Summer’s end

We’re sending summer back to the year’s rotation and awaiting the beginning of Vermont’s most famous season.

To recap, we had some great family adventures this summer. It began in June with a camping trip to Grand Isle State Park on Lake Champlain. This was the inaugural camping trip for our new 8-person tent and we were able to verify its level of rain resistance. Mostly we had fabulous weather and enjoyed visits to several nearby sites. We visited Isle La Motte, Grand Isle, North and South Hero, and the beaches at several state parks: Alburgh Dunes, Sand Bar, Grand Isle and Knight Point.

Making good use of our passports, we also took a day trip into Canada for church in Montreal. We visited an English-speaking ward and they were incredibly friendly and fun. Afterward, we enjoyed a nice walk through la Parc du Mont-Royal, including a great view from the Chalet at the top. It was a nice structure, but the best part was the display of squirrelgoyles lining the ceiling. (Yes, I just coined the most awesome word of the summer.) It’s worth the steep uphill trek just to see them. So Canadian. So fun.

Next up in our summer fun was a trip to the Shelburne Museum, a great spot for riding a carousel, climbing a lighthouse, exploring an old steam ferry, or locking your parents in a two-cell stone jail. There is beautiful, old-time American folk art in every building. My kids love the antique toy room the best. It has an electric train!

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There was time enough for swimming lessons, doing chores, weeding the garden, picking raspberries, and relaxing by the river before heading off to our western family adventure. We also celebrated National Ice Cream Day on the second Sunday in July because we love having ice cream for dinner once a year (usually followed by sandwiches for dessert…).

After recovering from jet lag and unpacking, we headed into the slow swirl of August: lazy days, a few pottery classes, playgrounds, Lake Dunmore trips, a tonsillectomy and recovery, a visit to the fair, and blueberry picking at Norris Berry Farm.

You might remember that I have three long rows of gorgeous blueberry bushes in my backyard which have finally matured so that they provide enough berries for my hungry children through the winter. Well, I suppose I should report on the results of all my preventative measures earlier in the summer.

Mostly, this year I did not win against the competition. Squirrels, deer, birds, and very likely a black bear ravaged the following crops so that I had to buy them elsewhere: blueberries, peaches, green beans, sour cherries, strawberries, and corn. I even heard a squirrel ripping the ear from the stalk, so I ran downstairs to get my camera and took a blurry shot as he absconded with MY dinner. Grr.

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I had additional issues with a couple of little boys who picked way too many tomatoes and zucchini to offer as sustenance at the several fairy houses they built. Cute, yes, although they got a little guidance as to how much a fairy can eat after I discovered the stash. I would prefer it if they ate the big tomatoes, for instance, and left one small cherry tomato for their friends….

As is traditional, the summer ended with a visit to the science museum. This year, we went to Montshire, followed by a trip to Massachusetts to visit cousins and the Acton Discovery Museums. It was the perfect last hurrah. Plus my sister’s new barn is done, complete with piglets, miniature donkeys, turkeys, chickens, and a super-duper work-out room which I regret not photographing but thoroughly enjoyed using. The final summer glory was a trip to the temple with my sister to perform sealing ordinances for family members long since gone but not forgotten: Olsons, Haldorsens, Johannesens, Jensdatters, Corsons, Elliotts, McDonalds, and Elders, to name a few.

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All in all, it was a season full to the brim with excitement, adventure, peaceful moments, family fun, a few painful experiences, some healing, and blissful highlights. I have not forgotten that this time last year found many of us here in Vermont in turmoil as we anticipated the arrival of Tropical Storm Irene. (And today, those in the Gulf of Mexico region anticipate Hurricane Isaac’s landfall.) There are many individuals, businesses, and communities which have not fully recovered yet. The owners of this particular house marked the high water point with blue spray paint, boarded it up, and moved on. The flood has left some scars, but most of them will heal eventually. We’re adaptable, after all.

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Many of these photos were taken with my iPad2 using the instagram app. You can follow me @maren_photo, or on this website: http://instagrid.me/maren_photo/. Clicking on list view will reveal the commentary. Enjoy.

3 thoughts on “Summer’s end

  1. I’ve always wanted to go to Montreal! I’m glad to hear it was as pleasant a visit as I imagine it would be.
    We are also engaged in a constant battle of man vs. nature over the garden. I hate squirrels.

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