We had our first family vacation away from the farm this summer. We went camping this past week. I know some people don’t think camping is a vacation, but for broke farmers it’s a chance to get away from the farm and that is most likely the only “vacation” they will take. For the family member that has to do the packing, unpacking, and clean up it doesn’t feel like a vacation, but there are perks to camping.
One of my favorite things about camping is the breakfast. It’s always the best tasting breakfast and a bigger breakfast than we normally eat – bacon, eggs, spuds & onions, sometimes toast, or pancakes. All cooked over the fire with coffee boiled in a pot with loose grounds, what we call sheep herder coffee. Nothing compares to how good the food taste in the mountains cooked over a fire.
This leads to my next favorite thing about camping; I don’t do the cooking! Years ago the other half and I made a deal that he had to do all the cooking while we’re camping. That way I can consider camping a vacation – getting away from home, relaxing, having fun, and being taken care of. If I do the cooking at home, then the other half does the cooking at camp over a campfire. Cooking over a campfire is not my specialty anyway, I’d much rather prefer to use a stove. It’s already way more work for me to go camping than it is to stay home. There is all the packing and prep to get ready . . . . . . packing clothes, bedding, tent, and then there’s all the food. Since we live as cheap as possible and homestead like there is no store-bought-canned food to pack. This means I have to spend a full day cooking just to get ready to go so I do the cooking to go, but don’t have to cook while are there. This involves making homemade snack foods like granola bars, caramel corn, muffins, chili, stew, salads, fried chicken, and baked potatoes. I also pack fresh fruits and veggies from the farm, bacon, steak, hamburger,and our indulgence – hot dogs.
Sometimes I wonder if the only reason the other half agrees to get away from the farm is because he sees it as a necessity, a working trip. We don’t just sit, read or enjoy hiking. We cut and load the horse trailer with firewood. Yes, another task that has to be done in the summer and fall because that’s how we heat our house in the winter, with a wood burning stove.
Once we are done loading wood and are dog tired, I make the family hike to the top of the mountain in search of every high mountain lake we can find. I have an obsession with high mountain lakes. I would love to hike to as many high mountain lakes as possible in my lifetime. High mountain lakes are such majestic, breath-taking works of art with the only way to view them is to hike into them by foot or horse. There is nothing like a strenuous hi
ke to make a vacation enjoyable, seriously. Even if you have to leave the other half and kids at the lower lake and hike up an over the mountain to the third lake by yourself. You truly feel like a champion when reach the saddle! There is also nothing like standing on top of a saddle, looking at all the peaks in view being eye level and feeling like you’re on top of the
world. And we might just be for just a short period of time.
So, yes, we call camping a vacation. We work, we hike, we sit around the fire and read and, most importantly, we have fun. We may create more work for ourselves by making our vacation a working trip and then more work to unload the trailer of wood when we get home, but I don’t think we would know what to do or how to behave on a real vacation
Now to get caught up on the farm work! There is lots of produce to harvest and a ton of very large overgrown zucchini to deal with.