weekend getaway

We had an unexpected adventure over the weekend… a few days out on beautiful Dale Hollow Lake. IMGP1552My sister and her family had rented a houseboat for the weekend but my brother-in-law was suddenly swamped at his work and couldn’t spare the time to make the trip down to the lake. Since Eric and I live so close to the lake, my sister thought we might be able to make use of their reservation so she offered the houseboat rental to us. Our answer was kind of a no-brainer. I mean, really… what would you have done? Even though we still had to pull off a harvest and market, and prepare all of the livestock and chickens for our couple-of-day absence, we figured the extra effort was well worth the hassle. 

We were right. It was a lot of work to pull off our escape but oh, so worth it! The lake was absolutely gorgeous. The water is so clear and deep, and the lake is so big and meandering that it is fairly easy to find a secluded bay to have some privacy, which is precisely what we did. I was so happy to find that the TV on the boat didn’t work, and that cell phone reception or internet access just wasn’t an option. Blessing of blessings. It was just the lake, the boat, my family, and a whole lot of fun. The boys spent a fair bit of time fishing, Opal and I knitted and knitted, and we all swam and played and had a grand time.  I think we just might have to make this adventure into an annual tradition!IMGP1619IMGP1597IMGP1590IMGP1585IMGP1576IMGP1572IMGP1615

Thanks, Cassie and Denny! The weekend on the boat was fabulous! much love from all of us… 

adjusting our local radar

IMG_7953Over the weekend, our compass pointed south and brought us here, to the beach. Our annual trek to the salty waters of the Gulf is always a welcome treat for the family, giving us a brief change of scenery and some time to recharge our batteries before fully delving into harvesting the fall storage crops on the farm. It’s a hard time to leave the farm, to be sure, as we love the autumn so very much. But any time is a hard time to leave the farm for some reason or another, so we go when it feels best and enjoy every minute.IMG_7954As it goes when we travel anywhere, packing our own food to bring along is what we deem most important. (Of course we pack clothes, too, but that’s a no-brainer… a bathing suit and at least one article of clothing that isn’t sweat-stained and covered with streaks of tomato vine resin.) So we loaded up a cooler with milk and butter and hamburger and bacon, baskets of potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic. And of course, some cast iron skillets. Eating road-food for any extended period of time is enough to give me serious anxiety, as I read the fine-print labels and wonder where in the world the ingredients come from and why on earth they are even considered food? Eeeeegads, we live in a strange time.IMG_7971{Supper last night… fresh salsa covered hamburgers on a bed of mashed potatoes with bits of bacon. Yum. We didn’t grow the tortilla chips, though.}

We stopped at a roadside stand for some local peaches as we neared the coast. The sweet old man at the stand had just harvested the peaches the day before and was ready to sell them all so that he could go fishing. We were happy to help him in his mission, so we added an entire box to the contents of the van and headed on our way.

And each year we make a little trade with Eric’s brother’s brother-in-law: some of our garlic for some of his beer. It’s a pretty sweet deal for us, especially since Eric’s brother brought the beer with him on his way down, putting it in the refrigerator so that it would be well chilled upon our arrival! Every beer I’ve tasted from Yellowhammer Brewery is a winner. If you find yourself in the Huntsville area, stop by the new biergarten for a taste. You won’t be disappointed. So as I sit with my toes in the sand, little people squealing in delight all around me, some knitting on my lap, and a locally-crafted cold one in my hand, I can sigh a real sigh of contentment.

Within a few hours of our arrival, Eric got a sourdough starter going to capture some of the wild ocean-air yeasts. Sourdough pancakes are on the menu for breakfast this morning… I wonder if we’ll be able to decipher any subtle taste nuances between our Bugtussle sourdough and the coastal version we got bubbling here. Topped with some of our own maple syrup, deliciousness is assured!

As you can imagine with my family, a trip to the beach also means saltwater fishing. Especially for my little angler, Ira. He’s obsessed with fishing as it is, but when there’s a whole slew of fish he’s never caught before… well, that’s pretty serious business. When the boy is ready to head out well before sunrise and without bothering to eat breakfast, you know he is fully in his element and loving it. His papa is pretty obsessed, too, so they make a fine fishing pair. And with Eric’s dad and brother here with us as well, there is quite a bit of Smith-family-fishing-energy floating around!!!IMG_7959{Eric’s first “sheepshead”. It was tasty, too…}

Arriving in any new locale, our internal weather-vanes have to readjust themselves as well. Yesterday on the beach, big storm clouds were brewing to the north across the lagoon, but the breeze was still southerly from the ocean. I tried to watch the clouds, but they seemed to be going in all directions, confusing my instincts a bit. However, seeing this black bank of clouds develop and intense lightning that went along with them, I quickly snapped out of my confusion and headed for shelter. What an intense storm!IMG_7961So even when we leave the comfort-zone of our home and farm, we do our part to adjust our local radars accordingly. Life is so much more interesting when you really dive into your surroundings!

the farmwives kitchen

my man has been clearing his head and taking his body temperature down in the nearby cumberland river of late. fishing is his relaxation and as the season heats up, i know he needs it. we are all more than happy to dine on the results.

baked simply with green garlic, fresh dill, and farm fresh butter, these rainbow trout made for a fine supper.