Monday, October 3, 2011
from funny farm to fun on the farm
In our final month of domestic limbo here in Kansas, I'm searching for stuff to keep us busy outdoors on the weekends and to reduce the human footprint on our house until the closing. Basically we bunk here, and we breathe, but beyond that I'm committed to minimal activity indoors. I've already proudly marked one month of no cooking. The oven exploded two days before we put it on the market, we had to express order a brand spanking new range, and I'm not touching it before we move. It has become quite a funny farm around here trying to keep ourselves occupied and sane.
Yesterday we took the funny farm on the road to a real one. We departed on the annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour, a self-guided tour of 25 farms around east central Kansas. We had never done it before, and I figured this was the last opportunity. I love driving on bumpity back roads, flying through the countryside past silos and barns, up and down the hills. But getting to a specific destination requires adventure and patience. Rural roads often go by multiple monikers: highway number, street name, rural route direction. Maps are marked with one name, the roads themselves with another. Sometimes neither are labeled, making both useless, and GPS (which I despise anyway) generally is just as confused. Paved roads turn into gravel and dirt; dead ends abound; required turnoffs quietly veer off to one side behind me while I'm looking out the other window. I committed all these fouls and more.
So in the end we only made it to two farms. But we made it to the best ones, I think. First up was the chocolatier Sleepy Jean's, whose factory is installed on an old farm. I've been buying and consuming Jean's confections on the sly ever since we moved here. They're amazing. And so is her chocolate farm. She let my kids cut past all the adults so they could get a first row view of her chocolate making demonstration, and she gave them double chocolate samples. I loved her story about how she left a high powered corporate career, learned how to make her own chocolate from the cacao bean grounds up, and built it into a thriving business. And I loved that I left her farm with two blissed out kids.
The second was Screamin' Oaks Farm in Tonganoxie. I figured with a name like that, it had to be good. And it was. For hours my girls milked goats, spun wool from their sheep, played in the sandbox, chased a turkey, built mazes out of haystacks, formed instant friendships with the other kids, and got filthy. Made me realize how content kids are when they can just run and play, free of parental clutches and playdate schedules. I ran into my sweet friend Estelle and her family (a surprise encounter, as that was the last place I expected to see anyone I knew) and we whiled away the rest of the afternoon having fun on the farm before we had to return to our own funny farm for the night.
P.S. The turkey's name is Dinner. Not kidding :)
Posted by aimee