Planning the Perfect Mini-Vacation

 

20171007_175451We started doing mini-vacations years ago while on a farm because it was easier to find someone to watch animals for one or two nights than for a week or more.  Longer vacations require time off of work, loss of pay, and are often quite exhausting.  Now don’t get me wrong, I will take a week long vacation if it’s offered!  A weekend away is often perfect to refresh the spirit, spend time with loved ones, and to relax.  It doesn’t have to be terribly expensive either to get the crew together.

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1) First, choose who you want to share your mini-vacation with.  We could have spent a weekend at Ojo Caliente, a lovely hot springs spa in New Mexico.  We could have jumped on a plane and visited one of our friends out of state.  But what I really wanted was a family vacation.

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2)  Look at schedules.  We typically like to go on trips during the week.  The prices are often cheaper and there are less crowds.  But, Doug’s job is an hourly paying one these days and we can’t afford to miss that much.  Don’t wait too long though.  Just book the time and everyone will figure out what they can do.

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3) Book a place using Air B&B or a place similar if you need multiple rooms.  Go to a Dude Ranch.  There are many fun things you can do.  I booked a four bedroom house in the mountains only a few minutes out of town.  It was pretty central for all of us.  We were able to bring one of our granddogs.  There was a stocked kitchen and plenty of towels and comfy seating.  It had amazing views, porches, and was a beautiful respite.  Everyone came when they could Friday.

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4) Drop all expectations.  Some folks won’t be able to make it.  I know I tend to micromanage everything but this time I was going to let everything unfold!  Have a basic plan.  Looking at the weather we decided that visiting the North Pole in Cascade would be best on Saturday.  We all brought up different games, books, and things to do.  My son, Andy, and his girlfriend couldn’t get off work and then had a wedding to go to Saturday.  In the end the only thing they could do was meet us for lunch in Manitou Sunday.  And it was great.  It was fun having all nine of us.

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5) Prepare meals.  Each couple chose a meal they would prepare.  This saves a lot of money and time not having to find restaurants three times a day.  Doug and I made breakfasts.  Shyanne and Jacob made a mouthwatering linguine alfredo with breadsticks.  Emily and Reed made a comforting cheesy broccoli soup and croissants.  We all brought up plenty of drinks.  Shyanne surprised us all with caramel apple fixings.

20171007_17300120171007_2047356) Be in the moment.  We laughed while we played games.  We took turns snuggling the puppy.  Took little walks.  Drank coffee together on the balcony.  Did some yoga.  Listened to music.  Talked.  Caught up.  Walked the row of stores.  Played together.

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The key word here is “together”.  It was a perfect vacation.  I hope you will plan one for your own people soon.

A Trip to the North Pole

When my son, Andy, was very little he wanted a wolf from Santa.  He wrote him a letter and sent it to the North Pole.  There was a very convincing (and very likely the real) Santa at the mall.  I was able to whisper a few things in that old Santa’s ear before Andy climbed on the jolly man’s lap.  Andy’s little eyes grew big and he was filled with wonder as Santa told him that he had received his letter and would get him a wolf if he was a very good boy.  Christmas morning came and the howling stuffed animal wolf sat next to the Christmas tree.  The next summer as we perused the shops at Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole, we saw the very same wolf!  It made my little boy a believer.  Our family believes in Santa.

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Maryjane and I waiting to go inside Santa’s Village!

Seven of us traversed the hilly paths of Santa’s Workshop in Cascade, Colorado.  My granddaughter, Maryjane sat on Santa’s lap and relayed her greatest wish, that the elves would make her a penguin.

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I wanted a visit with Santa too!

Santa’s Workshop opened in 1956 in the mountains of Colorado just west of Colorado Springs.  They started their herd of reindeers and dozens greeted us and nibbled feed from our hands.

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My daughter, Shyanne, and her boyfriend, Jacob enjoying the baby reindeer.

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Rides, large and small, dotted the village.  Maryjane was very brave and rode just about all of them.  We adults had a plenty good time on the kid’s roller coaster and teacups and many other rides!  My Andy and his girlfriend, Bree, had to work but we recalled the story of Andy’s wolf while waiting in line to see Santa.

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The carousel is a must ride!

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Me and Pa riding the zipline sleigh!

If you have a chance to go to Santa’s Workshop in Cascade, don’t miss it!  You can whisper in Santa’s ear what you want for Christmas.

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Ready for Santa’s train to depart!

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Maryjane and Emily catching a ride up a hill with her boyfriend, Reed.

It might be time for Halloween, but Christmas and making family memories, is always in our hearts.

http://northpolecolorado.com

There’s Just Something About the Mountains

 

20171007_180402There’s just something about the lulling embrace of the mountains that cajoles my spirit into quiet.

There is a comfort wrapped in the songs of pines surrounding every side.

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A murder of crows sing raucously of encroachment.  A haunting and thrilling sound.

Two does jump airily by.

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There is just something about the West.  Sweeping desert valleys and climbing vistas of conifers and scrub oak in autumnal color.  The quaking aspen dances in the breeze.  Snow comes this eve.

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Perched on a balcony up high watching magpies caw as the sun crests the Colorado mountain ridge I breathe in the earthy pine air.  Pour another cup of coffee.  Wait for my family to wake up.  An hour from home, our weekend away to the mountains delightful and restorative in the fragrant woods of the West.

The Forever Farmgirl (keeping the faith, new beginnings, and the ongoing homestead)

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I wonder if life thus far has been preparing us for this.  Doug and I love bed and breakfasts.  We travel when we can and see as many as we can.  We even considered opening our own.  We lived through the coldest winter of our lives and came out stronger and loving the sun even more.  We have been practicing and perfecting every homestead skill we can think of in order to be more self reliant and to encourage others to do the same by teaching these skills.  We have amazed even ourselves by being able to grow food in the harshest of situations, on gravel driveways, and in discarded buckets.  We can split wood, take care of animals, make and grow our own food, preserve, and have learned that we really want to live very simply.

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My herbal business has changed and morphed over the years as has my knowledge and what I want to do with it.  I was able to sell my business and grow my herbal school.  The women in the course this semester have brought out so much in me that I was afraid to teach before for fear of scaring folks off!  I am teaching herbs to not only heal physical ailments but also mental, emotional, and spiritual as well in order to achieve a more balanced life and a new level of health and inner peace.  Teaching folks how to tap into their intuition and personal strengths has made teaching all the more valuable to me.  I changed the name of my school this year to the Homesteader’s Pharmacy School at Pumpkin Hollow Farm because there is a school in Boulder with a very similar name to my previous name, North American School of Clinical Herbalism.  But this, just as this final practice farm, was just a transitional name.  The new name of my Herbalist School is going to be Sacred Owl School of Original Medicine and will teach students how to not only know how to handle physical ailments, but how to use intuition and other means of holistic knowledge to really help themselves and their loved ones.

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I sometimes forget in the midst of intense heartache and changes that worrying is really quite useless, that the universe works in amazing ways and the Creator always helps guide.  Someone called me the other day and signed himself and his wife up for the fall Herbalist Course.  He didn’t care where we were moving, they would drive there to take the class.  When I asked how he heard of me he said that a woman in a grocery store gave them my information.  So many things are coming together without my knowledge or help that I cannot help but be astounded and amazed at how this life works when one is able to step back and look in from a new perspective.

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I will always be a farmgirl.  Doug and I will always have a homestead, whether it be in the middle of Denver, or in the beautiful mountain town of Cascade.  We love this lifestyle too much to attract any other kind of lifestyle.  Our life will reflect our greatest desires.  We will always teach.  That is my greatest gift and passion.  The possibility on the horizon pertains to a possible purchase of a three story Victorian bed and breakfast by friends that would be turned into a holistic bed and breakfast, meeting center, retreat center, and working homestead with classes.  The four of us have the right skill sets to be a power house team.  Goats would still be milked, chickens fed, organic gardens would fill the property.  Yoga, spiritual retreats, delicious food, tea on the large southern style porch, a cabin in back for us to live in complete with artist’s loft.  A dream come true?  We will see! Our fingers are crossed and breath held.  But we must exhale and inhale the wisdom that all things work together to bring us what we most desire and to help us to help as many people as possible.  We have each other and no matter where we end up it will be just right!

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Farmgirlschool is alive and well.

The overwhelming number of responses and emails and phone calls have been very heartening for us.  Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement.  We are excited about what is on the horizon!

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