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We have been looking forward to this weekend for months. It would be our second camping weekend on the farm with the whole family.

Last year we were plagued with cold, wet weather. This year we hoped for better days.

One good thing happened during our planning. We changed from the third weekend in July to the fourth weekend. Because of this date change we missed having our campsite blown into the next county during a wicked thunderstorm.

Speaking of thunderstorm damage. Russell and Dave brought saws to cut up the heavier trunks of the trees that had gone down during last week’s storms. Both men worked with efficiency and safety in mind, even with a group of gawkers watching at a distance. Others helped move the cut logs—Bob and I were very happy to have all this help.

Though one tent was set up on Thursday, the real camping began on Friday. Some meals were assigned to different families. I volunteered to do my share of cooking but was told that everything was taken care of. Everything, except lunches. Those were to be done by individual families for their group. A lot of the food ended up being shared anyway.

Friday evening had a few sprinkles, but that didn’t stop our son-in-law Andy from grilling burgers for the whole mob. Planning for an army meant leftovers were stored for future lunches.

It turned out our camp took place during the Outagamie County Fair. We decided to take the grandchildren to see the animals early Saturday morning.

We timed it perfectly. The kids loved the FFA petting barn. I admired how well all the barns were kept. The presenters were out there shoveling manure and forking in clean straw. Still, one of our group managed to get a tiny bit of manure on her shoe. After that, she only looked down and missed seeing the animals—funny thing was that back on our farm this same child was in and out of our chicken house without thinking of the manure there.

We didn’t stay long at the fair. It was the plan to come home for lunch and then have adventures on the farm.

A water balloon fight was initiated. It was a good thing that most of the kids’ targets were each other and not the adults. The only time I got wet was when I went to turn on the sprinkler. I had not set it far enough away from the faucet and ended up getting a shower. The water was cold, but by this time in the afternoon, that water felt good.

Tents filled our backyard. There was even a pop-up camper which the boys claimed for Friday night. The girls had their own tent and one teenager had a tent all to himself. Bob and I never planned to sleep in a tent or camper. We were lucky enough to be able to walk into the house and sleep in our own bed.

I forgot to mention the campfire. We didn’t use that fire for cooking, except for toasting marshmallows for S’mores. So the children didn’t end up getting too much sugar before bed, everyone was limited to one marshmallow for their one S’more—I’m afraid I got an extra marshmallow when Eli set his on fire—I actually like my marshmallow well done. Bob does, too, so he was lucky when another marshmallow torch had to be blown out.

Our two breakfasts were crafted by Rachel and Dave. It was quite the feat to get pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon cooked for our crowd—not so easy in our small kitchen where cooks and customers were bumping into each other. Good thing everyone didn’t get up at the same time.

During our long weekend, our two carts got a workout. I only went for one ride. Luckily our 15-year-old grandson, Seth, was happy to drive back and forth with his younger cousins.

Though Bob and I didn’t have a lot to do over the weekend, we ended up tired after watching all the action. There were a few bumps, bruises, scrapes, and a smashed thumb. Never the less, we already set aside the last weekend in 2020 for the next Camp Manzke.

Susan and Bob Manzke, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.

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