Oh, the Places I’ve Been: a Small Farm and a Big City in the Midwest

‘The Midwest’ is such a broad geographic region that when someone says they went there, you have to ask where exactly they went. A cornfield in Nebraska? A football game in Indiana? Somewhere in Kansas? I always describe the part of this broad region that Devin is from as ‘practically Canada.’ (He’s from Wisconsin.)

We spent Easter on Devin’s family farm, and it was so wonderful. Every time I go, I learn more about life in almost-Canada and marvel at how different it is from anywhere I’ve ever lived. There’s no major airport near there, so we also had a one-night layover with our good friends Jackson and Caye in Chicago. There we made a new friend, Mila. She happens to be their baby, but I think we would have hit it off regardless!

Family
Here are Devin and his family in front of their house. I’m always inspired by their work ethic and thoughtfulness. They had so much on their plate this spring, but they still gave me a grand welcome. Devin’s dad remembered how much I love his pad Thai and made it for me the first night I was there. Devin’s mom made pancakes with the blueberries we picked together last year and put together the best Easter basket–complete with Cadbury mini eggs. All the while the four of them were tapping trees for maple syrup, chopping firewood, and collecting eggs from their productive hens.
Tapping trees
Here are Devin and his dad tapping their trees for maple syrup (technically, it’s box elder syrup, but my city-folk palate doth not detect a difference).
take out the recycling
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was taking out the garbage. You have to drive it to the dump. Fortunately, they collect recycling there, too. This is the metal recycling section. To me it looks like an exhibit at MoMA PS1. I was mesmerized.
Speaking of re-purposing, here is a house made entirely of salvaged materials. It belongs to one of their family friends.
Speaking of re-purposing, here is a house made entirely of salvaged materials. It belongs to one of their family friends.
Doesn't it seem like the perfect place to write a poem?
Doesn’t it seem like the perfect place to write a poem?
Clearly, I am not a family photographer, but I like this picture of Mila and Jackson anyway.
Clearly, I am not a family photographer, but I like this picture of Mila and Jackson anyway.
This one of Mila and her mami turned out a little better.
This one of Mila and her mami turned out a little better. I call it ‘Sleepy Zebra, Happy Zebra.’
feminist utopia
We had so few hours there, but they happen to live down the block from one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the country. (What are the chances?!) This picture sums up my feelings. Every spare space in our suitcases was taken up with new, wonderful books!
Lake MIchigan is this blue, and you can just jump in and swim!
They also made sure we saw some sights. Serendipitously, Caye’s sister was also in town from Quito. She studied architecture in Chicago and taught us all about the cool buildings, but I didn’t get any good pictures. I did take this one of Lake Michigan, and I can attest that it’s really this blue, and you can just jump in and swim! So cool!

Hey Upper Midwest (or whatever you’re called), you’re pretty rad!

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Oh, the Places I’ve Been: a Small Farm and a Big City in the Midwest

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