Rain in Northern Michigan remains a constant part of summer. I can remember summers at the cottage when the temperatures did not rise above 70 and it rained most of the time. Yesterday afternoon the rain came and brought grayness with it. It had not rained since Sunday and we have had four good days in between for outdoor activities, moon watching, and campfires, not a bad trade.
Friday, William and Allison will test the waters of the Ausable River in the Casey’s Challenge Kids Race. William has canoed down the river before, but with me in the back or front. Last year he kayaked down the river in his kayak and Olivia and I followed in a two-person kayak. Every time he has canoed, he has been tired and worn out when we landed at Burton’s Landing. This year he wants to try the challenge and he can, because he is twelve and eligible. Beth got them registered earlier in the week and part of the registration is a free practice run down the river. So, the two tried their luck on the river with Allison’s parents following to coach. Beth and Olivia decided to meet the paddlers midstream and took off for the old Rayburn Property with its old stone landing and shallow bend in the river to cheer them on. She and Olivia biked in from the road and waited for the paddlers. They had a good time with Olivia playing in the water and having a blast. They caught the paddlers and cheered them on to the practice finish. It took the two a bit longer than they planned, about an hour and three quarters, but they learned a few things: William should paddle in front and Allison should paddle and steer in back. Hopefully, race day will go smoother and they can shave some time off their trip and finish well. Each paddler gets a t-shirt and the first three finishers in each age group win a trophy.
I did not go on the trip and stayed behind to move sand. Yes, I opted to work instead of play. A few years ago, we added a sandbox to the shoreline. There had always been a pace for a sandbox but it was mainly used to wade into the lake and to pull the boatlifts in and out of the water. There was not much sand, mainly grass and weeds. In 2004, grandpa and I cleared the area and I added sand – a lot of sand. I remember hauling the sand from the end of the driveway where the dump truck had delivered the two yards of mason sand. It was a big pile of sand and it was a long way by wheelbarrow to the sandbox. By the time I had wheeled three or four loads I realized it was going to be long day. William was eight and Olivia not quite two; William did help but, they were more concerned with playing in the sand pile and I cannot blame them. After the first few loads, a neighbor, Mr. MacDonald, came to the rescue and helped by lending us his tractor and trailer. This enabled us to make the trips quicker and we finished by the end of the day. We filled the sandbox and then some providing several neighbors with sand from our pile. Since then, we have had a sandbox. Over the years, the sand has eroded from the rain, snow, and the ice sheet on the lake and we needed to add sand.
One of the great parts of the cottage is the neighbors. Most of us are part-time residents but there are a few permanent residents. The Parks are part-time like us but they live much closer, in the Grand Rapids area less than a three-hour drive from the cottage. They are great neighbors. They have three boys all about my age and each has a family with kids ranging from Olivia’s age to college. They have every type of gear which can be used up north: pontoon, jet skis, motor bikes, bikes, and snowmobiles: to sum it all up they lead an active lifestyle. Additionally, they have every imaginable tool and implement for any job, including hauling sand. I had asked him Monday about sand and if he needed any. He replied, no but he volunteered his trailer and …….
To be continued…. Root William on!
added 9:49 CDT I am sorry but the bus was leaving and I needed to watch William and Allison canoe down the Ausable. You will have to wait for tomorrow’s post for results and other cottage updates…
And the rest of the story….
Mr. Parks mentioned that he would be going home and could not do it until Wednesday or Thursday and I said I would come back down when he was back. I saw him Thursday morning when Allison and William were practicing canoeing in the lake and he said he had an appointment and would catch me afterwards.
When he returned, he had his trailer and a load of sand – about three-quarters of yard of mason’s sand. He said it was easier to go straight from his storage place to the sandpit and back to the cottage – and he was right. I thanked him and he pulled the trailer up to the sandbox and within fifteen minutes I had the trailer unloaded and we were headed back to the sandpit – we needed more. This time I came along. Town was busy as people came through for the weekend or arrived for the race and we were back with a second load and had it in the sandbox. I got all of the sand in and it needed grooming, but the kids can take care of that!
I was playing or investigating, I will call it investigating, some of the capabilities of the blog and blog software, this morning and I discovered a plug-in: a plug-in that may be very helpful. In previous posts, I have added links to sites and videos and I discovered that I could add YouTube videos and videos from other sites, into my posts to play. I found a video that works for this post and all of the posts, more or less, from the cottage.
After I filled the sandbox, it began to rain, and it rained the rest of the night. One inch of rain came down and it was a quiet evening. William and Olivia were asleep early and William needed all of the rest he could get – for Casey’s Challenge. It was a good day and tomorrow promises to be a million and six times better. Making the days count, one day at a time.