Monday, May 14, 2012

Tick Day

This weekend was the fishing opener in Minnesota.  And it was a perfect weekend to be outside.  The temperature was just right, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the flowers were blooming…it was idyllic to say the least.  Hubs had grand plans to get up and out on the water early to catch some walleye.  But he got up too early and then fell back asleep, not getting out on the water til 6:30.  He didn’t even get a single bite, although I’m sure he enjoyed just being out on quiet water, listening to the loons trill their good mornings.  When Little Man got up, they both went out and didn’t catch any fish. I made carrot cake pancakes to soothe the demoralized fishermen when they came back in.  I mentioned that I was surprised there were no boats on the water today, during the opener.  He replied that the boats were all out where the fishing is good, which is not in our bay.  And it would take all day to get to the good spots in the canoe.  Frustration levels were running high, so we decided to go for a family hike. 

There is a really cool tract of land up here call the Joyce Estate.  We tried to hike it once last fall, but it was the awful weekend I had what seemed to be early labor; after walking a quarter mile, we had to abandon the idea and instead sit on the couch with feet up all weekend, praying Little Miss would stay put.
David Joyce was a lumber baron from Chicago who bought a 4500 acre property on Trout Lake in 1917.  He built himself quite a vacation home.  There were a number of cabins, an entire caretaker’s farm, numerous buildings, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and a sea plane hangar.   He spent every summer of his life at his own personal resort and his daughter continued the tradition until her death in 1972; she donated the land to the state in keeping with her lifelong quest to improve the quality of life for people of the Great Lakes.  It is now a nice park with trails and a few campsites.  A number of the buildings are still standing, but the golf course is now a forest.  I think the trail we took may have been the driveway at one point, but I don’t know for sure.  It was a seven mile roundtrip hike.  We stopped at lakes along the way to throw a line out and see if we could catch anything.  Hubs caught a submerged tree on his third cast; after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to free the lure, he finally settled on snapping the line so we could get on with the hike.  When he yanked the pole up, instead of the line snapping, the pole itself snapped in two and the top half flew out into the lake.  Good start to the fishing opener. 
We hiked.  There were so many beautiful butterflies, birds, budding trees; it was a lovely hike.  Little Man had fun kicking the tall grasses, whacking trees with sticks, jumping over fallen branches.  After about three miles, we reached an empty campsite on the banks of Trout Lake.  I told him he could take off his socks and shoes and wade if he wanted; the next thing I know, he is crying and screaming at the top of his lungs.  “Tick, tick, tick!!!”  And there began the great tick search which lasted the rest of the day.  They were in our hair, crawling inside our shirts, pants, hats…everywhere.  When we got back to the car we stripped down as much as possible and checked everywhere and still found four creepy crawlers during the drive home.  When all was said and done, the conservative estimate is 30+ ticks were removed from our bodies.  Ick.  We were so glad we didn’t bring the dogs! 
Tick Day.  It was a great day and nobody will end up with lymes, so in the end, it just makes fun memories.  Hubby was teasing that the day before Mother’s Day will be known as Tick Day in our house.  I like it; it means we got out and enjoyed nature.  And comic relief is always a good thing during the bittersweet holidays.  
Mother’s Day turned out really nice.  Hubs brought his A game.  He got up at four with Little Lady, made homemade apricot raspberry bread, and woke me at 8:30 with a cup of espresso and the invitation to come to the kitchen for bread, bacon and eggs.  It was a good start to a day filled with nice little things that added up to make a great day.  We went to church, heard a good sermon and enjoyed cake and coffee in the fellowship hall.  I actually squeezed into a pair of pre-pregnancy pants!  After church we had a nice lunch and Hubby did all the dishes while I fished off the dock with Little Man.  I caught a fish, too! Later, Hubs caught a nice Northern and filleted it for dinner.  I made potato salad, baked asparagus and mushrooms, and pike fillets with a homemade herb breading.  They were crispy and delicious with no Y bones!  My man can fillet a fish.
I thought about Jameson and my Angel Baby a lot.  It is hard to celebrate Mother’s Day when half of your kids are in heaven; but yesterday wasn’t a sad day for me.  I focused on the gifts Little Man and Little Lady are, the gift of having grand memories of my sweet Jameson, and the eternal gifts J and my Angel Baby will be.  I thought about getting our first full family picture in 100 years or so when we are all in Heaven together.  This is a good century, but that one, that one will be amazing.  Until then, I’m going to do my best to seize the days, seeking out all the nice little things that add up to make a great life. 

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