Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Vacation: Is it worth it?

My extended family goes on vacation together at the end of July every year.  It's clearly the best time-choice considering that we go up into Canada and spend a week on a lake there.  Late July means less black flies, hot sun and warm water.

And yet no matter how hard we try, it's a crumby time of year to get away.  Every year, Jamey tries his hardest to take into consideration when we'll be away as he plants corn.  He plants different varieties and staggers the plantings, always attempting to hug either side of vacation week.  Instead, every year, we are up late the night before leaving husking, blanching, cutting, and freezing corn.

The tomatoes love to send us off on our travels, too.  It's as if they're using all our well-timed and planned energy against us and instead fight their darnedest to see us off.  And so, the day before we leave (when I should be packing) I'm washing, de-stemming and halving tomatoes to be thrown in the freezer for when I return.

Then there is all the preparations needed for leaving that has nothing to do with packing and preparing a week's worth of food to take along.  One teenage family friend to come and feed/water the pigs, ducks, chickens, and cat (and collect eggs).  A neighbor to gather mail, pick ripening corn and mow for us (they were so gracious to offer to mow).  A cousin's son to cut, bunch and put out sunflowers to keep Sam's business going (Sam paid him, of course) and not waste the yellow beauties.  Oh, and the hamster (did you know Sadie now has a hamster?) was passed to a friend to be hamster-sat (not to be mistaken for the action of sitting on a hamster).

I know that people who live on real farms rarely go anywhere and I completely understand why.

And then there's the coming home.  The long drive overnight to avoid traffic, lines at the border as well as bathroom and food stops (most everyone is sleeping).  After crashing into bed for a few hours of sleep, we're up working hard to unpack and make up for all the time lost while we were away.

My first order of business was to check on our peaches- were they still there?  Well, it appears that our strange carpet tacking strips did the job and kept peach-hungry critters at bay!

We harvested peaches and winter squash, picked tomatoes and peppers, tended to the animals, unpacked and did load after load after load of laundry.  Sam and I worked on getting more sunflowers out by the road.  The hamster needed collecting and we checked in with friends and neighbors who helped hold down the funny farm fort while we were away.

But it's not over yet.  The next several days meant batch after batch of tomato sauce, canning and freezing peaches, sticky floors, piles of dishes, tired legs and feet, and one dehydrated body (why do I always forget to drink when I'm working in the kitchen)?

So.  I pose this question to you.  For all the preparation before and all the catch up work after, is going away worth it to you?

For me, it is.  It's a hiatus.  It's a dream within a dream. It's time to reconnect with nature, family and myself.  And, truth be told...I'd do it six times a year if I could.

 view from the boat

 view from alone time in the cabin

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  1. Now that our children are grown and left the nest we take our vacation in the fall or winter. We used to keep a hectic schedule like yours but now as empty nesters we do things differently. Glad you were able to get away and have a good vacation. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed day.

  2. I have to say, being just about to embark on my own overseas holiday (vacation) this year, I am asking some of the same questions. All the more because my ‘urban farmyard’ is still in the setup process – fruit trees in pots, garden beds finishing off their winter greens - and spring is just around the corner for us! At least my sister will still be in the house; now I just have to leave her the watering plan for the fruit trees…

  3. Totally worth it - too bad your garden wasn't sluggish like mine was this year. I went away with almost nothing ready to pick and came back to just the right amount. Let the games (the canning games that is) begin.

  4. Yes, it is worth it. But, I agree....LOTS of work! However, I don't have a, I can only imagine that part of it. Yippee for your peach harvest....SO wonderful! All your produce looks amazing. Happy harvesting! Hugs, Camille

  5. My husband and I moved out to the country, got a large flock of chickens and turkey and a dog about a year ago. We went from being frequent travelers to going a year without a vacation. We really want to go somewhere, but we have no family close to us and need a plan (and helpers) to take care of the animals while we are gone. It is definitely worth it to live the life we are living now, but we do miss vacation. We are planning to take our first vacation of the year in the fall, and I am sure it will be totally worth the effort we put in to prep for it. I'm glad your family had a great vacation.

  6. Everything has a cost, and that is the cost of your vacation at this time in your life. Some day it may be easier, but it might not be valued as much as now when it is needed so much.

  7. I am in awe of all those butternut squash. As for vacations... now that I've finally realized how to relax on them and not feel the need to go, go, go... I think they are worth every minute. I think we all need time to unwind and just... be.

  8. Totally worth it. (although I have asked the question myself many times, after all it is a lot of working getting ready to get away and catching up after getting home) but the memories made with family and friends always worth it for me

  9. I think it's definitely worth it. Getting together with and spending time with family is a real treasure these days of living in such a mobile society. The relationships with family members will build a lifetime of memories for your kids. We need to keep traditions going and your annual summer family get together is worth the extra work and/or inconvenience.

  10. I'm with you! We were actually away four times this summer already and one was an 11 day trip. We also own a 1/12th share of a house on a lake 2 hours away so we get four weeks there each year and we have not been there yet this summer. That place is our rest and recharge place and it is worth the work and hurry up of getting there after work every time we go. Now that the kids are all grown and it is just the two of us we allow ourselves to eat out for about 40% of the meals and then I just do easy at the house and it is more of a rest than when the kids were going along. We kind of go from lake week of rest to lake week of rest around here with all the work. We find ourselves saying to each other at the end of long days that it is only so many weeks now until we go. It is like the light at the end of tunnel for us.

  11. ugh, I hear you and we only have one animal and a few pots that need to be watered while we are away. It's very hard for me to feel that all the work is worth it. . . sounds like you all work together at it, which is wonderful.

  12. Coming to Canada is always a great idea. Hope that you enjoyed your holiday. July was cooler than normal this year, so hope the lake was warm. We have a cottage in Northern Ontario (just below Algonquin Park). Spending time there is good for the soul.


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