Sunday, June 19, 2016

Camp Daniel Boone

I just got back from camping with 11 of my scouts at Camp Daniel Boone near Asheville, North Carolina, at 3500 feet the highest boy scout camp in the eastern USA. We wanted our Florida flatlanders to see what it is like to camp in the mountains.
Our former leader Eric Rigby, who is now a political cartoonist-to-be for the Deseret News designed our troop shirt for us in honor of our many backpacking adventures of the past year.
We drove up on Saturday so we wouldn't have to travel so far on Sunday. On the way up we had a mini youth conference in the two cars. The boys listened to and talked about several John Bytheway CDs we had borrowed from my son Joe. Some were so popular that we played them three or four times. When we got to camp, we checked the troop in, hiked 3/4 miles up the mountainside to set up camp, and went fishing. They stock the lake with rainbow trout at the first of every week and we caught the first ones. You can see that they are whoppers--no need for phoney fish stories here. The boys could catch up to two fish a day and we had fish at every campfire during the week between 10 and 11 p.m. before bed. I shared my secret Thompson recipe (put the cleaned trout on a piece of parchment paper with head and tail still on, pour on Italian salad dressing as a baste, wrap the parchment around the fish, then wrap that in aluminum foil and toss it in the coals of the campfire and cook it like a hobo dinner, turning it after 10 minutes or so.) It is SOO delicious that even the boys who hate fish and never eat it at home wolfed it down like vultures after road kill. A Thompson camp secret is that you eat the top half of the fish (the boys ate with their fingers) you can grab the tail of the fish and the tail, bones, and head neatly come off and all you have is a delicious fillet of fish with no loss of meat. This way there are fewer cut fingers in the fish cleaning process. All week they were either fishing or practicing archery and rock climbing during their spare time.
On Sunday we went to church in Asheville then officially checked in and received our orientation.
While the scouts were busy all week earning lots of merit badges and doing other activities...
Scoutmaster Thompson worked on his special Scoutmasters merit badge and earned his pirate merit badge so he could officially say "arrrggh" as he huffed and puffed up the hill to our campsite several times each day. The pictures make it look like the trails are flat like they are in the Florida woods--but they aren't. Half the camp of some 900 scouts was from the Florida flatlands and we scoutmasters all agreed that we never quite got used to going up and down the steep paths and trails at high altitude. I think my house is at the high point in our county at 33 feet.
As part of the requirements for the scoutmaster merit badge, I had to learn how to fire a black powder rifle (my first time shooting a gun and I hit the target both shots), shoot a rifle (I made 3 bulls eyes out of 6 shots) and toss tomahawks at a target (I missed all 4 tosses).
My two favorite requirements were to take a nap every day and sit on a rock and contemplate the meaning of life.

During this past year we had 8 worn out American flags donated to the troop for "proper" disposal in a campfire. I had no idea what that meant since when I was young in the 1960s, you could be put in jail for burning an American flag. When Camp Daniel Boone asked for flag donations for a "respectful" flag retirement ceremony, I brought ours. We supplied nearly all the flags for the impressive event.

But I think that the highlight of the week was the early morning Polar Bear Plunge on Thursday when most of our troop jumped in the cold lake to show our bravery. They tossed a watermelon into the deep end of the swimming area and we polar bears raced to get it. Our troop won!! We carved the date in it before we ate it.
Everyone had a great time. On the way back, to show the scouts the alternative to camping that the rich and famous of the 19th century practiced, we visited the famous Biltmore estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt built in the 1890s in Asheville, the largest mansion in the USA with more than 33 bedrooms. The tired scouts were ready to turn in their sleeping bags and try them out.
Here we are looking our best.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Grandma's Green Thumb

With all this farm life, grandma's thumb is finally turning green. For the first time after 45 years in Florida she was able to get an orchid to bloom a second time. This is the one Carrie gave us on her visit a year ago.
Here is this morning's harvest of squash, cucumbers and tomatoes. Can you guess what we are having for breakfast?
That's right, the Powell traditional squash and eggs with a touch of tomatoes.

Number 34

Grandma is holding grandchild number 34, Benjamin, Bonnie and Sean's number 6.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Porch Project

We plan to finish this week the ceilings on the porches. We had to go to Bubba's Cracker Saw Mill in Williston to get the trailer full of cypress tongue and groove. Since we will eventually glass in the two porches in the back with the great views, we needed to install insulation first. We'll probably just screen in the porches first, but we already have them set up for air conditioning when the glassing in is done. Gma was in charge of helping to measure and attach the tongue to the grooves, and staining and finishing the boards before they were installed. Doesn't the finished ceiling look great?

Summer's graduation

Summer just graduated from high school with her cousins Hailey and Hunter. The gold medal she is wearing says that she was summa cum laude, 5th in a graduating class of over 600. You can see the happy family and the extended family that came to cheer them on. Afterwards we took over a Denny's restaurant to celebrate--well, half of the restaurant.