Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Woodchucks at Camp Chicken

It was "Woodchuck Weekend" at Camp Chicken!

Arlene and I took last Friday off to give ourselves a long weekend at Camp. The weather Friday was really nice with cool temperatures, warm sunshine and a breeze stiff enough to keep those blasted UP blackflies pinned to the ground. Perfect weather to cut wood.

Mary Sue and Tiny even got to camp early so that they could help us cut wood for my Mom and Dad.

We spent most of Friday just east of the camp clearing cutting up dead maple and my Mom's beloved Ironwood. Ironwood, for those who don't know, is a member of the birch family, but is also called the American Hop-hornbeam maybe because it's seed pods look just like Hops. When dry, it burns slowly and leaves a bed of very hot coals making it perfect for woodstoves.

I gave Arlene and Mary the name "Woodchucks" because they never let any piece of wood go to waste. No matter how small the stick is, we can still use it, they insist. So anything too small for Mom and Dad goes on the camp woodpile for campfire wood. Nothing goes to waste with those two "woodchucks".

Arlene cooked us a great dinner of grilled steak and potatoes and biscuits. We ate like lumberjacks.

Saturday found us up very early to go to town to a garage sale that supposedly had an backyard sauna for sale. Arlene wants a sauna for camp.

Finnish saunas are extremely popular in the UP because of the large Finnish population that lives here.

Sauna is really more of a Yooper verb than a noun. It means to sit in a small shack, usually made of cedar, and pour water on rocks heated on the top of a wood stove, and sit in the steam. When you have had all the heat you can take, you run outside and take a cold shower or roll in the snow if it is wintertime. Sounds like fun, huh?

Anyway, the sauna wasn't really what we were looking for. We ran a few errands and headed back to camp. We needed to drain the water and bleach solution we use to sanitize the water tank so that we could fill the trailer tank with water.

We ran into Mom and Dad on the road. They had come up and got the wood that we had cut up the day before. They couldn't visit too long as Dad had to get his hair cut.

Then it was off to the south of camp to another spot that had quite a bit of dead, dry ironwood and maple. We spent the entire day back there, cutting, dragging and hauling wood back to camp to put on the trailer for Mom and Dad.

Some of the dead maple was pretty big for the wood stove so Arlene decided to split it.

I had kept a small fire going in the camp firepit all day so that we could cook hotdogs over the fire for lunch. Why is a hotdog cooked over an open fire the most delicious meal ever??

Then it was back to the woods. Finally, at 4:00 pm, our backs couldn't take anymore and we quit for the day.

The girls began hinting that they really needed a cup of coffee and a hamburger for dinner so I told them that if they wanted to go to Hessel casino for the evening, we had to take a little nap.

Sunday we were supposed to take Mom and Dad out for their birthdays and Mother's Day but Mom was so dizzy she couldn't even walk so we'll have to do it next weekend. Since Arlene is a Mom, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother we took her out for brunch.

Unfortunately, brunch didn't agree with her and she spent most of Sunday in the outhouse. All in all, it wasn't a great day to be a Mom!

Mary and I amused ourselves by cutting up camp wood on the old "cart path" that runs in a circle around the camp clearing. Arlene's grandchildren built it for the little cart they had when they were small. It looked like a little dune buggy. They had more darn fun with that thing, riding around and around camp as fast as they could go.

We decided to knock off by 2:30 and just sit and enjoy the rest of the afternoon sitting by the fire.

We finally packed up about 5:00 and headed home. I hate packing up! It is so much more fun to unpack at camp than packup.

Well, there is always next weekend!


Brigid said...

That sounds SOOO much better than my last couple of weekends of one day off (housework) and then back to work.

Soon, perhaps some real time off.

Enjoy, it looks like a lovely time, even with chores.

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

When I read the title of this post and saw the picture of Mary and Tiny, I wondered if Tiny had been having some fun with the real woodchucks!

Cathy Smith said...

Actually Tiny did see a groundhog, better known as a woodchuck in the UP. He/She was a really fat one and was right in camp. Mary thinks he has a hole under Dan and Judy's motorhome.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a pretty good weekend, visits to the outhouse aside. There is something about food cooked over a campfire too. I don't like hotdogs all that much, but I'll eat them if they're cooked over a fire.