Live Life Farm

Enjoying the simple things everyday

Month: May 2016

Indian Valley Campground

After our Spring break adventures, we thought we would wait until a bit later in May to venture out in the Williams Wagon. Spring break proved to be cold and wet and we had hoped for a little better weather. That idea came to a screaming halt and the weather was worse than expected! COLD and it even snowed! The great news is that we ventured to a place that had an indoor pool and we could escape the cold for awhile.

Below you can see us enjoying a few hours of warmth on arrival day. After that, it was winter coats again.


Indian Valley is a nice campground located in Middleville, Michigan. Many of the locals like to stay here for the seasonal sites. The campground sites on the Thornapple river and boasts loads of fish for those who love fishing. The river sites are really nice, but only one can accommodate a 34-foot rig. Even if you are not able to secure a river front they also rent canoes and kayaks. Additionally, they have a nice little pond by the playground to fish at.

The people that own Indian Valley are really friendly and helpful. They even escorted us to our campsite. Some of the amenities we experienced were probably because the weather scared many away. It was a particularly nasty May weekend for camping. Pouring rain Friday night, cold, rainy and snowy on Saturday and even more snow on Sunday. Not enough snow to stick but enough to make you want to bundle up by a fire or stay inside….or even better, hit the indoor pool.

Below are a bulleted list of the pros and cons. We felt a more positive experience but the campground was virtually empty. I think with more of the seasonals around there would be more negative experiences because the sites are a bit more packed together than you would find at many state campgrounds.


  • Really nice by the river with lots of nature to observe
  • Well stocked camp store and friendly, helpful owners
  • Indoor pool for those rainy (or snowy) days
  • Lots of fishing to experience
  • Laundromat available right onsite
  • Fishing and swimming pond next to the playground was a lot of fun
  • The grounds are well taken care of and firepits were emptied prior to arrival.
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Canoe, paddleboat, and kayak rental available on site. You can also rent tubes to float down the river.


  • Could be loud and busy when full. The seasonal guests seem to have campfires together and it’s not as tranquil as state campgrounds. However, everyone was really friendly and inviting. This may not be a con to anyone else. We tend to be camping introverts.
  • The changing rooms by the pool were COLD. I am not sure they were heated and it was an extremely cold weekend. Most likely, no one else will experience this.
  • Sites are close  together.


Below is the site we booked (site 5). It was a really nice site as it was previously a seasonal lot.

site 5

Fishing from the site was a lot of fun! We even had our own dock. The dock made me a bit nervous because the river is deep and was REALLY running fast. We put up a rope so the kids would not get too close and made sure we were really close when they were fishing.


Mia and Lucas enjoyed the views. Across the river, we saw a beaver swimming. I thought it was a muskrat at first but the tail was very visible and it was clearly a beaver!


Caleb loved fishing.


Lucas perfects putting a worm on his hook.


They even liked fishing on shore by our campsite.


Tiller and Rhummy pouted about the lack of swimming. We really thought the current was too strong. Tiller (the black lab) was most mad and wanted to swim. He’s 13 now and can’t endure the freezing water or fast current.


We walked to the fishing pond and playground many times! We really liked looking at how everyone landscaped and decorated their own sites.


The overall view of the playground, swimming pond, and fishing pond. It was the perfect place for all of our kids! Some wanted to fish and some wanted to play.



Mia and Caleb tried the teeter-totter….but Caleb is bigger and had the upper hand. It made Mia mad.

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Mia loves the horse swings there! She had fun for hours. You can see how much rain we got by the puddles in the background. Some of the areas in the playground were a bit low and rain can be a problem.


Caleb caught the only fish this weekend. We think even the fish were scared of the cold!


Later that night we went back and had dinner and, of course, smores! The kids love cooking marshmallows over the fire.


And eating them!


We all enjoy “spooky/silly” stories around the campfire before bed.


Sunday was so cold that we fished until the pool was open at 10. Then it was off to the pool.


Just watch out for the “bad biker gang” on the way to the pool!


The pool was a nice size. It was empty this weekend because the campground was empty. I’m not sure how busy it normally gets. The bonus is that it was inside and perfect for our gang. I swam some laps and played with the kids.



And the boys loved to just jump in!


On the way back to the RV we saw a few families of geese.


Then it was back to the RV to pouting pooches who wanted to swim themselves!


We really loved hanging out here and hope to come back! It was a nice place to unwind, listen to the birds, and relax at the pool.

Breakfast Hobie Pies

This is one of our family favorite camping meals. Breakfast is huge while we are camping, but even better over a hot fire on a cold weekend. It also didn’t hurt that we had leftover BACON! We are huge bacon fans over here, especially slow cooked. I will share that recipe later.  Back to the cold… was so cold that it SNOWED! Yes, snow in May! Even up in Michigan that is just unacceptable.

Back to the recipe…..First, start with the basics. Eggs, buttered bread, cheese, and bacon. If you need another meat, feel free…..but I cannot approve because bacon is just too good to pass up. Cheese is another story.  A sharp cheddar would be amazing but we are dealing with little picky kids over here. American is the way we roll for many of our egg recipes.

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Now comes the assembly. Pretty easy really. We just make sure to wedge the bread in so that it “holds” the egg. Basically, try to make a bit of a “bowl” out of the bread so your egg stays where you want it….oh, and have a level pie iron.


Now, I must change topics yet again. Pie Irons are a big deal. We have 3 different types. Do not waste time in going cheap and getting an aluminum one. Aluminum irons burn food and everything sticks to them. Cast Iron is the BEST cooker and our favorite is below. For just a few dollars more you can have the best.

Onto more prep.  I like to add the cheese right on top of the egg. It seems to hold the egg in place better.


Now to the bacon……you can add a little

little bacon

or load it up! This was hubby’s hobie pie and he loved it! Would you like some egg with your bacon?


Just be sure you put the buttered piece on the outside. I make this mistake constantly and it’s a huge tragedy.


This is our other hobie pie maker. I do like this one for the eggs pies but the one I mentioned above does a much better job of cooking pizza and grilled cheese!



The key next is to let these pies cook slowly. We like to use our tripod to cook them and we love the below tripod. It cooks everything great for us. Steaks, burgers, etc, etc cook so well because you can move your tripod around for more or less heat.

You can see how low we have these to the fire. We just keep flipping and check to be sure they are browning well but not burning! The 1st batch takes a bit longer because the cast iron takes a bit to heat up. Once you take them off the fire we use hot pads to rest the pie irons on to make the next batch.

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Once done they are hot and delicious!


What is your favorite Hobie Pie recipe?

It’s Chick Time!

They are finally here, our spring crop of chicks! Always an enjoyment to watch them grow but the cuteness lasts about a week. Especially, the “Franken chickens,” I swear they go thru their ugly “chickie” phase earlier. Every year we get a batch of about 25 meat chicks and 2-6 egg layers. My kids love to pick the breeds of egg layers, and they have SO many available now!


This year we picked up our usual 25 Franken-chickens, sorry, Cornish X. I don’t love this breed but they grow fast and do taste VERY tender. I have some secrets in their care to keep them active and healthy. Last year we could not process them until 12 weeks, they were TINY and VERY mobile and healthy.

We also purchased some leghorns, brahmas, and wyandottes. Those are the gals for egg laying. We’ve had a horrible fox problem this year and my poor chickens are now confined to their run. The fox comes around the minute we let them out and is bold enough now to take them under from us. It’s no secret what our plan is for our fox as it’s because a problem for our farm.

Before arrival, Mia helped me prepare the horse stall. We stripped the horse stall, let it air out for a few days, then add in bedding. And while our cats are great with the hens, I’m afraid they would hunt the chicks… I had to wire the stall front to keep the cats (and any other animals) from getting in.  We “might” be a bit over zealous in this department.

little helper

We also mix in “Braggs” Apple cider vinegar like the below to their water. It’s a great product and has helped us to raise healthy and active chicks. When we get our chicks in the mail we often will add in 1 tablet of electrolytes for the first few days.

These are great eletrolytes

We do not use “medicated” feed for our chicks are we plan on consuming them once they grow big, fat, and juicy.  We also do not keep them in the stall their entire life. They will go out once they feather in and we rotate the grazing grounds yearly to avoid disease.  More on that in a few weeks.

Heat lamps are very important. Because they don’t have the protective feathering yet they either need a broody hen or a heat lamp. The first week it needs to be quite low and at 95 F. Every week it can be raised but depends on outside temps. For now, I have them low and our stall is large enough that they can move away from the heat. They DO self-regulate. You will notice the heat is not strong enough if they are huddled and piled on-top of one another. If spread out you can raise the heat a bit. I have some that are 4 days younger so I’m letting them move to and away from the heat as they would like.

Once they arrive we dip their beaks into the ACV water and put the under the lights. Mia LOVE to help with this, and she’s done a great job the past few years. Yes, she is only 3 but a natural animal handler.

chick helper

Everyone enjoys chick time! It’s so much fun watching them grow. A huge labor of love and my kids all take part in the help.

checking out the flock

I mean, really, how can you get too much of this?

golden wyandotte

Or this!

running around


Mother’s Day help

Our Mother’s Day was not a typical one, but it was typical for our family. We had more work to complete since we are camping next weekend and our spring projects seem to be endless right now. The kids like to participate and helped me with picking rocks in our riding arena. It doesn’t hurt that they do get some allowance since this work is considered outside of weekly chores.

The best part of my Mother’s Day was that the kids really participated and wanted to help. THAT is rare, especially with everyday chores. I took the opportunity to snap some pictures.

Tossing the rocks is probably the most fun, of course.


Caleb showing off his rock load



Mia is 3 but she likes to join in with her brothers.  Naturally, she picked up about 10 and dropped half.


mia rocks


The weather was so perfect all weekend to work outside. We enjoyed the day getting the garden ready and cleaning up from the rain storm the week prior. Everyone went to bed tuckered out. I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day too!

A fungus among us

The morels are finally coming up and ready to pick. This is my first experience with finding morel’s as we don’t have a great mushroom growing place on our land, with the exception of ones growing on horse poop (and you couldn’t pay me to try those). I guess it’s not what you know but who you know and a friend introduced me to finding where the bounty likes to hide.  I was out a week ago to check but they were still pretty small.

a bunch

What I learned about finding morels is that they seem to thrive in areas with moss and in the woods (obviously). But they can be anywhere and once you find a spot you will probably find them again in the same area. Some morel etiquette heard is that you should cut and leave some of the stem (like asparagus). It’s also recommended to use a basket so some of the spores are released back into the ground. It will help them spread!

My friend told me it’s best to look for “brains” in the woods. I have to agree, they do look like little brains. Very pretty. Still, how did people figure out that eating something like this would be good? Trial and error with mushrooms could be a bit scary. Nevertheless, these are a hidden gem in the woods of Michigan and the fun is in finding them.

This guy was trying to hide!

trying to hide

A cute little bunch

a bunch

Can you find the morel here?

Where's Morel

Tomorrow we are heading back to check if they are ready. I have heard they are in peak season now. Looking forward to trying some fried morels. And maybe some with pork and a sauce……or in eggs….possibilities are endless!

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