I love stepping away from our present lives, even for one night.

Yesterday, Steve and I took the kids to scenic Fort Collins, CO, home to Colorado State University (CSU), Horsetooth Reservoir, a vibrant downtown full of brew pubs, art and more.  It’s been called “One of the Most Underrated Cities in the West.” Steve graduated from CSU and hasn’t spent much time there since. Naturally, so much is new.

And yet, we managed to step back in time, too.  A fellow student from Goucher invited us to an old-fashioned country barn dance. Five years ago, she and her family rescued the 1926 barn from south Fort Collins, saving it from the bulldozers of urban development. They moved the barn to Waverly where it sits proudly among horses, steers, turkeys, chickens, and what appears to be miles of open fields.

Coming from New York City, I really haven’t seen farm life up close in this way.  Dressed in western attire (with some of the women wearing long dresses right out of Little House on the Prairie), we learned the cowboy two-step, how to square dance and cha-cha western style. Kids and adults danced together, bowing and taking turns doing the do-si-do.

Later, we went on a hayride and looked at Venus through a telescope.  To the squeals of my children, and others there, we also played a game of egg tossing. You toss the raw egg to your partner; if he or she catches the egg, you both back up one step, continuing in this way until someone drops the egg and you hear “splat.”  We didn’t even have to pick up the raw eggs. “The foxes will eat them,” said my friend, Tracey.

The night was pure old-fashioned fun.  My twins didn’t whine once about watching television or playing SIMS on my phone. They had the run of the farm and loved it. And for Steve and me, it was so nice to retreat to a simpler time, even for the night.

There is something sturdy and timeless about farm life. History lives in the old walls of the barn, but also in the new roof and the East wall, which had to be rebuilt after a crushing tornado in May 2008 ripped it apart. The Windsor tornado damaged hundreds of businesses and homes, blew cars and cattle across fields, and killed a man.

Evidence of the twister is still visible in the trees and piles of scrap metal and wood, but still, the barn, called Fairwinds Farm, stands.

My friend, Tracey, writes, “It takes an oddly stubborn love to build a farm on this glorious spot, so that’s what we did.”

We’re so glad for it.




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