More than 45 people, many of whom regularly attend activities for seniors sponsored by Harker Heights Parks and Recreation, made a trip June 26 to the Maypole Ranch for the annual picnic hosted by Joyce Mayer, the city’s coordinator for senior activities.

The picnic started many years ago under the 55 Ups Senior Recreation Program. Now, it’s an aside to all the scheduled senior activities and gives participants a chance to enjoy the sights and sounds of a 110-acre ranch south of the city, off East Trimmier Road.

Surrounded by lush green meadows, Mayer explained she and her husband eventually built a house on the Maypole property and decided to open their doors to the world.

“We wanted folks to know that roast beef comes from something that actually lives on the land and that eggs don’t come from the grocery store but from critters,” she said.

Four members of Mayer’s family live on the ranch, including a daughter and son-in-law and two of the grandchildren, along with their spouses and children.

“Having the seniors out here just extends the family for a day and we love it,” Mayer said.

The crowd participated in a potluck lunch featuring hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on an outside grill. Some of those present took advantage of seeing up close the critters that produced those eggs. Seniors then hitched a ride on a trailer pulled by a tractor.

“The best part of the day for me was seeing a real Texas ranch,” said Cheeva McClearen, a guest from Centerville, Tenn., adding that her son and daughter-in-law are both stationed at Fort Hood.

Heather Cox, activities coordinator, said one of the highlights of the gathering is meeting “Cowboy,” Maypole Ranch’s goat dog. He is a white Great Pyrenees who is about a year old and weighs around 90 pounds.

“He’s very loveable, but is usually dirty and smelly because he hangs around with the herd of goats, but he wants constant attention,” Mayer said.

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