It has been nearly a year since I have been up to “camp” – the cabin up in the PA woods near Tionesta. It is a logistical challenge getting here and having stuff for the weekend. The closest stores with any options are a good 45 minutes away. Plus, the roads leading here are twisting, steep, dirt roads. When I have the girls coming, the pre-planning can be a hassle. Then we get here and I remember why I love it.
The solitude and beauty of the hemlock forest can’t be matched. No matter what’s happening in my life, it always clears my head. Luckily, the girls feel the same way. They love coming up to camp as much as we do.
The camp itself has a lot more comforts than it did the first time I came up. Curtis did a great job in the years prior to our meeting to make it really nice. Still, it had lacked a functional kitchen (now perfectly functional and beautiful), refrigerator (check), and seating (done). The bathroom and bedroom areas were a little rough but do-able. Until we got here last night.
Before I get to that part of my story, let me first give some background on what happened prior to our arrival. We made a stop at Ben and Rachael’s house to pick up the mules for the weekend. Ben was the kindhearted Amish guy who got the mules ready for their big moment on our wedding day. He’s worked with the mules for 2 months so how hard could it be for him to catch Spike, Ike and Donny in the pasture? was my thought. Um…I don’t think that Ben intended to show off his upper body strength, but that’s what he did as Ike pulled him about 20 yards through the pasture and did a 180 spin while Ben held on with one hand on the halter. (Note to self: never arm wrestle with an Amish man. Even Grandpa was in better shape than most city guys I know.)
Although he put up a fight, Ike was still caught in under 5 minutes. Spike and Donny went with a different evasive tactic when they were approached. They got the other horses and mules to run interference and made a run for the gate. Ben figured that they might employ this move so he had Rachael and I – oh and little 8 month old Levi on her hip – block the entrance of the back pasture. One the pack was out near the barn, we were to block the gate so they couldn’t get back in the pastures.
Now I can say “No” with a really good Mom voice, so I was thankful when that brought the stampede to a halt when they were charging us once. But it only worked once on those darn horses. The second time they really charged at us – and little Levi – they weren’t stopping. Both the paint and their giant work horse headed straight towards Rachael and Levi, pushing around them. I said a silent prayer thanking God that Levi was OK and realized that I am a long way from having the fortitude of Amish women. Whew, she stayed cool under pressue. Once it was just the mules left outside the pasture, we (OK, Ben and Curtis) were able to get Spike and Donny about 10 mintues later.
So finally pulling into camp at 10:30, I was ready to get the water turned on, make sure no little friends enjoyed my bed in the winter, and crash for the night. Curtis turned the water on with the instructions that I was to listen for leaks. That sounded easy enough…but we have to get the air out of the pipes, which means opening up the faucets. So you can’t hold me totally responsible for not realizing that the toilet tank had a crack running from top to bottom. Darn, it sure seemed easy to spot when Curtis looked in the bathroom 2 minutes later as water was spewing all over floor…
So here we are, up at the blissfully beautiful middle of nowhere with no toilet and, as a result of the way the pipes are run, no water. Thanks to the Home Depot gift cards recently received, we have a beautiful new commode that’s in the process of being installed.
And to think that Curtis wanted to come up here to get away from doing work inside the house and enjoy the great outdoors.