The family vacation


We are getting close to Christmas, and I have yet to get an answer from my kids about what we can get for them. They are all on their own, with their own homes, and they say they don’t need anything. If they need anything, they get it or save for it. The years of me sending out good socks and having them choose some really warm boots or clothes didn’t seem to make sense. I would spend money on things they already had or didn’t need.

Last year, we sent money to Curtis and Meeya for their delayed honeymoon to New Zealand. They had been saving and this added to make the trip a bit more fun. We liked knowing that the cash was not going to be used for bills, and it was exciting to hear that they were so happy to get money ... instead of fancy socks and boots.

I have tried to get Anna and Catherine to plan an escape outing with some of the womens organizations that they both have been a part of. Fishing trips, whitewater rafting or camping in the mountains seem like fantastic ideas for them to do something together again. They have already done sturgeon fishing and bowfishing together, and they had a great time, but they said it would be better if we could all do something together. They analyzed the cost of such a trip and decided it would be better to plan our own family getaway where we all could be comfortable around the campfire. Family understands how we are, and we don’t need to candy-coat our conversations.

With that being the case, Christmas Day will be like all the Christmases before. We will do chores and gather together later for a meal. Everyone will make their favorite holiday dish to pass and then take time to relax and digest until we go out again to do chores. We will not be passing out gifts, but we will be sharing time together and making sure to call others and wish them merry Christmas and peace for the new year.

There is a likelihood that a plan for the family vacation will come from the conversations while we are preparing the food, setting the table or enjoying the meal. Perhaps we can discuss if we could all meet and go through Yosemite to hike or camp, or visit Alaska, or maybe all travel to Vancouver and escape the States for a few days. The planning will be part of the fun to see where we all want to go, and then coordinating the timing between cutting hay after planting is completed. We will be happy to help with buying the plane tickets and renting the cabin for all of us to stay in together.

In 2019, Curtis and Meeya planned their wedding around our farming schedule. Everyone was able to attend their wedding on Crystal Mountain, with Mount Rainier showing up for the photos. That was seven days without a robot alarm. Well, maybe not — in Washington, we were in the mountains where some areas didn’t have cell phone service. I do know we had a great crew on the farm, and they knew what to do if a situation came up. We never heard about anything, so it must have been fine. We have part of that crew still working, along with a few other great employees.

I am looking forward to Christmas Day and the time that we will spend together. Perhaps, this could be the start of a new tradition, planning the family vacation.

Tina Hinchley, her husband Duane and daughter Anna milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots.  They also farm 2,300 acres near Cambridge, Wisconsin. The Hinchleys have been hosting farm tours for over 25 years.


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