We know. There's been a lot going on here since we last posted a whole month (!) ago.
• Pasture Walk on the 22nd of August: 70 some folks came for local food, local speakers and a walk through our operations. It was a great day and we raised $76 for the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund with a donation mini farmer's market. Thank you to Boerson Farm and Five Oaks Farm for contributing and for our hard workers Cortnie and Bret who harvested from our gardens.
• Shipped the rams, ewes and half the lambs on the 8th of September. Decided to call it quits on sheep for the time being, as they are just one project too many for us with the dairy about to ramp up with new heifers and calves. The remaining lambs are pre-sold to customers except for about 4 of them. Anyone interested? :-)
• This past Sunday, we decided that we needed a family day. Normally, our Sundays are our only true day of rest, and even that is relatively speaking. The animals are still cared for twice a day, so that leaves Andy with about 3 hours of chores in the morning, church to attend, home for a quick lunch and then naptimes for the kids. By the time they wake up, it's nearing 4pm and time for the second round of roughly 2 hours of chores to get done. Then we are free and clear from about 6 pm to bedtime.
But you see how that schedule doesn't actually ever allow us to leave the farm. Andy and I get time to ourselves, and we truly enjoy that, but unless we want crank-tastic kids, we must remain grounded (so to speak).
So this Saturday, I announced to Andy that we were playing hookie from church on Sunday and having a family outing. He worked extra hard all day Saturday so that his normal chores on Sunday would be even more diminished. He got up really early Sunday morning and had everything done by 8:30 am and by 9 am, we hit the road. Hooray, a trip off the farm! Where would we go? What could we do? The possibilities seemed beyond comprehension, but were quickly narrowed down by the fact that whatever we did had to be within 2 hours and mostly free. (We're farmers you know!)
We went to Fond Du Lac's "Little Farmer." It's a 150 year old farm that is open to the public from August through November and you can pick your own apples and pumpkins, amongst a ton of other family fun things to do. Like feed goats, take wagon rides, do a corn maze, buy things at the craft barn and eat some fresh bakery items from their own full scale kitchen.
Yes. We took the day off the farm and went to another farm. The irony was not at all lost on us.
We live on the west side of a really large inland lake called Lake Winnebago. It's sort of shaped like a finger, really long and narrow, heading north/south. Little Farmer is on the other side of the finger, near the southern end and you can see across on clear days. We got off the beaten path via road construction and were really thankful! We came upon a hill and saw this break in the trees.
A perfect view of Lake Winnebago and the western countryside that we never see. (We normally see the very hills we were driving on that day!) A few more hilly miles and following an enigmatic apple sign and we made it to The Little Farmer. We got there only 45 minutes after it opened, but already the parking area was full of families getting their apples and baked treats.
We parked and loaded up the kids. Elly, as usual, is so excited to see the farm animals that she could only scream uncontrollably until we set out.
Ethan feigns concern, but we know he's just biding his time before he can grab some serious apple leaves!
After learning that the whole "pick-your-own" deal didn't start until next weekend (doh!) we decided to buy a peck of apples and sit down in the shade to eat our packed lunch. It was perfect and relaxing and the apples were delicious!
Here, Ethan discovers the joy of fresh apples. As much as one can gum an apple. Elly ate one whole apple all by herself! (We paid for that the next day ... if you catch my drift.)
And with the lighting just right, I caught the fam, sitting under a shade tree, wrapping up lunch at another person's farm (let THEM do the work!!) and loving summer life. Beautiful.
• We got a watermelon at the local farmer's market last week and just broke into it. Below is a series of shots as Ethan learns how to chew up some juicy melon. (Elly calls it "water-lemon.")
Love this shot:
And the hand that feeds him...
A moment in time. Just before Ethan decided to eat my face. It's this thing that he does when he's happy to be by me and he happens to be hungry (about 70% of the time.) He'll be sitting there as calm as can be, then just lunge for my face and start sucking on it. It's pretty amusing!
The action shot...believe me, I'm holding him back!
And we have contact! This time he got my mouth. What a goof ball!