Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cousins, More Cousins, and Mosquitos

You were right. I am the one in the Hard Rock Cafe tee and cheesy smile and my sis Paint Girl is the one in the light blue tee with the curly bangs.

I am so lucky to have such a great family. This past weekend I spent it with my numerous aunts, cousins, grandparents, great-aunts, second cousins, parents, of various combinations. My grandpa was the youngest of 12 siblings so you can imagine all of the family I have! They are a hoot. I always treasure the time we get to spend together.

My sister and I got there early. We set up our tent and unloaded our plethora of supplies and then sat in chairs in the afternoon sun, hoping to grow our golden tans and read a few pages. Shortly thereafter my cousin came over and handed me the book The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss, which I've been wanting to read and she offered to loan me. So my dime store novel will have to wait in the wings. But, I didn't open either cover.
There is little time to relax at my family reunions. How can you rest when you have faces like this to photograph?

Is it just me or is my family the only one with those amazing vintage nylon webbed lawn chairs? Do they still make those things? Like, in that shade of teal green?

Here is one contemplative cowpoke.

Question: How do you round up a large group of very active children to come over and pose for a family photo? Answer: You grab handfuls of tootsie rolls from the clubhouse. You tell all of the children you have candy and ask them to sit down on the grass. You promise to throw candy to those that smile the biggest. Then you say smile really big!
It is beautiful at the property we had the reunion at. I took a walk down the one-lane road next to it. This field used to be full of dairy cows. Now it is silent and the grass has grown up over the fence line.

About 13 years ago, my aunt and cousin brought horses to this reunion and we took turns riding on logging roads up on that hillside. The camping property we lease has an old arena on it so it made a great place to section off temporary horse corrals. We are considering a family horsey gathering here in the future, now that many of us are horse owners again.

Here is the scenic view from the window of our tent. Do you notice that thicket of grass and bushes?

Yes, our tent was right next to that thicket of grass and bushes. Guess what lives in that thicket of grass and bushes? Deer, bunnies, and coyotes. Guess what kept Paint Girl and I up all night as they tramped through the thicket of grasses and bushes, until the wee hour of dawn? Well, hopefully just the deer and bunnies. We heard coyotes, far, far away. They were far, far away, right?

We even borrowed this cattle dog, Misty and let her sleep in our tent as protection.

Misty is 9 years old and belongs to my cousin and her husband and their two children. Here she is vying for a drip of her papa's taco soup.

After a night in our tent, this is how Misty looked:

Yep, misty-eyed and foggy-headed and in need of some serious coffee with vanilla creamer (or in Paint Girl's case, Dr. Pepper), that was the look all three of us had that morning!

Not only did Misty's mom and dad loan us their dog, they graciously made us blueberry pancakes, eggs, and bacon both mornings.

What do little boy cousins do with long blades of country grass?

Why, they try to tickle and impress their little girl cousins, of course!

What do big girl cousins do?

Talk and hang out and wait for another cousins group portrait.

Aside from great memories and full bellies (grandma's deviled eggs, lasagna, and brownie cake) numerous family members were blessed to take home a souvenir of another kind: mosquito bites. In all the years I have been attending the reunion at this location, I have never seen such an infestation of bugs. On our last morning, the kids all looked like they had come down with a case of the chicken pox. My sister got bit near her eyelid as we took the tent down and it almost swelled her eye shut.

Regardless, another sun has set on our annual family camp out. Until next year, anyway.


  1. What a great time! I Love Misty! The picture of him in the tent is priceless. I can so relate. I never sleep well in a tent...it could be set up in my own backyard, I still think I hear bears prowling around all night long. It usually turns out to be squirrels. Rabid ones, though, I'm sure.

  2. Oh, it looks like such a great time. Where were y'all?

  3. Oh goody...I guessed right for both you and your sis!!

    I am seriuosly contemplating a tribute to growing up in the 80's post...you would be scared by how closely we--as in horses and people!!!--all resemble each other :)

    Looks like you all had a great time with family, food, dogs, and deer...teeheehee!!
    BTW, was this at the location of your future family compound?

  4. What a gorgeous place. And if you had invited me, I can assure you, the bugs would not have bothered you. I'm like a human tiki torch -- they LOVE me. They will bite me thru any spray, any number of layers of clothes.

    I'm leaving my calendar open for next year at this time.

  5. You will love the book by Molly Gloss! Read Jump Creek next...

  6. Looks like yall had a great time. I gave you an award, go on over and see. I know you already have one but two can't hurt huh?

  7. OMG, I just noticed the t-shirt you were wearing in that photo! Too funny! We need to hook up sometime!

  8. My granny is the youngest of 10 children. All her brothers/sisters and their families are back in Texas. We are the only ones out of state. When we get together in Texas there sure is an awful lot of us too, but its always a lot of fun. It looks like your went really well. Ours was in AZ this year, and go figure...we got rained out! Those skeetos were definately on the hunt for bloode that weekend too.

  9. Oh it looked like so much fun!! I love the look of the dog in the morning after having to sleep in the tent!!
    Fun pictures!

  10. You sure do have a large fun family. The photos are great, and it's so nice to see a whole family having a great time.

  11. It was a great weekend. BUT....the skeeters really did me in. I also don't remember them being so bad in years past. My eye swelled up the size of a golf ball or bigger. I am sure glad I didn't have to work the next day!
    Misty was great to have in the tent, although she didn't bark while the deer, bunnies and coyotes were outside. All she wanted to do was hog the bed. HA! Brings back memories of when we used to go camping alot and our older dogs we used to have just loved the tent!

  12. You got lent a dog AND had blueberry pancakes and bacon made for you. Toooo sweet! Looks like an awesome time. Families are just wonderful aren't they (even when they aren't they are, well mine is :-) Glad you had a great time

  13. did you have Listerine with you for the bug bites? Around here I .always. have a big bottle of it to soothe and disinfect those itchy places! In fact, during the summer when I bathe my horse, she gets a capful in her rinse water.

    Bed hogging must be a genetic thing with Cattle Dogs....Meg takes up more room than 3 people and is heavier than an obese bull to move once she gets on a bed!

    Sounds like you had a good time and that is what counts

  14. What a great family reunion!
    Enjoyed reading along and seeing pics from your trip!
    What a blessing to get together and spend some quailty time!
    Got some great books I need to pick up, Thanks!

    BTW-PG-I posted a pic for you today! :)

  15. sounds like you had a great time!!!

    I am going to be in Oregon from August 12th through the 18th....you should come meet Jewel and I...

  16. Ahhh sounds like you had fun. I like hanging with my family too, although we're all getting old now. My cousins and I were always very close and would basically have the whole summer to hang with each other. Love the pics as always and Misty is too cute.

  17. Wow it looks like you had a great time. We just got back from visiting my grandma and cousins too. It is nice to rough it once in awhile and sleep in a tent. But, we are to spoiled and just stay at grandmas. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Oh how fun!!
    What a gorgeous place you picked to spend withyour family! I love the "little Buckaroo with his "pony" as well as the two little fishermen!
    I only wish I was there! We haven't camped in a year!!
    "Bounce" my friend, will keep those skeeters away! No, not like Tigger! (No parent trap foolery here!) The dryer sheets, for some reason they keep them away! You smell better too!
    Glad you had fun with your great family! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Listerine and Bounce....who would've thunk a trip to the local pharmacy could have prevented all those skeeter bites! Definitely worth a try on our next camping trip (in August, with the horses.)

    Knutson's: Nope, that is not the future compound site. That is just a horseman's club where we have stayed the weekend for our reunion for many years. Some of my family members help mow and maintain the land. I wish we could buy those fields and empty cattle pastures in the pictures though...there are some amazing sunsets there. Of course, we'd have to share it with the deer, bunnies, and coyotes! ;)

  20. WOW, what great fun that had to be!!!!!
    I can't express how much I wished our family would have a reunion like that. We have done reunions but they are always at the beach... ok, I guess that is because that is where 5 of my 6 kids still live... LOL
    I had to read back this far in your blog to get to the one I really wanted to comment about. I saw The Last Chance Cafe on tv one Saturday afternoon several weeks back. It was a Lifetime Movie. I would not be surprised that it was this particular weekend.
    I am off to get the skiddos ready for bed. I have enjoyed my day reading you!
    I am reading a Linda Lael Miller book right now too, thanks to your recommendation.

    happy horsin' around!


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