We arrived at Mary Rose Herb Farm after a relaxing drive listening to Going to the Country and enjoying the vibrant yellow wildflowers standing in the fields. The yellow was so vivid it nearly made my eyes hurt, in a good way. After getting off the beaten path we found our destination and felt delighted to finally be in our little round hideaway. Our host left us to move in for the weekend and we sat on one of the beds to relax and think about what to do next. We didn't have a minute to decide because the front leg of the bed collapsed underneath us! Really--we were just sitting there. We laughed and laughed until finally Brent had the courage to call and tell the owners that we really needed to move into the other yurt because we needed a sturdier bed. (!) Our host told us there had been some "young whippersnappers" in the yurt with the broken bed. We chuckled and hoped we might still qualify for that description.
We made a delicious dinner of shish-kabobs on our little charcoal grill with a fresh salad sans dressing (because we forgot to bring any.) The beef was from Thistle-Byre Farm and the salad greens were from the Cooleys. We thought it was pretty close to perfect, even without salad dressing.
The rain held off long enough that we could eat outside on the deck looking across the winding road to the most lovely cow pasture I've ever seen. If I were a cow I'd want to live on that hill. I think the little calves who liked to run down the hill in groups must've agreed with me. It looked like great fun.
Time seemed to unfold. What is usually gone in the flash of an eye, an evening, turned into what felt like a whole day. Our weekend in the yurt became a world unto itself while the “real” world felt like a foggy dream. I thought that I could understand how Morgaine stayed with the fairies for years while it only seemed like days. I could easily have stayed there with Brent forever and felt like it was the only life I had ever known.
That night we got our wish - we got to sleep under the moon.
Breakfast was announced with the ringing of an old farm bell. Then it was delivered by our host in a cloth-lined basket. We had hashbrown casserole, sliced tomatoes, and a yogurt, fruit and granola cup with hot tea the first day. We ate every bite. Our host asked how we were enjoying our stay and said of Brent, “Well you have a smile on your face.” I thought that said it all.
Another amenity at Mary Rose Herb Farm is a Japanese soaking tub heated by an outdoor woodfired furnace, which incidentally also heats the yurts and the hot water at the owners' home. This tub was deep and warm but not too hot. We took daytime dips and even a night time dip that involved running as quickly as possible through stinging cold rain and escaping into the heat of the warm, steamy water. I think everyone should have one of these things. Isn't Brent cute?
We enjoyed a hike through the woods and hills to a spot by a little lake where we sat for hours and talked. Alas we didn't take a camera so we have only memories of that spot. We engaged in a very thorough tick inspection upon our return to the yurt.
(And I must say I’ve finally found an insect that likes Brent better than it likes me!)
Later that day we took a drive into St. Meinrad to walk around the grounds of St. Meinrad Archabbey. We saw a group of boy scouts camping on the berm of a little lake and we walked to a shrine in the woods. We ate Klondike bars from the little gas station/grocery store, (where we also picked up some salad dressing). An anonymous photographer seemed to be taking our picture as we walked along holding hands. So if you happen to see a picture of a happy couple walking along the bank of a little lake at St. Meinrad, it is probably us!
We also returned to Monte Cassino, a little shrine we had visited on a trip to this area a few years ago. Even though Brent and I don't know much about Catholic shrines, this seems like a special place to us. We lit a candle and said a prayer about getting our land. Seems like that is small potatoes compared to averting a small pox epidemic. So we figured it couldn't hurt. :-)
Back at the yurt, we had yet another delicious feast. Cleaver Farms pork chops and another incredible salad (WITH dressing!), applesauce and couscous. What a feast! All the more so because we are used to cooking for 5. We were astonished by just how little we needed for only us. We ate our fill and felt the satisfaction of good food, good company and a being immersed in a lovely place.
The only cause for worry during our trip came when we were enjoying the last of our meal in front of a cozy fire in the chiminea. We saw the flashing lights of EMT vehicles pulling into the drive of the owners' house. Eventually an abulance took someone away. We walked to the house to see what we could learn and found that our host had collapsed in the garden but was stable when he was transported to the hospital. We later learned that he had a kidney stone and we hope all is well now.
It did rain and the rain provided a soothing sound as we retreated to our round little world. We found a portable massage table stowed under the bed. And while I'm not sure it was supposed to be part of the package experience, we couldn't resist the chance to use it. Massages at home are great but there's never a perfect solution for what to do with your face. Either you crank your neck to the side or smother by burying your nose in the bed. But having a professional table was one of the most delightful experiences--I think everyone should have one of those too. In fact I think maybe I want to buy one! To the sound of the rain and quiet music I thoroughly enjoyed letting all my love and energy move from my hands into Brent. It have always enjoyed getting massages a little bit more than giving them (!) but I think I am discovering that it really can be more satisfying to give than receive, and in the giving I have received so much myself.
Our final morning brought more great breakfast; waffles with sausage from the farm across the road, baked apples and orange juice that was better than orange juice! (In fact it inspired Brent to look up a do-it-yourself orange julius recipe which we made twice after we returned home, and I can highly recommend it if you were a fan of the real thing.) I didn't really want to leave the soaking tub and the peaceful place. My deepest wish was that we take home the openness and connectedness that we found on our retreat and let that continue in our daily life.
Brent knew that I would especially enjoy a stop at the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, so he suggested that we make a little detour there for lunch before heading home. He is a wise man and he knows his wife pretty well too--it was the perfect thing to look forward to and it made it not *too* hard to leave, knowing that we were going there. We enjoyed a light lunch overlooking the Ohio River and wondered if the people who live in the little farm on the Kentucky side even notice how beautiful it is each day. We sat by the river some more and savored the view, and the chance to share it with each other. Then we headed home.