This may be one of my more lame ideas, but I thought it might be fun to memorialize my tomato harvest by posting photos of them all. So, here are the tomatoes from the last 24 hours:
On to the vacation photos.
After the long drive through Chicagoland and Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it was great to relax at my in-laws' house. Ross took the opportunity to practice his golf game with his aunt Cathy. The intrepid duo braved windy conditions and whacked practice balls around the back yard. Cindy (Cathy and Chris' sister) and I watched from the shelter of the side of the garage.
One of the highlights of our Michigan vacations is our stay at Camp Chicken (Cathy's camp in the backwoods). Ross got in some BB gun practice almost as soon as we got there.
We also played some badminton, and a few games of croquet. If you think croquet is for wimps, try playing it on dry, bumpy and hilly ground, or through weeds and sand! I almost threw my mallet in disgust a few times.
We took a hike through the forest to one of the hunting shacks on the property. It was a lovely walk in the woods -- hardly any bugs, because it's been a very dry summer. Hardwood forest is a little foreign to me because I grew up on a land of white pines, but I'm always happy to walk in the woods and observe life around me. Ross checked out the inside of the hunting shack, making sure mice hadn't invaded it, as they had wrecked havoc in a shack back at the main camp.
Grasshopper hunting was one of Ross' favorite pastimes this year. He decided to trap the insects in badminton birdies. (They do sort of look like a cage, don't they?) He had Arlene (Cathy's friend) hold them for him.
The biggest hit of camp was Uno Attack, an addictive card game that all of us could play together. It's a good thing there's a really long picnic table at Camp Chicken! The game is Uno with a lot of twists -- diabolical wild cards that allow you to trade hands with another player, for example. There's also a card-dealing machine that spits out cards at random; the farther along in the game you are, the more cards it spits out. It easily took us an hour to play some hands, but it was a lot of fun. Even my father-in-law, Harry, got in the action, helping Ross play his hand.
(left to right: Chris, Arlene, Ross, Cindy, and Harry)
Sometimes folks would take a break. Here's the peanut gallery at one point [l to r: Cathy, Gloria (my mother-in-law) and Dave (Cindy's partner)]:
Evenings were peaceful affairs. We were lucky to be up there during the peak of the annual Perseids meteor shower, during a new moon. My in-laws live in a very rural part of Michigan, so there isn't much light pollution there. One night, Chris, Ross, and I laid down on my in-laws' front yard to watch the show, with my mother-in-law joining us (standing!) for a while. The Milky Way was incredibly bright, and it was easy to see satellites go flitting by. We were wrapped up in blankets -- it was a bit chilly, and the dew was falling. We saw some wonderful meteorites, complete with smoke trails. We also watched the skies up at camp. Although the trees block part of the view, the sky is still brimming with stars and is full of mystery and wonder. It's disappointing to get sleepy, because you want to stare up at the sky all night!
Our trips to visit family are seldom glamorous or flashy, but they have their own rhythms and rewards.
PS: My sister-in-law Cathy posted some great photos of our visit on her blog: http://campchicken.blogspot.com.