We left the New River Gorge in West Virginia and headed towards Greenville, PA to visit with my Aunt Phyllis and the rest of the Collins clan who live there. I spent many summers on the family farm which was owned by my Dad’s older brother, Tom, and his wife Phyllis. They had seven children and everyone was expected to work on the farm including visitors like me and my two siblings (Brian & Renae). I learned to drive a tractor, stack hay bales, clean a pig pen (worst job in the world), milk cows, and experience a little bit of farm life. My uncle worked at a steel plant in Sharon, PA, farmed to feed his large family, and loved being a farmer. I always felt welcome and enjoyed spending summers with my cousins. Uncle Tom passed away in 2003 but Aunt Phyllis still lives on the farm despite recent health problems at 86 years old. She is a wonderful woman who raised seven children to be good people who work hard and enjoy country life. Here are some pictures of the Collins family farm which always brings back great memories for me….

My cousin, Mary Jo, and her husband, Bill, provided us with a complete RV hookup (water, power, & sewer) in front of their horse barn which is right down the road from my aunt’s house. We accepted their very generous offer because Bonnie loves horses and we couldn’t beat the convenience of staying near my aunt and cousins. Bill and Mary Jo were awesome hosts who made sure we had everything needed to get our Airstream connected. Bonnie got up in the morning and sneaked into the barn to feed carrots to the horses. She formed an especially close relationship with one horse, named Ellie, who caught her attention each morning (check out the photo of Bonnie bonding with Ellie below). On Labor Day, Bill & Mary Jo invited everyone to their house for a really nice cookout so I was able to see most of my cousins and another aunt (Margie) who I hadn’t seen in several years. Here are some pics of our horse barn campsite and others from the family cookout…

Ellie asking for more carrots
Campsite next to the horse barn
Bonnie made fast friends with Ellie (she likes carrots)
Ellie waiting for Bonnie to come and see her…
View from Bill & Mary Jo Irvine’s house during a brief thunderstorm
Dan with cousin Doug, cousin Janet, & Aunt Margie
Entrance to the horse barn (this is nicer than some homes)
Dan with Bill, cousin Mary Jo, & cousin Tracy

Later in the week, cousin Janet invited us over for dinner where we ate some of the best steaks I have had in quite some time. Janet’s husband, Norm, raises cattle on his family’s farm and he provided the delicious steaks that were eaten by all. Janet celebrated her 61st birthday by inviting us to a pontoon boat ride on nearby Lake Pymatuning. The weather was perfect and we had a great morning out on the lake as shown in these pics….

Before leaving western PA, we visited my great-aunt, Winsome, who is 99 years old and lives in a nice assisted living residence at a nearby town named Meadville. I hadn’t seen Aunt Winsome since my mother’s funeral in 2012 but her mind was still sharp and she recognized us as her niece Nancy’s children. Here is a picture of my great-aunt who inspires me to have a positive attitude and zest for life….

Next, we traveled to daughter Aja Korzi’s house in Fredericksburg, PA for a final visit before we headed south down to Florida. We enjoyed a wonderful cookout on the grill at Aja’s house and went to see the movie Peppermint at a local theater. Here are some great pics of us together…