In 2019, Philip and I put out an invitation to our families to attend the First Family Camping Trip at Kowalski Mountain. We envisioned the whole family gathering around the campfire, kids riding 4 wheelers through the woods, relaxing in the creek, berry picking and of course the local fireworks.
Wanting to give them an authentic homesteading experience, we planned a few work projects as well, building the root cellar, building a compost bin and moving the fence on the back of the property. We had dreamed up the first Kowalski Mountain Scavenger Hunt and envisioned an amazing race type adventure utilizing typical homesteading skills to complete the race. We were thrilled that the family was quite receptive and I was ecstatic that I might actually get all of my kids together for the first time in over two years…. but 2020 happened, Covid swept across our nation and our dream camping trip started to break apart.
An Intimate Family Camping Trip
I am thrilled to say that we did still have a small group that still made their way to Kowalski Mountain and though the trip didn’t include all the adventure we planned, we all still had a really good time, together.
Joy and Danny Murphy, Philip’s parents made the trip to Kentucky. Also my daughter and son, Faith and Adrien Nelson made their way to the homestead as well. I was thrilled, as we hadn’t seen Adrien in over two years!
Faith headed out to pick wild flowers first thing. Philip would soon be mowing, so she wanted to retrieve as may as she could before he mowed them down. I was amazed at the beautiful bouquet she was able to pick on our little piece of paradise.
Setting Traps to Catch Varmints
We’d been having some trouble with raccoons on the property, so we set out to trap a few while we were there. Joy taught Adrien how to set the trap.
Using the Plow
Philip and I had broke the small trailer that we use with the 4 wheeler, we loaded it a “tad” too heavy and broke the axle. Philip had a custom axle built and the kids helped him assemble it when we arrived.
Adrien and Faith helped me plant some peanuts for the deer. We had to put a little weight on the plow to cut into the soil. It took us awhile, but we finally cut in a large enough area to plant. I hope the deer enjoyed them…. that’s the last time we saw the peanuts!
Clearing the Waterfall Garden
I was thrilled to get to work with both Adrien and Faith in the Waterfall Garden. We cleared a trail to make our way down in there and did the initial clean up, removing down trees, debris and poison ivy. Philip came in with the chain saw and helped with some of the bigger cutting jobs. You can see how quickly the waterfall dries up. Its getting closer and closer to becoming an oasis!
Preparing the Hide
Adrien was successful on trapping a racoon. He spent some time preparing the hide.
Kowalski Mountain Water Run
We had to let Adrien and Faith experience a water run. When we lived in Alaska it was common to see people with water tanks in their trucks, but it wasn’t something we had to do to provide our own water.
Philip spent a little time working on the pond. Now that we know it will hold water, the task will be to enlarge it. The water will be used for emergency situations and also a water source for wildlife.
Philip worked on the septic for his parents RV.
Fitting in a “Little” Fun at the Family Camping Trip
We also tried to have a little fun, playing cards in the evenings, a visit to Jackson’s Orchard and also a boat ride in a cave. Although the trip was different than we expected and we didn’t get to enjoy the local fireworks, we had a great time and I hope the family did as well.
We even did some target practice, check it out.
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.