And So It Was Summer . . .

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Editor’s note:  I recently received an inquiry from a blog “subscriber” wondering whatever happened to the rest of the European river cruise?  Well, this, for one thing.  And the six blog posts from camp. And just the general hubbub that is summer.  I hope to pick up the cruise again asap – we last left you in Bamberg, Germany.  And I’d better hurry – the high school fall sports season is just around the corner!

August 12

[Anthony and Big Ole, sporting his recent makeover, are summer entertainment mainstays in Vacationland USA.]

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August 14

[I looked at clouds from both sides now . . . ]

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August 16

[Friends from the Far East – far eastern U.S. that is – arrived at the end of their family Laura Ingalls Wilder odyssey through the Upper Midwest for a couple days of relaxation along the shores of beautiful Lake Darling.  Anne and Bill Gross, who blog followers will recognize as our regular cruise partners, came with their progeny, Carrie and Eric, and Carrie’s 8-year old daughter, Penny.]

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[So, what do you do for fun here in lake country – pontoon ride on the chain of lakes!  Absent the dearly departed, Moby Obie, we went to Carlos Marina for a rental on what turned to be just another perfect day in these environs!]

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[With Penny as the pontoon’s figurehead, we charged off in the direction of Carlos State Park while I worked to regain my mariner skills.]

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[Yep, surfing on boat wakes.  Becoming all the rage now on inland waterways.]

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[Surprisingly acceding to Penny’s requests, we stopped at an ole swimming hole on Lake Carlos for our first refreshing dip.]

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[And after a swim, what could be more fun than driving the boat?]

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[The passengers snacked while our pilot took a break to navigate from the prow . . . ]

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[And then wrestled with Uncle Eric.]

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[L’Homme Dieu View townhomes, Mom’s old stomping grounds.]

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[Once Penny learned how to change speeds, we were at her mercy.]

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[I somehow missed coverage when we slipped briefly into Lake Le Homme Dieu for a pit stop at Rotary Beach.  Now we’re in beautiful Lake Darling, wading between the points separating Big Darling from Little Darling.]

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[Do you see any sharks?]

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[Just a big backyard swimming pool.]

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[Heading back into Lake Carlos again, checking on the swallow nests on the bridge girders.]

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[Eric found a sun shield.  Gilligan was on a 3-hour tour – ours was for 4 hours in bright sunshine the whole time.]

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[Our pilot was intent on tracking our status via the dashboard gauges.]

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[No, those aren’t MY sandals!]

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[We boated by Bug-A-Boo Bay to show all where we would be going later for dinner.  So, here’s later . . . ]

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[Menu perusal while looking over Lake Le Homme Dieu.]

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[Penny wanted all photographers to follow her to the bouncy-bouncy.]

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[Get my picture while I’m jumping!]

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[Meanwhile, the beers sit unattended at the table . . . ]

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[And then the tourist photo op.]

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August 18

[Thanks again, Ed!!  (Well, you had to be there.)]

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August 19

[Freakshow, a favorite wine, a cool bottle!]

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[And a good SAWA turnout for MOTU!]

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[Bill, on percussion and whose family was having the reunion above; Dave on keyboard and voice; and Wally on steel drum, horn, other stuff, and voice.  We were in for a fun night featuring reggae.]

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[Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause everything little thing gonna be alright!]

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August 20

[Their only scheduled Alex visit this year . . . until they arrived and have now booked SAWA for October 1.  Smiley face!]

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[A one and a half day break from the summer heat – it was chilly (OK, 60) and windy and the assembled masses had their hoodies up and were wrapped in blankets.]

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[The wind made it appear that Karin was shopping incognito at the Patchouli memorabilia table.  I don’t know if she made a purchase.]

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August 21

[51-degree morning produced our first “fall” steam coming off Lake Darling.]

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[But it was absolutely perfect by the time the Salty Dogs took the stage at the winery.]

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[I believe someone introduced Annie, Greg, Erik, and Tom as a newspaper publisher, a city attorney, and two old(er) finance guys.]

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August 22

[A dining day in the life of retired people.  Little Mayo Johnson came up from Burnsville for his monthly lunch with the Boyz of ’65.  This was at La Ferme.]

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[That evening was pizza night at The Depot.  Since the Super had had lunch at the club, we decided could could probably put our stove up for sale.]

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[Breakfast?]

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August 23

[Yup, eating out again.  The annual spaghetti feed fundraiser for the Cardinal football team at the new and improved Elks Club.  The boys say they’re going to state!]

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It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.  ~ Yogi Berra

Up Next:  We’ll try Europe again.

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Camp VI

August 5

[OK, this is the last full day.  It begins with a pre-breakfast lake swim – one-mile from town (far side) back to camp.  I believe there were 10 participants this year.]

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[I went to the swim area to perform my cub reporter duties.]

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[There was a young lady already on the dock wrapped in a towel.  I asked her about the lake swim.  She said she had already completed it.  I looked out on the lake and a long way away were the camp pontoon and motor boat who follow the swimmers if help is needed. It seems the winner more than lapped the field!]

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[Then another young lady finished, Ally, who is Ruby’s older sister.  The two finishers looked out on the rest of the field who were still a long way from finishing.]

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[Can you see the bobbing heads out there?]

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[We lost a long time camper last year.  Cindy was also Rita’s best friend.  They came up to Alex together many years ago.  Cindy had always wanted to try walleye, something not readily available to those living in the Hoosier state.  Well, she loved it and had walleye for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the duration of her stay.]

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[Cindy bequeathed enough to Camp Brosius to start its own endowment fund.]

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[Nope, didn’t do archery this year.  Looked like it was too far to walk.]

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[The Biddies do their final Hobi Cat . . . ]

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[Chris, Beth, and Vickie cheer them on from shore.]

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[Lookin’ good, though Rita looks like she’s prepared to bail should something go wrong.]

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[Maybe this one is a landing attempt?]

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[Chris goes out to be the catcher.]

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[Reetz was checking out her new shades!]

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[Last night party and sundae fest.]

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[And here come the kids, introduced by group.]

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[Katie as Supergirl.  The evening’s theme was Super Heroes.]

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[There’s no need to fear – the Green Pantern is here!!]

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[The Super and Katie try a little line dancing.]

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[Somehow entered Wisconsin undetected by local constabulary?]

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[The DOM also performs weddings and cleans toilets.]

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[“Supergirl!”]

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[“The Super!”]

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[“Super Moth”]

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August 6

[From Facebook:  CAMP, THE FINALE: You can tell it’s the last day when the porch clothes lines no longer contain swimsuits, towels, and assorted dainties. The ole sandaled feet took a real beating. You can see the heavy wooden rocker on the porch – they are everywhere! I kept hitting my toes on them to the point of near amputation. Lest you were wondering how tough are old toe nails, I broke the metal handle on the Trim trying to trim them! After a week we were not unhappy to say goodbye to the stairs – there are 70 from our cabin down to the lake and the mess hall. That means 140 steps three times a day just for meals, plus all the other times you go down to the lakefront just to punish yourself. We have local CPA’s working on the number of stairs a camper traverses in a week. We survived the 7 1/2-hour drive home yesterday to catch the evening performance of “A Sea Doo Named Desire” as it was appropriately much ballyhooed to us over Facebook all week!

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August 7

[First day back home – should have taken pictures of the Super’s gardens before we left.  They looked a little worse for wear now.]

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[But she was happy to be home.]

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[We went the winery for the usual Sunday afternoon music. The “stage” was empty? Checked inside, nobody knew whether or not there was going to be music? So, we went to Dairy Queen!]

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Last post from camp is worth two quotes:

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Up Next:  Maybe back to Europe now?

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Camp V

August 4 (cont.)

The Christopher Farm & Gardens (cont.)

[I took about 140 photos here so thought it better to make it a two-parter.  Beginning again with Lake Michigan, which I’m told is a really Great lake.]

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[Go, Cardinals!]

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[Chris and the Super at the Great Lakes watershed.]

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[Like the Minnesota turtles!]

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[This is our niece Beth.  The following video will show you what she’s been up to!]

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[Enjoying the products of the farm.]

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[Well, at least they got this guy back on his meds when returned to camp.]

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[Rita and Beth, related in the usual mother/daughter way.]

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[Really, really young wine.]

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[I heard she gives a hoot?]

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[I never met a squirrel I didn’t like . . . well, except for the one that bit me!]

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[Easter Island?]

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[And a little touch of home here . . . ]

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[We Alexandrians make a point of searching out these bridges everywhere because you will find them nationwide, in parks, gold courses, et al.  We’re friends with the previous owners (when it was Continental Bridge), Bruce and Kathleen, and Kathleen now owns Cherry Street Books in Alex where daughter Jami works.]

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[The owner of these gardens likes railroads.  This is his personal one that runs through the property – for his use only!  Just a note on the owner, Jay Christopher – he was the founder of Pampered Chef.  Since I am neither pampered nor a chef, I’d never heard of it?  But apparently by selling to Warren Buffett he’s been able to cover the costs of building such a place!  ;-)  ]

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[From Japanese gardens to Roman gardens to . . . ]

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[And now going under the Alex bridge.]

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[The Biddies with Karina, another camper we’ve watched grow up over the years – she’ll be a senior at Northwestern this year with a double major in communications and computer sciences.]

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[The hostas were just planted  – in 3 – 5 years they will totally cover the ground.  Here Beth engages a brontosaurus, proving once and for all that humans and dinosaurs once co-existed.]

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[The Super in Jurassic Park?]

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[And Rita always wanted a pet triceratops.]

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[Pterodactyl ate my hat!]

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[Yup, gives a hoot!]

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[When I posted some of these photos on Facebook, comparisons were made to Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.  There are similarities, though Butchart is open to the public.  They are similar in size – Butchart is 55 acres and Christopher is now 69 acres (and still growing).  Butchart has spectacular topography and Christopher has views of Lake Michigan.  I visited Butchart 25 – 30 years ago and recall taking this picture – but I didn’t feel like searching my archives to find it so I just borrowed one from the internet.  ;-)  ]

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And now on the way back to camp . . .

[My guess would be a firefighter’s house?]

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And back in camp . . .

[Go Cards!!]

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[Mary and the Super cooling their heels after the gardens tour.]

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[Anne still working the waterfront.]

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[After dinner the penultimate night, it’s time for the pontoon ride – Katie and the Super.]

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[Ed and Elke as the Sputh Roundhouse retreats in the background.]

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[Rita, Beth and Chris]

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[The DOM, Katie, and the Super]

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[Ed, Elke, and Vickie]

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[The pontoon ride was cut short when a storm came up – but it broke the heat wave!  Back in the cabin, it’s once again time for euchre.]

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Press close, bare-bosomed Night!
Press close, magnetic, nourishing Night!
Night of south winds! Night of the large, few stars!
Still, nodding Night! Mad, naked, Summer Night!
~  Walt Whitman

Up Next:  More camp . . .

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Camp IV

August 3

[Meanwhile, back at the waterfront, The Biddies are still Hobi Catting!]

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[OK, not Hobi Catting very hard!]

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[And games were up next for the kid in all of us.  Some of us “do,” and some of us “report.”  It was an uncomfortably hot day so I relished my usual role as “reporter.”  From our usual clique, here nephew Chris takes on Scott, a/k/a, DOM 1, in horseshoes.  Chris took advantage of his relative youth to shoot down the DOM.]

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[You will notice from the photos that the photographer was always shooting from the shade.]

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[And here Ed, he of the smooth delivery, tries his hand (or foot?) at horseshoes.]

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[Note the follow through – good balance, full extension, probably a good result!]

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[Corn hole was ongoing at the same time.  Many athletes competed in both, showing great endurance and a willingness to partake of the beer cooler.  Her Vickie, a star last year as I recall, tries a toss.  She was likely held back by her partner, the DOM.]

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[After dispatching the DOM, Chris had to take on Jack, someone in his own age group.]

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[Good match, and Jack emerged as the 2016 champ.]

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[Meanwhile, back at corn hole, Vickie attempts to overcome her partner.]

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[I believe the DOM was starting to tire here.]

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[After the official matches, Ruby gives it a try with her dad John.]

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August 4

[The schedule from the previous day:  I begged out of the Marsh walk as the humidity was off the scale and Beth reminded me about the mosquito issue.  Line dancing was cancelled, likely as a result of my misadventures the day before.  But I did cover the horseshoe/corn hole tournaments.]

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[I can’t get on the internet?  😦  ]

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[Seven of the next 12 photos include a dragonfly with whom I was trying to communicate.  Well, sometimes just sitting on a lakeshore in an Adirondack chair can send one into lala land.]

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The Christopher Farm & Gardens

[And this was our field trip after breakfast.  I had never heard of the place before though it was only 16 miles from camp.  Several campers opted out as it was another hot humid day, and it involved a 2-hour walking tour.]

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[From its website:  Welcome to the world of The Christopher Farm & Gardens, where garden design, horticulture, wildlife and education intertwine to create a magical place. In total, 400 acres along a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline shine with 50 acres of composed gardens. The Gardens are a living expression of all that owner, Jay W. Christopher, finds meaningful, inspiring and beautiful. The mission of The Christopher Farm & Gardens is to bring together horticulture, landscape design, education and the arts to inspire and enlighten guests.  We are dedicated to providing a space for enjoyment, understanding, and conservation of native plants, trees, animals and the Lake Michigan shoreline.]

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christopher farm & gardens

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[The Biddies as role models.  By the end of the tour, all thought these were the most impressive private gardens they’d ever seen.  So, despite my repugnance about this kind of weather, I thoroughly enjoyed the day.]

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[Every thing we see here was an alfalfa field 20 years ago.  All trees under 50-feet tall were planted since then, and the ponds and landscaping were all constructed since then.]

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[A path to Lake Michigan.  For the most part I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.]

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[The Super and Rick attempt the maze.  Luckily, they were able to find their way out!]

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[One less Packer to worry about!]

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[Some gardens are purposefully natural.]

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[Lake Michigan]

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[The Gardens will be continued on the next post . . . ]

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A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp.  ~  Raymond Duncan

Up Next:  More camp . . .

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Camp III

August 1

[Favorite part of the day, going down for breakfast with a bright sun shining on the Sunfish sails.]

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[The first class The Biddies were able to drag me off for – line dancing . . . ]

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[In short order, our instructor, Payton, advised The Biddies to never bring me to another dance class – that I’m a menace to myself and anyone else on the dance floor.]

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[Ed, Rita’s in-law (spouse of Elke; father of Chris who’s the husband to Rita’s Beth), cut quite the dashing figure on the dance floor.]

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[Then I was saved by the dinner bell.  Here the aforementioned Scott, with Vickie, explains to the Super the proper hand movements in line dancing.  Touch your finger tips together and try not to stick your thumbs in your nostrils . . . ]

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[Then the Queen of Sheba’s pontoon motored by.]

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[The mess hall counselors had perfected the art of carrying dirty glasses single file.  I can report that the young man facing the camera is the chef’s grandson and hopes to go to the University of Minnesota.]

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August 2

[And my second favorite morning vision is of fog over the lake . . . ]

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[The Lodge, across the patio from the mess hall.]

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[Waterfront, with the three new Hobi Cats, soon to be favorites of The Biddies.]

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[Stairway to the clouds . . . ]

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[Ye Olde Swimming Hole]

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[Where we read and ponder the universe.  The mess hall on the left; the Sputh Round House on the right, where the early birds get coffee before the mess hall opens.]

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[Chipmunks and squirrels help clear the detritus after meals.]

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[Katie taking launch on a Sunfish.  Her relationship to our group is as a close personal granddaughter-type friend of Rita, and she comes to camp whenever she can.]

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[Now an experienced camp-trained sailor.]

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[The Biddies begin their relationship with the Hobi Cat.]

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[And there they go!]

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[Sunfishers returning to port, where waterfront staff attempts to catch them before they take out the front row of Adirondack chairs.]

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[5th-year campers, Phyllis and Jack, both doctors of geology at Austin Peay University.  They were probably the first non-IUers to enroll in camp when it was opened up to the general public.]

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[Jack’s recent book.]

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[After 5 years of sailing practice at camp, this year they became the regatta winners.]

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[The waterfront person here, Anne, is a camp legacy.  Her parents have been bringing her here every year so we’ve watched her grow up.  Now she’s a sophomore to be at Kent State and a camp counselor.]

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[Here come The Biddies, hopefully for a soft landing!]

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[Safely aground!]

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[This was adult dinner night.  Send all the kids into town to bowling alley with a few bucks in their hands, and the adults were free to do whatever it is adults do, thus unencumbered?]

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[Rita, Beth, Ruthie, Elke, and Vickie]

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[Their reverie was broken by the appearance of specimens with a Y chromosome.]

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[And we hadn’t even opened the wine yet?]

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I hate camping, but I love summer camp.  ~   Zooey Deschanel

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Camp II

July 31

[From Facebook: And now for the rest of the story. First, we have to get the Super a new tablet . . . her old Samsung has just about lost all of its photo taking abilities. We stayed at the Starlite Motel in New Holstein, WI (population 3,200), a mom & pop, single floor, 1950’s-style, 15-room (?) place, just perfect for a one-night stand before we can check into camp 12 miles away. This morning we wandered out looking for a place to eat breakfast. We’re at the far south of end town, so we went north looking, driving all the way through town and finding nothing (it’s early Sunday morning). We stopped at a Piggly Wiggly to ask about restaurants – turns out it was about a half block from our motel, the other way! At the South Town Family Restaurant, our server was ‘experienced,” cheerful and delightful, another was 3 weeks from giving birth to her 3rd child with dyed pink red hair in a tight bun (again, delightful), two old guys (OK, my age) were sitting at the next table: One asked, “So, how many miles on the truck now?” The reply, “Oh, about three-forty.” The other customers in the place did not need menus. Food was good, if too much. In other words, everything was perfect! :-) ]

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[Then on the road to Elkhart Lake.  BPOE?  Well, it is ‘Elk’hart Lake after all.]

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[On the Sunday morning drive from New Holstein to Elkhart Lake . . . ]

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[As is the church . . . ]

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[And the internationally famous Sheboygan County Broughton Marsh Park & Campground.  It’s walking distance from Camp Brosius – in fact, it’s a morning activity at camp to do this walk . . . ]

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[We were just killing time until camp opened, so we climbed the 144 stairs to the top.]

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[Huff, puff, huff, puff, we made it!]

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[Nice views!]

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[There’s our Beetle.]

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[Then we drove into Elkhart Lake and to the Barefoot Tiki Bar at Victorian Village.  It’s becoming a family meet-up place before camp opens.]

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[Our camp is on the diagonally far side of the lake.  The Tiki Bar is a nice place for a Bloody Mary while we’re waiting.  And we had a nice visit with the couple who organized and emceed the music festival the night before – they remembered me as the photography guy.]

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[Then we drove by and around Osthoff, the giant resort/condo complex . . . ]

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[This is where we golfed . . . when I did such things.]

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[This is a cloud.]

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[This is a dead end sign.]

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[This is a doe and her twins.]

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[Never pass up an opportunity to photograph a girls’ basketball sign.]

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[Where the Elkhart Lake famous and infamous meet for breakfast and lunch.]

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Finally, arriving at camp . . .

[This is from the public landing shooting toward camp on the right.]

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[Out first sighting of the new office . . . ]

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[And it’s innards.]

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[Internet access to the world here . . . when it’s working.]

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[Our first camp meal Sunday evening – always a turkey dinner with all the fixin’s.]

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[Are we kids of all ages having fun yet?]

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[Then the camp counselors introduced themselves, told us their jobs for the week, and who handles all the kids for the week by age groups.  Our Katie and Ruby above, for instance, are with the rest of the 14-year olds and older).  Thus, adults are left to just run around like . . . children?]

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[And then the counselors, college students all, lead the opening night campfire regaling the history of Elkhart Lake..]

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[This is when the Supervisor grabbed my camera so she could get a shot of the back of my head . . . ]

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[And from the other side, shots of Rita and me discussing the finer points of our 401k’s.]

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[Say goodnight, everyone!]

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Summer has set in with its usual severity. ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Camp I

Summer camp . . . that time of year when you pack up and leave your perfectly comfortable retirement lake home to drive 450 miles in 7 1/2 hours to enjoy a week of non-air conditioned discomfort with 115 people you generally see just this one time of year.

July 29

Before we left:   A little song, a little dance, a little spritzer, down our pants . . .

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[Of course, Anthony at the winery.]

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July 30

On the road to camp . . .  Again, this is the Super’s Indiana University alumni camp in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  We have been partaking of Camp Brosius most of the time for over 20 years now, but we are pikers compared to the Super’s sister Rita, from Nashville, Indiana, who I believe is up to 33 years, and our friends from Fort Wayne, Vickie and Scott, who just completed their 37th year.  The camp operates, for campers and their families, for 8 weeks over the summer.  There is a weekly turnover of from 115 – 140 people, and we have been in the 8th week group for many years now.

[Our first day’s destination was New Holstein, about 12 miles north of Elkhart Lake.  We stayed in a $50/night mom & pop motel because there was no lodging available in Elkhart Lake.  But we were close enough to go into Elkhart Lake for an evening of music on Saturday and for 1:00 check-in at camp in Sunday.]

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[Letting the good times roll in New Holstein, Wisconsin!!]

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[Then on the road to Elkhart Lake – County Road J, that is.]

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[New Holstein at the top with Elkhart Lake just below, both equally positioned between Lakes Winnebago and Michigan.]

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[Beautiful downtown Elkhart Lake, population just under 1,000.]

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[Home of the Midwest Acoustic Musical Festival, 2106, at the Lake Street Cafe.]

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[You don’t really think I’d remember all the groups, did you?  I do remember this group was from Chicago, their first appearance here, I was indifferent to their music, but they and all the musicians were doing this without pay (other than the organizers passing the hat) for the exposure.]

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[And one must eat, too!  The Super a margherita pizza; me a three-soup combo.]

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[A sketch artist was there, offering to draw any or all for $10 (as I recall).  She sat in front of us to sketch this group (well, duet) on the stage.  It looked good, and she did about 6 of them while they were performing (each group got 45 minutes).]

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[And they were our favorite performers on the evening.  Their name?  I forgot.]

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[During a music break, I ordered one scoop – seriously!  I ran into an old guy at the cash register who had the same thing.  He said, “I see you ordered the single scoop, too!”]

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[And we had the waffle cone maker in the background.]

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[Walking from downtown toward the lake.  Those are scarecrows.  Scared?]

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[Coming up on Victorian Village, a big resort.]

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[The landscaping features hydrangeas along the sidewalk.]

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[And a nice view of the lake from the resort, over the pool and the Barefoot Tiki Bar.]

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[Meanwhile, back at the music festival . . . ]

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[Leaving the scene of the evening.]

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[The old depot where several years ago I bought my “Tommy, the golfer.”]

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[With the aforementioned “Tommy, the golfer,” a sculpture made from a railroad tie.]

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[Almost sunset, past our bedtime, and we still had that 12-mile drive back to New Holstein.]

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[Entering New Holstein.]

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Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~ Russell Baker

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