Well, after a year of preparation (on my part anyway, the guys mostly prepared in the last two weeks, hahaha!) last weekend was the big rendezvous at the gun club.
The fun started last week on tuesday when we went and set up our little A frames. We borrowed one from Ed, who was our Booshway for the weekend (that means the guy in charge of the rendezvous), and we made one ourselves from a canvas painters drop cloth, some trees made into poles and some waterproofing.
I spent most of the week getting things together to make sure i have everything I needed/wanted. Then friday we packed up and headed to camp. This was our little primitive camp where we intended to stay the entire weekend:
However, we were delighted to hear that my father in law, Fred, was able to get a great deal on a used lodge... it is a 9X9 wall tent and it was an absolute life saver this weekend:
Things started out overcast but we had good weather on Friday. Tsu got into the spirit of things by smoking his pipe by the bonfire:
Fred invited my nephew, Jeremiah (AKA J.T.). He didn't have his own outfit so we borrowed one from our "fluffy" camping neighbor, Vern. The kids managed to have a great time playing without TV's, radios, video games, plastic toys or loud music (Jeremiah is the one in the obviously way too huge shirt, haha!):
The guys managed to have fun by standing around BSing with each other and smoking:
Trees were climbed:
Tall tales were told:
and firewood was carried in preparation for the night to come:
The view from our campsite was a sea of canvas lodges and campfire smoke:
As night fell it cooled down, and the temperature was just right for me to wear my lovely shawl, which was a gift from a friend (Isn't it just divine? She found the most amazing yarn and I had several ladies try to steal it, hehe!)
Once night had fallen the camp lit up with the warm glow of fire light:
On the rare occasion a flashlight was used it was almost jarring and disconcerting in it's coldness and white glare. Thankfully most everyone had enough lanterns that electric lights were only used when something very important got misplaced and needed to be found or when babies needed changing, hehe.
During the week the A Frames had been up we had a curious visitor check them out and leave behind clues to his identity:
Last week I found two railroad lanterns for $3 each at the Family Dollar store in town. I can NOT believe how well they worked. Our lodge lit up at night looked warm and inviting:
Dinner ended up being left over beef stew that Vern "forced" on us, followed by berry cobbler baked by Vern in Fred's Dutch oven. Our own supplies stayed packed away in our cooler hidden away beneath a wooden box because we were so well fed by everyone else who had left overs they didn't want to go to waste.
That night we attempted to sleep while Jeremiah attempted to keep us all awake. :-P The next morning we awoke to over cast skies that quickly turned to rain. Unfortunately we didn't get breakfast cooked before the rain hit. Since JT was now sleeping peacefully after keeping us up most the night ("Are you guys sleeping? I can't sleep. I really can't sleep. Are you guys awake? I'm awake. I can't sleep.") we took great delight in waking him up so we could roll up our bedrolls and move our seats inside to ride out the rain. Unfortunately the skeeters moved inside with us, so the guys spent the morning "smoking" them out while I read.
Around lunch time we took a trip out of the camp to a local restaurant, then swung by home to feed the horses, check on the cats, and pick up Nigel from Grandma's house so he could come spend the next night with us at the camp.
The rain let up after mid-day, but Tsu was exhausted after almost 48 hours with no sleep. After much time spent pestering him, we finally got him to lay down and sleep. Fred took JT and they went to the shoot. I set out my trade blanket and spent some time pre-drafting wool to spin, and then spinning it as I chatted with window shoppers and explained why my dog looks... the way he looks. Many jokes were made about him being dinner, or whether or not he was a good "Gourd Dog". *groan, bad pun*
Around dinner time I woke Tsu up, and after eating steaks and 'taters and snacking on buffalo from more than one fellow camper we wandered down to see Judy about getting JT his own shirt and Tsu a hat. It was cooling off so Tsu put on his flannel. JT found a nice black shirt. Tsu found a beer. Getting them to smile and not make funny faces was not as easy as it should have been.
After dinner we spent some time around the camp fire chatting and I worked on my yarn some more:
Nigel was a bit freaked out at first, but once the rain stopped and it warmed up he had a grand time:
One of our neighbors (who provided us with some buffalo the night before, and whose name I, unfortunately, always forget) stopped by to chat:
Ed never bothered to put pants on that day. I guess as Booshway, pants are optional!
Ben and his wife were there with their kids, so we will cut them some slack for the milk jugs sitting out exposed, haha!
Ben usually gives folks a hard time about taking his picture, especially when he is in his war paint (which he didn;t have on this time, since the rain makes it get in his eyes, haha!), but he posed for Tsu this time, so now Tsu has stolen his soul!
There was some trading going on, and our neighbor brought out his buffalo hides to work a deal with our other neighbor, Vern:
Vern (sitting under the awning chatting with visitors) was delighted with the trade, he will be building a gun in exchange for a buffalo hide, and both traders feel they got the good end of the deal which is how you want those trades to turn out:
After walking out to get pictures tsu came back to find me still spinning away:
That night we managed to get Fred to take our picture together, we were waiting for the peach and apple cobbler to be ready to eat. Tsu had found some decoration for his hat.
That night we crawled into bed, and shortly after bed time a storm hit. Through most of the night it poured rain, and thunder boomed around us. We kept our lanterns going to keep some of the moisture out of the tent, so it was quite warm inside but with the heavy rain and lightning we couldn't really open the tent up to get some airflow. Nigel slept through everything, and at one point I actually woke him up to make sure he was OK. He'd played and explored so much during the day that he was just exhausted. Shortly before dawn the storms let up and we all got some sleep.
Dawn came bright, hot and humid. But we were able to finally cook up our bacon. The guys CHEATED and used lighter fluid to get our fire going, but since our fire pit was full of water and every stick of wood was soaked i will not harass them too much about it. By the time we had full bellies the wind was coming through and starting to dry up the ground and our belongings.
Tsu opted not to shoot because he was tired and just wanted to hang out. Judy, who had come late to the Rendy because of being a brand new grandmother thursday evening, was finally able to set up her wares. I bought two shirts, two bodices, a pewter mug and a mortar and pestle... for $25 total!!!! But our weekend was coming to an end and it was time to start packing up.
Breaking down camp took most of the day. The heat became oppressive and after noon the shooting was over. Awards were handed out at 2pm, one of my gourd water bottles was included in the prizes. Because of the heat once the awards were over many people changed back into street clothes. I ditched my new bodice and my skirt and apron and ran around in just my new green short chemise and bloomers! Once we were packed we said our goodbyes and headed home, then once we had unloaded anything that could melt (and nothing else, because we were EXHAUSTED) we hopped in the truck to go get our other dog then head home to crash. Which totally didn't happen because we had friends drop in... and yet even as exhausted as we were, the visit was wonderful and I am glad they came by. We got our second (or third wind) but once they left I was passed out not too long after.
We still have to unpack the rest of our stuff and I have laundry to do but all in the all the weekend went beautifully. Even with the rain and storms (the storms were an awesome and amazing experience). I can NOT wait for next year.
My nephew was generally a pain in the butt, but I think this weekend was SOOO good for him, and watching his delight and enjoyment made putting up with having a kid around almost enjoyable. The vice president of the club gave him a fantastic hat (I forgot to get a picture, but it is really REALLY cool!) and he had so much fun just playing with his new buddy and doing outdoorsie things. Despite wanting to smack him several times I think it it was a great experience for him and hopefully he will become a part of the annual experience.
I had a lot of interest in my gourds and was able to discover what people like even though I didn't make many sales. The weather was NOT good for putting out trade blankets and we were really off the beaten path. Next year we hope to have a lot more stuff to sell, and will give up our back woods camp site to be closer to the communal bonfire where there is more foot traffic.
All in all the weekend was amazing and I look forward to next year. I'll be making JT a white shirt, that way he will have two shirts, and can wear the white one when it is hot out. I will be making myself two more skirts so I can actually change clothes next year, lol.