This morning Bran and Nia woke up and whispered at 5:30, and I had to keep telling them to be quiet. At 6:30 I took all three kids on a long walk down the “back way” of my parents’ road. They started to complain about being hungry, tired, thirsty, etc. but that all disappeared when I showed them some wild raspberry and blackberry bushes. They thought that was the greatest invention ever! A lot of the berries weren’t ripe (give them another week or two) and with the draught that northern Wisconsin’s been under all summer, they weren’t as big as they should have been. But they were delicious. My picky children, who never eat berries, scarfed every berry down that they could find. I had to tear them away from the bushes and promise to take them out into the old horse pasture later on (liberally sprayed with bug spray against the woodticks, of course) where I knew a huge berry patch was.
We came back to the RV and ate breakfast, then took off for Eagle River to dump the RV waste and take the kids on a pirate treasure hunt put on by the local library every Tuesday morning. It was so fun seeing my old library again! I remembered all the hours I spent reading every book on the shelves, practically, in the kids’ section, especially the horse books and fantasy books. It’s a very small library but they have tons of fun toys for kids to play with, educational games, and a giant checkerboard.
They loved the treasure hunt, too. They had to answer some pirate questions and do some worksheets before they got their maps, and then had to figure out clues and go in participating stores and say “Where’s me treasure?” to get their prize. It was quite a lot of walking and on top of the early-morning walk we’d already done, we were all very tired when it was over. Those Eagle River stores are so fun, though. Eagle River makes most of its living off of tourists and most of the stores cater to them big time and make you feel very welcome. I especially love the Country Store with its many flavors of ice cream and fresh popcorn, Tremblay’s candy store where you can watch the employees making fudge, and Arrow Gift Shop with its sweet-smelling decorative cedar boxes with beautiful pictures inlaid on the cover. Oh, and the Christmas House with all the artificial trees hung with gorgeous and unique ornaments you can buy year-round. I even overheard one of the customers saying “Did you see that ornament over there shaped like a taco?!”
Back home, the kids settled down to enjoy their pirate loot (coloring books, necklaces, pirate bubbles, a small kaleidoscope, temporary tattoo, fake coins, and chocolate gold coins) and all of the adults worked on a big, dirty, un-ending project in the house. After 7 of us worked at it for 5 hours, it was so much better and we are now very pleased with ourselves. My mother is especially happy.
Tomorrow Ciara, Bran, me, Kimi, Olivier, Jordan, Kaari, Ethan, Kirah, Kaatia, Benjamin, and Kirah are going horseback riding at the Circle C Family Ranch, an old 4-H leader’s trail-riding place. He’s giving us a huge deal because we’re old friends so we’re very excited to be getting an hour ride on gorgeous forest trails. I’ve been promising Ciara for years that if I ever can find a way, I’ll take her horseback riding. They’ve only ever been on those circle pony rides at fairs. Olivier has never ridden a horse, either, so this should be quite an adventure. Nia was really mad she couldn’t come but John said no, she doesn’t need to this young and we don’t need to spend the money, so she will stay here and play with Owen.
We’ll probably visit the laundromat in town after we’re done riding (and after showers….I’m so terribly allergic to horses–my favorite animal–that I have brought allergy medicine, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves, and will have to shower the second I get back) and then go swimming at Sugar Camp Lake in the afternoon. And the best part is…only two more days till Kavi is coming home!!