So Much to Do and So Many Chances!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Another rain free day at GV produced a bevy of fun today.  As Discovery ended on Sat., we now have double sign-ups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  So, each day campers can sign up for 4 activities of their choice and hopefully in activities they wanted to do but couldn’t last week.  As Matt, our program director, said at breakfast this morning, it’s double the fun today.

Outdoor Living Skills started their day by brewing up some Hemlock Tea for their after breakfast drink.  Now don’t be concerned, this is not the poison hemlock that Socrates drank (that does grow in a higher elevation), it’s the Hemlock Tree.  The very ends of branch have tender shoots this time of year that taste very lemony and with a little honey it makes a fine tea.  Many of our hemlocks are under siege from a predator called the wooly adelgid, so it was a good time to teach the campers about the plight of these trees.  OLS should have teamed up with the folks at The Mill because they were churning out Johnny Cakes.  The two would have complimented one another.   Campers at the Mill were grinding a lot of corn today which first of consisted of taking the corn off the cob.  Cindy, the Miller, has a variety of tools to help with this.  My favorite is a hand crank device that takes the kernels off and then shoots the empty cob into another bin.  In the 1800’s, that was automation.  Campers also used hand shellers which are fun and provide a good workout for your forearms and hands.  There’s also a number of ways to grind the corn after you shell it.  Our Mill is the easiest way, but many of the campers prefer to turn one of the old mill grinders or use the stone grinder that you turn by hand.  You can’t imagine how many things you can make from a simple corncob.  The options are limitless.

From farm to art and there is a connection.  We grow gourds on our farm and after they are picked in the fall they lay out in the attic of our barn and dry out.  They’re good for making all kinds of things which the children were doing today.  It’s fun to paint them and color them in an assortment of ways.  Just around the Mill is where a lot of activities are located including our pottery shop and Yanderside.  The potters were learning to throw on the wheel when I went by this afternoon.  This is something I’ve never been able to accomplish and it looks so easy.  I somehow manage to stick a finger through the pot I’m trying to turn.  I should just stick to pinch pots.  Not far away in another arts area campers were tye dying T shirts.  GV does some serious tye dye and you’ll see evidence of this when your camper comes home.

There were two shifts of climbers that went up to the Rock today to climb.  This “Rock” is on our property and located almost on top.  There’s three climbs located on the rock that we put up very early in our tenure here at camp.  The longest is a face crack climb that you’ll see pictures of as you view the pics of the day.  If you know anything about climbing ratings, it’s rated about 5.9 or 5.10.  It’s not an easy climb and we had several campers make it to the top today.  It’s nice to have this on our property.  It’s a nice hike and it feels like you could be out in the middle of Pisgah but you’re only a 10 or 15 minute walk  from camp center.

There are a couple trips out of camp tomorrow as paddlers and bikers hit the water and trails at Dupont and the French Broad.  The more advanced Main Camp climbers went to Looking Glass today and climbed at the Nose area.  Great views and super scenery!  Speaking of out of camp, I visited Cabin Sunrise tonight on their campout.  They were camping at Indian Cave which is right next the roaring Carson Creek that runs through the center of camp.  It’s a super campout place and you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.  When I got there the boys were having roasted hotdogs over and open fire.  A simple meal, but just being out there and chilling with your buds is far more important that the cuisine.  Almost every boy had a stick in their hand when I got there and it was being used for different things.  Hey, it’s a guy thing and I get it, because we all like to mess around with sticks and poke the fire.  Their dessert was Apples and Oranges and I showed them how you can enhance a small flame by squeezing the orange peel skin.  I think it’s the ascorbic acid that burns, but don’t quote me on that.  It’s pretty neat and you can do with a match.  Just squeeze the peel right next to the match and watch what happens.  Being on a campout and having that unstructured freeplay with your buds is the best.  Our lives are very structured and organized even at camp. It’s nice to just have a good time around the fire with your friends.  These guys get along great and it was fun being with them and their staff.

After their campfire, I went to the Farm Campfire for Main Camp which was in the Lodge.  There was story telling, dancing, music, the story of The Billy Goats Gruff (with real goats and a vicious troll pig), songs by cabins, and the best carrot cake you’re ever tasted and made while we watch.  This part of the show was pure humor and fun.  As I’ve said in the past, it’s a full day here and it’s about that time!  Stay tuned!