A Turtle’s Pace Weekend

When we used our large base camping tent last summer for the final time, we packed away one of the broken poles under the assumption that we would fix it when we got home. Ha! The tent sat in the basement all winter and we completely forgot about the broken pole until we set the tent up this past weekend at Adam Lake in Turtle Mountain Provincial Park. “Well, that’s not good,” we said as four parts of the pole came sliding off the shock cord and landed on the ground.

Feeding the shock cord through the broken poles took close to an hour due to not having a repair kit with us. The shock cord collapsed while trying to initially just feed it through the poles. Bear Hug took apart rope to make a thinner piece of string that we wrapped the shock cord around to feed through the poles. It worked but it took a while!

Once the tent was up around 10 PM, we brought out the lemon cheesecake that Bear Hug baked Thursday night and we sang Happy Birthday to Blue Jay. We ate it family style, right out of the pan and finished it the following evening.

We all fell asleep around 11 PM and awoke shortly before 6 AM, just as rain started to fall on the tent. Blue Jay and I hustled to harness the dogs up and took them for a quick walk around the bay so they could do their business. I had looked at the weather report the day before and knew that thunderstorms would grace us with their presence in the morning.

We made it back to the campsite just as the rain started to pour. Bear Hug backed our SUV up to the vestibule of our tent, which was a brilliant idea because with the hatch opened, it gave us access as to all our food and whatever else we needed without getting wet, minus a few splashes and drops. We have used a kitchen tent for a few years while base camping but found the vestibule of our tent to be more convenient while seeking shelter from the rain. All of our books and whatever else we bring to keep ourselves occupied is already in the tent.

The tent is massive for three humans and two dogs

We hunkered down inside the tent for three hours while the storm raged. I absolutely love the sound of thunder! The sky was dark and there was not much light in our tent.

Bear Hug and I sat in the vestibule and sipped iced coffee and caught up on a couple episodes of Outdoor Adventures on YouTube. He’s currently thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and his latest Instagram post has him summiting Mount Katahdin in 36 miles. Adam Lake does not have cell service so we downloaded a couple of shows a head of time. Blue Jay had a lot of books, colouring, and her tablet with her.

Darcy and I split a bottle of iced coffee. I didn’t want to dirty another cup so just drank out of the bottle, although I probably could have drank an entire bottle.
Arya likes comfort camping with a raised cot and plush sleeping bag to lay on. She’s not overly outdoorsy.

One of my favourite things about heading outside of the city is stopping in small towns. I like to visit shops and restaurants and I enjoy supporting small, local businesses. There are usually hidden gems to be discovered. Truth be told, I feel at home in a small town, especially one that is surrounded by agriculture. It must stem from my childhood when I spent time on my grandparents farm and went into town. Boissevain is 15 minutes from Turtle Mountain and our planned activity for Saturday morning was to explore the town.

I fell in love with Arts Park, a flower garden with sculptures and brick paths that wind around greenery.

We went to the bakery that is also a small cafe and picked up five different kinds of sweet baking, including a chocolate and bacon donut that we scarffed down in three quick bites. We also bought a loaf of sourdough bread for our charcuterie board for dinner. Fresh baked bread is so delicious!

Across the street from the bakery is The Station, a boutique that sells women’s clothing, knick knacks, and vintage and antique toys, furniture, and jewellery. I bought Blue Jay two pairs of vintage clip on earrings that remind me of my grandma. The store is a must visit again!

With the rain still coming down, we popped into the library that is on the same block as the bakery and The Station.

A visit to a small town is not complete without a picture with their mascot. I don’t know what it is but I absolutely love posing with giant mascots.

Boissevain is a charming town with grain elevators that can be seen just down the road from their little downtown. I saw Pride flags in all of the businesses that we went to including a Canadian flag with a rainbow prominently flying on Highway 10 outside The Loft Bed and Breakfast. It is a town that seems warm and welcoming and I look forward to visiting again.

Even in the season of freedom and frolic, we strive to maintain routine for Blue Jay. She needs predictability and structure in her day. Transitions and settling is smoother when she knows what to expect. We continue with many of our routines even during school breaks and on the weekends.

During this last school year, Blue Jay’s teacher used the time immediately after lunch for quiet time. I also noticed that a couple of the day camps that Blue Jay attends during school breaks have quiet time immediately after lunch. The Children’s Museum calls it Relaxation Stations on their schedule. There is obviously rhyme and reason to it.

After returning from Boissevain and eating lunch, we all did our own separate quiet time activities. I want quiet time after lunch to be something consistent for Blue Jay this summer and will aim to keep it a priority.

Chillaxing in my hammock, which very quickly became my favourite piece of gear. I read for a while and than started watching David Letterman’s interview with Obama. Bear Hug and Blue Jay did much the same with their own choice of entertainment.

The International Peace Gardens is a quick ten minute drive from the park and was the place for our second planned activity. For those who may not know, the gardens is an international gathering place that celebrates the peace that exists between Canada and the United States of America. My understanding is that when you are in the International Peace Gardens, you are no longer in either country.

There is a 9/11 memorial that consists of beams from one of the two World Trade Centers. Prior to arriving at this part of the garden, Blue Jay had become bored. Gardens with greenery, flowers, and fountains can only entertain a kid for so long. Large memorial rocks, as tempting as they may be to climb are only to be looked at and not explored with hands and feet. The same goes for the organ inside the chapel.

When we arrived at the memorial, her this-is-boring attitude quickly changed into tell-me-more. She asked question after question and multiple side conversations followed. We did our best to give what we believe are factual, age appropriate answers. When Blue Jay gets hooked on a topic that interests her, she wants to know as much about it as she possibly can.

On a side but related note about the International Peace Gardens, do not do what we did and annoy the border officer by only having a drivers license and a Manitoba Health Card that has your child’s name on it when you are done visiting and need to return to Canada (or US if that is where you live.) Bring passports.

As much as we appreciate a carefree time away from our day to day lives, we decided to come home in the late afternoon on Sunday after s’mores and a swim at the beach instead of Monday morning. While it would have been nice to soak up one more evening around the campfire, having time to prepare for the week a head was a little more important. Our day to day schedules remain much the same over the summer. I don’t jive well with hectic mornings and crammed evenings and so, the campfire shall wait for another go-around.

Until next time

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