Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Fieldtrip

The Boss and I did something somewhat unusual…we took the day off…and we took a little fieldtrip.  We left the hoophouse weeding, the seed-starting, the very pregnant ewes, the grumpy hens, the work and the worry and the “to-do list” far behind and headed out on (for us) an adventure.

The Boss is part of an on-line community of photographers that are participating in a very, very cool project.  One of the members is allowing his Nikon lens to travel around the world, staying with a different photog every couple of weeks.  Each participant sends photos of his/her part of the world to the Boss. The Boss posts the photos and adds commentary from the photographer as “Nikki” (the Nikon lens) goes on her way, circumnavigating the globe. You can read about  the adventure here...

By default, I have gotten to see places I would have never seen and heard stories I may have never heard.  Not only that, but there are folks in far-off lands who know about our little farm here in the Valley and have become our friends.  That makes this project all the more special.

When "Nikki" arrived last week, the Boss already knew some of the shots he hoped to capture.  Living in the “birthplace of presidents” (quick…do you know which 8 presidents were born in VA?) history is just part of everyday life. The Boss decided to make a return visit to Monticello and take some iconic shots.   He had a couple other ideas, but the Monticello shoot was the only one requiring a roadtrip of sorts.

Monticello is a most interesting place to visit. I particularly like the garden. Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant, creative man and an avid gardener.  My grandfather found his innovations and inventions fascinating and attempted to recreate the garden house on his own property in his later years.  So, the visit allowed me some fond memories as well.

A trip back in time makes us appreciate just how easy we have it today.  I cannot imagine the back-breaking labor that was necessary just to keep the inhabitants of Monticello fed and clothed.  There are little signs all around the grounds to indicate the various areas of work.  Icehouse, charcoal house…kitchen, etc.  All this work was done by hand, without the aid of modern machinery or kitchen gadgets.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem we work very hard after all.

My family has deep roots in Virginia history, coming to the area in the mid-1600’s with a land grant from the king of England. The names around the Monticello area are ones I recall from family lore oft-repeated by my grandmother and other “old folks” in the family.  That fact makes this fieldtrip a little more personal and gives us new things to think over and discuss.

We walked the grounds, the Boss got his shots.  We then took a side trip to James Monroe’s home Ashlawn.  This is nowhere near as grand as Monticello, but it was worth the visit.

Our day-trip included a quick lunch and a visit to a couple of new grocery stores (research and reconnaissance of sorts), then we headed back to the old homestead. The little trip gave us a chance to renew and recharge and re-focus. But, it’s always nice to see OUR mountains appear on the horizon as we travel the interstate toward our little piece of paradise.  

Back at home, we headed out into the leftover snow to get back to the ewes, the hens, the harvesting, the weeding…thankful for the little break…but even more thankful to be home…

I’m ready to get back to our own farm work, greatly appreciative of our 21st century innovations!

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