On Monday we decided to take advantage of the return of blue skies, sunshine, and 60º+ weather (welcome to Wyoming) and hit the road south again to visit Miller Farms. Matt had a rare day off for Columbus Day and Miller Farms is open on Mondays (most farms with festivals this time of year seem to be closed on Mondays). We're getting close to being able to drive I-25 South with our eyes shut, but it's been a long time since we've experienced the kitschy Americana fall festival (Butler Farms in Maryland, 2008) so we packed up a lunch and hit the road.
It couldn't have been a prettier day, truly. And Miller Farms totally throws a kitschy Americana fall festival.
Amazing! How did Herbie end up in Platteville, CO?!? We don't know either. But the girls were really excited to recognize Herbie, having seen the movie this summer. I'm curious how many other 21st century children have seen the original 1968 The Love Bug?
Of course we had to do the corn maze; the corn maze at Miller Farms is considerably smaller than the big, famous one at Fritzler Family Farms outside Greeley, but about 3/4 of the way through it occurred to us that if we were stuck inside a 40 acre maze a Dillow girl might actually spontaneously combust. The size of this maze was just about right this year.
After the corn maze, there was a lot of jumping. Bridget didn't love the jumping part, despite her deep and abiding affection for the trampoline at gymnastics. I'm sure you knew that already, though, because didn't you hear her? Thousands of miles away? That shrieking child on Monday afternoon? That was her. All was well again after we extracted her from the pillow jump.
We knew vaguely that with the very steep admission you also got to ride into the fields to pick some vegetables. There were a ton of school groups there doing just this, but we happened to luck out and get our own private tractor ride. And suddenly that admission fee that seemed kind of steep coming in turned into our golden, lucky day—we didn't just get to pick some vegetables, we got taken around to almost every field and were granted permission to take as much as we could eat. This suddenly turned into a very exciting prospect.
Matt pointed out that it probably isn't very green to have your own personal monster tractor drive five people out to pick vegetables. But no matter. We picked onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, pie pumpkins, corn... Truth be told, we were all five of us a little giddy about our newly acquired bags of produce, picked by our own hands. It was really fun. I get that it probably isn't nearly as much fun when you live on the farm or are a migrant farm worker who doesn't get paid nearly enough at your transient crop-picking job, but we're focusing on the positive part of this segment of the day because before long, there's going to be a mild catastrophe.
After carting our prizes to the car in wagons (and feeling a little guilty for the absolute lack of wagons in our children's lives) we hotfooted it home to make it back in time for Maddie's piano lesson + gymnastics. We don't normally do gymnastics on Monday for a host of reasons, but since the girls were off school both Monday and Tuesday... we did. I was focused on the most efficient use of our time in the transition from farm girls to gym girls, and as we pulled up to the house and I got out of the car, the unimaginable (to me) happened: through a rare series of utterly careless events in a five minute period, my camera fell out of my unzipped camera bag and smashed on the asphalt driveway as I stepped out of the van.
Smashed glass in my hands. It was not readily apparent how much of the glass was L Series Glass glass or filter glass. Matt, Maddie, Gracie, and Bridget watched me pick it up and immediately fall to pieces. I didn't see the duress light my camera was apparently lighting, but they did. I was too focused on the ridiculousness of the situation: I do not drop my camera. I do not drop any camera. I am the anti-dropper of cameras.
In the approximate six minutes I had to turn around the car and head back out (which in retrospect, I wasn't in super shape to be doing) I put a different lens on my camera and set it down. Hid it, kind of. I took my lens—which I was not thinking of as a "thing" at that minute but as something I needed that wasn't in the cards to replace—and pushed it into the corner of the kitchen counter. I didn't know if my camera was also trashed—I have only heard one cracking sound worse than this one made when it hit the ground. Nobody was really brave enough to really talk to me at this point (though Bridget did kindly offer later to let me use her camera).
Later that night after Matt did some research on what to do with a shattered UV filter jammed onto a very expensive lens, I made him fix it. He didn't really want to fix it, exactly, because he wasn't sure it was fixable—he made me promise that if he destroyed it I wouldn't hold him responsible. Watch tools were unearthed, and the dining room table became a surgical area.
While he was working on fixing it, a friend called with news of a frightening health scare not yet resolved. Perspective. Focus.
Shortly after that phone call, the lens filter was off. Mangled, shattered, still in danger of scratching the actual lens glass, but off. More researched solutions were applied, and most of the glass fragments were removed. I nervously tested taking a picture. Then I basically hid my camera back in its bag, where it doesn't usually live. I immediately ordered a new UV filter from Amazon, not sure if the threading was too mangled to fit it.
Tuesday: I ignored my camera bag most of the busy day. I tried to ignore the whole situation; despite the fact that Matt was able to save the lens without any more damage, I didn't want to think about the whole stepping-out-of-the-van scene replaying in my head. But in the afternoon, a neighbor came by to ask me for a really, really important favor to help in a terrible situation she is facing—facing with a better attitude than I would have, I might add. The favor involves taking pictures. I didn't miss a beat assuring her I would do whatever she needed. Perspective. Clarity.
I made a lame attempt at a Project 365 photo for the day, but an attempt all the same.
Wednesday: UPS delivered my filter far faster than I expected it would arrive. It mostly fits with the damaged threading; it fits enough that it isn't coming off without a filter wrench, at least. It is what saved my camera and lens, because it did exactly what it was supposed to do: it took the majority of the impact.
And then for dinner I made colcannon for the first time. Colcannon with the potatoes, cabbage, and onions we picked together from the fields at Miller Farms. It was so good—somewhere in my genetic makeup lie the genes of Irish farmers, no doubt. I set my camera in its usual resting place, ready to go, even if I wasn't quite.
The moon tonight was beautiful. I took a deep breath and trusted that the mechanisms that control focus and clarity in my camera and lens would work, and thanked my lucky stars that the moon I saw through the viewfinder was waning, at 99%.