When The Campers Are Away . . .

While all of our campers are away, the wildlife comes out to play!

In early January, a Barred Owl perched on our front lawn for over four hours, hoping for a quick meal!

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He even sat right on top the bird feeder at one point!  The smaller song birds didn’t pay him any mind, but I swear the squirrels didn’t come back for days.

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He was not successful that day, but I can’t walk by a window, or go to the car without looking up to see if he’s returned.

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In mid-January, during an ice storm, the foxes burst into our backyard . . .

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At first we thought they were fighting, a territory thing.

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But it quickly became obvious, it was more of a mating thing.

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Love was in the air!

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And just last weekend, while I was hiking (wish it was snowshoeing) the camp trail, I came across an otter catching Sunday dinner down by the beaver hut!

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He lay next to holes in the ice, watching, waiting, then slipping soundlessly into the water.

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Most times he came out with nothing. But one time, he emerged with a fish!

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Holding it in his front paws, he ate it right there on the ice.

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I was quite a ways away and needed an extension on my 500mm lens in order to capture these photos.

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Even after 26 years, I’m still finding new creatures to photograph!

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We’ve seen the eagles, but there’s no signs of mating or nesting quite yet. It’s still early, though. Normally, they begin to nest at the end of March, with the chicks being born around May 1st.

Come back often for updates on them!

Halloween One!

What a lucky Moose I am!!

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I get to have two Halloween Parties every year!

Two!!

Once in October on the “real” Halloween, and again in August!

I think I like the August one better though – ’cause we have cool activities like Story Time and Bocci and Bubble Play and  . . .

making Lake Monsters!

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We don’t make Lake Monsters in October!

We do the usual weekend stuff too, like Arts and Crafts and water balloon slingshot and jewelry making and Horseshoes and a scavenger hunt.

Whew! That’s a lot of stuff!

But we have different things too, like blowing our whistles and marching in a Pumpkin Parade!

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and having a Witch’s Stew Eating Contest!

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(I always want to eat the stew too, but Tami won’t let me. She says it’ll get in my fur!)

We had only one glitch in the whole weekend – there was a shower at Hayride time. *heavy sigh*  But Debbie and Brooke had this really cool idea and they told all the kids to meet them at the Rec Hall.

“What are they doing?” I asked Tami.

“Creating Frankenstein Monsters,” she said. The phone rang and she picked it up.

“Frankenstein Monsters?” I cried. “Isn’t that dangerous!? I mean you know what happened to the villagers in the book, right?”  Tami shot me her pipe-down-so-I-can-hear-the-customer-on-the-phone-look.  You know the one.

So I ran to the Rec Hall, before they all did something crazy . . .

And I found this  . . .

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Boy, was I embarrassed!  They weren’t making reeeeeeal, Frankenstein Monsters.

Or were they?

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At 6:30, Tami gathered all our little campers at the office for a special announcement and some Trick or Treating rules. As usual, all we kids  heard was blah-blah-blah-blaaaaah.  All we could think about was the candy.

Just when I thought she was going to tell us all to begin- she made us pose for a photo!

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And she wasn’t done there!  She kept stopping everyone, making them pose and telling them how adorable they were . . . and clever . . . and scary . . .

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I kept whispering, “Tami! We want to go get the candy!”

But she kept saying, “Just one more!”

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Yeah. Her one more is really like a gazillion more.

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She followed us down the street, taking picture after picture after picture!

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“You’d better get back and set up the party!” I tried distracting her.

“What time is it?” she asked, snapping another photo.

“Seven o’clock,” I said.

She was off like a shot to the rec hall!  Luckily, Debbie and Brooke had everything taken care of. Whew!

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There were lots of fun games . . .

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And I got to hang out with all my little campers for a bit.

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I even got to try a game or two!

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Now, I wasn’t cheating here . . . it only loooooks like I was stepping over the line.

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There were cool prizes like spiders to scare Tami with . . .

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And vampire teeth, too!

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And we had Witch’s fingers and Goblin punch for a snack!

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Yes! I’m the luckiest moose in the world, ’cause I get two Hallowee-

What?

I get three?

Oh! Right!  We’re going to do it all again THIS weekend too!

Woo-Hoo!!

I can’t wait!

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Medieval Fairy Tale Weekend

But . . . wait . ..

“Which is it?”, I asked Tami.

Medieval?

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or

Fairy Tale?

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“Both?” she said.

BOTH!

Sometimes that Tami has great ideas.

Knights in shining armor started arriving to help protect Poland Spring Campground right after Tami hung the banners.

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Tami said she felt safer with them camping with us.

Debbie and Brooke took all their favorite activities from last year’s Medieval and Fairy Tales weekends and put them together in one awesome package! Hammer Throw Games (Bocci), Bubble Play and a Fairy and Gnome hunt. We made Viking Ships at arts and crafts and sailed them in the lake.

And that was only Friday.

Early on Saturday, all our little campers went to Arts and Crafts to make shields, scepters and medieval crowns.

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Oh, they were amazing!

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And then it was time to practice how to be a knight . . .

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We played leap frog . . .

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And three legged races . . .

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And we jousted too!

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We shot off water balloons, had a scavenger hunt and ate porridge!

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At the hayride, everyone came in their finest court dress!

Princesses and knights alike!

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And Saturday night, we were very honored to have Hope and Carol from Wind Over Wings!!

A crowd gathered on our playing field.

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They brought us Tansy the Screech Owl . . . who was hit by a car and lost an eye.

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Kai the American Kestrel who was also rescued after being hit by a car. She can no longer fly.

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And Cessna.  Red Shouldered Hawks aren’t usually calm in captivity, but after being injured, her caregivers noticed that Cessna was. She recuperated from her injuries nicely, but her wing feathers didn’t grow back.  Like the other raptors, she now helps Hope and Carol and the rest of the Wind Over Wings staff, in their quest to form a connection between us and wildlife.

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And last but not least – Skywalker graced us with his presence.

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Such a gorgeous raptor. A stunning Golden Eagle.

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His story is inspiring . . . uplifting . . . and emotional.  Tami sheds a few tears every time she hears it.

You can read all about it here, on the Wind Over Wings website.

Now excuse me . . . I have to go figure out what my costume is going to be for Halloween One!

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I’m going to try hard to be scarier than this guy, this year.

 

 

Fiesta, Fiesta!!!

From the very first time we ever had a Fiesta Weekend, it’s been a hit!  Campers love, love, love it!!

In fact, it makes them feel like dancing . . .

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There’s so much fun packed into just a couple days.

And if you’re silly enough to take a Siesta

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you’ll miss it!

It was a mix of our usual recreation, like bubble play, bocci, kickball, story time, jewelry making . .  .

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arts and crafts, water balloon slingshot and a penny hunt in the pool.

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But mixed in with those were different activities too –

I bet you can’t guess what this one is!

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You do??

Awww – I  bet the sacks gave it away!

We had a seed spitting contest! That’s always fun!  And at Saturday Arts and Crafts, we made sombreros, Poland Spring style!

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On Saturday afternoon, everyone wore their sombreros and brought their maracas on the hayride.

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Pssst – somebody needs to show this little camper how to wear his hat . . .

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And on Saturday night . .. we had a Fiesta PARTY!!!

Debbie, Maggie, Tami and Dave planned an awesome carnival style party with tons of games like ring toss, bouncing ball, and the very difficult, very challenging stack-the-empty-cans-on-a-floating plate  . . .

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You could get a tattoo (not the real kind, I checked)  . . .

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Or throw darts to POP a balloon . . .

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All for prizes!!

You could get a Sopapilla from Debbie and Ron . . .

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*heavy sigh* I wish *I* could have got a sopapilla.  But Tami wouldn’t let me. She says I’m a messy eater, and the honey gets caught in my fur.

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And if that wasn’t enough . . . we had the bouncy house too!

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Aaaaaand, for those of you who are still saying, “is that all you got?”

We had pinatas. Four of them.

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Made right here in the campground!

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But don’t think they were easy to crack!

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They were not! But when they did . . .

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tons and tons of candy flowed out!

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We sure did have an awesome time, and I wanted it to last forever and ever and ever . . .

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But now we have to hang up our sombreros to get ready for Medieval Fairy Tale Weekend and Hope from Wind Over Wings . . .

She’s bringing her amazing raptors . . . including Skywalker. I can’t wait!

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Super Hero Camping Weekend with Riverside Carving

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Saturday morning dawned bright and clear. And hot. Tami kept checking the weather.

“Whatcha worried about?” I asked her. “You can put the recreation inside if it rains. Debbie and Brooke always have a backup plan.”

“I’m worried for the carver.” Tami refreshed her Weatherunderground page for the thousandth time. “If there’s thunder and lightening, he can’t work.”

“A carver!” I cried. “You mean THE carver? Artist Greg Waters? THAT’S this weekend! What’s he making?”

“It’s a secret.” Tami smiled. I begged and begged, but her smile only got bigger as she shook her head at me. “You’ll have to watch.”

Greg and his wife Danielle arrived, with tons of art in the back of their pick up. Seeing all the cool stuff he does, I really couldn’t even begin to guess what he was gonna make.

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Once he was all set up in our office circle, he got right to work. Greg only made two little lines before he dug in.  The whir of the chainsaw brought kids and adults from all over the campground to see what was going on.

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“Psst,” I whispered to some of my super hero friends. “What’s he making?”

 

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They shrugged their shoulders. “Dunno yet.”

Super Heroes stopped by on their way to Super Hero Tryouts, after making capes and masks and wrist bands at arts and crafts.

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They watched went to play in the playing field, then came back again.

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But they still couldn’t quite guess what Greg was making. And Danielle wasn’t telling either.

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After shooting water balloons at villains, some of my Super Hero friends sat down to watch.

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“Hmmm,” maybe it’s a bat,” I guessed.

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“Look again, Maxx,” some of my friends told me.

And then I saw it!!

An eagle was taking shape!!

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And I was feeling all proud of myself and all, when Greg turned the piece to do the back side! Trees!

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Heroes flocked to the Riverside Carving poster to see what other cool projects Greg has done.

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But Greg, he just kept working . ..

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On one of my checks, I saw flames!! I ran to the store, “Tami, Tami! Your eagle’s on fire!!”

She ran out with me, “There!” I told her. “Make him stop!”

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“Oh, my silly moose,” Tami rolled her eyes toward Danielle in a so-sorry-he’s-just-excitable kind of way

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“He’s just burning off the little rough parts and giving it some burnt tones. Look how it shows off the deeper cuts,” Tami explained.

“Awwww, I knew that all along.” I told her. “I was just messing with you.”

I don’t think Tami believed me.

All through our afternoon activities of watermelon eating contest, Scavenger Hunt and jewelry making, campers stopped to check on Greg and his art.

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They brought their super hero furry friends too!

Danielle answered a ton of questions and everyone found it quite fascinating!

The very last step, was to add some paint, which would help protect it, and it made the piece pop!

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Just as Greg put on the finishing touches . . . we heard thunder! We rushed to get Greg’s eagle on the campground porch.  And then the sky opened up! It poured! Whew!!

Tami and David put Greg’s eagle on display in the campground office,  along with a few more of his pieces which are on consignment. Stop by and check them out!

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Thank you Danielle and Greg for a fabulous afternoon!  Everyone is still talking about your presentation!

 

 

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

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Memorial Day Weekend was soooooooo . . .

much . . .

FUN!!

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We had arts and crafts, the waterballoon slingshot, jewelry making, relay races, a scavenger hunt, and . . .

A Pots and Pans Parade!!  We made really loud noisemakers and Debbie and Brooke gave us whistles too. They told us to go wake everyone up.

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So we did.

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We had a hayride too!  That was tons of fun!

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I even got over the the pool, to say hello to all my little campers.

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AND we played candy bar bingo!!!

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And that was all just Saturday fun!  You should’ve seen Sunday . . .

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We have lots and lots of cool stuff planned this Spring and Summer!  If you haven’t made your reservations, now’s the time!!

Great Horned Owls

Opening weekend at our campground came and went, with plenty of campers checking in to help us rake and clean up the campground. Campfires blazed at night, kids road bikes and played on the campground together after the long winter.

Tami just blah-blah-blahed the whole time with the campers about how many eaglets we had this year and whether or not the loons were nesting yet.

Everyone went home on Sunday, and when Friday rolled around, they all returned. Tami went out to check on the eagles while I played with the kids and helped Debbie and Brooke plan our summer recreation.  Suddenly Tami went running by with her camera.

“Hey-” I called. But she was gone!

I followed her, thinking she’d seen a snapping turtle laying eggs. Or a chickadee nest. Or an oriole’s hanging nest.

But it was none of those things. It was a pair of Great Horned Eaglets!

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Twenty six years Tami and Dave have owned this piece of property. Tami used to tell me how she walked around the campground always looking up – and tripping over tree roots – trying to catch a glimpse of an owl nest. But she could count on only one hand the number of times she’d spied an owl.

Our campers only saw this pair because a piece of the nest fell, and someone  looked up to find these adorable owlets looking back at them. They never heard a peep or a hoot the weekend before. Owls can be silent. Very silent.

The day was gray, but Tami took picture after picture after picture. David thought she’d never come home!  They she researched Great Horned Owls into the early morning hours. She talked for days and days and days about them!

It turns out, their nest disintegrating is normal. And they rarely return to the same place to nest again.

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The next morning, one of my little campers came to the office with her phone. She’d woken up and looked out her camper window to find one of the owlets on the ground looking up at her!  Again, Tami did research and found that owlets on the ground is not necessarily a bad thing either.  This helps them strengthen their leg muscles, and their beaks and talons will help them climb to a new perch.  The best thing we can do, Tami told her, was to keep our distance.

(That owlet hasn’t been seen since, but I believe I’ve heard it)

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The owlet left in the tree started branching, venturing further and further from the trunk of the tree.

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Tami went down Monday after school.

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The little owl cleaned between his toes and slept an awful lot.

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She went down Tuesday.

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On Wednesday, Tami came home from school and grabbed her camera. Diane told her, she hadn’t seen the owlet that morning.  But when Tami went down, it was there! Only on  a different branch.

Had it fledged and come back?

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Tami took mega photos, and thank goodness she did. ‘Cause on Thursday, the owlet wasn’t there. Not on any of the branches.

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Again today, it wasn’t there either.

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We never did see an adult all week, but we aren’t worried. Tami’s research says the adult is perched in a nearby tree, all part of the plan for this little one to take flight and hunt for itself.

(side note: owlets can eat 13-16 mice per night at just 3-4 weeks old!)

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We’re so happy to have had a chance to see these great raptors live and up close. I’m sure Tami is going to be walking and looking up for quite a while to come!

Thank you, Campers!

This weekend was an amazing one!  Mother’s Day and Clean Up all rolled into one . . .

Tami, David  and I think we have amazing campers. Every Spring, they sign up to camp and help us rake sites, culverts, roads, playgrounds and more.

And in return we give them donuts.

 

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I looooooove donuts.  But it’s not nearly enough!  Our campers work hard!

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Okay. Most of them do. I’m going to have to talk to that Ben. I want to know how he does that.

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After the Clean Up, kids gathered to make a special treat for their moms.

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Tami got all teary and stuff, when she read their notes to their moms.

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We’re looking forward to this 2016 camping season!  We have lots of fun planned!

Come and join us!

2016 Eagle Nest

 

Yesterday, I donned my snowshoes to trek through the campground to the lake. I was anxious to check on the eagle’s nest. Not that its time for them to be sitting on it, but one of the sure signs they’ll be nesting, is if I have proof they’ve added to it recently.

Here’s the nest last March, just before nesting season began.

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Here is what I saw yesterday . . .

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You can see where they’ve added a stick here and a branch there.

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Things are looking good for a nesting pair!!

Every year I worry about the weight, though.  The wildlife biologist who’d come to band the eagles a few years ago had said it weighed approximately 700 to 800 pounds!  Can you imagine!?

I saw no sign of the eagles that day, but they’ve been here.  These pictures prove it.

I’m looking forward to documenting our nesting pair this year!  To give you a timeline, they were sitting on eggs March 24th last year. I happened to be at the lake during one of their mating attempts a few weeks before that. And the eaglets were born a week before we opened the campground May 1st.  We still have a few weeks to go!

But it’s worth the wait.

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Labor Day 2015

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Tami about fell off her stool, when this grumpy camper walked in the store!  I mean, really??  What does he have to be grumpy about?  We had tons of cool things happening at the campground!!

There was our last Candy Bar Bingo of the season.  Our last Arts and Crafts.  The last Waterballoon Slingshot.  Our last Patriotic Parade

 

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Our last Horseshoe Tournament, Jewelry Making, and Hayrides, too.

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Our last group photo of 2015.

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Our last Storytime with Moose Mix . . . . HEEEEEEE-Y!

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I think I get it.

Darn it!  Now I’m grumpy, too!

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“Get up, Maxwell,” Tami scolded. “You’re antlers will stay droopy if you keep pouting like that. Go spit some seeds or something.”   Tami paused, then slapped a hand to her forehead.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“I can’t believe I just gave you permission to go spit.”  She sighed.

I laughed all the way to the Seed Spitting Contest!  That’s all I needed, was a giggle.  Tami’s so smart.

From there my little campers and I went to Bocci, Bubble Play, Kickball and lots more!!

One of the really cool highlights of the weekend was Trash Bag Theater!

We had four groups of kids, brave enough to play.  They each got a trash bag of random items, and they had twenty minutes to create a play, using each one of the items.  Then they performed their stories in front of the campground audience.  Sooooooo, much fun!!

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We had plays titled, Sideway Tales, The Witch and the Sword, Pollution Mystery, and Distracted Crows.  Great job everyone!!!

The recreation may be put away, but we aren’t closed yet!  We’ll be here until Columbus Day and the lake is prettiest this time of year.  Come and camp one more time!!!