Every year, we travel to Indiana to visit Jeff’s family. About an hour north of Indianapolis in farm country, it’s like a breath of fresh air.
The weather is cooler, the soil is blacker, the life is simpler. I feel the stress of life back home drift away as we whiz by field after field of corn and soybeans. Each visit includes some exploration into native plants and unfamiliar gardens filled with peonies, lilacs, conifers and other plants that would turn to toast in Central Texas.
My mother-in-law’s planters are always stunning. The feathery grass between my toes provides a sharp contrast between the no-bare-feet-ever policy I adhere to at home to protect myself from biting fire ants.
And then there are the tomatoes. Oh my. Seriously delicious. Real seasons, rich soil, cooler summer nights … I don’t know why, but Eleanor’s tomatoes seem better than any others here on earth. And we ate them, along with fresh sweet corn, morning, noon and night. Yumm-o.
Jeff’s family also raises Belgian draft horses – gentle giants that punctuate the landscape. Four mares are making their home there this summer, but 20 years ago there were 28 in the lots and barns around the farm. One of the highlights of our summer visit, the Indiana State Fair Draft Horse Show has been run and worked by Ellers for four generations now.
I’m also a junk food junkie, and I avail myself of every opportunity to eat something fried, greasy, or sugary. This year, I had a beef sundae for breakfast at the beef producers’ tent. Tender, pull apart roast beef, covered with mashed potatoes, corn and gravy. Mmmmmm. So good. My nephew, Ashton, who is on the State Fair Board, took us to breakfast in his golf cart and then we toured the Agriculture and Horticulture building, which he helps oversee and run. He opted for a hotdog — the $2 Tuesday special that day. Two lemonade/iced tea shake-ups and some cheese fries found their way into me before we left for the day.
My favorite in the Ag/Hort Building? The giant cheese sculpture! How. I could really make some queso with that!
Can’t forget the midway.
Our last event of the day — the dog show. These wonderful rescue pups performed daring feats of acrobatic skill and delighted the crowd. And the cute factor was off of the charts!
One morning we woke to a cool, damp 57 degrees, with a whisper of fog settling over the fields. This photo captures the peaceful, picturesque countryside of Indiana farmland.
Back home in Indiana, 2015.