Pete and I are back from a ten day trip to the family cabin in Northern Wisconsin -- hence the huge number of sheets and towels and clothes that smell of campfires that I have washed this past week. While I laundered, Pete cleaned up the yard and picked the overabundant and oversized vegetables that overtook the garden. Think zucchini the size of pumpkins or a small dog. Lots of work, but lots of good eating and low grocery bills.
Clara, her boyfriend Josh, and their large dog Lucy met us at the cabin, after an epic 28 hour drive from Seattle. The cabin is Clara's "happy place," a constant in her 27 year life, and she wanted to share everything about it with Josh. She took him kayaking to the caves of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, and treated him to the parade and fish-on-stick at Cornucopia Days. We all went to Tetzner's Dairy Farm for homemade ice cream, Trinko's for brats, and Sweet Sailing in Bayfield for her favorite salt water taffy. We had a fine dining experience at an architectural wonder of a restaurant called Wild Rice. The food was more beautiful than the building and even more delicious. There were walks on the beach, and trips to Ehler's store, and long tennis matches between uncles and cousins. Some of Pete's siblings, nieces and one nephew joined us for part of the weekend. When we weren't baking pies and cleaning out the shed and rug hooking (that would be me), We enjoyed gazing at the stars by big bonfires, reminiscing about the family home that was sold this year after his parents moved into assisted living.
We went en masse to visit Pete's mom and dad -- 98 and 95 respectively -- about five hours south of the cabin -- a long ride. We woke up early that day to pick raspberries and blueberries to bring to them. Grandpa loves his raspberries. Along the way we stopped to check out the new sugar bush operation Pete and his brothers started in March, then it was on to Country Sausage in Phillips so Clara could load up on her favorite beef jerky to take camping. We had a great visit at the rehab center Grandpa calls home right now and feasted on berries. Pete's mother declared Josh "darling," and Clara was happy he had passed the "grandma test."
It was a full and happy week, with a very long drive on either end of it. I was glad to get home to our old dog and our comfy bed and my messy studio. It's time to start thinking about the shows coming up this fall. Sadly, the days are already noticeably shorter. While I don't want to wish time away, I am looking forward to cooler days and the colors of fall. Pumpkins, anyone?