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Cooling our feet near the upper Cascade waterfalls.
After we said goodbye to my sister and her family, it was only a few days before we welcomed more family. Jack’s mother, sister, and her three kids came for a visit. During Jenny’s visit, Jack found a couple of hogs to take to the butcher and split with his sister and mom. In part, they came to pick up their side of pork but really, they came to have some fun.
The great thing about living on a farm is that there’s never a shortage of fun for a kid, especially one who’s visiting. Haven’t ever climbed on hay bales? There’s a fresh line of bales that had just been dropped off.
Never milked a cow? We’ll get Daisy in the stanchion and get some fresh milk from her.
Don’t have horses at home to groom and ride? We’ve got two that love to be brushed.
That is, if you can get them to walk past the pond where the peacock had been blown out. As far as Stoney was concerned, that inflatable bird was out to eat him.
When he was coaxed to skirt past it, he practically fell asleep while being brushed, then gave some excellent pony rides. He’s a staple of the farm and can make any kid grin, no matter how determined they are not to have a good time while riding.
The bounce house also got good use. We rolled it out of the shed and let everyone jump until they were red-faced and sweaty. Best investment we’ve ever made.
Since the week they visited was nice and hot, everyone spent enough time in the pool cooling off, then running to the hot tub to warm up. There wasn’t an unwrinkled, waterlogged finger in the bunch.
Though we spent a majority of their visit at home, we did do a little exploring. Jack’s sister, Sara, hadn’t seen much of Indiana before, so we took her to Cascade falls. Between the upper and lower falls, there’s a short trail we’d never walked before. It took us right by the river, where we cooled our feet, and got a different perspective of the tallest falls in Indiana.
At the lower falls, we found a path down to a beach. Ever try to keep kids out of water? Yeah, it doesn’t work.
I couldn’t keep Jack out, either.
Hiking is exhausting.
We dug in the sand and splashed around until dinnertime, then went back home to grill out. Hiking brings out hunger like nothing else.
Weary legs, full tummies, and passing out from exhaustion…it was a good day.
The day before Jack’s family had to leave, the kids tested out the cooler to make sure a cut-up hog could fit inside. For the record, three–maybe four–kids could squeeze inside.
There was also some overlap between visiting families–while Jack’s mom and sister were here, my parents, brother, and his kids came. To send one family off with a bang and kick off the start of the other with the same bang, we had our own little party. Pizza, bonfire, the bounce house…
…and fireworks. We had a few stashed in the garage since fireworks are legal in Indiana all year round. All eleven kids got to light off two before it was lights out.
And by lights out, sundown was our cue for bedtime. We were running Hotel Eliker and to make sure everyone had enough space to sleep, our family slept outside. Thankfully it was nice and cool and the kids zonked out right away. Backyard camping, yes, but it felt like camping to me.
Phew! They woke up with smiles.
Grandma, cousins, and Sara got hugs and kisses goodbye and the promise that we’d see them soon. Then, keeping up with tradition, we chased them down the driveway as they drove away.
Family visiting is always special. It’d been so long since we’d seen anybody in our neck of the woods and having small bits of family come gives us the chance to get to know nieces and nephews, siblings, and parents on a more manageable level. So glad they were able to come and have so much fun with us!

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Welcome to the farm!

True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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