Last week we were invited to one of my very best friend Laura's family farm. Brecken, Annabelle and I made the drive through the countryside to one of the most peaceful places I've been to in Nebraska.
Pictured left to right Laura, me, Catelyn and in the front Annabelle
I met Laura as a sophomore in college when we roomed together in the dorms at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). The first time she met me, she shook my hand-she was very formal like that. The funny thing about making new friends is that no matter how much they try to explain their life story, it's hard to really understand where they "come from" because you weren't there to live it with them. That is one of the reasons I was so excited to visit the house Laura grew up in. I feel like it made me understand the person she is that much more.
Annabelle and the farm cat Brecken named Raccoonie
Laura's family farm is about 5 miles away from the nearest town on a gravel road. The farm belonged to her grandparents, with the original home converted into a barn that still sits on the property. Her grandparents built the ranch-style farmhouse that Laura's family now lives in back in 1968. Laura's dad grew up there and moved back to take over the farm in 1990 when Laura was 4 -years-old. Maybe my perspective is different because my family moved a lot from my birth to second grade, but I feel like it is rare for someone to live in the same place nearly their whole life - rare and extremely special.
Brecken climbing the cherry tree
The first thing my kids noticed when we got there was the farm cat (they lovingly named her Raccoonie) and their black lab, Domino. Brecken loves cats and Annabelle loves dogs. Those poor animals got more attention than they probably preferred. We started the day going into the chicken coop and watching Brecken collect eggs, which he thought was really special. Then, Laura showed us around the different barns and outbuildings. Brecken was so excited to see a Yamaha motorcycle that Laura's dad used to ride in his younger years, and a Yamaha Grizzly four wheeler. He loves Yamahas because his bicycle is designed to look like a Yamaha motorbike. Laura's sister Marie took Brecken on a ride around the farm and his smile was so big!
Marie and Brecken riding the four wheeler
Our friend Catelyn arrived and we continued the day playing outside on the swings and playing kitchen inside. Then we drove a half mile down the road to Laura's uncle's house and her cousins showed Brecken and Annabelle 3 new baby calves they had: Superman, Lightening and Jenga. We also got to see their bunnies Chubs and Cloudy.
We returned to Laura's farm for a nice lunch with a table setting of Nebraska wildflowers, fresh lemonade and chicken salad croissants, watermelon and home made vanilla ice cream.
Beautiful centerpiece made from Nebraska wild flowers that Laura's mom and sister picked
The kids had such a fun time and slept all of the way home enabling me to have a nice quiet ride. It was truly a perfect day! My trip to Laura's family farm gave me a new appreciation for her as a friend. She really did grow up away from it all. I now understand why she enjoys being outdoors so much and likes to live an active lifestyle. She says she enjoyed growing up on the farm because there was so much space and the whole farm was the kids playground. Her dad built them a balance beam, a swing set, a play house and a tree house. They spent their time riding four wheelers and bikes and they also had calves that her and her brother and sisters took care of.
Laura has such a great appreciation for her farm and how she grew up, and I hope someday Brecken and Annabelle look back on their upbringing with happy memories and appreciation as well.