Friday, August 31, 2012

Camp TV: Cookin' with Auntie Lou

Meals are an important part of camp life.  All that fresh air and recreation give rise to big appetites, and one never knows quite how many hungry tummies will show up to eat.  Everyone brings something to the table and the spread depends on the assortment in everyone's coolers.  Auntie Lou likes to choreograph each meal, and she has definite ideas about how certain things must be done.  (By the way, it's best to bring your onions already chopped.)  She also has her share of unusual recipes and likes to enlist our help in the kitchen, to locate particular ingredients in her cabinets and fridge, to discuss possible substitutions if we fail to turn up the required spice or sugar, or to read a recipe out loud for her (over and over and over...)  Over the years, I have enjoyed some of Auntie Lou's specialties, like peas and potatoes and blueberry cake.

Auntie Lou loves to bake, especially if someone brings her some fresh berries.  Blueberry cake is a perennial favorite, and there is usually some kind of fruit confection warm out of the oven to enjoy with a cup of coffee.

Auntie Lou has some interesting cooking machines in her cozy kitchen.  Here she is making muffins in a donut press.

Kinda funky but probably pretty tasty, especially with a DD Hazelnut K-Cup...

Auntie Lou is quite proud of her nearly antique toaster... I think she said she got it as a wedding present nearly 70 years ago!  It is a bit persnickety but with a little perseverence, it will toast even thick slices of homemade bread, automatically lowering the bread and then popping it up when toasted - sometimes a little more than one might wish, but hey, this thing has been faithfully feeding  countless breakfasters for decades!

She also has a vintage hot dog steamer which she especially prizes.  There's always a demonstration for new visitors, although the machine has become very finicky in its old age and doesn't always cooperate.

I know my videos are kind of crappy - I don't know how to edit - but this is too good not to share:  (There's a bit of an inside joke going on here; I hope you find it humorous, too!)

You bring me a lot of laughs and joy, Auntie Lou!  I love you!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On the lake again

We were lucky enough to squeeze in another visit to the lake during the last weekend in July, this time with the kids: Toots brought her grandkids; only Eric and Dominique came with me. (Connor stayed behind to prepare for his Canoe Base adventure with his dad.)   We managed to stay ahead of the rain clouds all the way to Maine.

It started out quiet enough. We were the only visitors when we arrived and Auntie Lou and Paula were happy to see us.  The neighbors from across the lake came by Friday afternoon and took us on a cruise on another slow-moving vessel, their White Trash Barge (no commentary on the name of this ship!)

Max and Eric were excited by the prospect at spending the weekend together, at camp no less!

It was Paige's very first boat ride!

We were treated to a serene and lovely sunset, with the water burbling gently and swirling with pink and gold reflections.  The loons gave us a wide berth but were content enough to stay within view.

The next day was a little livelier, as cousin Stevie and his son Seth showed up, along with the usual suspects, and most everyone ventured out on the lake.  Paige got to go in the paddleboat with Auntie Lou and Peanut, and she got a ride in neighbor Paul's motorboat, too!

Then it was the boys' turn.

Oh no, you didn't just dare Paul that he couldn't knock you off...



Stevie's first, of course...

Seth's next...

Eric is still holding on underneath...


 Round two:

I want to give a big thanks to my cousin Paula for sharing these great photos she took from the boat!

Adrenaline junkie...

 And later Eric caught a fish!

Sitting here in this swing is such a pleasant respite from my daily routine at home.  I love the peaceful view, the gentle lapping of the water hitting the shore, the conversations of friends and family that liven the afternoon and evening...

 Remember:  No having fun at Camp Grouchy!

My video's not the greatest but still it captures a little of the feeling of being at the lake:

The picture that's worth 1,000 words (but if you want the words too, Paige has them all!)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Camp week

Connor and Eric spent a week at Camp Resolute in July with their fellow Troop 21 Scouts.

I dropped them off on Sunday and then returned for a visit on Wednesday to see the water races.

Here they all had to dogpaddle while holding on to a kick board...  made for a lot of splashing and not a lot of forward motion!

Looks like Connor's more interested in the scenery than in his dogpaddle relay...

Meanwhile, down Maine, my sister Toots and I went to spend the weekend at Auntie Lou's camp.  It is a spot I find so low-key and relaxing, and I looked forward to a couple days of R&R.

My little idyll included a boat ride like I've never experienced... as a matter of fact, it's pretty hard to describe.

It was sooooooo hot in New England this weekend, and frequent dips in the drink were required.  The lake being quite shallow, it was most effective to bob around in a float in order to be submerged.  Imagine my surprise and delight to be invited to board the SS Valium for a cruise around the lake.  (Here I want to invite you to look more closely at the little contraption above.)

This is my cousin Kevin's new craft, his handicraft, and let me tell you, we were the envy of everyone who watched us from shore.  The engine is perfectly silent and pulls the big comfy tubes along (with our butts cooling in the mesh-lined seats), quietly and slowly - very slowly - all along the shore.  It was so mellow and relaxing that we all declared it must be named the S.S. Valium.  My goal, next time I'm at camp, is to have a long, cool snooze in this perfect little boat.

Back on shore, the ladies were painting the leaf birdbaths that Paula crafts out of giant leaves, like rhubarb and hosta, and cement. 

Sitting on the swing next to the lake is one of my favorite places to be.

So is sitting on the dock looking out.  It was a quiet weekend on the water, which is just how I like it!