Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Do You Want the Good News First or the Bad News?

In our family, this is a frequent question.  And we just about always start with the bad news, so we can finish (and dwell on) the good news.  :0)

The bad news: While Andy drove from Old Forge to Boonville, the alternator belt (or something) broke, fell off, and everything electrical and vital for driving quit.  And his phone was dead. 
The good news: he was in the Pitts' driveway, and Brandon was home.  So he could plug in his phone to call me, and do Kingdom Creations work all afternoon as he intended.  And a mechanic friend from church should be able to make repairs tomorrow morning.   
The bad news: Half the (carpeted) floor in our downstairs bathroom is wet, and it turns out the leak is coming from that pipe that travels from the tank to the floor.  And there's no shut-off valve I've yet found.  The good news: I found the leak.  And our plumber friend from church should be able to come tomorrow morning to try to get it all fixed up. 
The bad news: The specialty smart-TV remote, which Lewis tossed into the dish water a few days ago, seems to have decided to give up the ghost for good.  So the TV is half-way to Netflix, and I'm unable to change the channel, the volume, or even turn it off.  The good news: It's stuck on PBS.  Of course, that currently means BBC World News America...pretty sure the boys won't be fans of this. 
The bad news: The chili in the crock pot didn't get plugged in for the first 3 hours it was "cooking."  And "high" for 3 plugged-in hours isn't enough to soften those beans at all. The good news: There's warm crusty bread, anyway!  

When it rains, it pours.  Except it's currently sunshiny.  Here's to a good evening, friends!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Camping Accounts

From July 18 to 22,  our family traveled to the Meacham Lake DEC Campground for our "first annual campout."  Each morning I spent time by the fire writing in my journal; here are the adventures I recorded.

July 19, 2014 
And we are camping.  The birds wake up in full force a little before 5am--but even by 6:00 now they have calmed down (except the crows), and the noises are mostly from chipmunks and other little ground creatures. 
I tried to get firewood this morning, but they keep the woodbox locked overnight, and I can't find any indication of what time it will be opened.  
Lincoln just said, "Mommy, I'm so aware that there's a spider who likes the hot, hot charcoal."  (There's a daddy-long-legs huddled up against a still-black brick of charcoal.)  And, "I love seeing Chippy so up close."  (We have a very fearless resident chipmunk who likes to come right up close for a better view of us--and his potential meals, I'm sure!) 
A charcoal fire isn't too bad; not quite as charming, or warm from a distance, but it certainly will cook our breakfast well. 
And speaking of good cooking: last night we ate like camping kings!  We marinated a London broil steak--just lager beer and montreal seasoning--and for once we didn't overcook it.  My word, that was the most delicious meat I've had in quite a time!  And jet-boil instant mashed potatoes, salad, s'mores.  Setting up camp yesterday went with only a few hiccups that needed time outs.  But our site has a wonderful little trail out the back of it, and the boys LOVED spending their time exploring it.  In one spot you can scoot down the bank pretty easily to a little mud "beach" of the creek, and there are clam shells all over it, and even a few clams still closed.  I found one footprint in the mud that looked like a raccoon or something similar, and one from probably a crow.   
And Lewis LOVED helping with the tent poles, both putting them together and then through the sleeves.  He was so delighted by it!   
The boys' "chore" while we camp will be dishes.  Andy supervised supper cleanup, so I don't know exactly how thoroughly the boys were.  But Andy said they did pretty well for this first time.  

July 20, 2014 
It's Sunday morning.  I slept so much better last night than the past few, even getting up a couple of times for a crying Lewis.  Thank you for that gift, Father!   
And this morning I get to sit here next to a roaring fire, and will have coffee soon thanks to my wonderful hubby.   
Yesterday we simply spent at the campground. They get kudos for showers and a sandy swim area.  Opposite for lifeguards.  And who should I meet in the bathhouse but Lauren Premo, Mike's wife, and to find that they camp here every year and are right across from that bathhouse this weekend! 
The squirrels or chipmunks gnawed several places around the edge of our Pantry rubbermaid tote while we were away at the showers, and so we know they don't waste any time around here and we must put all food and garbage in the van when we've finished eating.   
During nap time I first had a lovely read and a little nap in the hammock.  THANK YOU, Will, for sending that hammock!  And then, while everyone else slept, I left to go exploring.  And I followed to the end of the main campground road, and there found a little secret-feeling footpath that follows the edge of the lake.  It was full of magic: the tallest cedar trees I've ever seen; huge shore-line boulders wrapped around with intricate tree root-works; the sound of little waves; a mother wood duck? loon? swimming with her 6 chicks all lined up behind her.  That was a good explore.  

July 21, 2014 
We made it to church yesterday, Father!  Without remembering (from 8 years ago) what time [Lake Placid Baptist] church starts, we feared we were pretty late; turns out we arrived about 10 minutes early, with a perfect amount of time to settle in before the service.  I got to see Morgan and Charlie, Jeff, Cameron, Tree, Tom and his family--and meet Mark, Vivian and Bob, Dave, and Pastor Jim.  They didn't have any Sunday School [this week] for the boys to go to, which was rough...but they do have these great entertainment bags: canvas totes with crayons, coloring books, Bible story books, old copies of Clubhouse magazine.  I want to do that through the library for our church. 

Lunch at Tail O' The Pup, with their playground; riding the Adirondack Carousel, with their playground; ice cream stop at Donnelly's, with good conversation with the people in line while I waited.  All of this would have been more fun without the boys' temper tantrums, but anyway... 
While Andy and the boys napped I read and then napped in the hammock again.  I like this pattern.  I also like the part of the pattern where I leave to go exploring after the birds wake me up.  Yesterday I explored several of our neighbor campsites (because it's true: by Sunday afternoon the campground is substantially emptier, and by afternoon only one other site at the far end of our little back road was still occupied; late last evening, we gained just one more resident a few sites down.)  And so I compared other sites along our creek, and then followed the footpath in the other direction from the "narrow bridge."  That's another wonderful little trail, and as I explored I felt like Gene Stratton Porter, whose biography about her writing and nature-study life I read in the long introduction to her books on my Kindle.  She was wonderful, to the extent I'd like to be rather like her! 
Chili out of a can for supper, finally something Lincoln enjoyed all the way around.  A bike ride down to the beach playground at dusk.  Flow sticks (a delight and a curse).  Bedtime stories, kisses, and a toad hopping along the tarp at the base of the tent (yes, sounding much bigger in the dark than his little inch-long frame.  

July 22, 2014 
It's our last morning here, and I feel like soaking everything in: an extra hot fire to burn my legs, all the birdsong and creature sounds, the opportunity later for pancakes, canoeing, packing up camp, hopefully bathing these boys, hitting the road.   
I stirred at 5:06, and when I looked at my watch I thought, "The crows should start anytime now."  And literally a moment after that thought the crow chorus began.  I've wished many times that I had a better view of these birds and a pair of binoculars, because it's about the best opportunity I could ask for to study crows in their own rookery.  
The chipmunks and squirrels are all around on their reconnaissance missions, our boys have been groaning and are now beginning to talk sleepily to each other, Andy and I are reading scripture and he pauses to said things like, "I have a trivia question for you: what was Eve's maiden name?" 
And Amos is saying things like "Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.  Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph."  (Amos 5:14-15)

July 23, 2014

We're home!  We took our time traveling, stopping to pick up lunch, then to play a long time at Arrowhead Park in Inlet.  We got ice cream, and stopped to clean Lewis up and then to get gas.  But even so we got home at 4:00 and had a leisurely (hot) evening after unloading the van.  

I slept great.  Andy slept horribly because of his sunburn.  Fred slept great--I let her stay up with us instead of going to the basement, and I don't think she ever left the foot of the bed.  

Thank you, Father, for such a great camping trip.  It did set us up well to want to camp next year, to be lovers of camping.  

And now, as we tackle the second half of summer, I really desire, Father, to have a fresh wind of motivation and diligence in running my home, caring for my family, being an excellent co-manager of Huntress Hollow :0) Help me to be mentally organized and on top of things, ready to take on challenges, ready to prepare for life!