Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 34 - New Glarus - The Family Farm

How nice to sleep late watching the sun rise through the lace curtains at the Landhaus.

I lie in Tom's arms and we talk about Kitty.

Dusty is staying at a pet hotel for the first time ever.

Tom is worried that they may not know Kitty likes to go for walks three times a day.

And in the evening he prefers action flicks.

The first item of the day is the memorial service for my Dad...

...a wonderful experience.

Even though we had to throw TJ in the trunk to get there....

It is so wonderful to be back with my family!

Extended family, too.

We didn't even know Brooke and David existed two years ago.

And somehow our distant relatives also share the biking bug.

We take kids to The Swiss Hotel for an elegant lunch...

And, of course, being in Wisconsin we have to get the cheese plate.

Then, next door - the fudge shop -

there are difficult decisions to make...

I'll take the one on the left, says Al.

By the time we walk by the coffee shop we find Brooke and David exhausted from their bike ride.

They regale us with how they had to battle  mountains and pouring rain and bugs....

Al and I are not impressed.

I go for a nap...

While the kids enjoy a round of Putt-putt.

Tom wins again!

Then we all go to the family farm to plant a Memorial tree for my Dad.

One of his favorite quotes: "An institution is a tall man casting a long shadow."

So we kids wanted to plant an oak tree for our Dad - a tree that would provide shade for future generations - well as a broad trunk for hide and seek..

And strong branches for climbing.

While the older generation watches from the porch...

The younger generation sets the tree in the ground...

Even little Solana gets to help.

But Dad's sister, Mary, wants a cherry tree for her brother's memory... match the tree planted for their brother, Robin, last year.

So we plant a cherry tree, too.

A solemn moment...

My brothers, Ed and Chris, give moving eulogies of our does his sister Mary.

The memories of Dad's life brings tears and laughter to the family gathered in that living room.

My children get to hear stories about this man they hardly knew.

And I get to remember the sweet moments of being his daughter...

Some people even recount their unique experiences watching Dad perform an autopsy.

Serious moments aside...

It's time to play!

The puppy cousins wrestle!

Al and Camilla have girl talk...

Tom and Veronica discuss the importance of a good watch.

KC and Calvin talk cousin talk.....

...and Nicky takes pictures!

While everyone sits to eat on our beautiful wraparound porch, let me introduce you to this farmhouse.

Built in 1906 by my great grandfather, Nicklaus Freitag, this was the site of the first Swiss cheese factory in America.

It's a magnificent old house with wonderful woodwork over our heads... well as under our feet.

As children we would sleep in "the cow room" waking at dawn to the sound of the cows mooing by our windows on their way to the pasture.

Upstairs is the old family Bible....

Brought from the old country and written in German...

...with the most marvelous illustrations

While I'm caught up exploring the old house, the kids get together to explore the land...

So nice that these cousins - from all across the country - can begin to build memories at this farm my Dad loved so much.

We say good-night to the old farmhouse

...but we know we'll be back.

Photo by Nicky
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