Down by the River

We have a winding river that runs through our property.  During the spring thaw, it usually floods for at least a few weeks.  If there are heavy periods of rain in the summer months we often get additional flooding.

In addition to the main river, much of our property is lowland, what we call the “river bottom.”  It is swampy and marshy most of the year.  Beginning some time in May, the mosquitoes hatch and it becomes quite unbearable down by the river.

As the summer progresses, however, and we experience drier weather, the mosquito population subsides and the backwater (below) recedes enough so that we are able to cross it and go out to the point where the river and backwater meet.  We still have to put down some type of lumber as a “bridge” to walk across the water and muck of the backwater.

In past years, we have only went down to the river on a few hot summer days to take a dip in the river and maybe have a picnic.  Totally overgrown with grass, we would just stomp down an area on the point and throw down our blanket to sit.

Last year, I had the great idea of doing some mowing on the point and building a fire ring so that we could maybe use it more often.  After some resistance (eye-rolling) from Jesse, I convinced him to help.  We spent several days cutting down the tall grass, cleaning up debris and wood, and building a fire pit.  It turned out to be a big hit with everyone and our family enjoyed swimming and camp fires well into September.

This year we have had a very dry spring with almost no rain since the spring thaw about a month ago.  Consequently, we were able to get down to the river early this year to tackle the grass before it got out of hand.  Besides our fire ring being filled with sand from the spring floods, it did not look too bad.

Last weekend we started mowing and cleaning up.  After mowing the areas we cut last year, our oldest took a turn mowing some of the dead grass that we never tackled.  It is not easy-going because of the uneven ground and debris hidden under the overgrown grass.

Then Jesse took his turn.  It is obvious how desperately we need rain.

During the spring flooding, the makeshift bridge that we used to cross the backwater floated away.  The kids decided to take the scow boat for a sail and try to retrieve it.  The scene started out so idyllic…our three lovely children working cooperatively towards a common mission.  Jesse and I stood on the shore smiling.

“What wonderful children we have.”

“Yes, we certainly are lucky.”

“And they get along so well.”

As we watched them peacefully glide around the river bend, still working together, we resumed with our cleanup work.

After 20 or so minutes passed, we started calling out to them.  We could see them, but got no response.  Eventually they re-emerged around the bend, coming back up river.  The scene was not as lovely as before.  Our oldest was the only one remaining in the boat and the younger two were in the freezing water walking behind and guiding the water-logged bridge along.  They were furious with their older brother, and he was frustrated with them too.  Why?  I’m not exactly sure.

With some input from their parents, a settlement was reached and they abandoned the bridge along the shore and all came back to the point in the boat.  The cooperative mood from the beginning of their voyage had disappeared, however, and the younger two stomped away to change out of their cold and wet clothes.  Alas, the reality of sibling squabbles.

We continued cleaning up and the younger kids soon came back down to enjoy the river.

After a few hours of hard work, we had the point cleaned up again and ready to go for the summer!

I am looking forward to lazy summer days down by the river doing some swimming and enjoying camp fires together, even if there are a few sibling squabbles along the way.


Filed under Daily life, Kids

5 responses to “Down by the River

  1. Lil' Sis'

    Well your oldest is obviously the best negotiator of the bunch if he’s the one who got to remain on the boat! I’m awfully surprised he convinced the other two to get in the water!

  2. I’m not sure “convinced” is the right word.

  3. What an enchanting place to play…I LOVE the water! Kim

  4. Jeff Boucher

    I have just found your blog/website and love it. I’m a little bit behind and am spending this Fathers Day week end catching up. I love your “Hobby” farm. I think it’s perfect. I’m sure there is still a lot of work to do but then that’s what you bought it for. Think of what would happen to it had ya’ll, ( I’m from and still live in TN) not bought it. I’m a 50 yoa retired (disability,
    back, I need no sympathy) firefighter. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall, in ya’lls case maybe a bee, to here the conversation/argument that took place over the bridge retrieval. I’m sure you are well aware that your children are just normal kids. The best that I can tell they were and are being raised right. I’ve seen enough to know they know what work is and to have something worth having you have to work hard for it. I had a business fail because in my opinion there are a lot of young adults, 20’s and 30’s, that have had a lot of stuff just giving to them. I can tell that your children doesn’t mine having to work. They may have to be told sometimes to do something but they get with it and do it. I have two children, my oldest is my 19 yoa son who just finished his first full year of college and a 15 yoa daughter who just finished her first year of high school. Our son comes home for 5 days and heads off to work away from home for the summer. Every time he leaves I cry.
    Just wanted you to know I think you have a wonderful family and a wonderful farm.

    • Jeff,
      Thanks so much for stopping by our blog and glad that you are enjoying it! I think we definitely made the right choice in buying this place and creating the life we have for our kids. Our oldest two are off to college as cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point. We are very proud parents. 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by!

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