Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day with Family

For as long as I can remember, my mom's side of the family has gone out to our family property on Stuart Island for a work party on Memorial Day weekend. Of course, that means I've always missed the other fun events that happen that weekend, such as Sasquatch at the Gorge or Ski to Sea in Bellingham or the Folklife Festival in Seattle. But I'm okay with that. It's usually my first trip of the year to the island, and I like how the family works together to jump-start to the summer. We do whatever needs to be done for the maintenance of the land and buildings, from fixing the cattle fence to cleaning the well to digging new outhouses to painting barns to cleaning gutters to changing the truck oil.

My step-dad picked up my sisters and I in Anacortes, and we had a nice sunny evening ride through the San Juan islands, spotting seals and bald eagles and porpoises along the way. 

On Saturday morning my mom had several French presses of coffee going and cooked up a big egg scramble for fortify our crew for the day's work. This year there was a group that cleaned out under the barn, find all sorts of scrap wood and old metal farm equipment.
My sister, aunt, cousins, and I scraped, primed, and repainted the engine room, a small outbuilding next to the barn that houses the generator and horse tack.
In the evening we had a delicious dinner at my aunt's house, followed by an auction. Family members hand-make or buy items to donate, then we bid on them as a fundraiser.
As long as we get all the assigned work done on Saturday, then Sunday is a play day. I went for a run and checked out my uncle's garden. Some family members held Sunday school on the point overlooking Boundary Pass. Then we have a late lunch/early dinner on the beach, roasting hot dogs and bratwursts and eating fresh fruit and salad and drinking beer, and it felt like summer.
Kids play on the beach, family and friends chat, and no one wants to go home. It's a weekend of clean, hard-working fun that I'm really grateful we do.

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