Monday, April 30, 2007

11.2

What's up with the title of today's post? Eleven point two? What's that? That, m'dear, is the gas mileage of the Suburban while pulling the horse trailer. Thanks, Mr. OPEC, for these lovely gas prices. Oh well.....

We traveled this morning to a little town near False River for a horse show. The last show here was obscenely cold for Louisiana just three weeks ago. Today it was unbearably hot. Typical Louisiana weather.

Here is Morgan saddling her horse. It tickles me how she puts her foot on Punkin's side in order to be able to tighten the girth.

Punkin is a perfect horse for Morgan - she is so docile and easy-going. She'll bend her head down for Morgan to put on her bridle or halter. Morgan can ride her bareback, lying flat on her back, not holding onto the reins, and Punkin looks for all the world like she is walking on eggshells.

But put her in the arena, and she sure does fly for an old horse!

Here's Brooke and Honeybee, getting all ready to ride. Brooke is putting on Honeybee's tie-down, which prevents her from throwing her head around if she gets excited. Both girls ride with tie-downs. They help the horses to balance and for stops and turns.
Two sweet honeybees, ready to compete!
Here is Brooke going to the second barrel of her run. She is kissing to her horse to let her know to slow down and get ready for the turn. Different racers say or do different things to signal their horses - some kiss, some shush, some use different words. Brooke kisses to make her get around the barrels (or poles) and she yells, "C'mon!" when she rounds the last barrel (or pole) and heads to the gate.

Hurray for Brooke! First place in Junior Pole Bending!

And hurray for Morgan! Second place in Junior Pole Bending! Those Connelly girls sure cleaned up with the money! And Mama got paid back for entry fees!



The place where we were is in Pointe Coupee Parish, a little place just steeped in history. Here's the story and it tells why it is called "False River."

French Canadian, Sieur d'Iberville, and his brother, Sieur d'Bienville, set sail from La Rochelle, France September 1698 to explore the lower Mississippi River and establish a colony for King Louis XIV. The expedition discovered a point where the meandering river doubled back on itself, forming a huge oxbow lake. The party went ashore and Iberville's Indian guides led him along a six foot wide stream through the dense forest. Stepping out of the woods, the explorer was amazed to find himself once again standing on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was like a secret passage - a short cut that saved them a distance of ten leagues (30 miles) which is quite a savings when paddling upstream. The small stream Iberville had followed was nature's way of finding a shorter distance between two points.


Eventually, the small stream widened to become the main riverbed and both ends of the giant oxbow slowly filled in, forming a 22 mile long lake, one of our four "Rivers". This lake was called Fausse Riviere or False River and the cut point across which the Mississippi River now flowed became known as Pointe Coupee. Whether the name Pointe Coupee (French for "cut point") stemmed from the act of Iberville's portage or that the Mississippi's gradual adoption of the portage as its main channel has long been debated.

Because it is in the heart of Creole French plantation country with rich soil, there were many tobacco and indigo plantations in the 1700's and 1800's. Now they grow soybeans and sugar cane and some of the plantation homes (albeit small ones - not enormous, wealthy plantations) still stand, along with other architecture that reminds one of the pre-Civil War south....

This is a small slave cabin that is along one of the main roads. It doesn't appear to be inhabited now, but someone lived there in the not to distant past - there is an electric meter pan on the side of the house. There would likely have been two families living in this one small cabin (see the two doors). Typically, the interior walls would have been papered with newspapers and pages from mail-order catalogs that were passed on from the Big House (which no longer exists ironically - there are two small slave cabins, but the plantation is no more - or either the cabins were moved here from their original sites).

While my heart breaks to think of the plight of the original occupants of this small cabin, it also reminds me of the many poorer people in large cities like London or New York, who would have thought this a fine place to live. Truly they were slaves as well - enslaved by their station in life or their nationality or simply by circumstance. We have been reading in our history about slavery in the south, but also about the indigent population in the larger cities and the numerous homeless and abandoned children. No wonder the West held such appeal - the chance to escape the chains of slavery that for some were visible and some invisible.



8 comments:

Cynthia said...

Congratulations on the 1st and 2nd place finishes! Looks like lots of fun!

Oh.. and I hear you on the gas mileage... sigh...

Debbie said...

Congratulations, Brooke and Morgan! Terrific job.

Ginger said...

Well, Cynthia, usually our mileage is better than that - around 17-20 mph with normal driving. But pulling the horse trailer - no way!

Cynthia said...

Ours usually get around the 18 mpg mark as well.. but pulling the boat or anything else makes it go down significantly.

Keeping up with Joneses said...

Congratulations!! Awesome!!

Gas mileage...ugh! Our truck only gets 17 mpg in the city.
The gas prices in our neck of the woods are about 2 cents below 3 dollars a gallon.
Laura J.

Emily said...

Congratulations Girls! Good job! Also, I heard on FOX news that gas is heading toward $4.00 a gallon by summer.

Ginger said...

Emily, that was NOT the news I wanted to hear. Gas needs to go down to, oh, about $1 a gallon! But I'd be satisfied with $2!

Kathy in WA said...

Great pictures! Congratulations on the excellent job done by the girls. It always amuses me to see how different everyone's interests and lives are - horses, 4 wheeling, mud and snow out east. :)