We had a lovely weekend getaway to visit some dear friends in Benton Harbor, MI. I can’t get over how beautiful it is over there, just across the lake! In the short amount of time we were there we were able to take a few country drives and visit some lovely little farms and orchards, spend a beautiful evening at the beach to celebrate a 1st birthday, watch a gorgeous sunset, take a few spins on the best carousel I’ve ever seen, buy 5 pounds of blueberries, pick 8 pounds of peaches AND Stella got to go on a pony ride. And, of course, spend some quality time with our friends that we so rarely get see these days. It couldn’t have been more perfect!
For the most part my phone was generally out of juice so I didn’t get to take many pictures. I’m sad I didn’t get any of the beach party. It was truly a beautiful evening.
Luckily I had just charged my phone before we headed out on our first search for a blueberry patch. We didn’t find a patch but we did come across the cutest and sweetest little farm that I’ve ever seen, Floralia. After traveling down some country roads Bill and Jessica pulled over next to someone’s driveway, no parking lot or anything like that. This was literally someone’s home where they had decided to build a small off-road shop to sell their honey. Honey is their primary “business” but they had an assortment of the cutest animals I’ve seen assembled.
We were greeted by an Icelandic Ram and a cute and friendly goat. We gave them some pets and Stella gave them some grass then we moved on to say hello to the donkey who was looking lonely. The donkey turned out to be very shy and kept just out of petting reach for me, but later I noticed that Stella was making some progress with him. While we were fussing and fawning over these pretties the most beautiful turkey made his way over to us. Jessica said she thought he was a wild turkey that they kept at this little farm but she didn’t really know much about any of it since the owners had never been around when she stopped by to get their honey. It’s pretty normal for stands to just have their produce out with a little box were you put your cash, no human interaction necessary.
Since no one was certain of the intentions of the turkey, we kept a distance but couldn’t help to snap a few pictures of him. He was all puffed up and really showing off. We didn’t know if that was a sign of aggression and we didn’t want to find out! He continued to hover around us as we continued to admire the beauty of this little farm. It had such a natural organic feel to it. The way everything was placed. The location of the flowers and bushes. The bees were kept somewhat hidden further up into the property but we didn’t want to trespass so we just stayed by the pens that held the donkey, ram and goat. There was also a small rabbit cage that held 1 beautiful white angora rabbit and one more normal looking chinchilla rabbit. Jim sat on the swing and Stella communed with the donkey. A scruffy black llama came over to say hello as well.
Bill and Jessica told us about a documentary currently on Netflix called “My Life As A Turkey” and as they explained to me how intelligent these misunderstood birds were I could hear some motion coming from towards the house. To our delight the owner came out to chat with us. She was just as lovely as her property and was happy to answer our questions about each of the animals. It turns out that the turkey is a heritage breed and not actually a wild turkey. She explained that he’s incredibly friendly and loves attention. She encouraged us to pet him and we happily obliged. It was amazing to be so close to him. I admired his iridescent feathers and I had never noticed his beard until I actually got to pet him. She said he loved to go on walks and if they happened to go off without him he would run after them, noticeably upset for being left out.
As we chatted with her Jim noticed the cat, who’d been quietly hanging around, dart off into one of the enclosures. Soon she emerged with a small squirrel and off she went with him. I was a little worried about Stella seeing to much of nature in action but she watched for a bit then turned her attentions back to the donkey. Before we left she gathered a handful of turkey feathers to take back with us.
Not wanting to impose too much we decided to head out, we needed to get to the beach to set up for the birthday party anyway. It was really just so inspiring seeing this little farm and talking with the owner.
The next day we drove through the country side to resume our search for a blueberry patch. Unfortunately, the blueberries had ripened early this year and most had already been picked so we just stopped at one of the many fruit stands and I “picked” up a 5 pound box. We decided to go check out a local peach orchard as well, since we had time and rumor had it that there might be horses in the area.
The orchard we went to was quiet an operation. Huge! They offered multiple varieties of peaches, apples, cherries and apricots. We just wanted peaches. So you sign up, get a permit, then drive over some hills out to the orchard. Much to Stella’s delight there was one pony offering pony rides. Before anything else could happen Stella had to get on that horse. The woman who guided the horse was another lovely soul who enjoyed telling Stella all about her other ponies and how she had one horse that was 33 and she said when that one passed on she wasn’t going to get any more, but before he passed on someone brought her another horse and that’s how she ended up with Sparkle, the horse Stella was riding. Isn’t life funny!sustainable living