Even though I grew up in Connecticut, Vermont was where we’d go as a family to get away for the weekend. I’ve been in Colorado for twenty years and New England still feels like home to me. I’m always looking for a way to get there when we travel home for the summer. Thanks to my friend Josh, my husband and I were able to head off to a Vermont adventure when we were visiting CT last year. I was able to be a New England lifestyle photographer for a day, and it felt so much like home to me. The humidity, the green, the sunset and even the mosquitoes. I love Vermont.
Josh is an ER doctor and lives on a farm with his wife and two kids. He and I have known each other for several years because of our love for Haiti. Josh co-created an organization that provides ongoing medical care and support for several communities. You can read more on what we do in Haiti with CHI here: CHI. So when your team leader and friend invites you over to take photos, and will be goats and chickens, you say yes and you bring your husband.
The conversation leading up to our scheduled session went something like this:
Caroline: If you all dress in khaki and white, I’m turning around and going home.
Josh: I don’t own khakis. I wear Carharts.
Josh: Are you okay with duck for dinner? We were planning to slaughter one when you get here.
Caroline: Is it vegetarian duck? Josh: OH. Got it. We’ll see you on Monday
The day we did these photos was the hottest day on planet earth ever in history… I’m pretty sure, anyway. We were there to tell the true story of life on the farm, and life on the farm in July is working outside and sweating… a lot, so that is what we did.
Lifestyle sessions are just that, they are life… REAL life. This vegetarian of twenty years was mostly steady through the butchering of a duck. Josh’s daughter skinned and cut the meat out of the duck without hesitation. She is a true farmer and knows how to live off the land. I got to meet Zor, the big male sheep. I was up close with my cameras as Josh and Kim worked together to sheer the twin goats and feed the new baby her vitamins.
The Whites made me feel like a very special guest. They welcomed me with cards and handmade soap. Big sister made jam with berries from the farm (my most favorite gift ever!). They showed me the best parts of living on a farm, an afternoon swim in the pond and catching frogs (okay, maybe that frog was dead), down time in the afternoon reading books picking vegetables for dinner that night.
My husband came back for dinner after his own adventures in town. We had a true farm to table dinner experience with Aerosmith playing (the kids favorite!) and the sun setting over Fork in the Road farm. Little brother shared magic tricks and his amazing drawings. Thankful for a lack of cell service, I felt truly relaxed and at home with the White family as we drank wine and shared stories.
We left with full bellies to drive to my sister’s Vermont home. I was happy and peace during the drive and we talked about how to make a move to farm life… while it will likely be mountain life, and we have a few years until the kids will allow it, I feel a need to live closer to the land in the next phase.
These pictures mean a lot to me. I hope they mean a lot to White family too. I am so, so grateful those who let me in to document the real, everyday stuff. Their are moments of connection that you just don’t get when you are dressed in your best and smiling for the camera for the perfect family portrait. Put the picture up in your house that looks JUST like you being you with your people. This is the good stuff. This is what feels like home.