Last weekend, Bjorn and I drove out to South Dakota to visit his cousin Marie and her husband Matt on their farm place! It was such a special weekend, and full of good memories, belly laughs, and some surprisingly warm February days. 🙂 We had been talking for a long time about making a trip out there and finally decided on a weekend in February. I’m so glad we were able to make it work – it was the perfect break from life back home, and quality time spent with relatives is always a joy!
Matt and Marie own sheep so it was really fun for us to see all of their new lambs, too. 🙂
^^ They have an Australian Shepherd named Livy! She is so sweet! I grew up with Australian Shepherd dogs so I am especially partial to this breed 🙂 ^^
^^ Arnold the pig 🙂 ^^
^^ There were several Hutterite colonies in the area. It was really interesting driving by them! ^^
We went on an awesome outing on Saturday to visit…the Amish!! If you know anything about me, you know I am a bit obsessed with the Amish. (Bjorn and I once spent a day at an Amish auction here in MN, and we also stayed in Amish country in Pennsylvania back in 2014!)
It was really thoughtful of Matt and Marie to take us out to see the Amish they knew. Matt knew this family from working with the father, and they also run a store on their property so we stopped by there first. We bought some yummy candy, homemade egg noodles, and peanut clusters. And Bjorn purchased an Amish straw hat, finally! (I’ve wanted him to get one for years, haha!) It’ll be a great shade hat – and it looks good on him, too!
^^ The bolts of fabric in their little store. What beautiful colors! I like to think of the women coming to the store and selecting the colors and fabrics they’ll use to sew clothes for their family. ^^
The kids in the Amish family then gave us a little informal tour of their farm. It was a gorgeous day out: the sun was shining, all the snow had melted into mud… 🙂 Throughout our little tour, the younger Amish kids in the family (5th grade and down, I believe) were following us around and quietly standing nearby with wide eyes. They were all extremely polite, and while they held back from being in the middle of the conversation, they made sure to stand right at our elbows!
^^ Bjorn’s new Amish straw hat coming home with us! 🙂 ^^
There was one moment while we were talking with the oldest son about farming, when I looked back and saw the most beautiful scene: the golden shafts of sunlight were cutting around the side of the barn, and the barn door was cracked open with several of the littlest children peeking out at us with big eyes. They were dressed in Amish clothing of blues and purples, including their prayer caps and suspenders, and the youngest little boy was barefoot with muddy feet. I thought to myself, Wow. What a picture-perfect moment! But, out of respect, I wasn’t whipping out my camera. Instead, I’ll have to forever remember that moment in my heart. The lighting was so dreamy, the sky blue, and the scene was so peaceful. It was like stepping back in time!
In retrospect, I think I was almost too mellow while visiting and interacting with them! But I was really trying to restrain myself and my excitement so as not to appear too eager or nosy. 🙂 In the past, I have gotten a bit too excited (think: tears in my eyes, haha) and I wanted to hold back and not draw extra attention to myself. But it was an amazing experience and will always be a favorite memory of mine! It was special because Matt and Marie knew the family already, and it wasn’t a touristy location or an official tour, so it felt more like a casual afternoon chat or a peaceful day at the farm! That made our visit feel that much more authentic.
We spent a good amount of time outside with Matt and Marie: first of all, because we loved seeing their farm place and we often got caught up chatting outside, and second, because we had amazing weather for February! It was in the upper 50s, at least!
While we were standing outside chatting, all of these flocks of geese kept flying very high above us! I gave them a nonchalant glance at first, but then realized just how many birds it was!! Matt said they were snow geese and that sometimes you can watch an entire flock fly by, stretching for a couple miles!
We estimated that a certain flock we were watching totaled about 100,000 (!) snow geese! They were explaining to us how the geese swirl around and around in a fascinating spiral in the evenings when the flock decides to land…and we decided at sunset to follow the flock because it looked like they’d land soon.
So, we hopped in the pickup truck and headed down a South Dakota dirt road at sunset… on a “wild goose chase!” 😉 (I thought my joke was pretty funny.)
^^ Now THAT is a lot of birds!! All you can pretty much see here is a dark cloud of them! ^^
We didn’t want to get too close and throw them off of their “bedtime routine” but you could still hear the honking from a ways away!
It was a beautiful night and a perfect way to celebrate the close of a balmy February day in the country.
Matt and Marie fed us like royalty while we were there! Bjorn and I couldn’t get over how delicious the pot roasts were and how savory their meat was! Farm to table, y’all. Extremely hard to compete with. 🙂
^^ A South Dakota February sunset, with snow geese swirling around on the horizon 🙂 ^^
We spent a lot of time just chatting and laughing about life, and playing Mexican Train Dominoes (a favorite Olson family game).
Bjorn and I weren’t there for the entire weekend, but it was such a special visit nonetheless! Thank you SO much for having us, Matt and Marie!! It was a blast getting to see what your life is like and spending time with you both!