by: Elizabeth Otto
Growing up in the country meant I always had something fun to do when the snow came. In fact, when I was writing TEMPTING THECOWBOY, the book originally stretched across several months, ending in a big, wintery scene with Cole and Rylan riding a horse on the snow-covered mountain. Editing later required that I change the ending, but all the brain storming I’d done for that original scene had me thinking of how much fun I had as a country kid in the winter.
My absolute favorite thing to do? Drift diving. We had a small barn with a hay mow, and a big door that opened in the side of the mow where the hay could be brought up. Winter in Wisconsin brings huge snow drifts that usually ended up beneath the hay mow door. A couple hours of shoveling to make the piles higher, and some nerves of steel were all that my friends and I needed to climb into the mow, grab a rope connected to the hay mow ceiling, and swing out the door and drop down into the snow drifts. In twelve years of drift diving, we only ended up with one bloody nose to show for it.
My second favorite thing (but the one my mom hated the most)— Horse-sledding. It’s like dog-sledding, only you attach your plastic sled to a horse instead. I actually wrote this scene into the original draft of TEMPTING THE COWBOY as well, and we might see it come back later on in the series. All you need is one well-trained horse, a plastic sled, some rope and two people. One sits on the horse and holds the rope connected to the sled, and the other sits in the sled and gets a ride! How fast you go depends on how cooperative your horse is, and whether or not your mother is watching. Amazingly, I never had a single injury from horse-sledding, unless you count a bruised butt from all the bumps.
When you visit Paint River Ranch in TEMPTING THE COWBOY, it’s pretty easy to imagine the ranch covered in snow and decorated for the holidays. With the holidays coming up, I’m curious: What is one of your fondest winter or holiday memories from your childhood? And, is it something you share with your own children and families now? We don’t drift dive anymore, sadly, but I may be up for a round of horse-sledding later on.
Social media links: