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Long weekend! Camping at cousin Mary Lee's was... interesting. I really do not like the Eddie Bauer tent that we used (one that the kids gave us when they got their popup camper). If you have the rain fly on, it blocks the side screened windows so there's no air flow through them and the clear plastic panels at the top magnify the sunlight making it a furnace inside during the day. Mainly though I don't like the way it's taller at one end than at the other. (needless to say, I was on the short side!) Our old tent was about 6 feet tall in the center and the sides were of equal height. It had large screened windows that could be closed (the ones on the EB tent can't). It may not have been as fancy as the EB tent but it was a much more logical & practical design. We knew that there would be no shade regardless of where we pitched the tent but we hadn't taken into consideration that where we did set up, we were very close to the automatic security light (a necessity in such a rural area) which meant that there was way too much light at night. I'm thinking next time we should set up on the opposite side of the house where, hopefully, the building will block at least some of the light.

The weather was extremely hot but for the most part we had a nice breeze. The best time was sitting in the shade under the Cottonwood tree reading or just talking, enjoying the wind blowing through the branches. Very peaceful.

As usual, we brought way too much food. We had planned on having Mary eat with us; she planned on feeding us. We certainly weren't going to refuse the steaks and salads she'd bought (especially since she's on such a limited budget, even more so than we are) but did insist that we'd do the burgers we brought the following night. She even picked up some packets of gourmet coffee that we fixed the first morning.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with the horses (and dogs... one is hers - Boomer, a basset hound; the other three are her son's. He lives in a trailer home up near the road on her property with his girlfriend and daughter. He has a rottweiler mix named Zeus, a mixed breed of the Australian shepherd variety - Alice?- and a deaf puppy named Daisy who is an adorable little nuisance!) We helped out with feeding the horses and Scot even did a little bit of riding. He's way out of practice and admits that he needs some lessons before he can do any trail riding. I was almost convinced to try riding but it was so hot that I chickened out. Maybe next time... I know I need lessons first! We had a lot of fun watching the yearling colt kicking up his heels after being let out of his box stall for some exercise. His name is ... Steve. Yeah, Steve. That's what happens when you let a 3 year old girl name a new foal. She stated that if it was a girl she would name it Princess. When they told her it was a boy, they expected her to name him Prince or King or something similar. Instead she thought about it and announced that "I think I'll name him Steve." o_O I've at least learned the names of the stallions... the gorgeous pale brown and white paint is named Pokey (they've had him since he was a yearling and his person is the son, Mike. Apparently when they were out looking at horses to buy, Pokey walked up to Mike and laid his head on Mike's shoulder. Mike announced that he wanted this horse! He has really good bloodlines and was what they were looking for so they bought him.) Pokey is one of the calmest, gentlest stallions I've ever seen. A beautiful horse with a wonderful temperament who makes gorgeous foals.The other stallion is named Zippy. Another very nice looking horse... but then all of Mary's horses are beautiful, even the old paint mare, Madge. (actually her name is Magic but Madge suits her better now that she's such an old girl, 26 years old)

Sunday night we sat in the backyard watching a panorama of fireworks from 5 different areas who did theirs on the 3rd. Some were partially hidden by the tree line but it was still very satisfying and we didn't have to put up with crowds or traffic to see them. We didn't really try to watch more on the night of the 4th since Mary had to be up by 5 to deal with chores before heading for work. We had to leave early too so we could be in Plainwell by 7:30 to babysit for our grandkids. That was a fun 2 days! We watched movies, played outside and generally had a great time. Emily helped clean up the backyard on Tuesday (lots of mess from the fireworks they did at their 4th of July party) and rode her bike. She wasn't too happy that we wouldn't let her ride further down the street, but Bryce wanted to follow her and at not quite 2, he's just too young! She was a big help when it came time for Bryce to take his nap the first day. It wasn't until she told him it was nap time that he finally agreed to lay down without fussing about it. The second day we set up the sprinkler and they had a blast running through it. No problem getting Bryce to take his nap that day! He was totally tuckered out!

At any rate, it was a great 4 days though totally exhausting. We spent most of Thursday recuperating! We'll probably go camping at Mary's again although I'm thinking it would be better just to do it for one night rather than two. Scot really can't afford to be away from his computer (and schoolwork) for longer than that. It didn't matter this time since it was a holiday weekend and he had internet access at the kids but being away for 2 nights would put him too far behind on his required participation. Who knows, maybe next time they'll actually convince me to give riding a try. ~_^
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sheianna

August 2011

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