FAMILY ‘SUMMER CAMP’ – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I did a fun thing with my kids in 1993, when they were eight and thirteen. My ex, Larry, and I took them to a three-day Family Summer Camp on Lake George in New York State. It was just like regular sleep away camp except it was designed for families.

My two kids on the dock at the camp

During the day, everyone signed up for different activities, with or without your other family members. The families came together at mealtimes and for the evening’s entertainment. I did several things with my kids. It was fun doing things I had enjoyed when I was in camp, with my own children. Things like archery and riflery, both of which I, strangely, excelled at.

We also kayaked together and went waterskiing. At least the kids went waterskiing, all around the picturesque lake. I had waterskied in grade school and found it easy. I didn’t anticipate a problem. However, neither Larry or I could even get up on our skis for more than a few seconds. We got three chances and struck out 0 for three. It was embarrassing and made me feel old.

The accommodations were sparse. They took “rustic” to new levels. And I’m not a ‘roughing it’ kind of girl. So this was really a stretch for me. Each family had their own cabin in the woods. Ours had two sets of bunk beds, plain wood floors, a dresser and a table and chairs. There were, maybe two light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. No air conditioning goes without saying (a big deal for me). Also lots of bugs and insects.

Sparse cabin like the one we lived in for the weekend

Then there was the bathrooms. There were two communal bathrooms, one for men and one for women, The problem was, they were at least two city blocks from our cabin. We had to walk through dark and thick woods to get there. There were exposed tree roots and fallen branches everywhere to trip over on the way. Making that trip in the middle of the night with a flashlight and an eight year old was not a picnic. It was downright scary.

One interesting camp rule was that every family had to do kitchen duty for one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner. That meant setting and clearing tables before and after the assigned meals. That was one of my favorite memories from the weekend – sharing KP duty with my kids and a few other families.

My daughter on the camp’s dock

On this trip, I was also introduced to the art of Storytelling. We were regaled one night by a professional Storyteller. We were all mesmerized. She was amazing. She told a wonderful old tale with a theatrical delivery that made you feel like you were watching a full cast enact a play. I’ll never forget that experience.

I don’t think I could have handled more than three days of “camp”. But as a family “adventure,” I give it five stars! Except for the fact that Sarah came home with lice! Maybe it should only get three stars.

COMPANY! HE’S HERE!

A few days of company. Gonna talk. Take some pictures. Have some laughs. See you all later. All the scheduled posts will go up, but otherwise, I’m gonna be “slightly missing.”

Later!

Meanwhile, our friend Ben is inhabiting our home, bonding with The Duke … and it’s so good to see a really familiar friend. Lifetime friendships are rare.

LUST AND LONGING IN MID SUMMER

For the first time in more than a week, the sun in shining. The air is dry and just warm, not hot. The fullness of summer is upon the land.

Yea, verily and forsooth, too. Summer has come, dragging with it the lust and love of the season.

This past month and a half has shown no evidence of this being one of our better summers. There has been the horror of the rotting front door. The attack of the carpenter ants. The collapse and demise of the hot water heater, not to mention one minor fender bender that has put a dent in our previously perfect front fender. And of course, the continuing insanity of our government.

There have also been a couple of lovely times. The days with Tom and Ellin in Connecticut were a definite “up.” The arrival of Duke the Dogge was another high point and one that shall continue for years to come. One of the most enjoyable parts of adopting a new pet is that they keep making you crazy and laughing for a long time. Vacations pass, but pets are in for the long haul.

Speaking of lust, Duke is one lusty little not-quite-a-boy pooch. One of his most obvious needs is a potent urge to hump Bonnie who, in her elderly wisdom is saying “Get off me you big lump! I’m a lady and I was neutered 9 years ago!”

Poor Duke the Dogge. He is packed full of youthful hormones and seeks only for a passionate humpette. Alas, none is to be found. His hormones will retreat as time moves on, but for the nonce, he’s pretty wild about Bonnie. Her feelings are, to put it politely, mixed. She is cautiously pleased by the attention and equally annoyed by Duke’s persistent nosing of her nether regions. And every time he tries to go “a little too far,” she snarls, then yaps at him for a long time. I swear she is yelling at him for being such a dog.

But what can he do? He is a dog!

The snarling and imploring of the two of them is either a Shakespearean tragedy or comedy. I’m not sure which, but perhaps contains elements of both.

So the summer moves on. I shall take my camera and see if I can acquire pictures of a scene in progress.

THE BLACKSTONE CANAL AND NOW, IT’S SUMMER

Summer has come. It is raining. What a shock! We had a nearly full day of sun on Monday. It didn’t begin to rain until late in the afternoon. Just enough time for the guys to fix our front hall and door. Big improvement. As soon as it stops raining, I’ll take new pictures. Meanwhile … from summer days by the canal …

Photos by Garry Armstrong and Marilyn Armstrong

WHICH WAY AT THE MENDON NURSERY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – June 23, 2017

Paths — and you can buy all the trees!

As spring turns to summer, our thoughts wander to flowers and trees, to things that grow and smell good. Nope, not at home, but there is a nursery. I love that strange, ethereal smell of flowers, insecticide, mulch, fertilizer and just a light whiff of sweat. It’s summer!





 

FLOWERS FROM WHEN THERE WERE FLOWERS IN OUR GARDEN

I went outside with my camera determined to take pictures of the flowers I was sure were there. I came back IN with no pictures because now that the Columbine are gone, there are lily buds and naked rose bushes with the meanest, nastiest thorns this side of a state prison.

You know how wet it’s been because if you look at our backyard garden — which has always been a mass of lilies — you will see lilies. Even some lilies with fat buds. But most of the garden is filled with ferns — in what is in any other year, the sunniest part of our property.

In honor of the flowers I used to grow, here are pictures from other years.

Flower of the Day from Cee