Posted by: SoccerGirl | June 22, 2011

The Family that Plays Together

Summer has arrived which means the unbearably hot, humid weather has arrived.  When faced with this, the best thing to do is…go to the mountains!  That is exactly what my family and I did last week.  Of course I’m already on vacation for about another month, but my other family members took the week off from their respective jobs, packed up the cars and headed west.  Mom & I were the first to depart on Monday.  We made the drive a leisurely one by stopping to do a little shopping on our way as well as enjoy a late afternoon lunch.  My brother, sister-in-law and dog Jake arrived late Monday night, and dad arrived early Tuesday morning (just a half hour or so after I got up).  Once we were all assembled it was time for the fun (and a little work) to begin!  No one had specific plans for the week but in between sitting outside enjoying the sunshine and warm weather, playing cards,  and reading we managed to fill our time very well.

Aside from doing some meadow mowing I completed one project during the week and started on a second project.  In my last post I wrote that we had started digging a fire pit.  My project for the week was to finish the fire pit so we could use it while we were up there.  On Tuesday I was able to complete this project.  I started gathering large rocks from both the meadow area and the woods.  After carrying a few loads though my arms were pretty tired and I needed to find another solution.  Dad had a DR Power Wagon, which had gathered quite a bit of water in it, but once he had bailed it all out, it started up and made the gathering and transporting of rocks much easier!  Once all the rocks had been collected I was in charge of design and laying them out.  It took me just a little while to place all the rocks in just the right spots and our fire pit was done.  You can see the end result here:

Fire pit project completed!

One interesting discovery I made while searching for rocks is that we have some cherry trees on the property.  I was walking through the woods when I looked down and saw what looked like cherries on the ground.  When I looked up I saw some still hanging from the trees.  I went back up to the house to show mom & to get my phone so I could identify what kind of cherry trees we had.  My dad had sent me an article just a few days before we left about a new iPhone app called Leafsnap, which helps identify unknown trees.  I took a picture of one of the leaves and soon found out that we had Pin Cherry trees!

After dinner that night we all headed outside for a fire and s’more making.  The moon was just about full that night and was really neat to see over the trees.  It took a little while to get the  fire going, but once it did it was nice and warm and perfect for s’mores.

Dan using a little hot air to get the fire going

The blazing fire!

On Wednesday we took a break from the rest and relaxation of the house and headed in to town.  Dan & Debi started their day fishing, their second attempt and catching some fish, as they had also gone on Tuesday afternoon but had no luck.  On this day they were again unsuccessful, but had fun and even Jake got to go and have a little adventure of his own when he took a little fall in the New River (he was ok).  After they finished their fishing adventure they met up with us in town.  We had a couple of places that we planned to visit, which of course included Lowe’s since no visit to the mountains is complete without at least 1 trip there.  This time we were looking for paint to repaint our outside bench & rocking chair, a screen door, and a new cushion for the chaise lounge dad had brought up with him.  We were able to find everything we needed and headed back to the house for a little while.  This was actually our first trip to town of the day.  We ended up going back later to watch Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  We only have basic TV at the house with an antenna, and get a few channels.  One of the channels we don’t get is NBC, and that was a problem this night because the game was only on NBC.  We knew there was a sports bar in town that stays open late so we decided to go there for dinner and to watch the game.  We arrived just a few minutes before the game started and we pretty much had the place to ourselves, so Debi took charge and asked the bartender to put the game on one of the TVs.  We ordered food and drinks and then settled in for the game.  Mom and Dad were planning on leaving before the end of the game so we had taken two cars.  However to our surprise they were closing at 9:30, which was only halfway through the game.  We were somewhat surprised and disappointed, but what could we do?  We paid our bill and headed home with the score 1-0 in favor of Boston.  After a bit of online searching Dan finally found a radio broadcast of the game from Boston, so we listened to the rest of it, using our imaginations to picture what was happening, although I offered to act it out, no one took me up on the offer.

Thursday brought time for working on my second project.  I started the process of repainting the bench, which ended up being a lot more work than I expected.  Since it sits out in the open, the paint had begun peeling off and so it had to be scraped first, then sanded before it could be painted.  I worked for a couple of hours scraping and sanding and was ready for a break.  It was such a nice day out that I wanted to go hiking and enjoy the beautiful weather before I had to head home on Friday.  Dan & Debi had gone fishing again and mom had some work to do, so it was just Dad and I for a hike.  After a little debate about where to go, we settled on hiking a dirt road near the house that wasn’t used by vehicles very much and connected to another road.  The plan was for us to hike the road and for mom to pick us up at the other end at a set time.  We gave ourselves 2 hours to complete the hike since we hadn’t done the whole thing before.  We filled our water bottles, packed the camera & binoculars, I put my phone in my pocket and started my pedometer app so we could determine how far we hiked.  Even though it was a little warm out, the hike was pretty pleasant since it was mostly shaded.  We noticed that some work had been done on the road since the last time we had hiked it, and it was actually almost drivable.  Along the way we ran in to a couple of people out on an ATV and had the chance to chat with them for a little bit.  We decided that next summer we need an ATV to drive around.  We ended up reaching our initial destination a lot sooner than we expected so we decided to keep on walking down the road before calling mom to come get us.  This part of the hike was a little warm because there was no shade and the sun was beating down on us.  When we finally reached the end of the road I checked the pedometer and we had gone 4 miles in about an hour and a half.  The road back to the house is a pretty busy one, by mountain standards, and I didn’t think we should hike it, so we found a shady spot to sit and called mom to come get us.  Soon she arrived and we were on our way back home.  Once we got home, I rested for a little bit, but really wanted to get as much done on the bench as I could.  I was able to get most of it primed, but someone else was going to have to finish the job after I left.

Dad and I at the end of our hike

We had decided that on Friday morning we would go out for breakfast at a place called Shatley Springs, which we had been to many years ago but not since we bought the property and built the house.  They serve a family style breakfast, but we chose to order off the menu.  Everyone enjoyed their food, I had pancakes that were absolutely wonderful, really buttery and melt in your mouth.  After browsing in the small shop attached to the restaurant we loaded back in to the car and made our way back home.  I unfortunately had to pack my stuff and head home that day, while the rest of the family was staying until Sunday.

I can’t say for certain what they did after I left but I heard rumors of another fishing trip where fish were actually caught, the bench getting its first coat of red paint, and the screen door being put up.  Other than that I’m sure dad continued working outside, and everyone else spent a lot of time sitting outside reading and enjoying the nice weather.  Of course I know that Jake probably spent quite a bit of time playing ball, his favorite pastime both at home & in the mountains.

Jake keeping an eye on the ball


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