Ponca State Park

Just two hours North of Omaha, you will find Ponca State Park. It lies on the West side of the Missouri River, on the edges of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The park is covered in big green trees and the Loess Hills. It’s a beautiful sight. There was a light rain most of the time we were there, so to me it felt like the Pacific Northwest (or what I imagine it to be).

This is Ponca State Park

This is Ponca State Park

We rented a cabin there for Memorial Day weekend. We stayed in one of their “Rustic” cabins which had “2” bedrooms, a bathroom, small kitchen, and a couch. Most importantly (according to Edith) it had a bunk bed. The cabin had a small bathroom, a kitchen, and a very large octagon table that our kids kept running into. There was also a nice enclosed porch.

Sweet Cabin!

                          Sweet Cabin!

The park has miles of hiking trails, a small golf course, a pool that was not yet opened, and a shooting range. I think there may have also been horses you could ride, but I did not see them. I think if we had gone in mid-summer we would have been able to do a lot more while we were there. Live and learn.

Tall Trees. Tall Kids.

        Tall Trees. Tall Kids.

We planned on staying two nights in the cabin, but after one very restless night of sleep we decided it would be best to head back home. During the time we were there however, we tried to get our money’s worth. We grilled hot-dogs on the fire, we roasted marshmallows (aka marshing the mellows), and we went hiking. After about 30 minutes of hiking we realized we might end up killing one of our kids. There was quite an incline and it was so muddy we kept sliding around. My dumb lower back still hurt from carrying my cute baby on my back.

Marshed Mellows.

                          Marshed Mellows.

Professional Hikers

                      Professional Hikers

We drove back to Omaha the next day and stopped in Jackson, Nebraska for lunch. We stopped at some small town dairy freeze that served fried food. I ordered a patty melt. Thinking it’d be a cheeseburger with onions on rye bread. What it turned out to be was some sort of breaded meat patty with cheese in the middle. It was a shock, but not necessarily a bad one.

Patty Melt. Whatever.

        Patty Melt. Whatever.

We spent the rest of our long weekend sleeping in our own beds, and gardening. It was glorious.

(I apologize for the crappy quality of writing in this blog. Enjoy the pictures instead!)

400 Year Old Oak

         400 Year Old Oak

Missouri River, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska

Missouri River, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska

One Farm, One Farmer

One of the best things about having a weird schedule is the freedom to see friends and go places during the day.  This is especially great at this time of year. I have always loved summer. Being outside and in the sun is probably my favorite thing ever….which makes me think I should be a farmer (I know, I have mentioned this before).  Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the discipline and work ethic that it takes to farm.   Luckily, I know a farmer….and she says I can come visit her farm anytime.

My friend Danelle is the owner/farmer of One Farm. What a great name!  Her philosophy is that everything starts with one…one vegetable, one recipe, etc.  It just takes one step to change things. One Farm practices acroecology and is chemical free (Agroecology is the science of ecology applied to the design, development and management of agriculture. Agroecology takes into account the needs of the ecosystem and people in it.). 

 Maybe some day Edith will be a farmer. She was pretty excited about it all.

I met Danelle many years ago when I was young, beautiful, and working at 10th Street Grinder (rest in peace). Danelle worked at Lauritzen Gardens and would come down the street to the Grinder for lunch.  She was one of our best customers.  Flash forward about 7-8 years and she became the marketing coordinator at my last job.  I know it’s  a small world, but I am pretty sure that fate brought us together.  Danelle is one of the coolest people I know.   Her life is also really cool.  She works in marketing more in the winter, then cuts back her hours to farm in the summer.  Her family farms conventionally, and they let her have her farm on  a plot of their land.

Edith and I went out to visit her the other day.  Her farm is out in the Loess Hills in Iowa.  It was super windy, but the views were amazing.  They terrace the fields so they can farm in the hills.  When I saw One Farm, I couldn’t believe that it was maintained by One Farmer.  Like I said, I do not have the work ethic to do this.  She had her work boots on and a knife strapped to her belt.  She looked super tough…well she is super tough.

We went to her house in Logan, IA and she fed me all sorts of greens from her farm.  They were delicious and I am pretty sure that One Meal extended my life just a little.  As a side note, Logan has some sort of siren that goes off every day at noon and 6 p.m…no need for a clock there!

I love Danelle. I love that she is in my life. She is such a badass and an inspiration.