July 13, 2016

Highlights from a farm family vacation

We had such a nice, peaceful vacation.  It was just what we needed - some time to relax and be with family, eat good food and just enjoy a week away from our unending to-do lists.  I wanted to share some highlights of what vacation looks like for a farm family...

Our trip was inaugurated with a bouquet of beautiful Michigan sunflowers from the local market in Kalkaska.  They made our porch table, overlooking the canal, happy and bright.

There was lots of fishing off the dock with rods and tackle and in the lake with hands and buckets.

Baxter was so proud of his little catch!

We also enjoyed watching the wildlife in the canal.  This mamma had eight baby ducks; they visited us each evening.

We spent lazy afternoons on the boat, cruising the lake and enjoying the weather.  The boys had fun acting as co-captains with my husband.  

I love the sky in Michigan.  It seems to have just three possible options - perfectly clear deep blue, deep blue with big poofy clouds, or gray and rainy.  This day I caught deep blue with nice cotton ball clouds.

We went out several evenings to watch the sunset over the water.  This night the lake was perfectly still and the sky super clear - so peaceful.

There's a nice public beach on the lake, which the boys enjoyed.  There were lots of kids for them to play with, soft sand to dig in, and a shady spot for Josh and I to sit and read with the doggies.

We were up at the lake house for the Fourth of July so of course there were sparklers.  

Oliver and Baxter danced around the back yard in the dusky evening, swinging their lights all about.  That's a picture of carefree, in-the-moment, happiness.

One afternoon, we set out on an adventure to try to find a place called the "half store" - everything costs half what it is marked.  It was closed, but my husband was drawn next door to the place where tractors and all manner of small machines go to die.  He and my mother-in-law's boyfriend wandered amongst the tractors commenting on this and that, finding some ancient and interesting machines, while my youngest stepson searched for grasshoppers.

There was, needless to say, lots of good food.  Food brings us joy, especially local, fresh food.  My mother-in-law and I drove to Traverse City one morning to check out the big farmer's market there.  We saw all kinds of bounty and came home with bags full of delicious things for the family.

We turned rhubarb, cherries, blueberries and raspberries into a fabulous fruit crumble.  It was gone by morning!

The rest of the cherries vanished into this little guy.  He is a cherry-eating machine, and he asked for a plate to put his seeds on, saying, "I want to bring them home to the farm and plant them because I love cherries."  We cleaned them and brought them back.  They are in the fridge in a jar of dirt for now.  Maybe we will plant them this fall...

We also turned some of the blueberries into popsicles.  Oliver got the idea to try to turn his lips purple by rubbing the popsicle on them...

...but Baxter perfected it!  Look at that face!

He's a master at eating with abandon.  Check out this ice cream face.

We ate lots of ice cream, hitting a local dairy that makes their own, the family-owned diner in town, and a roadside creamy whip that my husband visited as a child vacationing with his dad in Michigan.

On our last day there it rained, but that's ok.  We understand the need for rain, cleansing and nourishing, bringing new life and lushness.  We sat inside, snuggled together on the couches, read our books, played games and chatted.  

That's a picture of vacation for a farm family like ours: time to relax, good local food, sunshine, fresh air and family.

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