If you’re really lucky, the next time your sister and brother in law are here from Norway, your parents will decide to pack up all their city slickers and give them a taste of the country life. If they decide this, ask if you can go to The Farm. Here is what you’ll find there:
This is how you’ll take your stuff to your tent. No cars allowed. Only wagons.
Only wagons with little sisters riding on top.
This is what your tent will look like. This is glamping at it’s best.
Here is the cupboard bed your son Peter will refer to as the covered bed all week since cupboard bed is not in his vernacular. Your kids will bicker about who gets to sleep here since it’s so cozy and sweet and has doors on both sides.
This is what your kitchen will look like. There is no running water, but there is a pump that will allow you to brush your teeth and wash your dishes. But only in cold water. If you want hot water you’ll have to heat it on the wood burning stove. I’ll show you that in a sec.
There will be crates for all your stuff. A whole wall of them separating the two bedrooms. Six adults can sleep in one of these tents, but who wants to go glamping with six adults? It’s only fun if at least half the people in your tent are kids. Trust me on this.
Susan comes with the farm. She owns it, so she has to come with the farm. She’ll lean on your ice box and tell you all about living there and how to work things like the pump and and coffee grinders and the goats.
One of your jobs will be to spray the hogs off so they don’t get hot. Hogs are stinky. The only good hog is bacon. And sausage.
You’ll also be asked to walk the goats so they can find fresh greens to munch on. You’ll laugh whenever they poop. It never gets old, seeing an animal poop and then laughing about it.
If you go to the farm, you’ll realize you should have taken camp chairs, but if you’re Dan, you’ll just remember that you work in construction, and you’ll turn a wheelbarrow into a nice place to have a gluten-free beer on a hot afternoon.
You’ll gather under the trees with your whole family and watch kids run around and make their own fun, minus technology and you’ll realize that this is the good life. Without iPads and iPods and iPhones and tv. Just a bunch of people, some goats and a Keloid scar named Steve (but if you don’t have a keloid scar named Steve, you can still come).
When you get hungry, you can carry your baby sister into the organic gardens, plop yourself in the dirt and eat cherry tomatoes until the juice is running down your chin.
An hour later you can do it again since there are rows and rows. You’ll never run out of tomatoes at the farm.
At night there will be s’mores to roast over the fire pit. The farm is especially cozy at night, with lanterns lit and swaying gently in the breeze.
This is the most perfect s’more ever made. We’re sure of it. But you can try to make your own perfect s’more if you go to the farm. Beat this one. We dare you. We double dog dare you.
You’ll find the Honesty Store at the farm. It has all the food and batteries and kindling you’ll need to glamp for a while. You just have to write down what you’ve taken and settle up before you leave. Each morning there will be fresh loaves of bread steaming on the counter. You’ll grab a few, along with some of the farm’s eggs and the cheese their neighbor makes and the sausage their hog gives and you’ll make a yummy breakfast and think to yourself that every bite came from within a mile of where you are munching.
Your Nana, if you have one, will score big with the grands if she pulls off buying 13 crank-them-yourself-no-batteries-needed flashlights from Ikea (where you should stop on your way to the farm, before you hit Trader Joes, but after you fuel up at Chipotle).
You’ll pose with them before dispersing to play flashlight tag until your parents make you go to bed.
In the morning, you can put some cereal in your tin cup and squeeze some organic milk from the Honesty Shop on top and no one cares if you spill a little because you’re only camping after all. Nothing is precious when you’re camping.
You’ll watch your uncle cook an entire bag of Jones Sausage on the wood burning stove outside. You could have bought said sausage at the Honesty Shop, but that would have cost about a billion dollars, so you should definitely bring your own from Costco and save some money.
You will channel your inner Caroline Ingalls by setting the water on to boil for coffee. Later you will channel your inner Harriet Olson when you scold the kids for even stepping foot inside the Honesty Shop and thinking of charging that three dollar pop on the tab. Then you’ll pat them on the head, call them Half Pint of Sweet Cider Half Drunk Up, and send them out to do the farm chores.
You’ll spend mornings making coffee. That’s it. The whole morning spent grinding beans, boiling water and rinsing out the french press. Making coffee is slow work on the farm.
Kids will want to get back to their roots too (even though their roots are in your womb, not in Walnut Gove) and wash their clothes in the pan. They’ll squirt a little Dr. Bronner’s soap in, swish things around, wring them out and hang em up to dry. No matter where you are, water always makes it more fun.
See what I mean?
You can go out in the fields with your best Nana and find purple beans. They’ll be so yummy that you’ll sit in your tent and eat every one with your mom, who will swear they are the best beans ever.
You can go a few minutes away and be in an episode of Hoarders. As you skirt your way around mountains of salvaged things, you’ll be delighted to find two hundred dollars worth of milk glass for twelve bucks, something your mom collects. She’ll set them up on her table and make you all sigh with how magical it is.
If you go to the farm, go in August so you can hit the Boone County Fair. There will be barfy rides and barry food and lots of people watching. The usual fair fare.
You can ask your dad to take you on the Ferris Wheel while your mom does the tilt-a-whirl with your brother. Then you can listen to her swear to never do it again for the rest of the afternoon while she wipes spit off her cheeks.
Your Papa will have no such compunctions. He’ll hop right on the craziest rides and say, O boy over and over.
Except on this ride. It goes so fast it makes your words get stuck in your mouth.
There will be barns and barns and barns of animals. And since your mom is a complete idiot and dressed you all in flip flops and since it will rain cats and dogs all afternoon, you’ll get even closer to farm life as the crap runs through your toes while you jump over puddles in the livestock barns.
Back at the farm, you’ll be able to milk the goats. Grab then squeeze. Grab then squeeze.
You might not love the goats as much as she did. Or maybe you will.
Your second night will be pizzas fired in the farm’s special pizza oven.
Susan will slide and slice.
Farmer Dave will man the oven and shout for more paddles when he needs them.
You can roll out your own dough.
Then put all your toppings on. Doesn’t matter how dirty your shirt is, at the farm, everyone is a pizza chef. While waiting for your pizza to come out, you’ll mention to Farmer Susan how you saw a ripe pumpkin in the garden earlier while you were picking purple beans.
She’ll send you to pick it since that’s the kind of woman she is. Your Nana will take you and then you’ll proudly show the group what you’ve harvested.
And then the next morning at breakfast, you’ll go one step better, collecting ingredients with your Aunt Molly (you’ve got to get one of those) and then cooking them into a huge frittata with the eggs you collected that morning.
There will be chickens and a rabbit named Bandit. There will be goats and huge bins of organic greens being washed by hand. There will be bikes scattered around, just for you to ride all over the farm and hills to run down and wiffle ball games to be played. There will be four hundred and thirty seven things to explore and do and collect on the farm. But the best thing there will be the people you brought with you. The best thing will be hours of finished sentences and chairs tipped back on two legs and coffee dregs in the bottom of enamel mugs. The best thing ever. I sure do hope you can go some time.
This is me being real. Thankful for an adventurous Nana and Papa who decided that the best mystery trip for 25 people would have to be on the farm.