Tag Archives: summer

Du Nord 2021

We spent the final week of July at Camp Du Nord family camp. This was our third trip, and we all agreed that it was our favorite one. The weather was fantastic, despite the wildfire smoke, and the kids were at good ages to maximize their fun. Oliver had no separation anxieties when he joined his age-group for morning activities, often scampering off to get there early before Sarah and I were ready.

Some highlights of the trip included:

  • Polar bear plunge — we woke up every morning to run into the lake with a bunch of other howling campers. The kids were extremely excited about this.
  • Seeing the kids being increasingly independent and excited about being outdoors.
  • Inkle weaving and making friendship bracelets.
  • Numerous hikes on the North Arm trails. This area is on a triple continental divide. Depending on where you hike, water may flow north to Hudson Bay, east to the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River, or south to the Mississippi.
  • Canoeing in a 25-foot replica of a Voyageur canoe.
  • Playing a spooky role-playing game adventure on our screen porch during a thunderstorm.
  • Intense Yahtzee and Farkle games.
  • Ice cream at the camp store.
  • Seeing our friends, the Browns, as well as a number of Andrew’s former students (some of whom are Du Nord staff now).
  • Watching Oliver scamper over the “Goat Trail” at high speed.
  • Swimming in the cool lake after spending time in the sauna.
  • Finding the fabled “Bonzo Block” on our last day. (It’s hidden somewhere in camp with a cryptic clue released every morning.)

The only bummer about the trip was the smoke in the air from the Canadian wildfires. It was pretty intense, often making the sun and moon appear orange or red.

We also had some insane red squirrels who would drop pine cones on our cabin every morning at around 6:00. They sounded like gunshots as they ricocheted off the steel roof!

Battle Creek Wildlife

I know that I should be posting more about our trip to Du Nord, but I wanted to provide an update about some of the wildlife that we’ve seen and/or heard at our new home.

I recently posted about the wild turkeys that Piper an I encountered on a nearby trail. It turns out that the turkeys are pretty ubiquitous. It’s a rare day where we don’t see or hear some of them in the yard or on the trails. We frequently see a family of nine strutting through the yard. Here’s a list of other wildlife that we’ve encountered recently:

Coyote (not my photo, but this is similar to the ones that I saw)
  • A buck with fuzzy horns on a trail behind our back yard.
  • Two coyotes trotting through the yard while I was taking laundry off the line. They came within 20 feet of me before noticing that I was there and scampering off into the woods.
Barred owl (again, not my photo!)
  • Numerous garter snakes.
  • We hear lots of songbirds and frequently see cardinals and goldfinches in the yard.
  • Hummingbirds enjoy our flowers.
  • Last night and this evening, we heard loud hooting from a barred owl in the woods across the street. We have yet to spot it, but have high hopes. It seems to vocalize around sunset.

We’ve also spotted lots of scat in the woods, much of which we don’t recognize yet. We’re learning quickly, though, and intend to continue developing our understanding of the local fauna.


Piper and I went on a lovely walk along the trails across the street from our house. Highlights included wildflowers and some wild turkeys.

Only two miles, but it was hot and the hills had me winded. I need to make this a daily routine.
Turkey parent on the left. You can just see one of the youngsters on the right. (Baby turkeys, I just found out, are known as “poults.”)

In the following video clip, you can see two poults fly up into a tree just as we come around the bend. Then a third one struggles to get aloft and follows the first two.

Poults taking flight.
Massive bumble bee on one of our flowers when we got home.

Griffin’s Adventure Begins

Griffin is off on a two week backpacking adventure at Camp Widjiwagan. Sarah drove up with him yesterday to drop him off. He’ll spend a few days in a cabin before heading off with a small group to Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

It a whirlwind start to the summer. The last day of school was Friday. Saturday he went to camp. When he returns, we’ll be living in a new house!

Introducing Piper

The latest addition to our family is Piper, an eight-week old goldendoodle puppy. We picked her up on Monday, June 15. Griffin and Maggie describe her like this:

We just got a puuuuuppppy!!!! She is a goldendoodle and she is a really great sweet dog. We named her Piper and she loves to play but doesn’t really like her crate yet. Piper loves outside, especially the bush. And she loves digging besides the house. She sleeps a lot and she rarely barks unless she’s scared. She is the cutest thing ever!

Piper’s phlox lair.

The “bush” that they mention is a clump of phlox at the edge of our yard; she likes to nap in the shade there, nearly invisible.

We had been idly considering a dog at some point in the next few years, but were in no rush. Like many people during the pandemic, however, we realized that the requirements of social distancing and a summer without many of our usual activities is an excellent time to focus our energy on a new project. Puppies are a lot of work, but we’re enjoying the journey so far.

Pictures from our first few days together followed by two short video clips:

Playing in the yard on a hot afternoon.

More backyard fun.

The Day After School Ended

Hi there. Today was an awesome day! We woke up at 7:30. We did our video games. Then we had an awesome breakfast of waffles, eggs, sausage, and raspberries. After that we went to SPA (my dad’s school) and my dad went into the building while we played in our hammocks. Then my dad went home with Oliver and made a picnic lunch. Then they came back and we had made a caterpillar home! Then we rolled down the big hill and went home 🏡.

The hammock. When Andrew found the kids here, they exclaimed, “This is paradise!”
The caterpillar home.