There were eight of us over the long Memorial Day weekend: Bob and I and son Caleb, daughter Lindsay and granddaughter Ellie, and my brother Bruce and his wife Erin and son Zack. With plenty of space to spread out and a very large kitchen, we enjoyed each other's company without feeling crowded.
As usual wildlife sightings and adventures abounded. First, on our way into our property last weekend, we saw a very large bear about 20 yards back from the road. I'm going to estimate he was between 250 to 300 pounds, and he looked very healthy. Then, while we were in the process of unlocking the gate to enter our property, we looked up on the hillside and spotted a momma bear with three tiny cubs, each about the size of a football. When they were standing in the tall grasses, they could barely be seen. Never have I seen such young cubs out in the wild.
Son Caleb had some fun fishing, just keeping this one long enough for the picture.
A bit of exploring around one of the ponds yielded this little newt:
As always with a place in the woods, once in a while there are some unwanted guests making themselves at home. (Rachel - don't worry. I took care of this guy. You can still come.)
Our property has a fairly large population of rattlesnakes, and during this visit we saw two. In my book that's two too many. The first one we saw had lighter colorations, with quite a bit of gold mixed in. This one is a lot darker in colorations than the other one.
Because we are in such a remote area, when we are out and about in the warmer weather we wear some sort of snake leggings for an added measure of safety.
As is with any of our family gatherings, there was plenty delicious food, including a clam bake, funeral potatoes and ham (with a name like that I know I'll need to share that recipe sometime soon), and a baked spaghetti casserole. Of course there were all the temptations, too, of our pile of snacks and baked goodies.
This was the first time granddaughter Ellie came for a sleepover at the family lodge. She is almost three and everything was a great adventure for her.
Here she is, in the mountains, in her princess dress-ups and high heels, baking cookies:
She always enjoys snuggling with puppy Sheila. Sheila and Ellie are (usually) best buddies.
After watching Ellie play for several days, Caleb put together this comparison collage of "His things versus her things:"
And finally there were vehicle rides of all sizes.
Sadly, the hubby and others had to return to civilization and the working world late on Monday. However, he was gracious enough to grant me a few extra days to stay here in the woods. I've been wanting to take a small personal retreat, have some peace and quiet, and use the uninterrupted time to set some goals for myself.
The personal retreat part of it may have to happen another time. Although I'm having a lovely time here at the lodge, it hasn't been without interruptions.
There were two appliance deliveries. The first delivery team got lost and the second team got here.
A crew came and installed shades on all the bedroom and several other windows.
The excavator came and moved some of his heavy equipment.
An inspector came to inspect the septic system.
An expert log chinker came to take a look and plan his project.
Several guys are installing gutters and rain spouts.
The emergency generator is being hooked up.
A contractor is here to install the newly delivered dishwasher.
I'll be "attending a meeting" by conference call here this afternoon, in the lodge, in my pajamas.
A security team will arrive later today to activate the security system.
So, no, although it has been wonderful here at the lodge this past week, it hasn't exactly been very zen.
Oh darn, I'll just have to come back soon and try again.