Liz and I invited a couple friends to camp at our place over the weekend. Our guests arrived mid-afternoon on Saturday after a rainy and cold morning. I had been spying the weather radar the entire morning and took advantage of the couple hour break between rain showers. The lawn around the house was mowed in a hurried fashion, I wanted things tidy for our guests and shorter grass would dry out faster keeping them a bit dryer through the weekend. The guys arrived between rain showers and opted to wait until the next storm passed before setting up camp. An impromptu lawn mower ride ensued and after the rain that seemed would never end did in fact end we opted for a short hike in the nearby state park rather than rush to put up camp with the wet everything. A mile and a half later, after seeing a beautiful view of the Mississippi river valley we made our way back to the BRB to hit the garden hard. With three sets of additional hands we quickly filled our baskets full with the garden haul. We hadn’t harvest anything in two days so we got a rather large load. Afterwards one last check of the weather confirmed the rain had passed and camp could be assembled. The guys pitched their tent while playing with the hounds as the sun set around them, they got to see one of the sunsets that I try not to take for granted.
Dinner was prepared on the grill, we ate squash and zucchini from the garden along with corn picked moments earlier by our guests, the corn was excellent and prompted many smiles. A campfire was built despite the difficult wet conditions and with that we said goodnight to our guests. The next morning Liz and I decided to deal with ~12lbs of tomatoes by turning them into tomato sauce and canning it, all of which was done before breakfast really got off the ground. Our guests came packing some excellent pancake mix and homemade syrup which was a good thing because I totally forgot that we don’t really do breakfast and didn’t have any syrup for the already made hot cakes. With breakfast completed we got the boys out for a hike and some afternoon fishing, these guys are awesome and always looking for a good time outside. Toads… looking for toads, frogs, snakes… basically any reptile. We visited a local trout stream and let James hit the first good run that offered an easy casting lane. The creek was almost muddy from the rain the day prior but a couple fish had hit my flies so the potential for James to hook a trout was present. Danny rode on my shoulders as I made a couple casts watching James get encouragement from his dad who stood back and let him control the whole scene. Soon James was fishing on his own with his dad just downstream fishing and keeping an eye on him. Good to see this scene play out. James gave it a good effort and then opted to hunt up toads and frogs, this gave his dad and I the opportunity to attempt a couple trout of our own. Many strikes ensued, I had a hard time getting a hook to stick but after switching to a larger fly I managed a nicer 16inch Driftless Area Brown Trout. It was fun for me to see the boys so excited over a larger fish. A quick set of pictures were taken then Danny helped me release the fish for a later adventure. With that the time on the creek was coming to an end, we hiked upstream through random showers surrounded by blue skies.
Once back home some downtime was seen, the dogs were played with and eventually another trip to the state park was taken. I stayed back home with Liz and let the guys go adventuring without me as Liz and I needed to tend the garden, pick fruit and begin dinner preparations. Dinner consisted of salmon from Liz’s brothers recent trip to Alaska, steamed peas fresh from the garden, grilled zucchini and a healthy load of salad with cucumber, onions, carrots and tomato all from the garden. Liz and I used apples from the trees in the backyard for our first apple crisp desert for the boys, it was baked too long (my fault) but still tasted good. With full bellies we migrated to the fire ring for another evening of toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate.
The next morning saw a late rising BRB and guests, breakfast was made after black coffee was consumed. Bacon and eggs were readily eaten by our younger guests and we began the process of saying good-bye. Camp was deconstructed, the tent dried as we picked a handful of apples to send our friends with. After things were good and dry things were put away and we bid the guys good travels as they split for home. I’ve known these fellas for a while now but mainly in the context of me fishing with their dad, it was nice to spend more time conversing and getting to know them. James and Danny were a load of fun, full of good questions and lots of humor. I spent a majority of the time they were at the BRB smiling. Thanks for the good time guys, we hope you come visit again soon.