May 29, 2011 – Daily Life of the Camper

Claire writes today.

Camping is a completely different style of life, and it’s so easy to forget everything but your basic needs which is endlessly refreshing.  We pride ourselves on building one match fires, and all of the fires that we cooked on in the Boundary Waters were made with a single match.

Claire stirs the food while tending to the fire at the first campsite.

One of the beautiful things about camping is that your whole life for that period of time can fit into a canoe, and you can carry it anywhere in two trips.  The efficiency of all the equipment is a beautiful thing.

Typically you try to find a campsite somewhere between 2 and 4 so you have time to set up camp.  Portaging and canoeing all morning and afternoon is exhausting.  Linda rests on a rock here after arriving at a campsite.

It gets cold at night.  One morning we woke up with ice in our water bottles.  Linda had the luxury of a brand new sleeping bag to keep her nice and toasty!  The tent also held up quite well and it was affectionately nicknamed the “Emerald City”

Sometimes the weather doesn’t go quite your way.  We were fortunate to have glorious day time weather all up until the last day when we awoke to raindrops.  That’s when you pile on the rain gear and put a smile/grimace on your face!

one year ago…”Garlic off to Great Start”

May 28, 2011 – Boundary Waters Adventures

Claire writes today. One of the conditions of going on the Boundary Waters trip was that Claire carried the canoe on some of the portages.  She and Linda split the portages about 50-50.

Here she carries the canoe on a portage

Claire paddles the bow in the canoe in one of the lakes they visited

Linda does her share of the beastly portages here.

The most useful (threatening) tool we had.

one year ago…”Smallest of Habitats”

May 27, 2011 – Mother-Daughter Get-Away

Claire requested a BWCA wilderness trip with her mother in the time between school and the start of her internship. Three weeks after ice-out isn’t necessarily the best time, but the bugs and other people are slow and sluggish at the end of May.

Here’s the route – plenty of portaging on this route.

At the Poplar Lake landing, ready to go!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #210″

May 23, 2011 – Concolor Firs

One of the three varieties of trees in the house windbreak is concolor fir.

concolor fir

These trees started out rather straggly growing, but after about five years they took on their nice cylindrical shape. The windbreak now does a good job of capturing snow and we can no longer see the farm to the north out the house windows.

concolor fir needles

This time of year, the new growth is minty green and very soft.

one year ago…”Minister Claire?”

May 21, 2011 – Linda Presents

The session Linda spoke at was filmed by HBO for an upcoming four-part special on the farm bill and health.  Linda relates that at one point, she may have rubbed one of the panelists the wrong way as a former US Secretary of Agriculture bristled at one of her comments regarding the importance of local and regional food systems to help America become more self-sufficient by 1) eating a healthier diet based on varieties that taste better (and therefore eaten more) than those bred for shipping long distances  2) in case of a disruption of supply from other countries or the Central Valley of California, for regions to grow more of their own food.  The former Secretary seemed a bit agitated and responded that there has never been a modern famine in the US.  As the panel’s job was to tackle obesity, the comment about famine seemed somewhat out of place and after the discussion the HBO crew told Linda “that makes great television.” Although you won’t have the more extensive text that went along with the presentation, I’ll post that tomorrow.

As many have and will find out, the “Wall” is a touching reminder to all of us who lost family, friends, and Americans in the Vietnam war.

After the museums on the Mall closed and Linda was walking back to her hotel, she had a “moment.”  The herds of middle school tours in their mobs of different-colored t-shirts were flocking back to their buses – the groups themselves people of all colors and accents.  Then hordes of 20ish young adults, also in their colorful kickball or frisbee team shirts came to use the Mall.  Their temporary bases dragged with them, giant elementary-school balls, all having a good time, sans alcohol on the public green space in the Capital.  I think it made her hopeful for Claire’s upcoming summer in DC as well.

one year ago…”Salads By the Gallon”

May 20, 2011 – Linda’s Trip to DC

I had intended for Linda to write about her trip, but between trying to get the garden in and getting ready for a wilderness trip with Claire, it never happened, so I’ll try to fill-in for her.  Linda was asked by make a presentation to the Institute of Medicine (one of the National Academy of Sciences) regarding barriers to domestic fruit and vegetable production to a panel investigating factors of obesity.  But she had a half day or so the day she arrived to check out the Mall.

She was happy to stumble on this great lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian consisting of a salad of the three sisters (corn beans, and squash, and a wild rice salad – “native foods” so to speak.

She found refuge in a conservatory surrounded by her friends in the plant kingdom.

And she remembered the moon shots of her childhood.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #209″

May 18, 2011 – Jazzy Martin

This isn’t particularly of interest to everyone, but I thought family might appreciate a 3 minute clip from Martin’s first jazz band concert. The quality is poor, but you at least get to hear it (listen for Martin’s trombone solo). The band started practicing in February and consists of 5th and 6th graders.

They’ve made great progress since the 5th graders just picked up their instruments last fall.

one year ago…”Goats on the Ground”