Good afternoon all:

Weekly Wisecrack from the Canadian North Woods:

What did the Oak tree say to the Fir tree when he went to a strip bar? “Oh, you knotty Pine.” — a local everyman we’ll name Claire

Residing in the North Woods brings a certain simplicity to life. Yet, even in the local humor there is a level of word-play and an edge which makes it wonderfully unique—much like my morning mug of coffee.

From packed to a (near) empty Cabin – Twelve of us shared a miniscule lakefront cabin—successfully. The fact that we had amazing weather did play a part. The other component playing a major part is that the days here are long; starting with a blazing sunrise at 6:15 to dusk at 10:15 pm. This meant that the 5 under 7 crowd burned all their energy out of doors and when finally done crashed for the best sleep ever.

By and large it went so well that even the Hummingbirds would sit on nearby branches watching the activity between their feedings.

Marcia has been persnickety about her nightly “camp sweep.” So persnickety that Sunday morning when I opened the slider to the deck I found Rocky Raccoon sitting on the table ready to make a complaining statement about the lack of scraps to be found.

The grandkids – have had a memory building week. One of the little guys loves his fishing and I stopped counting after he pulled in number six; each being an 8” to 10” Bass (which were dutifully returned for retrieval next year). The older ones also went for a nice two-hour ATV run through the nearby forest where we ended up at a promontory 300’ over the lake.

They went hiking on a forest trail where they had to lead by looking for and following the trail markings. I should point out that the trail was slashed years ago by our neighbor, Bob-the-Forester (emeritus), and requires paying attention to detail.

Almost every night we had a roaring campfire. The older ones were charged with building the starting ‘pyramid’, the goal being to start it with a single match—this was achieved. In fact, one day they got a “no-match” fire going using the embers from the previous night’s fire. Pretty cool hot stuff.

Both seven year olds learned the fine art of kayaking. Each kayaked around our cove solo; a distance of probably about half a mile of open water. We went pontooning, and pontooning, and pontooning. Made crafts, the hit being building model mini-treehouses. We also made small rafts and launched the only one with a (cardboard) sail to see if it would reach Toronto via Niagara Falls. It did make it all the way to the shore just before a bend in our cove—about 300 yards. All but one of us swam in the lake and relaxed on the largest float I could find at Costco, although Marcia has promised that she’ll swim before it’s all over.

July 4th we had our own mini fireworks show off the dock. The kids went ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ when they spotted a small Canadian flag dangling from a parachute pop from one of the fireworks.

I should point out that to achieve ‘battery’ recharges for kids and adults alike we had two hammocks going at all times.

Birthdays – Marin, Kellen, and Vai all celebrated their birthdays. Derek and Dinah celebrated their birthdays in the ‘irregulars’ category. Cakes of choice were baked and a mass blowing-out-the-candles staged. On the day of Marin’s actual birthday mom Cathy organized a seven stage scavenger hunt. Cathy spent the better part of an evening writing out the clues and creative poetry for the hunt. The kids raced from point to point changing the event from a ‘hunt’ to a ‘race’. Item number seven required a pontoon ride to a nearby spit of a beach. Avoiding some rocks Captain Dirk managed to beach the boat in what in nautical terminology is noted as “quite solidly”. Meaning, the prop was buried in the sand. With all passengers standing in the bow and Jason on shore pushing with his back into the boat we avoided a Gilligan’s Island adventure.

Animal Planet – Today we spotted a loon parent doing strength training with one of their young. The training consists of running for about a mile on top of the water with wings flapping. Without such training these young ones would never be able to join the fall migration.

Also spotted a yellow Baltimore Oriole trying to feed with a never-say-die attitude on one of the Hummingbird feeders. Kellen caught an albino Ladybug. Jason and Marin got buzzed by a falcon while climbing a nearby cliff.

Make it a great week everyone. Pat from across the lake invited us to watch the World Cup final. 119 minutes into the game little Vai started leading us all in an “Oh NOOOOOO” cheer as, sadly, Spain scored what proved the winning goal. Nevertheless, thanks Pat!



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