Tuesday, September 4, 2007

15th Anniversary, Day Three: The Trip Home & Star Valley

(Family barn in Afton)

Our trip home was the only plan for the last day of our weekend getaway. Just drive and enjoy the scenery. We planned to get home a different way - by driving through beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming. Star Valley, or more specifically, Afton, has always been revered in my mind as the childhood home of my mother-in-law, one of the most amazing women ever to set foot on this planet. I am always amazed when we drive through the lush green pastures and grassy hills. I wonder if she misses it all, there in the dry desert among sagebrush and Joshua trees where she has spent her entire married life.

We decided on something of a whim to stop in and visit two of Allen's uncles and their wives who still live in Afton. His uncle Lloyd and aunt Bonnie still live on the property where my mother-in-law's family ran a dairy farm. We were able to enjoy a quick visit with them before they needed to head into town.

Next we headed over to Ralph and Beth's home, where we probably overstayed our welcome but enjoyed every minute of it. We got updates on all of their children, complete with pictures. We learned all sorts of interesting things about them that we did not previously know. My favorite two were:

1: Ralph is an amazing photographer.

2: Beth is a talented painter.

When it was about time to head for home, Beth offered us some fresh produce from their garden. How can anyone resist fresh produce? So, we all went out back and picked enough to feed our family for about a month. We picked corn...
...beets, carrots, onions, squash, potatoes, zucchini, cabbage and green beans. And Beth shared with me her recipe for Milk Can Soup, which we enjoyed twice after returning home, along with yellow squash muffins. Heaven.

We also got to visit Ralph's wood shop, where he creates some fascinating candlesticks and replicas of the hay thrower his dad used when he was young, among other treasures.

I would love to have their life when Allen and I are at that stage with kids all grown and married with families of their own. Their home is beautiful, their yard is vast and well maintained, and their garden is to die for. And they have time to pursue their other interests and enter them into competitions at the County Fair. What a dream!

Here is a small portion of some of the garden fresh produce we got to bring home:
How are we supposed to top off that anniversary?

I don't think we'll try.


Rebecca said...

I've often daydreamed about living in a town like that, but I wonder if I would really enjoy it as much as I dream that I would....maybe as a retired person, I would. It looks like a fantastic spot to spend a summer, though! You guys do have an amazing family/extended family.

Jen said...

Hey Gerb! I just got the link to your blog and have LOVED catching up with you and your crew! We live on a farm now and I love summertime when we get those fresh veggies! Thanks for sharing your 15th anniversary - we just celebrated our first!! -Jen

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work mom!

Anonymous said...

i love you mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Boyd and Sarise said...

What a wonderful way to spend your anniversary Gerb! It all sounds amazing. There's nothing better than picking food out of a garden.

Shannon and Daren just missed you guys up in the mountains. They were up there backpacking over Labor Day weekend. They also say "hi"!

Interesting fact: The supervisor of the housekeeping crew at the temple knows Uncle Lloyd. He grew up in Star Valley, knows the family name (Burton), but only remembers Lloyd for certain. Kind of weird since he's actually Mom's age.

Teachinfourth said...


I have never been to Afton, but your description and photos made me think of a Nickel Creek song, "Sweet Afton."

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream

Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen
Ye wild whistly blackbirds in yon thorny den
Thou green crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair

Oh, how lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills
Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills
There daily I wander as noon rises high, oooh
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below
Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow
There oft, as mild evening sweeps over the lea
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave
As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream
So flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dreams

It sounds like you guys had a blast! It make me remember the days when I was growing up on a farm in Washington State...

Julie said...

Star Valley is beautiful! I'm glad you got to see Uncle Lloyd & Uncle Ralph. I doubt they see too many visitors from the family up there. Happy 15th! (We had our 15th in July, but we didn't do anything nearly as exciting as you guys.)

Gerb said...

Rebecca- Let's retire in Star Valley together. It will make it all the easier for Herbie and Hannah to come visit both sets of parents. ;0)

Jen- I'm jealous of your life on a farm. Great to hear from you - and happy 1st!

Anonymous- Thanks, Allaboy.

Sarise- We thought about trying to find Daren & Shannon's place but didn't have an address. Amazing how many people have heard of the Burtons in Star Valley!

Teachin4th- That is one of my top 3 favorite songs by Nickel Creek. I seem to remember one of my kids mentioning that you had to milk goats before school when you were growing up?

Julie- Don't you think it's time for another Star Valley reunion? Allen & I are ready to plan it. Would you come? Maybe you, Phil, Allen & I should all do something fun together for our anniversaries next time. I forgot yours was so close to ours.

Julie said...

Count me in. A joint anniversary thing would be awesome.