Monday, September 11, 2006

What i did on my summer vacation.

My hubby and i got to spend time last month on two different farms. We visited relatives in Alabama where the young folk still say "yes ma'am" and "yes sir," where we stayed on one cousin's farm. Wow. Acres and acres of green pasture are anchored by the light and airy farmhouse. Horses wander lazily nearby. My damp Portland Oregon roots sighed happily at all the green-ness.

The occasion was the 60th wedding anniversary of my hubby's uncle and aunt--wow, huh?--at pretty much the same time as WE are celebrating our 30th! And i was impressed with that many years (Kind of in a "jeez, are we that old?" kind of way...) But apparently all that green comes at a cost--humidity--cousin Lea Ann said, "We call it 'air you can wear.'"

We had a lovely time visiting with our too infrequently seen relatives who welcomed us and fed us well and put us up in our own "apartment." (We too have a special place we can let people stay at our house--if ya don't mind all the boxes of Christmas decorations stacked along the's that ambiance that says "homey, but not in a good way." )

And the countryside in Alabama--i want this view out my front door! --->
There was even a rather spectacular thunder/lightning/rain storm for entertainment--let me tell ya, that thunder and lightning bit sure seems closer out there in all that open land. And greenness abounds there, it seems--Uncle Joe and Aunt Pat's house has an actual woods in the backyard, and the church we attended better have some riveting sermons, because the walls behind the pulpit were windows looking out onto fields of green and eyes only wandered a little....

THEN we moved on to a farm in Canada--as in a working farm with crops and harvesting and all those things unfamiliar to my town-bred self. It's the family farm of my good friend Adina, in Plum Coulee, Manitoba. Her two sisters, brother, and brother-in-law were home as well, bringing the temporary household count to 9 adults, 1 almost adult (just kidding, Dorian!) and a baby. Here i am frustrated--i don't seem to be able to add a particular picture i have of the farm. So picture for yourself: a vast expanse of fields surrounding a collection of granaries, house, barns, and trees, fronted by a gravel road--all washed in a translucent rose-colored late afternoon light. And picture a big ol' red tractor with my Kansas born husband driving, a very nostalgic experience for him--although this time he could reach the pedals, no longer being 8--

<-- here's a shot of that red tractor between the granaries

Oh--and both farms had gardens--in Alabama, a softly overflowing cottage style flower garden, and in Plum Coulee, a garden full of poppies, vegetables, and fruit trees. The really disturbing part? The garden in Manitoba is larger than the plot of ground that defines our entire California homestead. Anyway, in Canada they humored me and let me play at gardening. i, who am duly impressed when i can keep a rose bush alive for more than a season, got to help harvest the remaining beans. And we had a campfire out in the backyard one night! How crazy is that? i mean, if i imagine building a fire in our backyard i know it would mean either the house or the fence or the neighbor's place (or all three) likely going up in smoke.

We attended the family's Mennonite church on the Sunday, and ate some of the meals that say "comfort food" to Adina--and i have to say, i'm good with that whole watermelon and fritter thing they call a meal! (They don't call it a fritter--it actually has a German name that i can almost say but definitely can't spell--) But, oh yum!

It was a great month, whether at a family celebration in Alabama, or a family meal or cup of coffee around the table in Plum Coulee. i won't go all philosophical and sentimental on you, but i loved watching the families in action. There's a commonality to the kinds of families who like each other, evidenced by the shared jokes and knowledge of and grace for each other. i know a lot of what helps both these families give grace is their own experience of God's unconditional love and with that, how can they give anything less to each other?

But even after my summer vacation of farms, i still don't know where the phrase "he bought the farm" comes from. Any thoughts?*

*Cousin Lea Ann has a link to the possible origins of the phrase:

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