I had a four-day weekend for the Fourth of July (have I mentioned how much I love shut-down days?) and we did our best to make the most of it. After a semi-last-minute decision to head up to one of the grandma's camps for the weekend, I ran around Friday morning preparing food, packing and loading the car with just one more thing. My goal for the weekend was to sit in the hammock and relax with a book. Despite having packed enough books and activities to last a week, I still managed to forget my hammock, my beach chair and my underwear. I was bummed about the first two, until I remembered I had a Crazy Creek in the secret compartment in the car.
We arrived at camp to find the power company doing tree work along the camp road, so it wasn't quite as peaceful as we were expecting, but the boys went right to work, fishing and playing in the water. M was in charge of tackle and casting lessons, yet I found myself untangling plenty of fishing line and disengaging lures from the bottom of the pond (amid plenty of mental grumbling...In my day, you had a hook, a hunk of lead, a bobber and a salmon egg...why isn't that good enough for kids these days? And where is their dad anyway?)
E and Z each caught their first fish, which was, somehow, less exciting than when M caught his first. Poor second (and third) children!
In the evening, we canoed down the pond to a small island, C and M fishing the whole way. C caught a couple of bass, and broke the news to the boys that they can't eat fish because of mercury contamination. I would have preferred that he come up with some other explanation. I think there's an essay in there somewhere. Personally, I found it much more enjoyable and rewarding to catch damselflies in a small net. Hundreds of the lovely vespers bluets spent the evening skimming across the pond and resting on lily pads. I caught a pair engaged in damselfly foreplay, that is with the male's abdomen firmly attached to the female's thorax, just behind her head. Apparently this can go on for a couple of hours before they get down to it. E scooped up another individual who had gotten waterlogged. After shaking off and drying its wings in my palm, it lifted off and flew high into the sky, as if happy to be alive.
We came home late Saturday night, boys in jammies, teeth brushed and read to. They wanted to play 20 Questions the whole way home, but after a half hour I instituted the Silence Game and they fell asleep.
Sunday, as is our tradition, we attended the local Fourth of July parade. Where else, I ask you, can you find a parade with no fewer than three trucks dedicated to the teabag gubernatorial candidate, marching right along with men in evening gowns "drag racing" and an enormous walking float commentary on the BP Oil Gusher and our addiction to petroleum? We are a diverse community I tell you. The highlight of the parade, of course is the firetrucks (every truck from the surrounding five communities--Fourth of July morning would be really bad time to have a fire) throwing candy in front of other fire trucks. Z proved himself to be quick, deft and greedy, scooping up most of the candy thrown within a five-yard radius. He also managed to not get run over by a fire truck, despite all the tempting goodies in their path.
We spent the afternoon lull, between the parade and a later party and fireworks even, relaxing at home. I organized recipes with my feet in the kiddie pool (cause I'm wild and crazy like that), E, Z and M ate their weight in cheap candy ('cause what says "independence" better than a diabetic coma?) and C borrowed his dad's lawn mower and mowed our yard. Usually he does the front with the reel mower, and scythes the back and sides once or twice a year. Now we have an actual lawn. I wish I had before and after photos. I always thought I was an anti-lawn hippie type, but I guess you can take the girl out of the suburbs, but you can't take the suburbs out of the girl...man, is it nice.
Monday we had a little down time in the morning, and I spent it like a mad woman, altering a blouse, baking bread (solar oven...it's actually hot this week! Whee!), prepping dinner, cleaning, dusting and vacuuming my room, and packing the car up again. We spent the afternoon at another camp on another lake. This one, on an island, has a lovely little sand beach and the boys had a great time just swimming, splashing and playing in the water. M had a friend there and they ran around the island and, I am told, jumped off some big posts into the deep water at the far end of the island.
On the way home, I stopped at a road side self-serve farm stand, thinking to myself that I would make it my mission this summer to stop at every one I see. I was smelling goat milk soaps when a woman in a long denim jumper and starched white cap on her head popped out from nowhere. I had just noticed the goat milk soap was made with lard, but couldn't not buy it now, or she would think I had come just to steal soap. I piled up a few cucumbers and then a man in a brown shirt and beard appeared. That's when I noticed the religious brochures along side the vegetables. I gave her my $5 and headed home, reevaluating my farm stand plan.
Hope your Fourth was sunny and fun too!