It would be a bit vain to say that Kate and I make our own luck, but we do say that the things we do make makes it easier for good fortune to find us.
Three years ago when we met a group of hikers at Assinaboine Lodge and offered to host them in Canmore for a few days, we thought that our adventure with them had run its course. Little did we realize that we would stay in touch with them over the next few years, then have opportunity to stop into their farm in Pennsylvania on our Fall 2022 road trip.
We arrived last night, not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into as we allowed Google Maps to direct us to the address on Binkley Road that we had been given. After driving from Niagara Falls, across the US border, through New York state and into the backroads of PA for a few hours, in the fading daylight we finally pulled into the driveway of a tidily-kept, two-story modern farmhouse. There, we were greeted by a friendly Yellow Labrador named Winston, along with Dan, Joanna and their kids Grace and Kahleesi. It was great to see Dan and Joanna again and we could tell the girls had heard about and were excited to meet us. Although we had arrived late, we visited until we could not quite keep our eyes open, then all headed for bed with plans to all have some fun together for the next three days.
Dan and Joanna raise and home school their kids in much the same way as they have been raised. They are across the road from Joanna's parents and within a five minute country-road walk of two of Joanna's sisters and one brother, Dan's parents and one of Dan's sisters and some of their other siblings who are still living at home. These two families have created an ecosystem of inter-reliance that is truly wonderful to see. They have regular weekly dinners together, help each other with work (one of Joanna's older brothers set up and runs a stable for boarding horses and employs or rents services to some of the other siblings) and co-exist across the acreages and homes in their quiet, almost-no-thru-road they all live on.
They have made Kate, Nancy and me feel welcome and just like family. We are staying with them for three nights.
|Dan and Joanna's front porch|
|Dan and Joanna's place|
|Debbie and Bryce's home|
|A roadside veteran's memorial|
|Stables at Abe's place|
|Debbie and Bryce's home (the family patriarchs)|
|Cheeky pony at Debbie and Bryce's place (Joanna's parents)|
|The riding paddocks in front of the Abe's stables|
|Abby and Jessie's new place that they are building|
|Down the fenceline to Joanna and Dan's place|
|Dan, cooking up burgers for dinner|
|Working the apple press to make cider at Abe's place|