Sunday, August 12, 2007

camping the "farm party"

We continued the tradition of traveling up to Princeton/Green Lake, Wisconsin for the "farm party". Every year the Ferg family puts on a huge party at their old family farm. The land is rolling shades of green farmland, woods and marsh. It has a really old farm house on it, a newer farm house (maybe built in the 1970's), a working bathhouse, several old barns and then the newest house recently built as a residence for Tom and Diane (our friend, Jodi's, parents).
The "farm party" consists of a big campfire, lots of friends and family, usually 20 or more tents, several kegs of beer, a hog roast on Saturday evening, crazy story-telling and jokes late into the morning, fireworks, and a Huevos Rancheros breakfast on Sunday morning.
Well, this year things were different for several reasons. First, Ryan and Kelly were in charge of the hog roast, which meant the pressure of the big meal was closer to us because they are mostly who we hang out with. Second, we had a torrential downpour that hit right when the hog was being carved and dinner was ready to be served. There was a big scramble to get everything and everybody out of the rain. That meant a rush to our van to get a tarp that would protect the hog and the hog-carvers, and 10 odd people holding it up around Ryan and Kelly. On getting everybody out of the rain... Nigel had finally fallen asleep for his first real nap of the day and I had laid him down in our tent 20 minutes earlier. When I was helping hold up the tarp, someone came running over from the house, saying, "Mike and Elizabeth, your tent is sideways". Well, I bolted to our tent because I knew Nigel was in trouble. Wouldn't you know that after I got the door unzipped, I lifted up two or three pillows and heavy blankets, and there w as Nigel, sound asleep in the middle of the tent (normally, he is a light sleeper).
What else made it different this year? Oh yeah, some of the Ferg family members couldn't come this year so the crowd was light, which made for a mild fireside "chat". Then, we got hit hard in the night with another thunderstorm and everything in the tent that hadn't gotten wet the first time, got drenched. (Luckily, we had decided to stay in the basement of the new house so that we could sleep in a dry place.) The rain situation meant that packing-up was more difficult. I think we probably brought home 20 pounds of water in our soaked sleeping bags and bedding.
Marshall and Stewart had almost no boundaries what-so-ever. Marshall had a great time with a pack of other kids. They played and played. Stewart played with them at first, then mostly did things independently, with the occasional running after the pack of kids screaming with excitement.
Stewart also found out what the bottom of a 7-foot window-well looked like. Nigel, Stewart and I were visiting with Ryan, Jodi and Uma inside the new house when Stewart threw a stuffed animal door stopper. No big deal right, but I've been trying to encourage him to only throw balls, so I told him to go outside and find a ball to throw. Well, I guess while he was exploring around the house, he stepped on a window-well cover and it tipped. Down he fell. From the inside and from the other side of the house I heard a faint "boom" and then crying. I asked Ryan if that was Stewart, and opened the door. I knew someone was in trouble, and as I started running towards the cries, I knew it was Stewart. When we got close, Diane, who had been inside sleeping was also approaching in a panic. Ryan yanked the cover the rest of the way off and said, "he's ok" and jumped down. He passed Stewart up and I held him for a long time. It was very scary, but he got away with only two little scratches on his back. Such a tough kid. He kept saying, "Mama, fell hole. Mama, fell hole".
It was an adventurous trip. All of us are extremely tired, and hope to recover quickly. I am certain we'll do it again next year. It's now a tradition.

1 comment:

Uncle Mut said...

Wow! That was a scary story about Stewart. I can definitely imagine him repeating "Mommy fell hole" in that really special way. One of a kind! I'm glad you didn't have a heart attack!'s tough keeping up with that guy.