Queen of the Bluegill

gluten-free cherry cobbler - campfire style!

Short of sounding like a crank, it has been busy! Even being at the lake can be tiring and regular household chores can quickly fall by the wayside piling up until such a point where I have to stop and catch up. Today is that day. It is a perfect day to catch up, or at least make a valiant attempt. It was windy and cloudy this morning as I watched clouds forming in South Bay come across the lake and sprinkle the lawn. Rain is in the forecast off and on all day and it is just the right weather for a day of catching up.

We have spent a lot of time on the lake or rather the kids have. They have been on the lake with their friends, the Eberlys, down the lake skiing, wake boarding, tubing, and swimming. They’ve come home exhausted and spent. A couple of nights this past week they were out running with the kids on the lake until almost midnight. Oddly, I feel they are safer here than at home, even on the lake. Our cottage neighbors are special and William and Olivia have kids up and down the lake their age, folks we know for the summer and renew our friendship every time we visit surround the cottage. Sometimes we meet in the winter, spring, but we all spend much of our summer along the lake. This is truly a special place and I am thankful we have it. It is reassuring that I can let the kids be kids and not worry about where they are or what they are up to. William and Olivia usually stick together, though William will come home and claim he’s bored and play a game or two on his iPhone or the Wii. He’s been out fishing in Ely boat and overall a huge help around the cottage.

a summer plate - steak, potaoes, and asparagus
the campfire burns and the cobbler cooks

Thursday, I ran errands and dragged the kids along. We drove to Gaylord, the closest large town, big enough for a variety of shops. I was hunting a Dutch oven for the cottage and needed oil for the boat. They complained about missing time on the lake but in reality, they had fun and needed the down time. When we got home, I emptied the car and they got out on the lake. I spent time on preparing dinner and more summer foods – steak, marinated asparagus, and mashed potatoes. Even though mashed potatoes are not a summer food, they were request from Olivia. We planned a campfire for sunset and I wanted to cook a cobbler in our new oven. We had gotten a few of the ingredients in Gaylord and it would be a gluten-free cherry cobbler made with frozen Michigan cherries. When they finally came in, I sent them inside to clean up and William started the campfire. For the longest time he has wanted to be the ‘cottage fire marshal’ and tonight was his night. I had gathered the wood, kindling, and some dry leaves. I had told him he could be in charge of the fire and light it only if he started it without matches or a lighter. He got out his fire starter and some dryer lint and got down to work. Before long, we had a roaring fire and we even started the charcoal, for the Dutch oven, without starter fluid. I was impressed and he was very proud of his accomplishment. Dinner was served, consumed quickly, and we were on to the campfire and cobbler. The cobbler turned out well and all of us enjoyed it. Chris and Nick joined us for cobbler but had to go home after dessert. We sat by the fire enjoying our cobbler and Allison and Bode arrived. The four played until after eleven, while I watched the fire and cleaned up.  There was a spirited game of Ghosts in the Graveyard with lots of running, shrieking, and giggling. William and Olivia climbed into bed exhausted and slept until almost eleven Friday morning.

the kids play in front of the cottage while the cobbler bakes and the campfire burns

I spent Friday occupied with laundry and a few chores. I finished the mailbox and had an idea, there is just enough room to add soil and plant flowers certainly, a project for another day and discussion with Beth. The kids played, swam, and in general, enjoyed a summer day at the lake and we had ribs for dinner, yes another summer food, and drove to town for ice cream at Dawson-Stevens.  

Olivia - 'Queen of the Bluegill'

Olivia and I got back on the lake late Saturday morning and once again, she out-fished me. Out-fishing me is not an incredibly difficult feat, but she landed five bluegill and dubbed her ‘Olivia, Queen of the Bluegills.’ Her tally so far is seven bluegill and one very small small-mouthed bass. She is using exclusively worms and is baiting her own hook. I on the other hand, have been fishing for bass and working with lures with no success. I had a few nibbles, but hooked nothing. I switched to a hook and worms and got e few more nibbles but no fish. Despite being shutout, it is still fun to watch Olivia and help her when she pulls one in, trying to persuade her to toss them back. We put three of them in the live well and eventually released them when I buttoned up the boat for the night. William met us at the dock, helped us in, and she was gone down the lake to play and swim.

There is always something to do to maintain the cottage, just as there is at home, and the weeds have gone unchecked this summer. William helped pulling weeds along one side of the cottage and I got to work in another bed. It has been a full week and the seven days the kids and I have been here are full of memories on the lake, fun, and play with some work mixed in and a lot of learning and growing up. At day thirty-three, it is almost the mid-point of summer. All of them have counted: I swam the mile with William, I feel better (and lighter), I have read several of the books on my summer book list, I have blogged, and had a great time with the kids. Thirty-seven days remain and I intend to make the most of them.

 Making the Days Count, one summer day at a time, how will you make your summer days count?

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