Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Road Trip: Witch of Melvina + Long Arm Farm magic

My desire to pack up and live rurally is pretty near none. Thankfully, we have a number of friends around the country who have made that choice and we get to greedily indulge in their lifestyle in small stints.

Micaela and her husband Cullen reign over a chunk of land in the Driftless Reigon of Wisconsin called the Long Arm Farm, where they live and farm year round with their three children- Thurman, Oota and Lugh + a slew of animals. I've posted about trips here before but always feel like it's worth revisiting visually as their land takes the shape of their personalities and the kids get bigger. I'm always inspired by what they are creating in their world- the labor and love invested into what they do daily is quite humbling.

Long Arm Farm: July 2011
Long Arm Farm HQ

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Almost to the Long Arm Farm we passed through a speck of a "town" called Melvina. A flash of color and wild paint caught my eye & we turned around. What we found was a spot called "The Twilight Zone" apparently created by the "Witch of Melvina". I'll let these photos do the talking but if this sort of spot is up your alley then you should go there. According to an article posted on one of the buildings the Twilight Zone store is open from 7pm-midnight. Sounds good to me.

Twilight Zone: Melvina WI

Twilight Zone: Melvina WI

Twilight Zone: Melvina WI

Twilight Zone: Melvina WI

Twilight Zone: Melvina WI

Once we make the drive, I always wish we were staying longer-even this weekend when the heat index was pushing 110 degrees. But I'm impressed both Aaron and I carved out a few days to make the trip together so I can't complain one bit.

If you haven't ever been to the Wisconsin Driftless Region it's a real treat. In the summer there are endless rolling green hills, pockets of small towns to explore, lots of Amish clopping by in their carriages and a good number of young back-to-the-land types who have started small family farms that will someday be our country's future in agriculture.

We arrived a bit after noon and Cullen was off helping friends harvest garlic. Micaela was soaked in sweat from yard work and ready to take a break. After a quick dance party lunch feast with Oota & Lugh, we all took a quick drive to a nearby lake to cool down before a unreal dinner. Spoken like a true city girl, when out in the country I'm always reminded how "neighbor" in these parts can mean as far as 45 minutes away. Long Arm friends arrived and the garden was raided for dinner. The evening's menu consisted of whey marinated goat (raised & slaughtered on the land), pig (raised and slaughtered within 30 miles), fresh picked garden greens and a goat cheese (made by micaela) & shelled pea chilled pasta dish. We ate like kings, queens, prince and princesses with sweat pouring off our bodies on the front porch as the sun set.

Oota, Long Arm Farm: July 2011
Oota + bunny

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

The kittens & Oota's bunny, Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Long Arm Farm: July 2011
dinner prep

Thurman (age 12), Longarm Farm: July 2011
Thurman
Evening milking, Long Arm Farm: July 2011
evening goat milking

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Morning time on the Long Arm Farm: July 2011
morning heat haze

The temperature barely dipped below 80 that night and the next morning a thick fog hung over the land until the sun burnt through with viciousness around noon. That day I milked a goat for the first time with Micaela's guidance and wrangled babies while she did her morning chores. It was too hot to even think straight so Micaela and I packed up Oota & Lugh in the car with AirCon to visit a few local spots while Aaron stayed back with Cullen to build a grape trellis.

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Cullen, Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Oota, Long Arm Farm: July 2011

Long Arm Farm: July 2011

We went into Viroqua to see our our friends Peter (fantastic comic book author) & Erika (run's a lovely shop called Tulip's). It was a quick visit full of hugs and wow your troupe of 3 beautiful daughter's are all more beautiful than before and have gotten so big. Then we tried to visit my favorite spot out in the middle of nowhere Avalanche Looms, which was sadly shut on Monday.
It was back to the farm to scoop up my sweaty man who cooled off before our drive home in the Long Arm creek. Now it's Tuesday and I'm back to my steamy city Summer life in Milwaukee.

The end.

Further photos of our weekend road trip-
Twilight Zone photos here & Long Arm Farm photos here.

3 comments:

CassieMarie said...

My family lives in the driftless area (Dodgeville, WI)in Southwest WI, and we get to travel through the beautiful hills and valleys every time we visit home from South Dakota. There is something magical about all of the little towns. When we first moved there from Milwaukee when I was in middle school I felt like the luckiest kid in the world. Your post really captures some of the essence of living around there. :) Sounds like a wonderful time!

Susan Johnson said...

Faythe, sorry you didn't get to see the witch of Avalanche this time around! Susan

kri said...

This is an awesome post. Makes my heart ache for that sort of life. Half of me yearns for that. Yet half of me hearts the city too much. Half City Mouse ... Half Country Mouse. Your photos are wonderfully telling. Magic.