My trip home for an all-too-short 60 hour Christmas break was absolutely wonderful. Yes, I did feel guilty that I was enjoying a little slice of heaven with family while hubster was working, but I really had such a wonderful time in so many ways. It seems that every time I go home I realize more and more how fortunate I am to be able to experience such wonderful nature and be in an environment that sets me at such ease. I know, it sounds pretty gooey. Here are some of the things I did and the enlightenment I received this weekend:
I ate lots of farm fresh eggs.
My parents have some heirloom chickens that lay eggs (duh, because that’s what chickens do) for them. The chickens live a life of luxury, spending their nights in a luxurious coop built by my dad and their days grazing in the garden/open pen. They have names like Amelia (Earhart, because she flies out sometimes), Abraham (Lincoln, I’m pretty sure he was killed by a dog or coyote), and Michelle (Obama, I forget why that specific hen got that name).
It was so fun to go out and gather the eggs in the morning. You only have to have one farm fresh egg to realize that the store bought non-farm fresh eggs are inferior. The yolk in farm fresh eggs is a vibrant yellow-y orange, a far cry from the pale yellow yolk of those “other” eggs. I was totally bummed that I flew and couldn’t steal a dozen or so eggs back to Ohio.
p.s. the bowl in the above picture was my great-great grandmothers…it’s over 100 years old. HOW COOL IS THAT?
We went on a Christmas Jammies walk around the farm/woods/to the creek with all the dogs.We also came up with the awesome idea to organize a 5k Jammies walk/run for New Years next year. If you’re going to be in the Waxhaw, NC area next year around New Years put it on your calendar! Gonna be awesome 🙂 I think jammies make very good running clothes.
I realized how wonderful it is to have a family that values family at the holidays more than things. Playing board games, talking, laughing, going for walks, afternoon tea, doing Wii Zoomba (HILARIOUS), these are the things that dominate our holiday. That said, I’m jumping on the materialistic train for a second because I got some awesome gifts. My mom got me some beautiful knitting needles and some awesome yarn (one of the skeins is alpaca wool from an alpaca farm in our town! How cool!), Hubster got me the gift of serenity (yoga classes!) and a rice cooker! My dad gave me the gift of life (uber-reflective nike running hat!). My grandma got me the gift of a clean stove (sur la table pot topper that prevents water from boiling over…genius!). My cousin got me some beautiful pasta and truffle oil which I have never tried and will definitely be making an appearance in this blog when I find something worthy to make with it.
I made homemade rolls for Christmas dinner. My great-grandmother and I used to make these rolls for Thanksgiving, and then I took over the roll baking, but I haven’t made them in several years. They’re from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook from 1997 and they are the perfect mix of sweetness and fluffiness. There was flour, there was kneading, there was even a bucket to give me more leverage, and it was fun and the rolls were t-a-s-t-y!
I got stuck in a tree. I wish I were kidding about this, but unfortunately I’m dead serious. I know, it’s pretty unbelievable. Here’s how it went down: When I was younger I had 3 very best friends: Mollie, Lisa, and Kendall. We did everything together. The driveway on the farm is lined with all these pine trees and we used to have one we called the Kip tree that we climbed and played on all the time. One day Lisa and I climbed up and had a picnic in the top of the tree and we carved our initials and the year into the tree. Fast forward to today: my aunt, my mom and I were doing a little exercise, walk or run up and down the driveway (our driveway is almost a quarter mile long) followed by some yoga/pilates exercises, and repeat multiple times. ANYWAY my mom and I are walking up the driveway and she asks me which tree is the kip tree. I point it out and all of a sudden I get this fantastic idea to climb up it and see if the carving is still there. How fun would that be? Now, we used to shimmy up this tree in a minute flat without hesitation. Shouldn’t have been a problem right? Well the problem is that trees grow. After 15 years the branches were slightly higher and further apart. And by slightly I mean A LOT. I hoisted myself up on the first branch and should have known right then to stop. But no, I said “oh I am way weaker than I used to be!” And my mom said “No problem! I’ll just help you!” And she pushed me up…and that’s when I realized that the branches were wayyy further apart than they used to be. Suddenly my idea was not so bright. And then I tried to get down. It was too high up to just jump, and I couldn’t jump over to the kip branch and swing on that like we used to because I doubted the strength of my forearms and basically I was too much of a scaredy cat. After discussing different options, laughing our brains off, and starting and then back-tracking on said options, my mom finally sacrificed her back for me to step on. I wish we had a picture to note how hilarious this event was, I don’t think my words are doing it justice.
My family helped me face the harsh reality that labels like “food with integrity”, and “happy meat” (aka animal products from animals raised humanely and naturally) and even organic aren’t always true. For the past couple months I have blindly trusted labels like this. When I see labels like “naturally raised” or “raised in open aired pens” I say “ooh good meat!” when I should probably be saying “what is their definition of “naturally raised”? I’ve been told I need to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, so I’ll download it to my kindle tonight and give you a book report. Get excited!
I also read a fascinating article on milk in Mother Earth News. My parents have been getting Mother Earth News for as long as I can remember, but this trip was the first time I’ve ever actually read it. It’s an interesting, informative magazine and I stole a couple back copies to read on the trip home 🙂 The article coincides with the statement before this one, how I’ve been blissfully believing all labeling. Here is the article: The Astonishing Story of Real Milk. Please read this article!!! I did a lot of investigating this morning and I can’t wait to share the results with you, there are some great resources on the way for anyone who cares about the source of their food! (And everyone should) 🙂
And I leave you with a happy picture:
My parents picked me up from the airport early Saturday morning with both dogs in tow. We met my brother and his girlfried at Chik-Fil-A for coffee to visit a bit before they went up to her families. When we came out of CFA this is the scene we were greeted with: