Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jackpine Retreat

Saturday Morning Service - photo by Bob
 Every year, two weekends after Labor Day, we head north to go camping with other Christians for a few days. In my lifetime I have only missed two years (one year I was living in Iowa and was really pregnant- just a week or so away from my due date- and the other time I missed we were living in Kansas and it was a really long trip) and I hope to keep it at those being the only years I miss. Our family loves going out in the woods and doing rustic camping along with family and friends who all share a love of Jesus Christ.

  We bring our own food to cook over the fire or campstoves or some of the modern people even use crockpots and electric griddles. We go without showers much of the time though there is a rustic shower at the site that does work some years. :-) The kids play in the woods, do tons of carving and just have a grand time roaming free. We have morning and evening church services around the campfire. Singing around the campfire which goes on for a nice long time is always lots of fun. This year Bob B. brought the sermons and did a great job of speaking about change.

   My parents don't generally camp out anymore but do come up for the day on Saturday. My older two siblings and their families and our family have taken over the campsite that my parents have always had through the years and we have a campsite together and do our cooking in the same place (though we each bring our own food) and wash our dishes together and so forth. Our younger three siblings however decided to branch out to a different campsite (along with their spouses/families).  Unfortunately my younger sister Martha and family were not able to come this year but Keren and Luke and their spouses still had that campsite along with some other friends from church.

  That group tends to decorate their campsite up a big every year with white Christmas lights, a mug tree made from a tree and things like that. It always looks cute. This year as we were packing for Jackpine Megan insisted that one of our top priorities was to make our campsite look pretty too. She wanted to compete a little and having the nicest campsite. Her top priority was pretty tablecloths and she wanted lights too but as those were in storage I suggested candles instead. I did also throw in some bunting that I had made.

  Once we got up their I mentioned to my younger siblings and spouses that we were "competing" this year and after that they kept coming and checking on what progress had been made at our campsite. We decided that we would judge on Saturday evening. Anyway the idea kind of evolved and it ended up that other campsites also decided to "compete" and a panel of judges was selected and we all got to work at making our campsites beautiful.
A special dining area was requested by the younger girls of our campsite. I hung a tarp and Uncle Peter (our log artist) volunteered to make a table.
 Mara and Margaret got to work on making a welcome sign. They used a metal poker thing and heated in the fire to do some wood burning.

 Mara and Margaret also went wandering off in the woods and made us a fancy arrangement using moss for florist foam.

  Mom brought up a bunch of produce (squash, apples, tomatoes zucchini and cucumbers) and I had fun arranging them in Anna's picnic basket to make a lovely big fall arrangement for one of our tables. (But we didn't seem to get a picture of that.)
 The table is completed.

 Our friend Irindee was celebrating her birthday soon and so we had an impromptu surprise Birthday party for her - complete with a log cake! It was cheesy but I think she liked it anyway.
 The panel of judges is assembled and looking over the first campsite (belonging to my younger siblings and friends). Mary, Tracy and Irindee were the judges.
 Luke had done a chainsaw carving for the occasion and he had made some pretty nice log benches.
 My brother-in-law Benjamin (at least that was the name signed on the picture I believe) drew this lovely unique picture.
 They had a lovely mug tree.
 Next our campsite was visited. Notice my bunting above and the sign on the tree. Our chairs we had arranged on one side so that they looked like a rainbow. We also had a patriotic section of chairs.
 We had a coat rack for our jackets.
 A lovely hammock was available for relaxing - or playing music in.
We also had a mug tree and another tree for hanging dishcloths and towels on.
 Next campsite belonged to the Lorenz's. Theirs was super organized and had fun pops of color. Ben had also used his chainsaw to carve a cool Welcome sign on a dead tree and then had mounted two wooden swords above it. We unfortunately did not get a good picture of that. It is in the photo above on the left.
 Here are some examples of their color.

 The next campsite was lovely with a natural looking archway and "fence" made from ferns, flowers and sticks.
 There was a line-up of cute kids to greet the judges.
 Flowers and leaves on the table too.
 The judges making their decisions.
Later some of our crew enjoyed eating at our new dining space.

Well I need to head to bed but I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our fun weekend of camping in the northwoods!

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