Happy 2009 y'all! Back from Michigan and finally have a few minutes to spare to go over the wonderful weekend I had at the farm. J and I drove through snow and boring landscapes to arrive at his parents' house shortly after 12 noon on Thursday. It was actually a nice ride. We broke it up so that helped a lot.
The farm is actually right on the Indiana/Michigan border in a sleepy little town called Bronson. There is a lake 200 yards into Indiana called Lake Pleasant with summer cottages dotted along the circumference. Across from the lake is a farm, and then another, and then another. Very serene and peaceful :) One third of the farm is in Indiana, the other two thirds are in Michigan. This is really very cool because you can literally stand in their side yard and be in two states at the same time! ok, it's the little things that amuse me :)
N (formerly known as "Dino" but is now a big boy who prefers not to have 'cute' nicknames) was excellent in the car and in meeting the family. The moment we walked into the house, it felt warm, cozy and inviting...largely due to the warmth and graciousness of J's family. There is Mama B, Papa R, TJ and JH, and J's sister D and her partner JK. Add to that the 4 dogs and a cat and it was your typical funny and frenzied meeting! LOL Seriously, I felt at home straight away and didn't feel nervous or anything meeting the "future in-laws". Mama B especially reminded me of my dear Nana and her friendliness and joy of life were really inviting. Papa R was apparently on his best behavior, but I found him to be funny and wicked smart. Then there is TJ - a Brit Chick with a great sense of timing and no shame, and her husband JH who was just as sharp. The two of them had me in stitches almost immediately. D and JK (who are expecting a baby in April) were just as warm and friendly. Everyone really made me feel accepted and at ease within minutes. J and I unloaded the car and set about settling in. I got the grand tour of the house (a newer construction that is in the spirit of an older farm house, with lovely details that were taken from the original house that was knocked down. Beautiful chandeliers and a couple of old pieces of furniture were lovingly restored and served as functional pieces. The kitchen was awesome - and opened to a lovely breakfast area. In the breakfast nook as well as the living room, was a display of some of Mama B's Christmas Village houses. Wow! It looked like an old time department store display (for those of you familiar with Wanamakers, it was very much like that used to be!) and was so amazing that N took tons of pics. I will post them when I get them downloaded.
We settled in for a meal and then after we opened gifts. I was surprised and humbled by the fact that they had bought both N and I gifts as well! How awesome is that? Barely know these people and there they were, giving us gifts. We sat around for a bit talking and then it was off to bed.
The next day we went out to the farm to get a tour of the barns (awesome!) and the path to Lake Michiana (the lake the farm backs up to). Cold and windy, but not too horrible, it was a brisk and invigorating walk. I was coming down in earnest with the cold that I started on the beginning of the trip, but I think the walk helped. At least, it felt like it did. I did have to make J take me to Angola to the local superstore called Meijers (Meyers) for cold meds, but in all, I did pretty good. My spirits were up and there was no way I wasn't going to enjoy my time there!
Went for another walk on Saturday to the other lake that is in Indiana (across the street and down about 200 feet). It was cold, but not as cold and windy as Friday, so it was better to walk in. N went out on the frozen lake with J and I got a couple of cute pics with my camera phone. D and JK had to leave earlier in the day, so it was a bit quieter as all the dogs went home with them :) N was sad, he loves dogs, and in fact had tried to persuade the Chiuaua to let him hold her. No go! That one was about as timid as they come. The other dogs, a HUGE shepherd, a large basset hound, and a high-strung Palmaranian, kept the place hopping for N and were a bit more accepting of his attention.
Both Friday and Saturday nights JH set off fireworks and N seemed to enjoy them "even if they were loud". It was hard to say good bye. I really didn't want to leave at all! Mama B loaded us up with the wonderful foods she prepared - pierogies, Gołąbki (pronounced "gowompki"), kielbasa, and of course kiszka (pronounced 'kieshka')....and then we were off for the 12 hour drive home.
Honestly, it wasn't such a bad drive. J and I were still upbeat and N was on his best behavior. We made it home by 8 p.m. and were bone tired but happy. It was a great trip and we are planning on going back in the spring. JK should have her baby around Easter, so we are looking at those dates. I better get started on the baby blanket!
Pics coming soon......