Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Wildwood

Various Snippets

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There are days –I bet you have them, too— when there isn’t one main story of the moment to tell. Just random tidbits that may, or may not, be related. Snippets.

Starting Thursday after work last week, Cyndie and I had a goal to get a lot done in preparation for World Labyrinth Day the following Saturday. I had it in mind to relocate a cold compost pile to a low spot we are building up. I told Cyndie it would just be 4-6 wheelbarrow loads. It turned out to be double that.

While huffing the loaded wheelbarrow up to the dump spot, I saw the stack of 15 pallets waiting to be stowed. By the end of Friday, we had built the fenced courtyard for the chicken coop, raked the round pen with the ATV, put the cover on the gazebo, raked, pruned, hung hammocks and a dozen other small simultaneous tasks.

It occurred to me that the number of spring chores we accomplished felt equivalent to annual Work weekend at Wildwood, except instead of a full community of six families, it was just Cyndie and me.

During one of my passes by the paddock that Friday, I stopped to take a picture of Hunter taking a serious full-sleep nap. I thought it was funny that in his complete unconsciousness, his relaxed lips produced a pearly white smile.

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As soon as I set down my tools and pulled out my camera at the fence, Cayenne walked up to meet me. Dezirea was quick to follow suit.

Yesterday, I was walking Delilah past the chicken coop when she reacted with unwanted interest in the chicks milling around inside their fence. I decided to try an exercise of getting her to lay down right next to their enclosure in calm submission.

The plan was to get her to engage directly with me, and disregard the (incredibly enticing) chicks. It was comical watching her struggle against her insatiable predator urge. This exercise will take a LOT of repetition if we have any hope of ever lulling her into a state of being able to regard the chickens as “friends, not food.”

Back to thinking about Wildwood again, while walking Delilah through the woods near the house, I paused to search for signs of our transplanted trillium blooming.

For the last several years, while up at the lake place for Memorial work weekend, we have collected samples of the trillium that carpet the forest floor around the property and brought them home to plant as ‘starters’ in hopes of replicating a similar display here.

We always plant them in sets of three in a triangle shape to help keep track of our success ratio. The results have been pretty good.

If you look closely at the image, there is a non-flowering trillium just behind and to the right of the lone blossom commanding all the attention.

It will be a thrilling sight when we finally find evidence of new sprouts from spreading rhizomes showing up among our original groups of three.

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Club Wildwood

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Becoming a member of the Friswold family also made me an instant member of their vacation home association, Wildwood Lodge Club. It is an awesome amplification of everything precious about the Friswolds. It’s as if the things that make them a special family is taken to the 7th degree by six amazing other like-minded families that join together with a common zest for loving life and other people.

Located in the beautiful northern Wisconsin woods, spending time at Wildwood is inherently enthralling. There is always something to do, even if it is simply sitting quietly and soaking up what nature has to offer. But that doesn’t hold a candle to the energy and love shared among the people who truly make Wildwood what it is.

In a way, traveling the roughly 3-hour drive from home to be at WWLC was the first version of Friswold family trips. That is why I am featuring it near the beginning of this little series highlighting our travels with Cyndie’s family.

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There are often community games spontaneously forming –basketball, soccer, boot hockey, tennis, card games, night games– and shared meals are a common occurrence. For some years, there was a progressive dinner to each family’s “cabin” on New Year’s Eve.

There are often themes devised for Wildwood events, such as “paint your own t-shirt” for Independence day (seen above) or “make your own holiday hat” (below).

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Wildwood Lodge Club could be seen as my gateway into the next level of travel adventures I would continue to experience after becoming a member of the Friswold Family.

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Written by johnwhays

December 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

All Games

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It’s all fun and games at the lake this weekend. The 4th of July celebration at Wildwood is a tradition of classic competitions between teams of bats (blue shirts) and mice (red shirts). Under a spectacular sunny summer sky yesterday, we waged battle of kicking shoes, eating watermelon, tossing water balloons, a sponge brigade, a scavenger hunt, and moving a greased watermelon across a goal line in the lake.

It almost always comes out a tie, but both teams tend to claim victory over the other. I guess that is part of the tradition, too.

There’s a rendition of the National Anthem around the flagpole and a parade up the driveway past all the homes and back again.

The grand finale is a world-class dinner in the lodge after some spectacular appetizers on the lawn out front.

It doesn’t feel like the American political system is all that great lately, but the energy of people celebrating our independence was as great as ever.

Cyndie and I retired early to keep Delilah company in the loft bedroom under the soothing white noise of a loud fan while the banging and popping of small-time fireworks rattled the night.

It feels like a summer holiday.

Saturday evening the immediate family held a rousing tutorial of the game Tripoly with two of Cyndie’s nephews who, to our surprise, somehow made it to their late teens without ever playing the game. It was a stellar first-time exposure as the game involved some major drama in the last two hands.

Two different rare hands were dealt in the final two rounds, but neither player was able to play them out and collect the reward, because another player used up their cards first and ended the rounds.

We dealt a couple of poker hands to divide up the unclaimed chips and Steve’s son, Eric, came out on top. To my great relief, the chips were issued at no cost, so my pocket book was spared the damages that I would have otherwise suffered.

It’s all fun and games, until someone gets hurt.

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Written by johnwhays

July 3, 2017 at 6:00 am

Other Views

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There used to be two pine trees above the pond fountain, but they were outgrowing the space available and not really thriving, so Cyndie’s parents had them cut down. In a moment of inspiration that is very familiar to me, they chose to leave a few feet of the stumps as pedestals. It’s a perfect spot for a couple of flowering plants.

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With the trees gone, I was able to capture a rare view of the “cabin” from the back side.

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I arrived to the house from that direction because I had been walking through some of the trillium carpeted woods that surround us. This forest is one that feels so perfect for me. There are other natural landscapes over the world that are spectacular, but these trees and all that comes with them resonate the most profoundly with my soul.

I must have spent a few past lives in places just like this. I know the smells and the sounds, the colors, the critters, and the majority of growing plants somewhere deep in the cells of my body.

There are many a days when I dream of what this area was really like when the first tribes of people were able to call this home, long before the time when logging on an epic scale ravaged the growth.

I’m particularly pleased with the “Wildwood” name this property holds. It couldn’t feel more appropriate.

The stroll that brought me through these trees had started down at the beach, below the front side of the house. Camera in hand, I walked onto the footbridge that crosses our little boat lagoon and looked out at the lake and up toward the lodge.

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These are both views I don’t usually capture. As leaves open, the sight lines will become more obscured. The views are no less spectacular, but the camera doesn’t come close to what the eyes perceive.

I will never take for granted how lucky I am to be able to visit this space in person, where I can see, smell, hear, and touch a natural environment to which my soul feels so emotionally attached.

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Written by johnwhays

May 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

Much Accomplished

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The day started slowly, but gained momentum and became a productive and fruitful one at Wildwood Lodge Club. Cyndie’s family was well represented among the 6 current clans that hold membership in the association. Best of all, not only did the looming possibility of a rainout not happen, there was even some sunshine to bask in while we worked (and played).

DSCN4782eThe primary effort started with the beach and “boats.” There are canoes, kayaks of a variety of sizes, small sail boats, and standup paddle boards that tend to get parked on the beach. More time was probably spent washing the cobwebs off the chairs that line the beach.

The lake seems high enough again this year to have reduced our sandy strip to a minimum for all the things we put there. First impressions that the water would be uncomfortably cold were altered quickly and led to kids choosing to jump in, which soon led to requests to go tubing behind the speed boat.

Summer might as well be in full swing.

We pulled goals out of storage, which led to me needing to take on Cyndie’s nephews in a little 1-against-2 mini soccer match on my way to helping pull weeds under the playground set. I discovered loose screws that needed wrenching to get that apparatus up to code.

DSCN4786eI helped brainstorm a location for a new grill station outside the lodge kitchen, and unloaded pavers when Cyndie’s brother arrived from town with a heavy load. While at the lodge, I stepped up to help dispatch the rejected weeds and rocky dirt that accumulated from a massive clean out of the landscaping by the front steps.

That involved loading them onto a cart and transporting them to a perfect low spot in the woods by the driveway. Extra leftover hostas were moved up to our “cabin,” where Cyndie’s mom has designs to make good use of them.

Our getaway to the lake was feeling an awful lot like a typical day at home tending to 20 acres, with a bonus of the added glorious lake view.

I think my body will be happy to get back to the day-job on Tuesday for some well-earned rest.

In the mean time, my mind is thoroughly enjoying the mental vacation and energizing pleasures of family and friends —people and place— that Wildwood is all about.

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2016 at 8:29 am

Seriously Tired

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I gotta tell you, this not-working-at-the-day-job thing is incredibly exhausting. Between the shortage of sleep every night and the mixture of home chores and lake place entertainment, I am operating under the influence of some serious tired.

Our departure from home yesterday was late enough that I had a chance to finish all the fence trimming I needed to do before we left. The drive up seemed more laborious than necessary due to several traffic hindering repaving projects underway. We ran into a section where the highway crew had laid down oil on the existing surface in preparation of whatever the next step was going to be, and they then directed traffic to drive on it. What choice do you have at that point?

Shortly after that, we met congestion created by workers painting the lines down the center and shoulders of the new asphalt. It seemed as though we were slowing down as soon as we accelerated out of a previous delay.

With little hesitation after arriving to Wildwood, we donned our swimwear and made our way down to the beach. One sure-fire way to reach serious tired is playing a game of “Last person standing” on the floating RAVE Sports Water-Whoosh. You can’t touch the other competitors as you do everything possible, beyond touching, to knock the other participants down.

Much of the exhaustion comes as a result of the non-stop laughter induced by the game. The rest of the exhaustion is caused by needing to repeatedly climb back up on top of the floating platform. Cyndie captured some fun shots of young Marco and me in action:

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DSC04912eCHIt is a good thing that I am away from home for a couple of days, so I can rest. NOT!

Having a blast can be a lot of work, you know.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2015 at 6:00 am

Pure Joy

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IMG_3836eEven though there was much in the way of work being done on the main day of ‘Work Weekend,’ at the lake place we call Wildwood, there was no shortage of fun in the endeavors of the day.

After toiling away on the beach to reclaim the area from the unending processes of Mother Nature to take over our sandy little oasis, I pitched in, literally, to help others in improving the landscape in front of the lodge. The grass grows really well in the spaces near the building where it isn’t wanted, and I assisted with digging it up using a garden fork that looked like a very close relative of the pitch fork that has become one of my primary tools at home. A beautiful array of perennials were planted into the newly turned soil.

IMG_3843eThroughout the tasks, conversations blossomed in an annual renewing of connection with members of the community who scatter to their city lives for most of the winter.

Taking a pause from the work, I stopped back to the house where Cyndie was resting her hip and reading a book. I sat with her for a bit, until I noticed she had nodded off into a nap. Figuring I might as well go get my computer to take advantage of the time, I climbed the stairs to our room, finding my laptop beside the great big bed. Since she was already asleep, I figured I didn’t need to take it back downstairs to be in her proximity, and so laid on the bed to check in with the world.

I awoke in a slobbery mess of drool, after a most delicious unplanned nap of my own.

Hearing the words, “soccer game,” I descended the stairs to rejoin humanity and rediscovered how much joy I get from playing the beautiful game. I think it started as 4-v-4, but soon grew to include more people than the space actually allows. Maybe that is why the decision gets made that we won’t use borders, and play continues regardless the fact the ball is within the jungle gym play area, around the SUV parked on the driveway, or even behind the goals, like a game of hockey.

Slowly, in a reverse of how the numbers swelled to the maximum, players wander off to other pursuits, often without saying a thing. After battling situations that feel a lot like playing short-handed in a game of hockey, the game is paused and a player volunteers to switch so play can resume with reasonable balance. In the end, it came down to me facing one last challenge from 6-year-old nephew, Beck, for some 1-v-1.

He said, “Go over to your goal.”

“No, that’s an awful long way away. Let’s just play a small game right here,” I encouraged.

He kicked the ball around me and headed the length of the field to ‘my goal.’ What could I do? I chased after him to protect my goal. He was a tenacious foe and I soon realized he would not quit until he succeeded in getting that ball in the net. I was tired and wanted to be done, so I provided an opportunity. He missed. The ball rolled wide. A few near-misses later, the ball found the target and he was satisfied. Game over.

Pure joy.

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Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2014 at 8:17 am