It's been a busy couple of weeks and we've got a lot of back-blogging to do! Two weeks ago we took a long weekend in Wisconsin. It started around a close family friend's graduation party and turned into a good excuse to spend a couple of days at a cabin in the woods. If I've got the history of the place right, it goes like this: Libby's dad and some friends decided to form a sort of farming co-op back in the '70's and bought some land in Dunn County Wisconsin. The whole farming aspect didn't much take off, but they built a couple of cabins and have had various projects going on the land. We've been spending time there on and off for years and love the rustic (no electricity, pluming, etc.) accommodations. Libby would come here in her childhood and thus learned to love the same landscape that I enjoyed growing up just a few miles south of here.
This was our first time bringing the boys to Purlieu (as it's called). We thought Gibbie would love it, since he so much enjoys the large wooded parks we frequent in St. Paul. Some aspects he took to right away, like the large field with a hill to run or roll down.
There was one unexpected obstacle to his nature enjoyment, however. Bugs. I guess we just have a lot fewer bugs in the city. For the first day Gibbie went around with his hands over his ears trying to block out their buzzing.
Eventually, after talking with him about it for a while, I figured out why he was so scared. He's really good at taking a concept and generalizing it. He knows that bees buzz, therefore he figured that anything that was buzzing around his head must be a bee and could hurt him. No wonder he was freaking out. He didn't completely get over the bug thing until our last day out there.
On Sunday morning we decided not to drive back into town for Church. Instead, we went down the highway just a mile or two to the Hay River Lutheran Church. I had expected this little country church to contain a handful of old people singing feebly and slowly after listening to an old pastor preach feebly and slowly. I was wrong. It was a small church, but it was full, and full of people of every age. The pastor had a wonderful conversational style of delivering a message true to Jesus' character. He also had quite an accent. Someone said he was from Colfax (another small WI town). We later learned that came from Australia before serving in Colfax! When we went downstairs after the service for coffee we met people who lived all around the Purlieu land. They knew about the land, and a little about the people who owned it. They were impressed that we knew the old farming couple who used to live next to Purlieu, in fact one of them was their niece. It was a joy to see some life in that little place, and to meet many of the friendly folks who live around the cabin.
On our way back to St. Paul we stopped for lunch at that very farm once owned by the old people I mentioned. After they moved into town for health reasons one of the Purlieu members bought their land. It's a beautiful little valley with a creek running through it.
Looks idyllic, doesn't it? What you can't see in this picture are the wood ticks. Hundreds of them. All over us. They weren't bad at the cabin, but here there was a steady crawling stream of them. When we sat down for lunch here Libby said, "Oh Paul, you've got a tick on your pants... and one on your shoulder... another on your shirt... here's one on Ezra's head..." and so on. She didn't mind it so much (that's the ex-wilderness guide in her.) It really bugged me, though, and I was already in a bad mood because the Mercedes was running funny and I was worried about making it back home. So Libby pulled out one of her tricks from camp counseling: the Tick Stick.
See that brown mass on the diaper pin? That's a stack of impaled wood ticks. They still wiggle a little like that. It's great for grossing out Junior High campers.
We did make it home in the Mercedes. It was a good trip, but I think the next one will be even better because the boys will have already gotten used to the accommodations. I forgot to mention how much Gibbie liked the "potty house"!
This last picture has no significance except that I think it's a good photo. (Check the texture on the wood and old chair.) Gibbie is being a bird in his nest on the porch of the cabin.