Sunday, August 26, 2007

Family Camp

So we're back! We've been away since last Sunday, and I realized this is kind of my first official working vacation since Lily was born. I always felt a bit weird taking a vacation before, like I didn't quite deserve one because I wasn't really working. Au contraire! I was working hard.

At any rate, this was a great time away. I thought about my life back home, but I really got away from it all in my head. I was very present where I was and I felt very close to Dave and Lily, too.

We left Sunday morning early to visit my dear friend Blair and family at their 100+ year-old Adirondack camp for a couple of days. They are in the woods and they tell me there are no farms for 100 miles, so we brought Pioneer Valley bounty, including tomatoes and corn.

I also brought a blueberry buckle, just like Mom used to make... she really did, actually. The recipe linked here is the same and it also gives a little description of what a buckle is and why it's called that. Check it out. The blueberries were from the gallons we picked at Nick and Emily's the week before. It was so good we did not share any with the kids! The four of us ate it in two days.

We went for a hike up the mountain near them, and saw some great views. Unfortunately this week was not much of a camera vacation. You know, sometimes you take pictures and sometimes you go, eh? This was an eh. But if any of the ones we got are good I'll post 'em.

Oh, and the Adirondacks were freezing! We slept with like a million blankets the first night--it went down to the 40s. I was afraid for our week in Vermont, but there we were plenty warm enough.

On Tuesday we made the trek over to Farm and Wilderness for Family Camp. Again, it was great. It was kinda funny, actually, Google maps failed us for the first time, taking us there via an old fair-weather gravel CCC road, through the Coolidge state forest. One camp staffer who lives in the area says he takes that road twice a year because he doesn't like what it does to his car. Google's actual directions took us five miles down a dirt road that ended abruptly. On the way back we drove in the right direction to see the sign that said, "road closed to snowmobilers."

At any rate, we got there, got unpacked in our fabulous cabin, Mabel's, for you former IBers, the cook's cabin, which is named after the long-time Indian Brook cook. Mabel's has a sink and electricity, although the kybo (outhouse) (this is a pretty funny link that actually gives possible credit to F and W for the term) was at the bottom of a steep hill, and who wants to go all the way down there when nature calls at 3am? None of us.

I work hard at Family Camp, partly because we all have chores we need to do just about every day to keep the place going and the prices down. But also because there's always someone ducking out of their assigned task, or maybe forgetting, and there's always more to do, anyway, that isn't assigned. So Dave and I scrubbed a lot of pots, and cooked, and cleaned. The weather was a bit bleak on Thursday so I ran a tea party, making a triple recipe of peanut butter chocolate chip bars (from a cookbook called How to Cook for 50) and included ingredients like, 3 pounds of chocolate chips. They were delicious.

But I also got to make some friendship bracelets, and macrame, and play my flute (Lily and I did a couple of duets at the talent/no talent show last night). We swam and went out in a row boat. And I finished two books, including Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, about Paul Farmer.

[An aside here: I have read two other Tracy Kidder books, House and Hometown, because they are about my new neighborhood, but I don't like his writing. I really enjoyed Mountains, though, and not just because I knew Ophelia Dahl through Wellesley College, although that's why I picked it up in the first place. Ophelia is Farmer's longtime professional, and past romantic, partner, and she's about as fine a human being as I've known. I admire her and Farmer and the work their organization, Partners in Health, does, and this book illuminates their history and message very well.]

At a loss for a book yesterday I tried picking up The Hobbit but I just don't think it's going to happen. Someone said if I didn't read it at age 16 it was too late, and I have a hunch that's true. I was so bored I couldn't finish the first chapter. Forget it.

This week we also sang a ton, every chance we could. I learned some great new songs. The talent/no talent show was particularly fun, as usual, and so was the dance party on Friday night. Next year I want to be good enough--or have enough courage--to play in the house band. I danced the best Salty Dog Rag I ever have before, thanks to John, our co-director's, instructions. Great dance. We also danced Zodiac again. The lyrics are too long to put here; be sure to ask me--or better yet, Lily--about them. Another great dance.

The food was fabulous, as always, and the anchor of the program in a way is the very solid cooking staff. It must be that their primary quality, besides being able to cook, is to always be calm and to have a very dry sense of humor. We also start each day with a short Quaker meeting, and I was reminded again of how hard it is for me to sit quietly, and how important.

I could go on and on about My Summer Vacation, but suffice to say it was really fun, loads of fun, with interesting, kind families participating. I can't wait til next year.

1 comment:

  1. Sasha - If you like Paul Farmer's book you will like "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Joyce


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