The Swalla farm.

As already mentioned Wednesday we ventured out to the Swalla farm in Stuart, Iowa. It was like thirty or forty minutes west of where we were staying in Johnston. I think we were able to get up, showered, and ready by just after ten. Tony’s Grandma Swalla lives on the farm, along with one of her (fourteen!) children, Rosie, and her three kids (Jonathon, whom just graduated high school but we didn’t get to see; Kaitlin, and Megan).

The first thing I noticedwhen we pulled up was KITTENS! I love, love, love kittens but am less enamored with cats. Speaking of cats, Trista told me last night my cat, Peaches, died. I got Peaches when she was just a kitten from a friend the summer before I went into 4th grade. She was 14 years old. Today when I asked what happend Trista said they think she might have been eaten(!) because they haven’t found her and that she had a seizure a few days earlier. I asked aboutthe seizure and she said ti was a "funny story" and she’d tell me later. Bad enough that my cat dies (though, to be honest, I haven’t lived with her for anmost five years so I don’t really feel as if she’s mine anymore) but…THIS?!? I don’t want to think about it.

Anyway, it was really nice to see more of Iowa on the drive out. I’ve never been to the midwest so I spent a ton of time just staring out the window being amazed at how far you could see. And, in Johnston, at the amazing, amazing houses. They all looked like mini plantation mansions.

After playing around for awhile (well, Ali at least) and searching outsome animals (I think we came across three kittens, one momma cat, and two dogs) we satdown for lunch. Grandma Swalla made a rice casserole that was not only good, but that Ali loved at well. She ate so much I was surprised there was anymore left to put the birthday cake she was later presented with.

This picture cracks me up!

Can we say sugar coma?

So excited about her card. Seriously, this kid LOVES cards.

Ali loved playing in this tiny rocking chair that was Grandma Swalla’s mother’s. It is nearly 100 years old!

So cute!

After more playing we went out to tour the farm. That is when Rosie came home so Ali and I got to meet her. By this time Ali was so, so exhausted (kind of a theme from here on out) so we really had to just go. But we had such a nice time and I really wish we could have stayed longer and can go back for a more extend timein the near future. Farm life is so very different from anything I’ve ever been around (even if it wasn’t exactly the crop-growing type of farm) and the space and isolation are so interesting.

In the morning there were some sprinkles too…the only moisture we saw for the week. To give some perspective, it rained a good portion of our drive home from PDX. Welcome back to the NW!

Also, I uploaded the first of three (so far!) photo albums. Check it out here.

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