The Summer of B’s . . . Bayfield, Boston & Bristol

Or we could just call this: How I spent my summer vacation.

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The toad outside the bath house at our Bayfield campground. Judging by the cabbage moth next to it, I may have interrupted its late night snack.

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The other Madeline Island ferry.

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Docking at Madeline Island. It’s a busy place in the summer.

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The Sunken Ships glass bottom boat tour out of Bayfield. The tour takes you over the top of two of the wrecks. The water clarity that day was amazing.

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Just one of the many lighthouses on Lake Superior. I believe this is the Raspberry Island Lighthouse.

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Bayfield at dusk.

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The Mayflower II; Plymouth, Massachussetts.

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Plymouth Rock.

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DH & BooBoo watching one of the reenactors at Plimoth Plantation split logs into boards.

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4th of July in Bristol, Rhode Island. Bristol is home to the oldest, continuous 4th of July celebration in the nation. 2015 marked the 230th year of the celebration. Our little hometown band marched in their parade.

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All branches of the military were represented, as well as the police, fire fighters, ambulance crews, etc.

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This float had “living sculptures”.

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A bit of noise and smoke from one of the parade groups.

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And here they are! Our hometown marching band. They are marching sans jackets due to the heat. Oh, and that flute in the front row . . . yes, that’s Ditty.

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One of the many plaques in Boston’s North End Garden. There is also a very moving memorial/tribute to the military personnel who lost their lives in the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan.

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There were lots of moon jellyfish in Boston Harbor.

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BooBoo & I at JFK Library & Museum. Yes, he’s just about as tall as I am, but my extra half inch of height doesn’t show up well in pictures.

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Boston Harbor Arch.

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The U.S.S. Constitution in dry dock for repairs and restoration. She’ll be high & dry until sometime in 2017, but they still allow tours of the ship now that she’s secure.

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The U.S.S. Cassin Young, also on display at the Navy shipyard.

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Clock tower. Boston.

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The catamaran we rode for our whale watch tour.

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The fort at Castle Island, from the top deck of the catamaran.

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Boston Harbor Light.

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Whales!

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Whales!

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and more Whales! It was so cool to see these giants up close. We saw Humpbacks, Finbacks and Minke whales.

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DH & BooBoo with the Elizabeth Montgomery statue in Salem, MA. Well, it is the “Witch Capital”.

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Salem also has Stickworks, a sculpture by the same gentleman who created a stick house sculpture garden at St. John’s University.

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And finally, a view of the sunrise over Fearing Pond; Myles Standish State Forest, Carver, MA.

I’m glad the rest of our summer travels will just be short weekend hops to camp with friends. This busy summer is going way too fast! Hope you have time to enjoy your summer.

Life Update

Well, I haven’t posted in awhile so we’ve got some ground to cover.

Last week Ditty, BooBoo & I were at Girl Scout Daycamp.  BooBoo gets to come along because the daycamp director doesn’t believe her volunteers should have to pay for babysitting when they are giving their time to her for free.  So BooBoo plays with the other Tag-A-Longs (their unit name and a great GS cookie flavor) and roams around camp finding all sorts of adventures, weird looking bugs, etc.  One year, he decided he was Harry Potter and he had various versions of the Nimbus 2000 (large sticks) hewould ride on.  That’s a year I wish I could freeze and replay the way little kids watch the same movie over & over.  He was nicknamed the “Camp Wizard”.

We had a great time and are sad that our little “Brigadoon” is once again done for another year.

During that week, that Monday evening to be precise, Ditty & I came home to discover that DH & BooBoo had gone shopping.  Or perhaps a better phrase would be “gone buying”.  We are now the proud (?) owners of a used pop-up tent camper.  DH & I had been watching craigslist and were looking to get a nice used pop-up camper, but I had assumed that I would be able to at least look at photos online before we bought one.  I also assumed that “we” had stopped looking for awhile since I was going to be busy that week.  Silly me. 

This one came stocked with all the dishes and appliances the seller had used in the camper and the indoor/outdoor carpet they had used as a ground cover in front of the camper.  If you’re a non-camper, you’re probably thinking “That’s great!”.  Personally, I’d like to know why they parted with everything.  In other words, where did that mouse they might have found get in?  I’ll be thoroughly shampooing all of the upholstery later today and cleaning every knook & cranny of the camper.  I will also be disposing of much of the dishes, etc. that they so graciously gave us.  The “Free” box will be at the end of the driveway by tomorrow morning.  I just don’t want to deal with their stuff and we’ve already replaced the stained indoor/outdoor carpet with one of those woven plastic camp mats from Walmart.

Soccer tournaments start up this coming week for Ditty & BooBoo.  Ditty has possibly 3 nights of tournaments; Monday, Thursday & Friday.  BooBoo has two nights; Tuesday & Saturday.  Guess I can always go out for coffee Wednesday night, since I’ll have nothing to do (insert laughter here).  BooBoo’s team won their first game ever last Tuesday night.  They had tied one game previously.  That puts them in last place in their four team league this season.  Ditty’s team has done much better, they’ve lost 2, tied 2 and won 5.  The tenth game was cancelled due to extreme heat.  Not a bad record for the year.  We’ll see how they do in tournament play.

We camped again at St Croix State Park mid month with DH’s sister, brother-in-law & their family.  It was great fun and very laid back.  We spent about two and a half hours on the river in canoes & kayaks, some of which was spent on the sand bars just wading & swimming.

Prior to leaving for that trip, we found these guys (three of them) sleeping in the big tree in our front yard.

Sorry about the bad shot.  It’s hard to get a good picture when they were in the middle of all those leaves.  Of course, they had to go, one way or another, since raccoons can carry rabies.  Happily for DH, the kids and the raccoons; they were no longer in our tree when we got home the following Sunday.

We’ve got some more camping planned for this summer, but first it’s time to tackle that camper.  Wish me luck.

Camping

We went camping over last weekend at one of our lovely state parks.  Due to the busyness of the weekend though, it wasn’t as relaxing as it could have been.  We got to the park around 2:30 and set up our tent only to quickly change clothes and leave for our WI nephew’s graduation party which was a 2 hour drive from the park.  In perspective, the drive would have been about 2.5 to 3 hours from our house depending on traffic in the Metro.  Also, the state park we stayed at is about 2 hours from our house.  Had I known how far away the party was, I would have transferred our reservations to a state park that was in between our house & the party rather than one that was equidistant.

On Saturday, we rented canoes at the park.  DH really believed that 4 hours on the river would be fun.  Had the wind not been blowing upstream at 10-12 mph, it probably would have been fun.  As it was, I was glad when we finally got to the landing and could be done.  After that, we made supper, ate and DH & BooBoo went to see the ranger’s movie presentation on eagles.  We played a few games, had s’mores and went to bed.  Sunday, ate breakfast and packed up camp.  We stopped at a nice park for lunch and went on a guided tour of an 1850’s fur trading post, then home for showers, supper and 6pm Mass.

That was a bit much to pack into a weekend away from home.  This weekend at least BooBoo & I can relax.  For awhile anyway, on Saturday morning.  Next weekend will be better.  I can hardly wait. 

One more weekend until we go camping with our friends.  It might sound silly to people who don’t enjoy camping, especially after the above.  We have so much fun and laughter on the weekends we camp with this group.  And there is definitely a lot of relaxing.  No pressure to do stuff, just sitting around talking and enjoying the weather.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.  But if not, we’ll still have fun & relax.

One of these days, I’ll get the photos off my camera & into my computer.  Then I can update this blog with some of the beauty & fun of life.

Yellowstone, the conclusion

The end of the trip was magical.  We found two of the formations I had seen 30 years ago as a young teen on a youth group camping trip.  The drive home was also beautiful.

On the final day of our stay in Yellowstone, Ditty and BooBoo were sworn in as Junior Rangers, having completed all of the program requirements.  We also found out about a Girl Scout & Cub/Boy Scout badge that they can earn.  It should be listed on the National Park Service webpage.  We’ll have to go check that out.

And yet there was still more to see.  Firehole Falls on the Firehole River.

With this bison on the path, it seemed like my wish to see two of the sights from my past trip would go unfullfilled.  But we managed to get safely around the big guy.  And saw this:

Fairy Falls.  In spite of the difficulty in finding it, the bison on the trail, having to remove my moccasins due to the very wet trail and the remarks of several other people  (“She doesn’t have the right shoes for hiking!”  I mean really!  Have you never walked in moccasins before?  They are totally the right shoes for me on a long trail, since comfort is key to my walking any distance.),  I was beginning to think I wasn’t meant to see this again.  Perseverance!  That’s my last word on it.

Oh look, more bison.  Thankfully, we were already here:

Imperial Basin.  When I was here 30 years ago, this was known as Imperial Geyser.  The name change didn’t help me in finding it again either.  Glad we did though.  Sometimes it’s nice to revisit an area to see if it still looks the same.  Fairy Falls did.  Imperial did not.  And I would have sworn there were boardwalks here thirty years ago, but either they took all the boardwalks out or my memory of the hike was confused with the many other hikes we did on that trip.

Grand Prismatic Spring.  Yes, it sure is!  This is one spot where the name truly fits the scene.

The drive home took us through Montana’s butte country,

and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota’s Badlands,

Wild mustangs at Teddy Roosevelt National Park.  We didn’t go into the park itself, just flew by on the Interstate.  DH said that we need to make this park a vacation destination someday.  I agree, it would be another fun camping trip.

That’s all for our trip to Yellowstone.  If you can’t make it there yourself, www.windowsintowonderland.org does have e-fieldtrips appropriate for grades 5-8, ages 11-14 on their website.  One caveat though, they are not as thorough an experience of Yellowstone as we got by going there.  So make time for this trip.  You won’t regret it.

Just a quick update

Heading out Girl Scout camping this weekend.

Hopefully the rain doesn’t happen & the box oven bake-off is a success.

Enjoy your weekend.  I’ll try to post the next segment of the Yellowstone pictures on Monday.  DH finally burned them to a CD so I can upload them to the blog in the air conditioned comfort of my office/craft room/junkpile I mean “storage space”.

The “de-crapification” will need to continue soon.

Thanks for your confidence in me. . .

. . . at least, I think.

I’ve always said that I would not go winter camping in a tent or other shelter.  I have no desire to freeze any part of my anatomy by winter camping.  I don’t do well in the cold.  Yes I know I live in the great white frozen north, but that’s in a house with a fairly decent heater, plenty of food & coffee squirrelled away, lots of good books to read and plenty of wool to knit.  Living here in a tent wouldn’t cut it at all with me.

I guess God has other plans.  We planned a family vacation to Yellowstone for early to mid June.  I checked the park’s webpage on the National Parks site just to see what ranger programs would be happening.  Then I saw the road updates link and thought “Hey, let’s check that out for fun”.  OH BOY!  That was not fun!

Apparently, they have had lots of snow in Yellowstone this year.  25 feet of it in the mountain passes.  Yeah, it’s probably no big deal for people used to that much snow.  For us and our trip however, it means that the road between Tower Falls and the campground we have reservations at will be cleared of snow on June 10th.  Weather permitting, they are careful to add.  That’s very close to when we arrive!

Dear Lord, why do you have so much confidence in my ability to adapt to whatever comes my way?  I was looking forward to wearing shorts & a t-shirt when we hike up the mountains and stand on a glacier.  Guess we’ll be packing the parkas instead.

At least I can bring my wool and knit some new mittens to wear.  Ditty was equally “thrilled” to hear about more snow in our future.  Lord, please give us strength.

Adieu, Adieu to you & you & you

I’m off this weekend to our annual Girl Scout Service Unit Encampment.  I’ll schedule posts for Saturday & Sunday (hope they post as they’re supposed to).

Each year, our service unit takes a weekend in November and goes camping.  Yes, here.  In the great white frozen north.  Uh huh, really.

Now lest you think we’re crazy (or crazier than usual), let me reassure you that we will be in cabins.  That’s right.  Spacious heated cabins with all of the proper amenities up to and including flush toilets and working showers.  We’re not Boy Scouts after all.  We appreciate amenities.  You do have to bring your own chocolates for your pillow, but hey what can you expect for $15/night per kid.  They will feed us and even provide program opportunities for those leaders too uncreative to think up their own stuff to do.

Our troop will be working on their Kid’s Only Sale crafts and taking frequent breaks for meals, snacks, oh and a walk in the woods to help wear off those snacks (maybe).  We’ve had good times in the past at this event and expect to have good memories of this one also.

So, until Monday, enjoy the automated me.

It’s beginning to look alot like . . .

Shhh!  I know that a certain radio station has begun playing their Christmas carols, but I’m keeping a certain gift under wraps.  I’ll let you in on the secret though.

A certain boy

is getting this:

for Christmas.  A big thank you to Charlotte over at Waltzing Matilda for posting her fall books.  That was where I first saw this book and immediately had to look it up on Amazon.  The book has loads of activities boys will enjoy whether they are Scouts or not.  It also has some quotes from male saints and a camp packing list that includes bringing along a tenner or a pocket shrine.  Cool.  I never knew there were outdoors books with a Catholic bent to them.  I’m sure that my little Bear Cub will love it.

The pics boss, the pics.

Thank you Tattoo.  Yes, here are the pictures I promised you.

Yes, it does rather freak me out how close they get to the edge!

Apparently the water falls are rather captivating from this angle.  I wouldn’t know.  I can’t bring myself to get that close.

Yeah, they’re pretty.  Photos really don’t do justice to waterfalls.  The brown of the river is due to the tamarack trees.

The HMS Bounty out on Lake Superior heading in toward the harbor.

Here is the Niagara, after firing her cannons.  I did say the Tall Ships were pretty cool, didn’t I?

This was the view as we waited in line to tour the main deck of each ship.  Nothing but masts and rigging as far as the eye can see.  There were five ships allowing tours.  The sixth ship, the Zeeto, was actually too small to allow onboard tours.  Two other ships were doing Sail Aways for people willing to pay the $202 per person ticket price.

We saw this poster onboard the Pride of Baltimore II.  Now when someone tells you that they’ve just “learned the ropes’, you’ll understand what a tough job that entails.

The Roseway heading out of the harbor for a SailAway.  Got this picture from the deck of the Roald Amunson.  Thank you to the crew for not being too put out about it.

Well, that’s about it.  Enjoy your travels!

We went, We saw, We got . . .

scared.  Ditty & I went to HP6 last Saturday.  It was still playing in a theater in the next town over, so we went out to lunch together and then to the movie.  Ditty told me later that she had gotten a little scared during parts of the movie.  Really?  That must have been why I had to remind her three times not to bite her nails.  There were definitely some suspenseful parts and the Inferi were downright scary.  Ditty asked why they hadn’t rated this movie PG-13 like the last two as it was more scary in her opinion than either of the last two.  Good question.  I agree with her rating of the movie.  So, why doesn’t the movie making business ask parents to rate the movies they make?  Probably because we’ll just call most of it trash which will never get movie theaters to show the stuff.  Gee, considering some of the current offerings, that would be a bummer (sarc).

The boys had a great time at scout camp.  BooBoo even came home singing some of the camp songs.  He also came home with a bad allergic reaction to the ragweed.  I’ve been giving him Claritin and using his nebulizer to help him breathe but I will need to insist on a referral to a pediatric allergist so the boy can get back to normal breathing.

Well, I’m off to switch the laundry and get ready for my drive to the cities so I can donate blood today.

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