don’t usually see the lush greens that fill the canyon below. Zion Ponderosa is much more of a desert, with shrubby bushes and short trees filling most of the space. But this doesn’t deter our gardener. Zac has taken the responsibility of creating an organic garden here on site to provide herbs, vegetables, flowers, and more to our kitchen staff for cooking and decorating. By the end of the summer, it will form a small oasis here in the desert.

Situated just north of our mini ATV track on a little plot of land, the garden is beginning to look beautiful. It is part of a sustainability project designed by one of the resort’s intern, Thiago. Along with the garden, this new project will include a recycling initiative, Green Team, and more ways to lower the resort’s carbon footprint.

Our Oasis

Zac at our Organic Garden

The garden is still in its early stages because of the late winter we had here on the plateau. Surrounded by a log fence, the garden is divided into several sections. In the little plots, a wide range of produce has been planted. An herb spiral supports golden sage, lemon thyme, cilantro, Italian parsley, and more. Many of these herbs are almost ready to be clipped daily for our kitchen. Nearby is a row of carrots and onions – planted together to reduce pests. Carrot flies don’t like onions and vice-versa. In the next plot are six kinds of tomatoes. “My favorite is Mr. Stripey. It’s one of the heirlooms and it’s really called that,” Zac told me. Seven kinds of peppers also grow here now. Although it will be three years until they produce, we even have asparagus in our garden. Further back are beans, corn, sunflowers, and a wide range of gourds, including pumpkins. Zac has filled an old trash bin with soil to grow potatoes in.

After giving me the tour, Zac explained several of his organic methods of gardening. He was happily surprised to find that the soil here is quite good quality already and that has made this venture much easier. To further enrich the garden he uses natural fertilizers. Using kitchen scraps and horse manure from our horses he makes compost. It’s been breaking down quickly and will be ready for use in the garden in about two weeks. Until then, he is using a basic, all-purpose organic fertilizer from a local store. Some of the top-growth plants are also given blood meal to encourage more growth. The garden is watered using what Zac calls “Rabbit Poop Soup,” a mixture of rabbit poop from our petting zoo, molasses, and water.

The entire garden has been designed to use supplies already here on site. Old straw from the barn and wood chips from our wood pile are being used to hold moisture in the ground and protect produce from sitting on the ground – which can result in disease. The trellis for beans, sunflowers, and corn was found behind the recreation barn. Each little plot is lined in discarded wood. It makes for a mismatched, relaxed look that is really quite charming. Even the fence was built using old logs that an employee had at his furniture shop and was planning on discarding.

In addition to all it offers by way of produce, the garden will be a beautiful sight up on the dry plateau. Zac wants to put a bench or two up along the edge of the garden for guests to sit at and enjoy. We even have an entry arch with a sign. Be sure to stop by during your stay! Say hi to Zac and see how our garden is coming along.

Evening Activities

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Memorial Day weekend was super busy up on the resort. Tents were everywhere, all the cabins and homes were full, and the recreation barn was constantly moving. But the busyness only made the ranch more enjoyable. Throughout the day, happy shouts and screams from children echoed over the grass. There was never a slow moment. We even started our evening activities, which will continue throughout the summer.

Soon to be running several times a week, we gave our outdoor movies a test run this Friday. How to Train Your Dragon was a huge hit. The littlest kids can appreciate the story, but the adventure and character development of Hiccup and his friends entertains adults as well. We even have a popcorn machine that will be set up nearby! I really can’t think of anything more fun for the whole family than an outdoor movie with popcorn and soda pop on a warm summer evening.

Watching the families this Friday reminded me of my own family’s outdoor movie parties. Sitting in the warm evening with the chill of night just barely hinted at, we would gather on the back porch with blankets and select one of our favorites. Our outdoor movies give that opportunity to everyone staying at the resort. Bring your blankets and breathe the summer night in deeply as you sit back for some great entertainment.

Fireside activity at Zion Ponderosa

Guests gather around a fire for stories and poetry. Click image to for larger view.

This weekend also marked the beginning of our weekly rodeos. Not only do we have a great group of wranglers to demonstrate the poles and barrels, experienced riders in the audience can participate. Several times through the evening the announcer introduced guests from Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and elsewhere as our newest riders. Dreams of being a cowboy can come true at our rodeo. And if you have no such aspirations, it’s at least worth coming to see the Dolly Parton Race – which rather defies description and therefore must be experienced.

We even started my favorite evening activity – stargazing. Just after ten, our group left the lodge. We had timed our maiden hike perfectly. The moon was gone, the air was just a touch chilly, and the sky was clear and dark. Up at the water tower, we lay on the ground and looked up at the show above us. Cygnus, Ursa Major, Hercules, Draco, and more were beautifully clear. Our greatest challenge was not seeing too few stars – rather it was seeing too many. Identifying a single image in the sky coated with sparkling gems was a well-loved challenge.

Gazing at that wide expanse gives a new perspective on life. Out here in the desert, it is easy to feel like we have so much space. We are so spread out and involved in the world we live on. That may be true, but seeing the stars from billions of light years away and realizing that some of them are whole galaxies reminds me that we really aren’t that big. We are so lucky to live on this world and be able to look out at worlds without number that lie far beyond our reach. Every once in a while you can see something from that distant elsewhere touch our world as meteors fall through the atmosphere. The night sky truly shows another world.