Writer’s Note: I had written a masterful piece on our visit to Gina and Brandon’s Farm in Kansas. It was witty, heart warming, and portrayed them and their fabulous kids as the rock stars they are. And then it got deleted. Don’t ask me how (editor’s note: wasn’t me either (editor’s note: from now on further editor’s notes will be abbreviated to simply EN (EN: this is nice))). And definitely don’t ask Joe how; he will tell you it was my fault. So I took a couple of days to cry about it and now this is my attempt at recreating the incredible post that was lost. Here we go! Once upon a time in Austin, long ago when we both only had one kid, I met Gina in a parenting group I ran. She was awesome and had cool tattoos and I wanted to be her friend so bad. However, she moved away to start a farm with the love of her life before I really got the chance. But thanks to Facebook we stayed in touch. We started this trip and she’d message me about her love of travel, and I’d message her about our (Joe’s) love of farming. Joe had been harping on the farm thing more than usual in the weeks leading up to this visit, and so on a whim and in a wine induced state, I messaged Gina one night and asked if she’d be willing to put us up on her property for a week and we’d pay it off with Joe’s very eager farm laboring. She was like, “Come on with it!”! (I’m paraphrasing here, she talks way cooler than this!) And that is how we ended up in Kansas in August! We pulled up to their rolling, 20 acre farm on a (I have no freaking idea what day we rolled up on, I’m so far behind on blog posts, the details have left me). We drove up their lovely long driveway, past one of their ponds, and parked under a huge pecan tree. It was so farmy and perfect! All week, Joe kept busy working as usual, and when he wasn’t working he was mowing, driving the tractor, hauling things, or setting stuff on fire. He was happy and very much in his element. I realized just HOW in his element he was when he was out doing farm work one afternoon and Jonah was insisting that he get to drive the mower Daddy was on too! So I walked him over to Dad. And where I go, Darby goes. And since Joe was working by the goats, Darby took the opportunity to tell them who was boss……again. This time she got the female so worked up that she jumped the fence, and was set to bolt far, far away. That is, if Joe had not leaped into action and caught her mid air and placed her back into her pen. My hero! (I’m realizing now that reading this may be the first time Gina and Brandon discover this fiasco even happened. And I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize for my my naughty little chug dog.)
I was busy with the kids, as usual, but on a farm; so awesome! We hunted for eggs, fed the chickens our scraps, recycled, and burned our paper. And that’s what I miss about being in one place. Weird? Maybe. But nonetheless true. Loralai had a 10 year old boy to try and keep up with, Dylan. They did all of Dylan’s farm chores together, rode bikes, made prank calls (to me), watched movies on their gloriously fast internet, and occasionally ignored one another just long enough so that the other didn’t think they didn’t have better things to do if they had to. This is definitely a sign of having an older kid. Sigh, where does the time go?!
Bean tried to keep up with those bigs for a day, gave up, and did a lot of painting, and trying to sneak into “the big house” to watch Annie a million times. Jonah had Harper to learn lessons about sharing with others. They jumped on the trampoline, swung around, and generally made a mess of things, but together.
All this going on while in a setting with two goats, that Darby just loved to get riled up, dozens of chickens clucking about, and two sweet farm dogs, Mavis and Sven. I left my heart in Kansas with Sven when we said our goodbyes. He went from barking at me as I sat outside, to scaring the hell out of me by silently sneaking up on me in the darkness as I stared at facebook, and finally just chilling with me and putting his huge head in my lap and demanding I pet him and never, ever stop. We are in love, and set to me married in June. Darby does not approve and is planning to make a big stink at the wedding (EN: how scandalous). Being at their home was a gift. They have the farming, fields, ponds, zip-lines, bike trails, hills, and everything is just so green! Their house was old, full of character with a great big kitchen right in the middle of it all that always had a box of home grown veggies sitting on the counter and dozens of farm eggs in the washroom.
On any given night, they’d pull out meat from their basement freezer full of animals they had raised and processed. And everything tasted a million times better then anything we get in the grocery store. They’ve got a pretty cool thing going and I hope that even when they face breaking appliances, rusty tractors, faulty wiring, and soggy basements that they know what a good thing they have! I think they do.
One of my favorite field trips was visiting Amelia Earhart’s house that she grew up in!
We also visited The International Trees of Friendship, where they had different trees from all over the world.
And we visited a lovely city park.
Such a great week, even with the heat, and the fried power cord, which meant no AC for 2 days! And I don’t think it did anything to rid Joe of the farming bug, quite the opposite. Shucks!