Vacationing in Your Own Backyard

For a very long time now, I have been trying to get our backyard hard-scaped with a privacy fence, a concrete patio, and a walkway to the alley. It seems as though so many other things get in the way. Last week I think I wrote about having a date set to finally get my patio poured. Well, guess what? It’s not done. With the threats of a week worth of severe storms and rain, we thought it best to put it off…yet again.

I am not certain, but I think we may have a break from anything severe for today. Today’s weather is my favorite for camping…cool, cloudy and overcast. The dampness makes me crave a campfire. Last night after the last storm passed through, DH and I simultaneously looked up at the sky and said, “Man, this would be a great night for camping.” Knowing that wasn’t the prudent thing to do, we thought about just laying out on the trampoline to watch the stars and the satellites pass over. I mentioned that we could go “camping” in our backyard like we used to when the kids were younger.

My dream for my backyard is for a place in which we would want to spend time…..a place for reflection…for entertaining or a breath of fresh air.  Money is always tight, but we generally get away to somewhere every year…even if it just over to Meade State Park for a weekend of camping and fishing. This year, I am afraid that the only “vacation” away from home will be associated with DD’s travels and it will be frugal, no frills travel to say the least. The gasoline budget will be eating up any of the entertainment dollars we might have had. To me, this makes my dream for my backyard retreat even more important.

On Path to Freedom’s Journal today, there is a post about Staycations and Staying Closer to Home. Staycations are vacations spent at home enjoy what it has to offer. That is what we are planning for this year’s “getaway”. We will getaway to our backyard. Tonight I will set the date with DH. All hard-scape will be finished, so as to not make it a working vacation. I am looking for a relaxing, maybe romantic few days of togetherness. I found the Top 10 Staycation Strategies at about.com and plan to put some in place.

What would your strategies be for planning a Backyard Staycation?

Sand Hill Vineyard

One of the things I do not like about how blogs work is that the last post is always first. So what do you do if you are trying to tell a story in chronological order? Do you go back and add to the start? That would mean a change of titles. If you are just now stopping in, this is a continuation of our trip to OKC on Saturday.

 So, we have made that turn off of I40 headed to Geary, but first we have to drive through the Cherokee Trading Post to see the buffalo and then through the KOA Campground to see the new improvements. Again, I dream about an RV lifestyle that might not happen.

Less than 1/8 of a mile down the road is a favorite stopping place of ours, the Sand Hill Vineyard. The past few times we passed by it was after hours, so we intentionally made a huge effort to get there before closing. We met the owners, Gloria and Roger Woolery, the first time we ventured into the tasting room. Wine tasting is not something we do on a regular basis, but we were intrigued by the location… which appears to be set inside some kind of pipeline or oil field supply company and the metal building set as a tasting room. The setting  was a just bit different than any other vineyard we had visited, making us more fascinated with curiosity. I can count the amount of times I have visited a different winery on both hands, so this isn’t actually saying much.

Gloria and Roger are very colorful, lively people whom made us feel at home inside the lovely interior of the building. I found my favorite wine to be Muscat, a deliciously fruity dessert wine and purchased a couple of bottles along with a nice bottle of Zinfandel.

When we visited on Saturday, we were at first disappointed to not see Gloria and Roger’s familiar faces, but soon felt at home visiting with Katy Snyder, our wine tasting host. Katy and her husband, Andrew, are the actual winemakers of the Sand Hill label.  Katy is one of those people that you just know ALWAYS has a smile on her face.

We tasted several of the wines, beginning with that favorite Muscat, and ending with Da Zinci Chocolate Port-Style Wine. Katy caught MY attention with the promise of a chocolate aftertaste, but unfortunately DH was the only one that actually tasted that hint of chocolate. I can’t say that I have ever tried Port and have nothing to which to compare,  but I did find this very rich, thick and  flavorful.  I have been told that Port wine pairs perfectly with chocolate, making the combination of the two deliciously good, so corking the two flavors in one bottle seems like a pretty great idea to me. 

Our adventure ended with a purchase and an introduction to the Snyder’s young daughter, Mulan, who offered many precious smiles as we visited.  The only way this experience could have been any better would have been for us to meet Andrew, the winemaker himself.

If you are ever in the area of Geary or Calumet, Oklahoma, please stop in for a visit at Sand Hill Vineyards. You will not be disappointed.

Fueling the Economy

Tomorrow we do our part for fueling the economy. As much as it pains me, we have to travel to Oklahoma City to get DD to the airport. She is traveling to Texas to see the other half of her family for a few weeks. We live 2.5 hours from the Wichita airport, but we have to drive to OKC because ~ 1. it is half way between the divorced parents’ homes add ~ 2. Who in the world can afford a ticket out of Wichita to anywhere?

I am very worried that Southwest Airlines will follow suit with other airlines and change their checked baggage policy between today and tomorrow, before we arrive. DD wishes that she could get everything into one carry on baggage, but because she has a basketball tournament while she is with her dad, she has every bit of her athletic gear that has to travel as well. When you wear women’s size 13 shoes, they tend to take up a lot of space in the suitcase….especially athletic shoes.

As I mentioned in a comment on Anita’s Prairie Dreams Blog, I have put off going to the grocery store until this trip. In keeping of the truth here, I mistakenly quoted the trip as being 600 miles, but I do believe it is a little less than 500 miles round trip.  I do not normally do my grocery/supply shopping in another state, but it just keeps me from having to make a 70 mile round to Dodge City when I return.

I, myself,  have not driven one place this past week. Hmmm. is that correct? Well, I guess I should say that I am a bit ashamed that I rode with DD to the Athletic Awards Banquet on Monday night, but we were running somewhat late and had to carry a couple of dishes of food with us. It was only six long blocks, but juggling a hot dish (which, by the way, included mass amounts of barbeque sauce) and a very large heavy bowl of potato salad, while wearing less than casual clothes, combined with walking those long blocks of uneven sidewalks, just did not seem the prudent thing to do. NOW….here’s the real reason I should be ahamed….we had DH drive DD’s car up a bit early to save a great seat to view the highlights video that DD was presenting. So, we drove TWO vehicles to the Banquet. Guess we will have to sit in the dark for all of next week to make up for that one.