The embers are still smoking from last night’s Fire in the Sky bonfire at the top of the hill on Brother Tom’s 40-acre farm. Last night’s party for his Kiwanis’s club was a raging success. Each guest brought a container of chili and all was thrown into a huge cauldron hanging over a fire for a shared Chili Extraordinaire. The massive bonfire capped off the evening and I had it all to myself late into the night with the full moon shining down on me.
This morning as I sit in last night’s chair by the fire, sea planes and pontoon planes are a constant companion as they show off their planes at a Fly-In on Lake James. Adding to the cacophony of country sounds is the squawking of sand hill cranes. I’ve never heard them fly overhead even though my Indianapolis friends say they hear them all the time. I’ve seen several groups glide by this morning, their sound much like Canada geese but much more melodious.
Brother Tom and his wife press their own cider using their own apples. His wife hangs all the laundry to dry on the outdoor clothes lines. Visitors can drive 4-wheelers and/or snow mobiles up and down the labyrinth of trails. [Which I did on Saturday!] They can and freeze their own vegetables and fruits, make their own jams and jellies. Visiting their farm is always a treat and loads of fun.
September has been a fabulous month for this nomad. I had pet sitting gigs through the end of August and I only had one weekend gig in the whole month of September. At first I didn’t see the benefit of such a dry spell. Then it occurred to me—I could travel on the weekends! I’ve made the most of that unplanned discovery, while staying with friends during the week.
I spent Labor Day weekend with my Sister Julie. Miraculously her family had no plans, so Julie, her husband, her high-schooler son and I canoed 8 miles on the Mad River in Ohio. On Sunday we hiked in Hocking Hills State Park and Monday Julie and I had time to do some weeding in her gardens and swimming in her pool. All such activities were usually not possible due to her two sons’ sports schedules, so spending a whole leisurely weekend with them was a real gift.
Last weekend, I visited with Brother Mike and his wife on his tree farm in Logansport—always a fascinating event. On this trip, I got to watch them and one of their four sons raise and attach a new barn door THAT HE MADE HIMSELF!! Despite having grown up on farms or at least in the country until I went to college, I had no idea that people could make their own barn doors. I watched him cut out the people-entrance door IN the barn door. Next he will make the second barn door (for the newly re-sided barn) and have it in place before winter.
Then he showed me the wagon THAT HE MADE!! When I rode on it for a family reunion hayride in June, I had no idea one can buy used tires and a used base and build the trailer bed on the top. Who knew? I guess viable used tires are not always available because this was one of the tires on the wagon in June. Seriously. I always knew I came from a kooky family, but OMG.
On Sunday we took a wonderful car ride looking for bald eagles (no luck) and visited the Wabash and Erie Canal Museum in Delphi Indiana. At my request, we visited the confluence of two sets of different-directioned train tracks. Small and tiny Indiana towns always provide interesting stories for those with such an interest and Mike knows them all. Brother Mike collects antique tractors (GOBS of them), grows walnut trees, and lives in a completely renovated old farmhouse on a small hill up a tree-lined lane. He is the story teller of the family and tells “whoppers” as did our grandfather August.
In the month of September I spent time with 3 siblings, 3 in-laws, 5 nephews/nieces, 4 great nephew/nieces. With each visit, I didn’t have to race home to complete household tasks which felt like such freedom. And “freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” I feel like I have nothing left to lose. Only things to gain.