Day 13, 2013

(I am repeating some of last year’s blog about this annual tradition so please indulge me for the repetitive nature of this post)

The best part about having big plans is that I can lord those plans over the kids for days beforehand to get them to do what I need them to do. I guess there may be parents whose children do not need bribery and threats to complete tasks. If these people …do indeed exist, I respectfully request that they write a manual, preferably with a slant towards coaxing boys to cheerfully stop wrestling on the family room floor and help out with, say…vacuuming.
And so it was Saturday morning at the ungodly hour of 8:00am that I had already pulled out “The Farm Card” several times. Translation?  I had spent the morning repeatedly threatening Drew and Reed with being left behind with the dog while the rest of us ventured to Brandy Hollow Farm north of Frederick.
Brandy Hollow is like Disney World except it is 30 minutes from home and you don’t have to mortgage your house to go there and have fun. Owned by our friends, the Kelley’s, the farm has rolling green fields, a pond, horses, rafts, canoes, badminton, a fire pit, a golf cart for off-road adventures and nature galore. The farm house that has been on the property for decades has been renovated to accommodate at least 20 indoors. Standing orders are to bring food and drink to share and your sense of humor.
The Kelley’s are generous enough to invite dozens of friends to descend on them with tents, tots, teens and trunk loads of food to camp out every summer. A menu is prepared in advance and everyone contributes to a huge pot luck meal. This year we gathered the last weekend in August and found it was the perfect way to bid farewell to summer and usher in a new school year. After dropping the dog at Mark’s parents, and assuring Drew and Reed that they had been reinstated into the travel group, we hit the road anticipating another great adventure.
And the Farm did not disappoint. The adults are tasked with grilling, building the perfect bon fire for S’mores, assembling sleeping quarters and leading fishing expeditions at the ponds edge. I am not sure if anyone ever catches a fish, but the pond begs for a line and bait so we gladly comply. This year, the addition of a slip and slide on the sloping hill brought squeals from even the coolest teen boys until they were completely covered in grass and mud.
Kids of all ages come together here and no one argues or whines which confirms the magical quality that abounds. If only we could bottle that and take it down the mountain with us.
We catch up with old friends, sit for a spell and play horseshoes, corn toss or this year’s first annual egg toss by the fire after darkness falls. It is inevitably cool at night and the extra layer of a sweatshirt lends to the air of Fall approaching. It is a tease for the vivid colors of the approaching season while leaving us yearning for summer all at the same time.
The night’s fire is replaced with a smoking griddle in the morning and the early risers are treated to the smell of pancakes, bacon and eggs. A real farmer’s feast. Some sit around the table, some dismantle tents, some enjoy long slumber in the fresh, country air.
There were no tents this year as families were called to other pursuits. College drop-offs, high school sports and other commitments made for an intimate gathering. We eked everything we could from the clear, crisp night before retreating to the house for slumber. With the windows open, guests were treated to a symphony from the natural residents of the surrounding woods, glad to have us in our rightful place indoors so they could resume their nightly rituals undisturbed.
And that is the beauty of the Farm, everyone gets what they want or need. With no schedule or expectations, the weekend unfolds at a lazy pace unseen in the world outside Brandy Hollow. Eventually, the cars retreat along the long, winding gravel path with waves to our hosts and one last glance at the stunning landscape. 
Even our path homeward eases us back to reality. A two lane road from the drive leads to a four lane road through Braddock Heights which merges onto the highway and Rt. 270. The route gives us time to work our way back into the pace of everyday life and heightens our appreciation of the Farm’s inherent opportunity for relaxation for all.


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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