The Messer family knows that summers are short in this part of the world. As such, they do their best to make the most out of their limited summer days. And that means loading the camper – and two young children under the age of 4 – for weekend camping trips.

Autumn Messer
Calder Messer

Abbey Messer and her husband, Marty, who is a KEM Electric Cooperative lineworker, both enjoy the outdoors, having grown up on farms and ranches. Now, the two are raising their two children – Autumn, 3, and Calder, almost 2 – to appreciate that same rural lifestyle.

The Messers live in rural Tappen, where they have chickens, goats, bottle calves, dogs and cats, and tend to a large garden. The kids have their own strawberry patch and enjoy chasing after their chickens.

Abbey, who grew up in Thompson Falls, Mont., says she loves where their feet are planted.

“This is home. We’ll never move, if I have anything to do with it!” she quips.

As a wife and mother of two little ones, who also works full time for Pifer’s Auction & Realty in Steele, Abbey stays busy during the week, so that the family can enjoy their weekend camping trips. Most often, the Messers plan their camping excursions with friends who are also lineworkers or in the electric industry. Camping weekends include a lot of fishing, walks, playing at the park or on the beach, and, of course, grilling.

Abbey knows her way around a grill, but says her husband handles the steaks and the smoker. Featured this month are two of the family’s go-to grilling recipes: steak or chicken kabobs and stuffed mini peppers. Abbey marinates the meat and veggies for the kabobs overnight or longer, which provides great flavor and tenderness. And everyone loves the stuffed mini peppers, she says. Who can argue with cheese and bacon?

“I enjoy cooking, especially when I have time on the weekends. You can focus on a good meal, without having the pressures of getting things done around the house or farm,” Abbey says. “That’s why we go camping – to get away from home and to be able to relax on the weekends.”