Summer Vacation

Camping in South Dakota

One of the best things about summer is going on fun trips! Up until this summer, either Andy or I was always working on the weekends. I mean, we still work a lot of the weekends but it’s usually just farm work or house work. We could never take trips when Andy worked weekends and especially not while I was doing my MS degree. Take blood samples from cows at 4:30 am is everyone’s idea of an ideal Saturday, right?! Ha. So this summer, we realized we could take some trips! My parents had already planned a camping trip to see Mount Rushmore, so we decided to go along. We got back Sunday – it was so fun! Not to mention we always eat like kings. My dad is a master at dutch oven cooking and Andy is getting pretty good himself. I’ll be sharing our dutch oven lasagna recipe soon. 

I was a little apprehensive about going camping 28 weeks pregnant, but we invested in some pretty awesome gear that kept me nice and comfortable. I’m telling you, sleeping on this cot and this sleeping bag with this sleeping pad is basically the best thing that will ever happen to your camping life. Also, Abram deserves some major kudos for figuring out that 1} his sleeping bag was his bed and 2} to lay down in it and go to sleep quickly {after a little bit of wandering on the first night}. He is a natural camper I guess! Why did we not bring a pack-and-play for him? Because he can climb out. But he doesn’t like to climb all the way out. He likes to perch on the top of the rail while the entire pack-and-play teeters back and forth and scares the living daylights out of me. I think, as a mother, your brain becomes programed to think of every possible injury that could occur in any given circumstance.

The only bummer about the trip was the 9 hour drive across Wyoming. I actually don’t mind long drives, but when you are driving for literally hundreds of miles through sagebrush, dust, and general nothingness it gets a little old. Also when there is a baby in your ribs and on your bladder, things can get a little dicy. Abram was a trooper in the car though! I couldn’t believe how well he did. Most of that is probably thanks to my brother who rode in our car and entertained him while he was awake. Although, sometimes I think Abram was the one doing the entertaining!

We camped at Custer State Park, about 20 miles away from Mount Rushmore. It was so beautiful AND it was nice and cool all week long with periodic rain showers. I was in heaven! This Utah heat and no rain has been killing me. We of course saw Mount Rushmore, which was incredible to look at but equally incredible to learn about. I was amazing at how it was sculpted and loved learning about the stories behind it. Great art will always astound me – it is a gift in others I greatly admire! {Below is a picture gallery, click on photos for captions.}

In addition to seeing Mount Rushmore, we relaxed, ate way to much delicious food, hiked {I walked slowly, and sat out most hikes}, got caught in the craziest hail storm I’ve ever witnessed, Andy caught some awesome fish, and we saw lots of buffalo and other animals. The herd of “wild” burros was cracking me up and also giving me a little anxiety. They would literally stick their heads in peoples car windows. And then people would get out and wander way too close to them and feed them and all I could think was that they had no idea they were in the direct kicking path of the lead Jack in the herd. And then they would try and touch the babies. Ah. AH. AHHH. We had to drive away. But, other than that few minutes, it was a beautifully relaxing week!

Leaving the farm is always a bit stressful for me, but this summer we hired a young neighbor to take care of things while we were gone and it has been great! I try to make things pretty low maintenance in general, but it gives me peace of mind knowing he is watching out for all the animals at home and can let me know if there is a problem. It is possible to have a small farm and still have a life! I promise, there are ways.

Oh, also while we were gone I took the extra time I had to contemplate how I am going to completely change my garden next spring. Andy is thrilled. Ha! I keep asking him how suitable various materials are for building garden boxes.

Stay tuned for Andy’s awesome dutch oven lasagna recipe next week. It is so delicious and you can bake it in the oven if you’re not camping 🙂 . Or if you never want to camp. But camping is good for your soul, you should try it! So is cooking food in a dutch oven with coals. Not so great for the waistline, but good for the soul!

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