All ready to go!
Delta had all four of us ticketed to sit in different rows, so I was glad when the woman at the gate was able to at least put me with Caleb. Two kind passengers on the flight, agreed to switch with Caleb and I so we could sit in a row with Moriah. =) Keenan sat two rows behind us and had a great conversation with the sweet couple next to him about homeschooling and missionaries, etc!
On the flight, I enjoyed my apple chips and water while the kids had cookies, pretzels and Biscoff cookies =)
We all ate lunch on this flight as well, since we didn't land until 2:30.
We accidentally discovered my iPad has a fun drawing feature, so that kept the kids occupied fairly well. This was Moriah's first masterpiece =)
We had a layover in Atlanta. Keenan and I read, Moriah and Caleb watched Magic Schoolbus, and then the kids ate Chick Fil A (and I had oatmeal, avocado and spinach) before we got on our flight.
When we landed, we pretty much walked up to the baggage carousel, grabbed our bags and headed to the rental car place. They upgraded us to a Prius for free, so fun! It gets great gas mileage and is crazy easy to drive (you just push buttons to start it, put it in park, etc and it makes almost No sound!)
Our drive (200 miles) was rather harry, with several traffic jams (once for construction, once for an accident), and a near miss as a semi truck roared around us when the traffic stopped abruptly and the semi couldn't stop soon enough. The last hour was the worst though, as my GPS took me onto a rural road...and then my phone died (the charger in the car either didn't work right, or my phone had gotten unplugged without me knowing). I stopped to let the phone charge, because now I had no way of knowing where to go! When it turned back on, I started driving again, but it died soon after. We were on curvy mountain roads...in the dark... far away from civilization. Even when the phone was charged briefly, I had no cell reception, so couldn't even call anyone. It was SO dark and was past 10 pm by now, so the one gas station I found had just closed and would not let me in. The kids were crying because they were scared, and I was barely holding it together myself. Finally I reached civilization and was able to call Philip from a gas station on the outskirts of Greenville, TN. (At this point I did cry). Fortunately, we were still on the right path, I just didn't know where to go from there. Philip was able to give me written directions for the rest of the way and he also called Wendi to let her know where we were.
We finally got to John and Wendi's road, which is really a single lane and wound around and up and down... and then as we turned a bend, their house lights shone out into the dark like a beacon on a hill. We pulled in and piled out of the car, exhausted and relieved. Wendi showed us to our sleeping quarters and we immediately went to bed, so happy to finally be there after such a long day!
Wednesday morning we had farm fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast (I tried a bite of the bacon... best I've ever tasted). Then, since the weather was so great (and it didn't look good for the next couple days), we got out and went for a tour of the farm!
They have 96 acres of land!
Just a few of their sheep
One of their (three) ponds
Look at all these beautiful ladies!
(They have about 70 chickens and get 50 eggs a day!!)
Quintessential farm picture =)
Wendi showing where they collect the eggs
All that you see is their property!
Moriah holding a still-warm egg
Another view of the pond
Visiting the rams
Keenan and Moriah heading off with Amy, (who has been staying here for a month and helping out) to set up some sheep fence
They have three or four types of pigs
I liked this little guy
...and this nose =)
Looking back at the house
This countryside is soo gorgeous!!
It was so exciting to finally BE HERE after hearing so much about it and to see it for ourselves and hear their vision for the future and get to taste the pure, fresh, simpler life they have out here. It's good for the soul.
Wendi and I (as we always do), picked right up where we had left off and talked, and talked and talked! Oh, it's good to be around someone who "knows" me. =)
The egg gatherers =)
(This trip was made by bicycle and they broke so many they opted to walk after that)
Keenan LOVED gathering the eggs and begged to do it multiple times a day!
Keenan was delighted to learn that Isaac and Sidge love a lot of the same games he does!
John took these next three on his cell phone. He graciously watched the younger kids while Wendi and I went into town to the grocery store and take her boys to the orthodontist. She also drove around and showed me a little of Greenville and where a lot of their life happens.
Caleb and Hannah
Feeding the sheep!
(This was the highlight of Caleb's day)
Three monkeys in a tree
Amazingly, Wendi was able outfit all three kids in boots for our stay!
Moriah had a nasty run in with a fence on a bike and looked pretty bad the first day!
Moriah, Caleb, Hannah and I went with Wendi to hike up to the ridge... it was a legit hike! 400 feet of climb.
Their dog, Arabelle, in one of the prettiest spots on their property
Look how steep this is!
Wendi and I at the top
Hannah, though she regretted coming, made it to the top (the youngest one to do so to date, I think!)
On the way back down, looking back towards the house
Making a Ton of grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner =)
After dinner we all had showers and fell into bed after a busy, fun-filled day!
We had our own comfortable guest quarters in their spacious camper in the driveway!
Caleb and I were in the bedroom (man, can that kid hog a bed!)
After a windy, rainy night, still filled with good sleep, we hurried ourselves into the warm house for the day.
Caleb challenged Sidge to a light saber dual =)
(These two, Isaac and Leon - another farm volunteer, also played a fantastic game of Scrabble later in the day!)
Moriah and Abigail played So sweetly and quietly all day! They dressed to match and even found earrings that were similar!
With crowns and baskets they made themselves =)
Isaac and Keenan playing the piano together, using "Piano Maestro"
(Moriah and Abigail)
** I actually decided to postpone my "7 Foods" until a month when we are not traveling so much. Along with all of the stressors of traveling, unfamiliar living arrangements and being around so many other people and different meals and schedules, it was just too much. I ate a piece of humble pie and took the wise counsel of a friend and decided now was not the time, in a month with 13 days of travel in it.
One morning, while I got some time to myself, Wendi did a cool online art class with the kids and they made these awesome nutcracker drawings!
On Friday we went to Yoder's Country Market. It is a delightful store with all manner of delicious home made awesomeness. We bought sandwiches for the kids for lunch and I got some dried apples for myself.
That afternoon I went for an awesome, hour long hike by myself in the beautiful woods!
This was the only photo I took, some bright orange fungi on a branch
(Moriah and Abigail)