Ah, vacation. Something most people crave; time off, time away, time to relax. Summer is a popular time to take a vacation. The weather is nice, the kids don't have school, and, at least in lower Michigan, several large companies employing tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of people take a week-long break. Everyone in the auto industry around here has a mandatory week of vacation right around the fourth of July.
So, typically, we go on vacation in late June/early July. As a farmer/gardener, it's a horrible time for me to be out of town. In a rainy year, hay is still needing to be cut. Rainy or not, the garden is in hyper-growth mode, plants and weeds alike, and needs lots of attention. For me, going on vacation means lots of prep work, hours and days spent getting ready to be gone. And then, when returning from vacation, I have hours and days of catching up to do to get back on track. Sometimes I never do get caught up with the weeds in the garden, and the whole season is adversely affected.
I view vacations hesitantly. Is the vacation destination worth the hassle of doing all the prep work, arranging for animal care (and possibly a farm-sitter), and then scrambling once I'm back to tame the weedy garden again? If it were up to me, we would not take a vacation any time between late April and mid-October. Too much stuff growing, too much weeding, too much watering, and too much harvesting (and preserving/canning) to do. It's not easy to find someone to do that for me in my absence, and sometimes the weeds get out of control for the remainder of the growing season or I miss an entire crop harvest and preservation if I'm gone for more than a few days.
This year's vacation happened to be to a place DH and I have long desired to go. Somewhere far away, so far as to almost be mystical. Somewhere not a lot of people ever get to visit. This year, 2017, we were finally going to go there. Unfortunately, we were going there right when I hate to be gone anywhere: late June and early July.
Why that time frame instead of one more suitable to homesteading? Why, if we'd been wanting to go there for so long, couldn't we schedule it for a more convenient time? Why couldn't we spend his week of mandatory vacation doing projects at home instead and use a different week of his four weeks yearly for this trip? Because one of his aunts happens to live there, and it happens to be her year to host the family reunion. At last year's family reunion (in Michigan), everyone insisted that she hold it at her home, in her far away state of Alaska, rather than her flying to Michigan and hosting it somewhere close to where the majority of us live. For ease of travel for everyone, (and with many Michigan relatives having vacation time then) she decided to hold it the first weekend of July.
Alaska! How could we not go? Well, aside from the expense, and the time away from this little place here when things are hopping. It was exactly where DH and I had been dreaming of going for many, many years. We must go.
So we did. :0) It took a lot of planning, and budgeting, and me asking for and receiving two weeks off of both farms I work at. The amount of time I spent in June getting the garden ready--weed-free, well watered and totally mulched in straw (in case of drought while I would be gone) was astronomical. I literally worked myself until I didn't have anything left to give. I wouldn't want to have to do it again, ever. But it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Alaska!
Look for a series of upcoming posts, in pictures and stories, about our Alaskan adventures. There's a lot of sorting of photos to do, and getting posts ready in addition to catching up on normal life at this little place here, so it might be a few days before I get the first post up. But there's lots to show, and lots to tell.