Monday, May 14, 2007

Mom's day at camp

Yesterday DH, the boys and I went down to DH's family land down the lake. We are so lucky to have access to this parcel of land on the waterfront! Camp has been there for 19 years as of August...through my association with the family it's been part of my summers since I was 19 years old. The boys have been going there their whole lives. I don't think they can imagine life without this magical place.

I spent an hour or so yesterday morning putting together food and cleaning supplies and we went down to open camp.

The photo at left (the view of camp coming up from the beach) is taken once we got the roof on the She-bang (I've never known the origin of the name of this's a free-standing lean-to with no walls, just a roof and a loft). Under the She-bang is a summer kitchen (which we didn't get all together yesterday as we didn't bring the trailer with the cupboards, etc., in it,); we scrubbed up our BBQ and prepared it for an evening cookout.

Oldest found a bleached partial fish skeleton during our first beach walk of the day - pretty cool, quite long (about 14" including part of the fish skull). All the vertebrae remain together, which was pretty neat. Most of the rest of the fish bones we found yesterday were disarticulated. The photo here was an attempt at showing the porous nature of the bones. They've certainly been outside all winter, under the snow and are very weathered (and now totally dry).

We looked at all kinds of amazing rocks. Oldest is a bit of a geology hound, so we're always on the lookout for unusual rocks.
Friends of ours joined us later in the day for dinner and as it turns out, the Dad was a geology major in University! So we got to identify most of the specimens we had collected from the day. This perfectly egg shaped rock is really a conglomeration of all the things that we usually see in granite (which is what most of our town area is made of), just in a but of a different proportion than we're used to seeing here. Horneblende, calcite and quartz.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that we live in a valley that was flooded 30+ years ago as part of the provincial hydroelectric development, that we live on what is, essentially, a reservoir. Because of the flooding we get to occasionally see amazing things like this tree stump, upended and beached at high water last year. Huge and magestic at about 9' tall and 18' across, this root ball is balanced perfectly on it's trunk. Over the years that we've lived here we've seen less and less of these beautiful giants as time has cleaned them away...each year more are dredged out of the lake at the various dams and it takes severe weather and cumulative erosion to release new ones into the lake.

They're a result of the scalping of the area that had to happen before the flooding. There are areas in the lake right now that, if you glide over them in the canoe, are the remnants of ghost forests, submerged fields of stumps with fish darting amongst them and sand around them instead of moss.

Up in the woods, things are bursting with new life. I went on a walk to fetch water during the day yesterday and had to go back to get my camera. The bracken ferns (all the other ferns too) are slowly unfurling right's beautiful.

My new camera lets me take pictures at an extremely close up range, so I was able to get this pic of the fern curl. Later in the year the ferns are so thick and indestructible, but at this time of year they are babies, still, like most things in the forest.

One of my favorite things here is the wild ginger that grows along the edge of the driveway. The ginger is a protected species, as its habitat is being eroded. It's the sweetest little plant, and as you can see in bloom right now. Once a year, two heart shaped leaves host a red, three petaled flower. It's never a huge showy thing, there are never fields of red flowers. A person could walk past a group of 100 little plants and never see a flower - you kind of have to hit the right season, and know to look. The little plants grow very close to the moss and in amongst other road-edge type ferns and plants. The first photo here is of a plant a little out of it's usual element... I'm used to finding them in larger groups, in mossier areas, as in the second photo. The first plant stands about 8" high - I put the camera right on the ground to take the picture.
The second plant seems shorter, but that's partly because of all the moss. It stands about 6" high. It's in a larger group of like plants. I hope you can get a feel for their strange, delicate little flowers from the pictures.

If you crush a piece of root, it has a sharp, earthy ginger smell. I have no idea if it's related to Asian ginger or not.

Mother's day was wonderful. We spent almost the whole day outside after a hearty pancake breakfast cooked entirely by Oldest son. He's taking to this cooking thing and quite liking it.

Youngest showered me with all kinds of generous-hearted things (including setting the dinner table for the rest of the month - usually something on the allowance list as a paid chore). I'm a very, very lucky Mom.

Here we go, into another busy week.

Lots of quilting to do, and paperwork, too.

Happy stitching,



Debra Spincic said...

Wonderful walk in the woods! YOur uprooted stump reminds me of Andy Goldsworthy's work-very cool.

Vicki W said...

What wonderful photographs! Sounds like a lovely day in a really special place.

Quilt Nut said...

beautiful pictures lisa.

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures of the ginger flower. You caught them at their peak. They soon shrivel and wither into spikey looking things. Asarum Caudatum was one of the first wildflowers I learned to id in canada. Its in the Buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, so not related to the Canton ginger that we use in the kitchen, Lily family. It grows profusely in mossy areas along the Inonoaklin river. Picking not allowed! Lovely color blossoms, unusual for a wild flower. EE

Lisa said...

Thanks so much for the info about the Wild's protected here, too (Columbia River Valley).
I was lucky to catch the flowers at the beginning of their bloom. These were some of the first ones out - there were many that were just buds. I've been disappointed in previous years showing up with the camera a week too late to find them all finished.

Thanks for all the compliments about the photos. I swear the camera does 99% of the work.