A Three Lakes Labor Day and Unforeseen Visit to the Fox Valley

It was another Labor Day weekend with a full house. We drove up late Thursday night to beat the crowd. 

My dad had called the night before saying he was going to go to work in the morning for a couple hours then come up. He would probably get here around noon. At 10am he called to say he and mom would be coming later that night. I assumed he had more work to do, but sadly my Grandma had passed away in the night.

This was completely unexpected as Brittany had just stopped over at her house the other day. I also had planned to give her a call earlier this week and it never worked out so I was going to call her today. I was a bit heartbroken in the morning.

After breakfast we decided to go on a family bike ride. Wonder Woman cape and all.

She's a pretty rad bike rider, so she deserves the cape.


Meadow found many ways to entertain herself. Knowing nobody would be here until late I was kind of bored being by ourselves.

She only fished for a few minutes, but she didn't need to catch anything. She already brought a few stufffed fish from the cottage.

I was planning on having more people here. I decided to cut back on the number of fried avocado slices.

I mentioned to Meadow that I was going to wash the car this weekend. She insisted we do it right away.

Such a good helper.

She only nearly drenches Brooke every few mintues.

Good thing I finally got a new raincoat.

Then Meadow did our fingernails.

While waiting for everyone to arrive we watched old episodes of American Ninja. This really inspired Meadow and she created her own course with climbs, rolls and running. 

At around 10:00 everyone showed up within 20 minutes of one another. 

The next morning we decided to have breakfast at Paul Bunyan's. I was telling everyone how we recently saw the Lumberjack show at the State Fair. The lumberjacks like to say, "Yo ho!" throughout the show. When we were kids we went to those shows every summer. During one particular show they had a competition having a few kids from the audience come up to see who could say it the loudest. Blake was picked and instead of shouting it he said, "Yo Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" Needless to say he won and was rewarded two licorice ropes.

Being that it was Labor Day weekend, the place was packed.

I'd never had to deal with a line out the door at the Minocqua location.

Because our group was so big we got split into two tables. The kids were supposed to sit together, but Meadow didn't want to. It was probably a good idea that an adult sat with them.

Especially these three rascals.

My poor dad was constantly picking up kids and spilled drinks.


While we waited in line, there was a free table. Daniel got a pack of stickers and sign that suggested having a roommate saves money. It'll be perfect for Daniel and Blake's digs.

I've been waiting for these donuts all year.

Unlike last time, Meadow had her fair share of pancakes and eggs.

In the gift shop Marina and her cousin were loving all the stuffed animals on a leash.



Every year Meadow gets her photo with Babe.

2014

2015

2016 During her teenager phase of don't-take-my-picture.

2017

Then we actually got a photo of the four cousins together and no one was crying.

Sorry, Brooke, but my shots better. You can see Paul, Babe and the kids.

I love that Harvey has one hand in his pocket.

We were going to head back. but then decided last minute to head to downtown Minocqua to go to our favorite antique store.

I was tempted by a perfect copy of King Crimson's Red on vinyl, but ended up with nothing.

When we returned my dad needed the guys help to bring in their new couch. I'm not sure how I feel about the new couch. The cottage is about having hand me down furniture.

We all agreed with Brooke's take until we sat down on this comfy couch.

Of course now that Marina was here, Meadow wanted to go for a bike ride.

She's not quite as fast as her cousin, but it's fun to see these two biking together.

Brittany and I had big plans this weekend to do some dyeing with plants. But first Brittany showed me her flute skills. Meadow really wants to learn to play.

The weather was nasty, but this couldn't keep the kids from fishing.

We gave Harvey his belated birthday gift. An easel just like Meadow's, which also is her favorite thing right now.

I also tried to ween him off of his nook.

Brittany made us all some really tasty pot pie.

Daniel brought his projector again and earlier this summer Blake bought a screen for cheap at an estate sale. We had a movie night all packed in the living room watching Aladdin.

Meadow is doing a lot better around people lately. She will even eat meals with everyone again.


Who needs french toast, when you've gotten freedom toast?

My dad needed our help today to cut down a tree and split the wood.

We all thought him buying the log splitter was a waste of money, but seeing it in action made us realize it was probably a good idea.


We all took turns manning the new wood splitter.

Mike even taught Chelsea and Blake how to use the Bobcat.

My dad claimed he was still faster at chopping by hand, but the work hurts his back. We put him to the test.


We all gave it a shot, but Mike was by far the best. Except for the chopper that is. It's way more efficient.

Meanwhile I was running back and forth between our dye pots. We had been collecting things all week in preparation.

Local ferns from the woods turned our fabrics a nice brown.

We actually had one nice day and that meant Gail and company lounging by the lake.

I even joined Blake and Daniel in ancient pair of shorts I borrowed from Mr. Mike.


These water ladies wouldn't stop squirting everything in site.


Everyone who helped out with log cutting got to go on a boat ride to Pine Isle.

Except me, I had to stay back to work on our dye projects.


We drank a few drinks, reminisced about the cottage and then made our way back.

And then a miracle happened.

I actually got to drive the boat!

This is big because he's never been allowed before.

"No more monkey's jumping on the bed!"

With the guys (and Chelsea) getting home late from the bar, dinner was also late. My dad brought a lamp outside and Chelsea hung up string lights so we could have our night corn roast.

Daniel also provided some smoked pork that his dad had prepared.

The next morning I made my giant egg sandwiches again. Always an easy meal for the crowd.

And I always seem to sleep in super late on the days we eat these.

It was chilly, but that didn't stop Marina and Meadow from swimming. Well, mostly running on the dock in Meadow's case.

Everyone got one last round of fishing in.

Harvey just watched him mom from the dock.


I think Meadow preferred the big pole.

Meanwhile I finished up the last of the dyeing. Walnuts on the left and chokeberries on the right.

Over the weekend we made a rainbow of colors from tree bark, walnuts, ferns, goldenrod, purple cabbage, cabbage mixed with baking soda, chokeberries, avocado skins and pits and beet scraps. The wool picked up the colors much better than some of the cotton clothing. I dyed all of Meadow's old clothes that had stained except the dye just made all the stains darker.

Since we had my grandma's funeral in a couple of days we rode back to my parents house instead of going back home for a day. Meadow wanted to ride with Gigi and Grandpa. We all left relatively around the same time. Blake left an hour before us and we still managed to get home first.

We hadn't eaten anything since lunch. So, we were hungry. With it being Labor Day we kept finding restaurants that were closed early. We finally settled on Glass Nickel Pizza. We went with the Couch Potato, cheesy bread and the Mac Daddy. You could say we were hungry.

It was so good.

We were super full after this and we still had half the pizza left.

Daniel asked if we had any embarrassing photos of Blake so I pulled out an album from 1994.

My Minnesota Historical Society Membership allows me to go to other museums around the country for free or with a discount. One of those museums where I could get a discount was the History Museum at the Castle. Blake and I have been wanting to go for a long time. I hadn't been here since like 5th grade maybe.

I tagged along despite being history-ed out this summer.

With Houdini growing up in Appleton there was a whole exhibit dedicated to him and his career.

Strong man Meadow

You even got to try a few tricks. Blake and Daniel demonstrated the locked box for us.

Then they did a siance lifting the table.

 It had been raining on and off all day and it looked like we would have a 2 hour window of no rain. Blake took Daniel to Island Park. Meadow wanted to ride her bike so we went down later.

My knee was kiling me, so I stayed home.

The Fox River has been working on reopening all the canals to allow boaters through again. They have even fixed or replaced the bridges and even restored all but one of the lock tender houses.



I'm so glad she loves to bike.

Then we happened upon Blake.


 With all the rain the water is super high right now.

 I really want to do a canoe ride on the Fox River now.

Walking back to the car we happened upon a rainbow.

We had asked Gail to make crap-e-role. Usually she makes an Italian one. This time she went with a tuna fish one. To be honest, I really love G.G.'s casseroles.

After not having them for so long they aren't too bad.

The next day was my Grandma's funeral and we headed home from there.


In memory of Deloris Lungwitz
1929-2017

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