My friends Conni and Darrell I have friends that live in Western Michigan, about a 3-hour drive or train ride from Chicago. At their farm [Coach Stop Farm] they raise draft horses [percheron]. They also naturally [they're not certified organic because of the certification process, but they're pretty sure about the feed they purchase and they don't use any hormones] raise sheep [for wool and lamb] and pigs [for some very tasty pork]. They train the horses to be worked on Amish farms, although they aren't Amish at all.
They're actually the dad and stepmom of one of my best friends [Keely], but I've become friends with them over the years too and I visit them more than she does.
I like to go there to get out of the city, about every 6-10 weeks. It's a mental realignment to go there. When I'm at home [in Chicago] I get up, I go out or go to work, and there's a certain city grooming that I maintain [I'm coiffed and polished and waxed or shaved and girly-dressed]. When I'm there, I get up in the morning and put on dirty jeans and barn boots and go out to help with the chores before breakfast. I don't think about makeup. I don't shave. Even if we go out to dinner or go shopping, I'm in jeans and a t-shirt, something that rarely occurs here. It's a kind of vacation from my city-girl persona.
[Note: I'm visiting them this weekend, and I won't return until Tuesday, so there won't likely be any posts before then.]