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.