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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vacation From Hell Part 3 (It wasn't all bad) or, How HomeSchoolers Do Vacation

Ok, so it took me a month, but now I find I can actually look back on that vacation and smile. There were a few completely awesome moments.

Animal Sightings:

We kept a log of all the different animals we saw each day. Among other neat-o things, we saw cormorants, loons, a bald eagle, and several dozen other wild creatures. It was fun searching for new things every day.

Day trip to Washington Island:

This was really a blast. We took the car ferry across and spent the whole day there. One of the favorite things to do is go to the Ostrich Farm, where they have a petting zoo full of amazing creatures: ostriches (don't pet them--they bite!) , miniature horses, alpacas, and even a camel! This picture of the camel is a couple of years old, and the camel is now grown. He is still super-friendly and for some reason, really takes to Ted. We have several years worth of video in which the camel is hanging all over him, chewing on his hat, and giving him "camel kisses." It does not treat every body like that.

We went to the Jacobsen Museum, where one man dedicated his life to building a small vacation-cottage resort and preserving the history of the island. The kids were incredibly well behaved as the looked at the old equipment in the yard. Once inside, the looked a artifacts of Island life, from a map stone made by the Pottawatomie Indians to toys and tools of just a generation or two ago. My kiddo especially liked the old telephone switchboard (the kind where the operator physically moves plugs around) because Nana used to be an operator when she was young.

By far, the best part of the Jacobsen Museum was walking down to Little Lake with Ted, Barb, Jack, and Kiddo. Yes, there really is a lake in the middle of this island. The shores were full of lovely water irises and lotuses and dozens of dragon flies buzzed over the surface of the lake. We got interested in a really big black and powder-blue one. We were all standing on the pier watching it. Then it landed on the pier and all 5 of us got down on our hands and knees to get a closer look. The dragon fly was landing and lifting up and landing again in the same place, so Barb put her hand down where it kept landing and sure enough, it landed right on the back of her hand. She giggled softly and whispered, "It tickles!" The dragon fly flew away and came back with a house fly in its mouth. We all sat there amazed and watched as the dragon fly devoured the house fly. Coolness! As soon as the fly was gone, the spell was broken and the kids went tearing up the path to tell Mike, Sue, and Nana what they saw.

The last stop was Schoolhouse Beach. We had just learned at the museum that Schoolhouse beach is one of only a few in the world to be made up entirely of lovely, round, glacier-polished rocks. We had also seen a few fossils at the museum. Let the fossil hunting commence! I especially got a kick out of this because I suspect that Mike and Sue are creationists. While they have been hoping their kids would be on fire for Jesus Christ, I was setting them on fire for searching out evidence of evolution. (Take THAT, Mike, for spilling the beans about Santa Claus! )

On the way home, I sat on the ferry and chatted with Mom. I was really really trying to be nice. Really. But it got to be too much and I decided to go take a walk and find my husband and kiddo. Guess where I found them? On the bridge of the ferry, with the captain. Guess what my kiddo was doing? Driving the bloody ferry boat!

Now how many more postcard moments can you ask for in one day?

The Evening We Went to Kangaroo Lake:

Kangaroo Lake (info) is a body of water within the peninsula. There is a long causeway through the middle of it. One evening Mike and Sue took their kids to the drive in movie, so Ted, Kiddo, Mom, and I went to see the lake. We spotted little fishes and dragon flies ( I didn't know until later that some of them were the endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly) . Even cooler to Kiddo, the causeway's underpinning incorporates several large culverts where the lake water can flow through. Where the wanter flows in to the tube, there are cool little swirls and eddies. Kiddo spent lots of time dropping bits of grass and sticks into the eddies and watching them get sucked down. Then he ran across the causeway to see them come out the other side, where dozens of little fishes were waiting to catch whatever might come out.

After leaving the lake, we went across the peninsula to watch the sunset in Ephraim and have ice cream at the famous Wilson's. As we walked on the piers to catch a good view of the sunset, we noticed a fire boat belonging to the local department. On the way back, we met the fireman who cares for the boat, and had a chance to talk at length abut the boat and Door County life in general.

A storm rolled in, and we chased it in the car. We didn't get to see much of it because we had to cross the peninsula again and got stuck in the woods, but it was fun. Except for Mom, siting in the back seat and screaming about ax murderers in the woods.

Making Love on the Balcony:

Only one night did Kiddo go to sleep before Ted and I were exhausted. Since we had no place to put him (he outgrew the bathtub as a temporary bed a couple of years ago) we left him in the room and took some blankets out on the balcony. 'Nuff said.

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