Summer’s end

A week ago it didn’t seem possible, but the early signs were there to observe. Asters in bloom, an odd chill in the evenings and the most unmistakable sign that summer would soon be over, the increasingly earlier sunset. This time of year is always bittersweet for me. I dislike the long cold months of winter that will soon be knocking at our door, but the steady schedule that comes with having the kids in school is a welcome change in the fall. I enjoy the cool evenings, perfect for doing chores and sleeping, yet the sun still has enough strength to provide plenty of warmth during the day.

This summer will likely go down as one of the most memorable ones for our family and I thought it would be fitting on this first day o’ school eve to reflect on some of our adventures. We have seen and done more this summer than I expect to do in a period of a few months ever again.

The kids and I kicked off summer by taking some friends camping on the last day of school. This would be the first of a number of camping trips including one where the kids and I stayed in a real tipi! Another camping adventure took us to Walnut Grove, former home of Laura Ingalls Wilder where we visited the author’s childhood homesite and saw a lovely pageant produced every summer by the people of Walnut Grove.

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We bought a motorhome this summer. An odd purchase for us, but one we have thoroughly enjoyed. We bought the “Rainbow Rhino” so we could take a trip to Tennessee with the kids to visit Bill’s brother Josh and his new wife, Dorothy. In between each 24 hour drive to get us there and back, we were graciously hosted by their friends Nick and Krystal. Aunt Hannah also came along with us. We had a great time just hangin’ with good folks and enjoying our time there.

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Back at home we began a little house building project. We finally took the plunge and purchased our little farm in late 2010. Faced with the choice of fixing up the old farm house our building new, we decided to build our house this year. The project started in early July and really began taking shape in the past week. We look forward to moving in (hopefully) before the end of the year.

All of these big events were punctuated by a number of memorable day trips and adventures. I believe Bill and Jack accomplished all the goals on their list this year including: catch lots of fish, go golfing, see a Twins game and go to Valleyfair to name a few. Bill also completed a major lifetime goal to drive a race car in a Wissota race. He finished 8th out of 14… That’s all I will say!

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I took on a personal challenge this summer to get back into the sport of triathlon after a 7 year break since my last race. I completed two triathlons this year along with 2 5k runs. It felt great to get back into a regular …well somewhat anyway… training regimen and to actually finish these races with some dignity. I hope to keep it up as the Summer wanes and get back in the swing again next summer.

Of course there were other summer fun events: parades to watch and to be in for various groups and activities, the big Farwell 125th anniversary celebration, grandma Dorothy’s 80th birthday, hanging out at the lake for the fourth of July with my cousins, weddings and family gatherings. I think every weekend hosted another picnic or party of some sort.

Yes, summer’s end is a bittersweet but I can really say we did make the most of this one.