Tips to a fun vacation at home

With the high price of gas, vacations are getting expensive. Be creative and finds ways to have a fun holiday at home and in your own community.

I love to read the back page of the Globe and Mail, the section with “A life well lived” and the “social issues.” Reading how someone else lived is a bit of a reality check on how well my life is being lived. It forces me to think about what I would want my family to publish after I leave this earth.

I am also reading John Ortberg’s latest book When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box. Ortberg’s quirky sense of humour makes it a fun read. The main message is that we don’t take anything with us when we die, so live a life growing rich towards God and you will be fulfilled.

The Globe’s latest trend spotted in the social issues section is the “staycation.” This is where farm families stay home for vacations and don’t travel because the price of gas is getting too crazy. I think you could name a lot of farm families who have been part of this social trend for at least a decade. Some families have so much fun farming they never have to leave the farm! Are you kidding? Am I?

One of the key characteristics of strong families is that they celebrate and have fun together. A former dairy farmer told me recently that his new role on his farm without cows still had to have a fun factor.

What are you planning to do in July with your family for fun?

Build a campfire. We will be in our backyard as soon as the fire ban is lifted. Those $1,000 fines are a bit high. But we did take off two nights after seeding to the local provincial park, had a great fire in the fire pit, healthy hikes, and a quiet time without cell phone service. It was fun just to do as little as possible, chat and enjoy the change of scenery.

At May’s end, we shared a campfire with friends who had to re-seed 1,000 acres of canola, so I cooked, and the couple we invited just had to show up. When was the last time you invited someone over for supper or just coffee and dessert? Visiting is fun. Don’t try to imitate Martha Stewart, just be you and offer what you have.

Play games. My son takes great delight in beating me at Scrabble. I bet there is a horseshoe pit that could be resurrected on your ranch, or bocce ball lawn that is ready to roll. The fun factor doesn’t need to cost a lot of money for gas, meals away, and movie tickets. It can be right under your nose, buried in some drawer or nook in the garage that holds game treasures that you’ve forgotten about. You spend hours every week cutting acres of lawn, why not use the lawn for fun?

Hike under the stars. Some of our best marriage times are the moonlit walks down our boring gravel lane. Except it’s not all that boring when we discover porcupines, songbirds, and just the joy of sharing the state of our union. Some people are not comfortable with the quiet of the country. When was the last time you had silence and solitude in your day to renew your spirit? Leave the cell phone at the house. Let your spouse hold your hand as you walk. Learn to appreciate what you already have.

Go with GPS. This Sunday our church picnic will feature its first-ever geo-caching event. It’s like a techie version of orienteering where you use the GPS coordinates to find treasures in a container, and exchange something in the cache for what you have after you have signed the logbook. My hubby suggested we bring the four-wheel drive, but it won’t fit well in the bush with its GPS. Anyway, if you are looking for a fun way to connect to the techie generation, invest in some GPS that adds fun to the family side of the farm, not just the field!

Elaine, I work with my family all week, do I really have to play with them?

Some of my best memories as a kid on the farm involve playing with my siblings and going sledding with my Dad. Maybe it is time for a family council where you all sit down and talk about what fun on the farm looks like to you. Four-wheelers burn gas, but they can be fun machines, too. Kayaks and canoes are popular if you are fortunate to have a lake or flowing river nearby. Mountain bikes get you in shape, and don’t burn gas!

The families I coach remind me that fun needs to be an intentional part of the family business equation.

Why are we all working 80 hour plus weeks and plunking our weary souls into bed without a sense of gratitude or fun? I lose all track of time when I write to you via these Grainews articles. Writing for me is pure fun and a chance to see where my ideas will take me. Start writing your stories down, and then share them as a storyteller to your family, just for fun!

Yesterday a woman in town was bemoaning the fact that her art and creative endeavors would have to wait until the “busyness” of children was done. I told her that I paint in airplanes and lonely hotel rooms to capture the scenery of where my work takes me. Feeding your creative soul is really important. For some farm women that means hours in the flower bed because that beauty they nurture, nourishes their soul and makes their “staycation on the farm” a much brighter place.

When they write about you in the paper, will they say you “sure knew how to have fun”?


Elaine Froese helps families make positive changes in their life on the farm. Elaine and her family farm in Southwestern Manitoba, and pray for rain.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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