Many of you have asked where in the world I've been.

All I know is that after 7 plus years of blogging and a different lappy, which I don’t like, I seem to have lost my blogging fervor.

Someday, when you least expect it, I will post again.

For those of you still waiting I say thank you.

Meanwhile, I am rather prolific on twitter. Find me: @KeethaB
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The Eclectic Company - Waitin' on a New Adventure!!
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Stayin' At Camp

Family Camp is a tradition that is part of my life blood - - - so familiar to me that I forgot others may not have a CLUE what I'm talking about. When I say Family Camp, I am not talking simply of a local church congregation having a camping weekend. Those are wonderful - - - but this isn't that.

Family Camps grew out of the really really old tradition of Camp Meetings. Originally Camp Meetings were days or week(s) long preaching events held under a tent or a brush arbor and people drove in by covered wagons or other animal drawn conveyances and literally camped around the preaching shelter.

Later groups developed slightly more permanent encampments. These consisted of a permanent structure called a tabernacle which housed the preaching. Eventually shelters in which people could sleep were also constructed.

Our denomination, the Wesleyan Church, is divided up into regions or areas called districts. Historically, most or all districts built a campgrounds for the purpose of holding annual camp meetings and youth camps. (In this district we annually have a kids camp, a junior high camp, a senior high camp and family camp.) Back in the days before easy access to entertainment, these camps boomed.

In many places now, the cost of maintaining a campgrounds, insurance and health regulations, and changing of people's interests have made Camp Meetings go by the wayside. Even many of our own Wesleyan Districts have sold their campgrounds and ceased holding camp.

In our district, Camp Meeting evolved into Family Camp. We still have the spiritual emphasis of group worship times, be we have incorporated family-friendly activities into the schedule as well. I'm happy to say that during my LONG tenure on the Family Camp Committee, I helped to initiate that change by suggesting we were going to lose our camp if we didn't change from a Camp Meeting into a Family Camp. I was promptly made the chairman of the programming committee - - - for which I have my big mouth to thank.

I was very short sighted, however. I was only envisioning KEEPING what we had by making it more family friendly to folks who already enjoy camping in state parks etc. I will tell you, that when I returned this year I was quite SHOCKED at the popularity our camp now enjoys - - - but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Camp is a place where life long friendships are forged, and old friendships are renewed. It is a place where people who worship God and wish to instill godly principles in their children gather for encouragement and help on that journey.

Many of my friends met their spouse at camp. Many, myself included, put down spiritual roots at camp - - - committing their lives to the Lord. Some, including my own mother, were BORN on the campgrounds DURING camp. For the length of camp, BEING a christian and GROWING spiritually IS the POPULAR lifestyle. There is that short time of drawing away from the rest of life - - - and the results can be amazing.

The main purpose of my post today is to show you where people stay at our campgrounds in Fairmount, Indiana.

The first option is a dorm room. The fee for staying in a dorm is very minimal - - - I believe it's $3/night. We have dorm rooms available to teens, with counselor supervision, and to families as well.

The teens in our district love camp so much that many of them return, without their parents, for family camp. Other teens, not wishing to be under their parents nose for the week (uh, that would be MY kids when they were still living at home - - - what am I talking about, that was ME back in the teen day) also choose the dorm option.

Families may also rent dorm space at a family rate. There are enough dorms on this grounds to have separate dorms for families so they don't have to share in the noise and exuberance of the teen dorms.

Other families have purchased small cottages on the grounds. You own the cottage itself, but not the land upon which it sits. You pay a small annual maintenance fee and then you may use your cottage whenever during the summer you so wish. (Most are not winterized.) We have rows - - -

And rows of family cottages at Fairmount. Some are old, having been passed down in a certain family for generations, and are dearly loved. Others are brand new and just beginning the family tradition.

I love to wander among them and see all the cuteness. Some people have gone to great lengths to make their cottage a tiny, decorated home.

For several years one of the camp activities offered was a "Cottage Tour of Homes." It was AWESOME!!! If they were having that THIS year, I'd go around with my trusty little digi-cam and show you some cute interiors. I do have some friends with cottages - - - I'll see what I can do about getting some interior pictures for all of you who are saying, "I WANT TO SEE THE INSIDE!!!"

Then we have people who bring their own camper or tent and actually CAMP right on the grounds.

This is the part that SHOCKED me when I returned this year. Our camp sites are literally JAMMED full!!!!

When I first started camping out here with our family - - - there were empty sites all over the place. Oh, my dear friends, that is NOT the case any more. There are campers in every nook and cranny. I heard we've had RECORD attendances this year - - - and I can BELIEVE it.

Of course, I am one of those campers. Here is my little home away from home - - - this time with no SUV in my living room!!!

I have MORE camp stuff to share - - - so tune into this station again!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gull Lake Eye Candy


I'm too tired to edit camp photos, so I won't be doing the next installment of the Family Camp posts until tomorrow. Keri has a Family Camp post here if you want to see more of camp right now.

Let me just show you a few more Gull Lake photos tonight.

I realize I've already shown you this lake - - - this shoreline - - - this water - - -this sky.

But every time I looked at it - - -

It had changed.

The color of the water goes from black to gray to green to blue.

Sometimes the water is still, sometimes it's rippled, and sometimes it gets really rough.

Sometimes the sky is blue, sometimes it is gray, and sometimes it is both.

And the light plays all kinds of tricks with the leaves, the water, and the fields.

So beautiful.

So peaceful.


The Wanderer Returns


In our district of the Wesleyan Church, we have a wonderful tradition called Family Camp. Family Camp is like Youth Camp only for the whole family. Babies to Grannies - - - you'll find them ALL at Family Camp. In fact, you'll find Grannies that USED to be babies at Family Camp - - - it's a LONG time tradition.

Vivienne, you'll totally "get" this.

I'll be doing several Family Camp posts - - - but this is just the intro so to speak.

For years and years (I have NO CLUE how many) I served on the Family Camp Committee helping plan and conduct the camp. Our family "lived" out here for the entire eight days of camp. Then the Family Camp dates changed and landed right on top of our Wisconsin vacation - - - so for the past four or five years we've missed camp altogether.

This year camp is THIS WEEK and we're home from Wisconsin, so fisherhubby hauled our camper out here for me Tuesday evening and last evening I came out to move in for the rest of the week and weekend.

When I drove up last night this is what I found:

HELLO!!! Someone had parked right on top of my camper carpet - - - in my LIVING ROOM so to speak.

Perhaps it would look better from the other side - - -

Nope. Not a bit better.

And this was my lovely view as I stepped out the front door.

I was flabbergasted. You heard me - - - flabbergasted, perfectly good word which describes perfectly what I was.

Who would do such a thing, and why???? In all my years of camping I've never returned to any campground anywhere to find a CAR in my living room.

I hoped it was a joke.

I hoped the owners would come back and remove said car - - - - CAREFULLY.

Turns out it wasn't a joke - - - it was a bit of a misunderstanding - - - and the best part - - - the car DID go away rather shortly after I arrived and I now have a more CONVENTIONAL view out my front door.

And with that - - - I will leave you with the ANTICIPATION of more camp posts to come.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thrifty Vintage Thingies - Indian Head Country


It's THAT time again!!!!
Vintage Thingies Thursday over at Coloradolady and Thrifty Thursday at Bloggeritaville.

Be sure you click on both of the icons or links above to check out what everyone else is posting.

My post today is a vintage salute to Hayward, Wisconsin where I just spent my vacation.

It is thanks to my Aunt Lois, and her thrifty, frugal ways, that I can even MAKE this post. (Some of you remember my Aunt Lois and the aluminum foil queen.) I'm sure my parents had some of these "back in the day" - - - but they would have been thrown away years and years and YEARS ago.

Ah, but Aunt Lois doesn't throw things away if she thinks someone some day will want them. This time I benefited from her frugality when she gave me this:

A 1936 tourist guide to the Hayward Lakes area. Do you see what they CALL that area? Here, let me HELP you see - - -

Wisconsin, Indiana Head Country. Some of you may remember that I explained this term here.

In some ways this looks a lot different than the same tourist booklets would look today - - - like there's not even one color photo.

In other ways it's still the same - - - lakes highlighted, men holding fish, and lists of area attractions.

Ah Ha - - - Lake Court O'Reilles. Just how do you think THAT is pronounced? Put your ideas in the comments and I'll tell you later.

Oh - - - surely every one can pronounce Grindstone, except some of my southern blogger friends probably draw that "a" out rather like "Graaaahndstone."

And now because it fits so well with the vintage brochure, here is a Hayward fish tale from the early 1960's.

This was my elementary school principal, Mr. Peters, and his son Lee, who was my friend. I dedicated my Memorial Day post to Lee.

On the last day of school one spring, Lee and his brother David begged their dad to take them and their small boat down to the Namekagon river so they could go fishing.

Mr. Peters didn't want to do it - - - he thought they'd fish for a little while, get bored, and want him to come right back and bring them home. He said "no." They were broken hearted - - - they really wanted to go.

Pearl, their mom, spoke up in their defense saying, "Why don't you take them, Marv? They have their hearts set on it, and it would get their summer off to a good start."

So the boys won out and they got their little fishing expedition.

I don't know how long they lasted at the fishing that day for it became a moot point. After they'd been fishing for a while, Dave hooked a muskie. Not just ANY muskie - - - a RECORD muskie. In fact, the muskie you see in the above photo. (David isn't in the photo for some reason)

The fish was so big, they didn't even know how to LAND the thing without capsizing the boat. So, while Dave worked the line and the pole trying to get some kind of control of the monster, Lee grabbed the oar and began thrashing the thing on the head to try to stun and subdue it.

By this time, people on the shore had noticed and a crowd was gathering to watch the excitement.

The fish was 62 inches long and had a 39 inch girth.

Hayward is "The Muskie Capitol of the World," and hosts an annual muskie contest. Dave and Lee's Muskie was the biggest one caught in a long time, so they entered it in the contest.

All summer long that muskie held the title until the very last day of the contest when someone turned in a muskie with bigger numbers.

"I don't believe it." Said Pearl as she retold me this story when I last visited her. "I never believed there was another muskie that was bigger. I think they made that up so they wouldn't have to give the prizes to a little 15 year old kid."

I guess we'll never know about that - - - but I do know this: now there's a minimum age you must be in order to even enter the muskie contest. Hmmmmmm - - - do you suppose my friends Dave and Lee are the REASON???


More Than Jars of Clay


This is my second in a series of stories about our vacation "haunts." There will be one more to follow later.

"Pottery at Best" is a little shop in downtown Hayward that draws me in it's doors over and over.

This first drawing card for me is my friend Rosie who works there and always greets me with a smile and kind words. She is a breath of fresh air and well worth a daily visit.

The shop itself is simply lovely.

It's filled with pottery, GORGEOUS pottery, of every size and shape imaginable.

It's all displayed in a creative, interesting, and fun way. (Can you see the little pottery bird houses hanging from this tree?)

Most of the items in the store are pottery, but - - -

Tucked in and around the pottery are lovely pieces of art.

I've been enjoying this store for several years. This year Rosie told me the story.

Meet Donna. She and her husband ARE the story of Best pottery.

One day Donna and her husband saw a man working on a potter's wheel. Donna said, "That's what I want to do."

Her husband found an old used potters wheel for her, and she began to teach herself how to use it. She loved it and began turning out gorgeous pieces.

Turns out, (pun intended) all the pieces of pottery in the store are the work of her hands or her hubby's hands, or a combination of both.

This lamp is an example of both of their work.

Donna turned the base on her wheel and her hubby made the cut out embellishments.

I have been eying this display of Crono Jewelry, designed by Chris Poly, for several years.

I was in the shop so many times this summer that I broke down and bought myself a ring.

Can't decide which way I like it best - - - blue bead up, or blue bead down.

I also bought two pieces of Donna's pottery. (The apple is just to give you size perspective, they don't sell apples at Best's!)

This one will make a perfect spoon rest.


We've Got Mail - - -


An e-mail from our world traveler.

He arrived at his hostel in Stockholm safely and is in "currency rate of exchange brutality" shock. He's out moseying around looking for food he can afford.

He's accomplished at living on nothing - - - last summer he existed by selling his blood plasma - - - oh I kid you NOT.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Said I Would Go Back This Fall - - -


And here are my reasons why:

Please pray for our school.