With everything going on in our world right now, it is rare that The Country Boy and I get to escape. Traveling to exotic and fun places is out of the question, as most hotels don’t allow pets – much less cows and chickens. Getting a farm sitter isn’t too difficult, but if we are gone for any length of time, it gets expensive. So when we really need a break, we usually create our own fun right here on the farm.
My dream is to have an outdoor movie theater. The more I research doing that, the more I realize that I will have to have a lot of patience, as I have to wait until the price of the equipment comes down, if it ever does. Still, I can see in my mind’s eye a group of neighbors enjoying popcorn, Junior Mints and Cokes out in the front pasture. I can hear them laughing at the antics of Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and Peter Lorre, all in their full glory on the ‘big screen’. (Can anyone name that movie?) Since that dream isn’t in the cards right now, I have to find something else fun to do. If you are in the same boat I am, try a few of these things at home. They are great alternatives to going out, and you just might have a lot more fun!
1) Dinner and a movie – Movie rental these days are cheap, and if you prefer to own your favorites, they can be purchased easily. Think of a restaurant you would want to go to, mentally peruse the menu, then do your best to re-create your choice in your own kitchen. Set up a table (go ahead, add the tablecloth and use the good dishes) in front of the television. Pop in a movie, and you have an instant dinner theater. You can also throw a blanket on the floor, grill some burgers or fry some chicken, and have a picnic to go along with your movie. Either way, I am willing to bet the meal tastes a bit better and the movie is more entertaining! You can also serve dinner outside, then head back in to pop popcorn. Just don’t forget the Jujubes and Junior Mints!
2) Game Night – invite a few of your friends over for a game of Mexican Train. You can also have a Bunco night or play Trivial Pursuit. When the kids come to visit, we are often found surrounding the kitchen table playing Farmopoly or Dominoes. It’s almost a ritual, and is a few hours of guaranteed fun. Take it a bit further and have a game night competition. Set up several playing areas with checkerboards and mark one table for the winners. As each game concludes, move the winner up one space, until there are just two remaining players at the winners table. The winner of that final game receives a prize as the Champion Checker Player. You can offer any type of prize – keeping it simple and fun is probably the best.
3) Neighborhood Picnic – Growing up on Bolch Street, this was a given every summer. All the neighbors would gather in our backyard. Daddy would grill hamburgers and hot dogs and the rest of the group would bring the salads, fixings and desserts. The kids would catch fireflies and play kick the can, the adults would visit and catch up on the latest news and gossip. At the end of the evening, those noisy ice cream makers would finally go quiet and we would gorge ourselves on several flavors of frozen paradise. For several years, we held a Chili Cook-Off at the Plantation. It was a lot of fun, and I hate that we don’t do it anymore. I think it is something we need to get started again. It may not be a Cook Off, but a neighborhood picnic would be just as much fun. I believe I’ll get started planning that!
4) Walk and Talk – one of the most difficult things to find on the farm is Time. The Country Boy and I often find ourselves ‘speaking’ to one another as we pass each other through the back door – him leaving, me getting home. At night, we are both usually so exhausted that we give each other a rundown of our day, then settle in to just enjoy the quiet. After a while, it gets too uncomfortable to us to be so ‘distant’. So, we take off for a walk down to the pond or across the pasture. Some days, we just sit outside on the swing. It’s quiet, there are no distractions, and we finally have a chance to catch up.
If none of these things appeal to you, think of what would, and get started. Set aside one Saturday a month to just do something. Choose one of the things on my list, or something impromptu. Either way, you will have a day to look forward to, and a means to getting out of your daily rut. The fact that you will have fun doing it is just icing on the cake! (You will have some of that homemade ice cream to go with that cake, right?)