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We have just returned to our mountain farm from a few days with family elsewhere.  We were fortunate enough to have a neighbor farm sit for us so we didn’t have to board the dogs, find someone to deal with the outdoor animals and worry about the house in our absence.  This is the first time we have done it this way and it was such a relief to not have to worry about it all.

Our adventure took us away from here on Thursday morning to the coastal area of Virginia, though I have to admit, we never even drove down to the beach.  I don’t miss it at all now that we are in the mountains.  We spent 3 nights with my 91 year old Dad and my step-mom in their home in Norfolk, enjoying some quiet visiting time, a decorated house, and great meals.  Saturday we spent all day with Son#2, our youngest and his family.  Mountaingdad took grandson to see a previewing of Night in the Museum 3 on tickets that Son #2 and DIL had won on a radio contest.  While they were off riding the light rail into Norfolk from the city line and in their movie, Son #2 gave me my first cheese making lesson.  With his help and guidance, I successfully made my first pound of mozzarella cheese.

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We used the cheese as a caprese salad as part of our lunch and it was delicious.  We will see if I can make it again by myself at home.  I am excited to have taken this step in being able to prepare another food we eat and will be able make it with local milk.  If I master this one, I may move on to other cheeses.

Once grandson and Mountaingdad returned and we had lunch together, we celebrated our Christmas with their family.  As they had made most of our gifts and as I had made some of theirs we opened each other’s gifts.  Grandson immediately put on his Steelers hooded sweatshirt and wore it all day.  We, as a family, walked over to their neighborhood park for him to launch his foam tipped rocket with the rubber band launcher then all met with Mountaingdad’s sister and her friend, plus my Dad and step-mom at a restaurant for a big family dinner together.  After dinner, Son#2’s family with us went to a Winter Wonderland and Christmas decorated petting zoo to see the lights, the animated displays and the animals; goats, chickens, ducks, alpacas, llamas, a pot bellied pig and ponies.

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Unfortunately, Santa had already left, but as we wandered out from our walking tour, we stopped by one of the many fire rings that they had set up for making S’mores and enjoyed the warmth on a chilly night.

This morning, after attending the lessons and carols Christmas service at the church I attended as a child and in which both we and our son were married, we returned across the state to our own bed in the mountains.

It was a wonderful way to spend a long weekend, having quality time with my Dad and with our youngest son and his family, spending time with the grandchildren that we see too infrequently.  Now that our daughter is coming to live here and we know that our neighbor will farm sit if we all go away, perhaps we will be able to reestablish more contact with those grandchildren too.

Lovin’ life.

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