What a Life the Camp Life Is!

Dear Parents and Friends,

What’s a day without a rain shower.  Thankfully the past few days we’ve gotten all our rain when children have not been in activities.  We thought it might not rain today but sure enough the heavens opened up just as the last activity bell rang today to end afternoon activities.  The rain has had a cooling effect on our evenings and mornings and the low tonight will be 57.  High tomorrow will be 83.  We’re weather watchers here and for a number of reasons.  The obvious is that we have children and staff all over our property and we monitor the weather throughout the day especially in the afternoon when thunderboomers  can come through our valley.  Sometimes we’ll postpone a tubing trip on the river or a creek hike because of the sky and the signs that we are constantly checking on.  Another reason is our farm and the growth of our food.  We went through a dry period just before camp started and you can see the effect on some of the vegetables that have been stunted from that time.  As a paddler I’m always monitoring our local rivers and streams.  Natural flow is so important and it even  affects the rivers that are dam controlled.  And while most of our campers are close by on the property we monitor the weather for our trips out of camp, like the Riverside group over in Linville Gorge right now on a climbing trip.  You learn a lot just by watching the clouds each day, smelling the air and feeling changes in the humidity levels.  On some days you can smell the rain way before it gets here.

The recent rains have made the farm a treasure trove of food items and I was shooting some video down there today just to give you an idea of what’s up (plant wise, that is).  Our group of master GV gardener’s picked broccoli, beans and carrots today.  I had to leave before they fed the baby calves but did get some good footage of them harvesting.  Tonight for dinner we ate directly from the farm:  Meatloaf from our cows, cornmeal to cornbread from the Mill, and lettuce, green beans and carrots from the garden.  There were also cookies for desert and watermelon, which will be coming in on the farm later in the summer.  We don’t directly advertise that we raise our own beef unless the children ask and usually that’s not very often.  I think many secretly know and suspect but it’s just one of those things we all avoid talking about.  We also eat the fish we catch from the Millpond but fish are not in the same category as a cow.  Someday we may get a visit from those Chick-fil-A cows that grace all the billboards throughout the southeast, saying “Eat More Chicken”.  I’m not sure what our chicken population would say about that.  I hope to have another short video clip up tomorrow.  You’ll see some kayaking on the lake, fishing at the Millpond, horseback riding and farming.  Tonight was international campfire and most all of our countries were represented.  There was a Polish folk tale with Dragons and Princes, a song and dance from Brazil and many other short acts which campers were a part of, that entertained us on the GV stage.

The week is beginning to fly by and it seems that the first couple of days went by very slowly and now everything is moving faster as the session progresses.  It’s hard to slow camp down but we do manage to do so.  Mealtime provides a relaxed time for good food and conversation at the table.  Today at our table were talking about the heights of various mountains throughout the world.  We talked about our own Mt. Mitchell (highest point in the east) and from there the discussion went up to Mt. Everest with lots of stops along the way.  Luckily, none of the campers got altitude sickness on the way up.  From mountains it transitioned  into lava and center of the earth and volcanoes.  I’m not sure how that whole discussion started but it was fun and I was struck by how the kids provided their own thoughts and observations.  By the end of the meal the food slowed us down and we settled into a game of blow pong before announcements.  Blow pong is played with a ping pong ball and you try and keep it on the table just by using your own wind.  Navigation blow pong is even harder and something you have to work up to after a high brow discussion like we had.  You can ask your camper about it when they get home.  Slowing things down for all of us is a good thing.  Camp can be loud and noisy and it’s good to be quiet and reflective for short segments during the day.  We live in a world where the natural sounds are mostly covered up.  As I write the Hillside creek babbles along and says to me it’s about time for the Mr. Camp Director to call it a night.  One young camper told me today that she slept so well because of living in a cabin on the Brook.  “It’s so nice and causes me to go right to slept” .  What a life the camp life is.  Stay tuned!