A Great Week at Camp

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We returned yesterday from Triangle Lake, where we were cooking at high school camp.  It was a marvelous week for many reasons.  I had been to Triangle Lake when I was a child, as my mother had a friend who moved there. I dimly remember driving there with my mother, helping her friend move.  My sister remained friends with the daughter of the family, and spent at least one week with her during a summer or two.  So, I knew I had been there, but it was so long ago that I had no recollection of it other than a dim, pleasant memory.

My memories did not disappoint.  The lake was lovely, especially during the mornings, when a mist would rise over it, making it seem mysterious and serene.

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Just a few hours later, the lake was transformed into a bustling hive of activity as the campers filled the water with squeals and the sound of boat motors roared as they towed inner tubes full of laughing teens or an occasional youth trying to get up behind the boat on a surf board or water skies.  The lake is not private, but the camp was secluded on the back side, bordered with acres of forest.

This camp is more primitive than other camps we have worked at.  The kids slept in yurts, had their meetings in a large tent, and ate and played outside.  Many staff camped in tents and there were only 4 spots for trailers.  Thankfully, we got one.

Our job was cooking.  We were helpers, not the cook in charge.  She was an energetic woman named Maggie, and she had a wonderful menu, had done much ahead of time, and gave excellent instructions for all of us to follow.  My aunt and Lovana were cooks, too.  My sister and brother-in-law helped with the planning of part of the camp program, taught classes and counseled teens, and helped with cooking in their spare time.  Rob brought a large Traeger barbecue and used it daily.  The kitchen was equipped with 1 home kitchen stove, 2 regular ovens, a 3-sink system to hand wash dishes, a small ice machine, 3 freezers and a large refrigerator plus the regular-sized home-style fridge.  We were told to prepare for 120 people, including staff.  We fed between 150-160 people each meal.  It was literally a case of God multiplying the loaves and fishes, because we always had food for everyone.  The last person might have received a little different food than the first one, but no one went hungry.

They gratefully gobbled up everything we cooked–very gratifying and the best kind of crowd to cook for!  No one complained when we served vanilla pudding with whipped cream for the last breakfast, along with the other breakfast foods we put out.  Really the only things that had to be taken home were a few odds and ends, and some extra pasta and sauce from the last night’s dinner of spaghetti.

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Because the kitchen was so small, the Traeger grill was our best friend, and Rob was everyone’s best buddy:)  He grilled hamburgers, 80 lbs of chicken one night (they ate 60 lbs one night, and the other 20 was diced and used for quisadillias and salads), breakfast casseroles Maggie had made ahead, lasagnas (purchased), sausages, and more.  There were some grills there that had flat surfaces for cooking pancakes (twice), french toast, quesadillas and more.  When we used those, we appreciated Rob all the more.

The weather was quite warm and we got overheated easily.  Some of us were treated to evening boat rides at various times and it was so pleasant to cool down on the water when my turn came.  At other times, one of us would dash over to the camper and stand under the air conditioner vent for a few minutes, and then head back into the “sauna” to wash some more dishes.   Some of the braver ones jumped into the lake to cool off.  We actually had quite a bit of fun!

We offered a gluten-free option each meal, and much of it was naturally gluten-free anyway.  There were some dairy-free kids, as well, and we accommodated them, also.  There were a few other allergies, and so most of the food was served separate, i.e. all parts and pieces of tacos in separate dishes so each one could choose.  We served salad or mixed raw veggies every lunch and dinner and it was surprising how much of that the kids ate and how polite and thankful they were to us.

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One evening, Jake, my nephew, took it in his head to help serve.  Problem was–the tongs were difficult and the bread slippery!  He manfully did his best, and the kids were very patient and amused by his antics.

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On Friday morning, we cleaned up said goodbye to Camp Eagle Cove.  It was a wonderful experience, and we are so glad we went.  It was a lot of work, but very rewarding and fun!  We don’t know what our circumstances will be next summer, so are not making any plans to return at this time.  We can think of that later.  What we do know, is that we will always carry the memories with us from another stop on our Summer of Adventure, and they are good ones.

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Camping at Honeyman State Park + House Hunting

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This past week, we camped at a place we had never gone before–Honeyman State Park.  We had fun, but ended up driving all the way back to Salem one day.  I think it was worth it, as we were having an inspection done on a house that I THINK we may actually get!!!

Of course, this is the campground the farthest from “home” we have been at all summer.  So, we drove and drove.  We had just remarked before we left that this would be the first time all summer that we got to go camping and stay there, since Ft. Stevens at the beginning of the summer.

We are heading off to volunteer for the next week at a camp where there is no cell reception, unless you climb to the top corner of the property, we have been told, and certainly no internet.  So, expect that I am saving money by staying in one place for more than a day and I’ll post again once I return home.  So, I think once we get there today, we will be set to stay put until Friday.  We will be cooking, so will be busy, but it won’t involve driving!!!  Famous last words:)

Once we get back, we will have an electrician and plumber both look at a couple areas of concern on the house we hope to buy, and anticipate that the issues revealed by the inspection will be easily resolved.  If so, we can proceed with the process and buy the house!!!  So, hopefully, good news to come soon!

Saving Money or NOT–July 17, 2016

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Last week was busy and fun.  We traded kids out one day and left Ja’Ana with the cousins and brought Michaela home with us for 1 night.  On the way home, we stopped at historic Butteville store and enjoyed some ice cream.  Michaela and Patsy enjoyed playing checkers on the checkerboard that the store set up on the table.  They played for quite a while.

Patsy pulled up some unwanted plants in the garden to earn money for camp, and Michaela enjoyed watching her dramatically hit the ground with the plants, huff and puff, and put on quite a show.  So, Patsy got some attention, Michaela was entertained, and I got those plants pulled!  Win, win, win!!

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Then they played Yahtzee for several rounds and cheerfully  ate up the odds and ends of my hamburger buns with peanut butter spread on them.  (No jam for Michaela–she doesn’t like it-Patsy will always eat double–she loves it).  The girls had a frugal, fun evening!

The next day, Rob swapped the girls back when he took Patsy to catch the bus for church camp.  Things went well until Wednesday…….

On Wednesday, I was just lallygagging around.  I had 1 thing planned for the day–lunch with 2 of my friends.  So, I let myself sleep in a bit.  But then…the phone rang.  It was the youth leader at camp and there was a problem.  I could hear Patsy dramatically carrying on in the background and many adult voices.  The leader informs me that Patsy’s front tooth is gone and all she has left is her braces and the chain and bracket where a tooth should be.  He’s never seen anything like it.  He can’t figure out where the tooth went.  As far as he knew, she went to bed with a tooth…..now there is no tooth….and so forth.

I have a vision of Patsy with 2 front teeth gone, since I knew that we had been working on getting the other one to come down for a year and a half, with oral surgery, orthodontics, etc.  I was feeling pretty worried, when it suddenly clicked.  He did not know that the other tooth had never been there.  With her sobbing “my tooth broke off” and things like that, he was assuming that her tooth had broken somehow in the night.  I quickly set him straight, saying  “it’s ok.” and things like that.  He put her on the phone, and I found out that, indeed, it was the bracket that had broken off and there was a small white thing attached to it, which she was convinced was part of the tooth (that is still up in her gums).

So, after a call to the ortho, we quickly started out for camp.  We had never been there, but are signed up to volunteer there next week for high school camp.  We went to camp, picked her up, used the interim time to do a little laundry, had an appointment at the ortho, had a meeting about camp, and then took her back.  It is a distance away, so we were gone for about 12+ hours.  They removed the dangling chain, assured us all it was just bonding material, no teeth were broken and put her back together.  We will still need to address the situation later, but for now, it’s fine.  Nothing is broken, except some hardware in her mouth.  Whew!!!  So, this was the NOT frugal day.  We used lots of gas and ate out twice, since we just jumped in the car and took off as quickly as we could.  The main thing is that she’s all right!  I will say that the counselors and leaders deserve high praise.  They handled it well.

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We went house hunting again Friday.   This time, I knew I was leaving and packed a nice picnic lunch.  After viewing 5 houses and picking Patsy up from the church parking lot (back from camp), we went to a place called Sunset Park in Keizer, Oregon, and ate our packed lunch.  I’m not sure if you can see the hawk soaring over the Willamette, but there were several that we enjoyed watching.  Rob and Lovana saw a bald eagle, too.

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These potatoes are from the garden.  I made potato salad for our family Sunday dinner today.  Rob b-b-qued chicken, and we had salad from garden lettuce.  My aunt brought rolls and ice cream.  It was great and so awesome to have so much of it come from things we’ve grown.  The chickens will run out before long, and we have no way to grow more, but we are enjoying them until that happens.

I cooked many, many meals at home this week, other than that one day.  I used so much garden produce.  It’s really helping with the grocery budget.

My sister and I canned 35 quarts of green beans during 2 pleasant mornings.  Rob and I spent quite a bit of time helping sell peaches at the u-pick stand Monday and Tuesday.  We enjoyed quite a few peaches, and wild blackberries.

I “Shopped” in our storage Conex.  I pulled out items worth at least $40 to use in the next 2 weeks.  I also shopped at the store, and bought things that we absolutely needed or were a great deal.

Rob earned some money this week and used some of it to stock up at Grocery Outlet on items that we will use, and are a great deal.  So, that was extra, above and beyond our usual grocery budget.  So, that was nice.  There are just a few things that we consistently buy there and there are always “surprises” so we do have to be careful to only buy a few of those each time.  You never know what they will have from time to time, but they usually have inexpensive drinks for lunches, lunchmeat that is close to its pull date, but still good, etc.

 

 

Saving Money–July 10, 2016

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Rob taught Ja’Ana how to replace the inner tube in her bike tire.  We’ve been giving the bikes a real workout lately on all our camping trips and she ran over something.  We spent 4 nights at Champoeg State Park.  It’s near my sister’s, so were able to do our regular things, while enjoying the park in between activities.

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July the 5th is BOTH of our mothers’ birthdays!  So, on the 4th, we had a double birthday party.

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Rob barbecued, my sister made lemon meringue pies for everyone (mine has no crust–it was great!), we used lots of garden produce, and we had a great time while celebrating the 4th of July, plus birthdays.

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We drove past this flower seed field one evening.  It was so beautiful!

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We are enjoying lots of baby kitties right now.   We need to tame some of them down because we have people who would like to have them.

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We are eating peaches like crazy.  I helped sell u-pick peaches Saturday, and will do so on Monday and Tuesday, as well as help can beans.  I made peach upside down cake, gluten free bread from a mix, sweet and sour pork, chicken soup, coleslaw, lots of sandwiches and salads, Rob b-b-qued burgers, steak, chicken and the last of the trout for the 4th and other meals.  We are eating lots of lettuce, zucchini, onions, carrots, green onions, and just started getting beans from the garden.  We will can a load in the morning.  Wild blackberries are also ripe on the bushes here on the property.

We did quite a bit of work in the garden this evening.  We pulled out old lettuce, spinach and the broccoli plants, which turned out to be a very strange variety that was very odd and did not taste good.  We were so happy that it wasn’t the tomatoes that failed!  Usually, I carefully choose all of the varieties from seed catalogs and grow my own starts.  This year I was at the mercy of the stores for starts because of the move.  If broccoli was my greatest casualty, I’m relieved.

 

Garden Update

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I came back from a few days at Champoeg State Park and found numerous goodies had ripened up in the garden!  I’m especially excited about the green beans and the little yellow cherry tomatoes.  Those are the first I have been able to pick, although my sister got started on them earlier in the week while I was gone.

I made green beans and garlic tonight for dinner, along with coleslaw from part of the cabbage.  I think I will make some fish tacos with some more of it, and make a grill basket with the round zucchini.  There are also some onions you cannot see, as well as some snow peas.   I will add some of them to the grill basket as well.

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Patsy’s flowers are blooming!  They are lovely and will just get brighter and more beautiful as time passes.  The squash on the left is delicata and has several forming.  On the right in the back in a tronboncini squash, a kind of zucchini that grows to look like a musical instrument–I hope we get one.  It isn’t even blooming yet.  There is an acorn squash bush as well as mixed summer squash on the right.  We were using up seeds, so have a little of several things.  In the far center is regular, plain, green zucchini.

I have been succession planting things.  We are on our 3rd planting of lettuce, at least, with a couple more plantings coming up and growing nicely.  I have a new planting of spinach up nicely, too.  This week, I’d like to plant more lettuce, green onions and snow peas. Last summer I did not have to buy lettuce, except 1 or 2 times, and I’d like to repeat that.  None of the rows are long.  I just want fresh things to eat so they are not bitter from heat.  It’s turning out to be a great garden and is easily feeding my family, my sister’s family, and quite a few other friends and relatives.  It’s also working out very well to have more than one person working on the weeds and planting!  Sharing a garden is really a blessing for both my sister and I.  I’m glad.

House Hunting–Round 2

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We’ve been hunting for many, many hours, but the girls are still finding some time to horse around:)

I spent about 6 hours on the internet, and chose a pretty good list of houses we might like to view.  We got to look at 3 or 4.  We found a real fixer-upper for a price we could afford, and put in an offer.  They countered, and we had to decide what to do.  We just found out that 2 of the rooms were added over time, without permits.  After calling  the city and county, they informed us of what we had already been told.  We would either need to bring the rooms up to code, or tear them down.  With all of the other work that we would have to do, we had to let that one go.  It also had some major problems in the basement, along with quite a few other problems.  We did the math, and could not finish the project if we started.  I’m really sad.  I had hoped we could get it to work.   It would have been a nice size for our family.  So, it’s back to the drawing board, again.

In the meanwhile, we have another day at Champoeg State Park, so plan to enjoy tomorrow there.  Today we had so many errands to run, plus viewing this house again, that we will welcome a day of rest tomorrow.

Saving Money–July 3, 2016

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Patsy and I went with my sister to pick blueberries.  They were so delicious, only $1.25/lb, and are all gone now:)

I picked wild blackberries and made a crisp to take over to our friends’ house when we went for dinner.

I made pinto beans in the crock pot, lots of salads from garden lettuce, sandwiches, packed lunches, enchiladas, omelets from eggs we got for 88c/dozen, and numerous quesidillas.  I am trying to keep meals simple.  We got invited to my sister’s one morning for pancakes, a friend’s for dinner, a potluck for the last night of J’s camp where she was a junior counsellor (I took watermelon, cheese slices and crackers), and my aunt took us out for lunch after church today.

We did not get the house we bid on last week, and in fact got outbid by $15,000 (over the asking price).  So, you could say we saved $15,000:(  I spent 4-6 hours looking on the computer, have sent the real estate agent a list of properties we would like to see, and will go at it again this coming week.

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Patsy and I went for a bike ride at Champoeg State Park.  I am happy to report I did not fall off of the bike, or have any other catastrophes.  (I would pretend I am teasing, but have done some crazy stuff on (off) of a bike in the past, so am trying to build myself up again after several years of not riding since we all have talents and that’s not one of mine!!!!)  We rode over 5 miles.  We packed a lunch, and got ice cream at the historic store that was the 1/2 way point of the ride.  We also played a game of checkers they had on the table while we ate our ice cream.  Cute and quaint.

I visited with a friend while Patsy and her daughter swam at a local pool.

We worked in the garden.  We are still eating the same vegetables–snow peas, lettuce, beets, carrots, cilantro, basil, spinich, and the zucchini is just starting.  I am also looking forward to green beans soon.

We got library books, movies and borrowed 2 movies from a friend.  We watched one movie tonight.  It was called “The Finest Hours” and was about a Coast Guard rescue.  It had a little bad language, but kept us riveted to our seats as the men battled the stormy sea.