Showing posts with label camp retz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label camp retz. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Camp Retz 2014

My favorite part of the summer!!

This year in numbers:
5 families. 9 kids. 7 adults.
2 motor boats.
2 kayaks.
1 surf board.
1 canoe.
2 tow tubes/floaties.
2 lakes.
2 scary injuries but none requiring hospital visits, though at the thick of it, we thought either one of them could be emergency room worthy. Thank God we were wrong.
Dozens of bruises. I'm sure all 16 of us had many. I came home with 3.
1 stuck Dodge Ram pickup truck.
100 sandwiches.
Pounds of fruit, meat, cheese, pizza, pasta, eggs, junk food, marshmallows, graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bars.
Layers of sunscreen.
Laughter and happiness to infinity.

In 4 1/2 days.

I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story...
Rock jumping.

And rock climbing.
And lots of heart palpations from the watchful eyes below.

Supportive mom.

Miss A going fast.

Mr. W trying to keep up with his big sister.

Miss A and her cousins.

Going a little faster now.

Youngest nephew going fast.

Middle nephew striking a pose and taunting his mom.

Middle nephew owned the lake this day. He was the King of the floaties. Not only did he get sideways, he actually stayed on! Uncle Jimmy was disappointed he couldn't throw his nephew off. That's become the goal - to whip them around and try throw off the older nephews. Middle nephew held on tight and couldn't be dumped.

Youngest Miss E kept up with the big boys.

This was her 1st year solo on the tubes.

Mr. W strikes a pose.

Oldest nephew strikes a pose.

Brothers.

Mr. W got a bit of kayaking in.

So did his dad and his cousin.

A view of how low the lake was. We had to launch the boats in the dirt, to the left in this photo. The black truck and the white suv with the canoe is ours. The lake is usually at the level where the dock is, on the right of the photo, towards the top of the waterline. They just rebuilt the boat ramp last year to extend as far down as it does, but it wasn't extended far enough for this year's drought.

Smores! Perfect ending to a day on the lake.

Oldest nephew ate 10 of these in 1 night. 6 or 8 the night before.

Max likes her 'mallows burnt.

Ed achieves the perfect caramelization.

Baseball talk on the deck after eating smores.

Group photo missing a family of 3. They had to leave at 5:30 in the morning.

That is why this is my favorite time of the summer.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Everything Will Be Ok in the End. If It's Not Ok, It's Not the End.

I just read that quote on a facebook friend's photo and I'm trying to take that saying to heart. The firefighters have created a couple of "contingency line construction in advance of the communities in the Highway 108 corridor." Our hideway is in that corridor. Basically that means more lines of defense.

The Rim Fire grew overnight another 20,000 acres, but it's a little more contained. It's an odd notion for me, as a layperson, to have it still growing that much, yet be more contained.. Oh, now I get it. I just didn't think it through before I wrote that. What really matters is that our community continues to be protected as much as it possibly can be.

Here's a cool animated gif I found at Mother Jones.
It shows how quickly the fire grew and how it's still growing, but nothing like it had been.

They've extended the Evacuation Advisory to Pinecrest Lake.
We were there a month ago with The Crew.
I'm in the Zodiac with the rest of the adults towing the canoe with Jimmy and the younger kids, towing the oldest nephew on his surfboard. It's a no-tow lake. We like to see what we can get away with. heehee, just kidding. What they actually mean by 'no-tow' is no recreational tubing. We're just towing from the dock to our little cove on the other side of the lake. We've done this for 6 years and no one has stopped us. We're going very slow.

Jimmy and I did this ride on our ATV last year. 80% of where we were is now ash. Everything from the 1 minute mark, along with the hills in the background, are gone.


These cows were probably displaced. They're less than 1/2 a mile from the fire in this video. Those hills in the background are all gone.

Thankfully, the community has made a big effort to find places for cattle to be kept till the fire is over. There are various ranches that have opened their land for people to take their horses, cows, goats, etc. And the Red Cross shelter allowed you to bring your house pets.

Inciweb and My Motherlode have been good sources for fire updates.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The dog has a video, too!

Steve and Max have a GoPro doggie camera harness that goes on the dog's back.

This video is long, 11 minutes, but if think of it like the length of a cartoon, it won't feel that long. If you must cut it short (I probably would if it weren't starring my dog-nephew), the first 3-4 minutes shows him at his water doggie best. :)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Tug of War

Touchdown and Jasper playing a friendly game at the lake.

(looks like my photos are uploading again. I hope. Cross your fingers. if you missed the other photos from my previous Camp Retz posts, check now and hopefully they're there.)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Shake that Booty

My photos aren't showing up but videos seem to be doing ok. Till I get this fixed, here's another video of Jimmy on the Rhino with the other kids. He went earlier in the day with them and missed the thunderstorm. This one will surely tickle your funny bone! The boy is hilarious and a total ham for the camera.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rhino ride in a Thunderstorm

When Jimmy took the boys out for their annual off-road ride on the Rhino they got caught in a major thunderstorm and were soaked through to the bone. Maybe it wasn't so fun while it was happening, but they sure loved watching the video and reminiscing and laughing about it that night after they were warm, dry and fed.


Here's a front view of their ride:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Safety First. Danger Next.

Camp Retz is over and everyone is back in their respective homes. Tired but happy.

Every year, our days on the lake consist of boating, tubing and rock jumping. As the boys get older, bolder, stronger and braver, they're doing more heart palpating adventures.

But, as the saying goes, Safety First!
...Then danger.
Life vests for everyone! Then you can go as fast as you can.

Fishing is pretty safe. For the humans at least. Maybe not so much for the fish.

Tubing is fun, fast and safe because if when you crash, you just crash into water.

Next on the list is rock jumping. A little more dangerous than the previous activities, but dad's always there to make sure they clear any hidden rocks.

Ending the day and the week with the most dangerous jump. My stomach jumped to my throat. But I had confidence that the dads had scoped the spot and made sure it was deep enough. But these boys fearlessly jumped at least 25 feet into the lake off that rock. That's almost as tall as a 3 story building!

So our running joke this week was Safety First. Danger Last.
I think we accomplished that.
Thankfully with nothing but a few bruises and scrapes that we'd all acquired though the course of the week.
(say a little prayer for us for next year)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Crew

The rest of the crew arrived today. I love seeing our driveway packed like this! There's even a travel trailer parked down the street just a bit.

Since they've all just driven 7+ hours, we take it easy on the 1st day. After they unloaded their vehicles, we headed up to Pinecrest Lake for a couple of hours. No boats, just swimming and hanging out at the shoreline.

After dinner, we had to make smores...everybody loves smores!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Let the Games Begin

Our first guests for Camp Retz 2013 came today.

Their human brought yummy sushi ingredients and gave me a basic Sushi 101 Tutorial.
It was so cool, I loved it! Pretty labor intensive with making the rice, adding the perfect amount of rice vinegar, slicing the veggies, etc. But I got to roll a couple of them myself. Very fun! I'll certainly have to make some again soon.


9 more + another pup will be here tomorrow afternoon.

My very favorite part of the summer!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Lofty Plans

The loft at the hideaway is finally useable!! Just in time for Camp Retz the end of this month.

In the fall of 2010, our contractor started working on changing the layout of the 2nd floor. We wanted the stairs moved to the main part of the house instead of in the mudroom at the back of the house, far from the heartbeat of the home. It took 3 years for it to finally be done, but the wait was worth it! In reality, it really didn't take 3 years to finish, he only worked on it during the cold months, so just 2 1/2 fall & winter seasons - 2010, 2011 and some of 2012.

This is what it looked like in February 2011. The new stairs have been built up enough so can walk upstairs! He also repaired some of the weak floorboards. But there is still a lot to do.
And you can see all of our storage junk piled up high in a mess.

A year and a half later, in October 2012, all the major construction is done. He custom made all the wood railings himself.
There's just a lot of cleanup that he needed to finish up before we could even tackle our own clean up. He used the 2nd floor as his workshop, so there was unfathomable amounts of construction dust layered over everything. He put up some plastic sheeting as a small barrier between our junk and his workshop so it helped a little bit, but of course, construction dust has a mind of its own.

Finally in March this year, all of his construction stuff was gone.
Just our junk remained. Stuff we hadn't seen in 3 years. Stuff that we shoved up here in 2010 when we moved from San Jose to San Francisco and we couldn't bring with us to The City but we couldn't part with it yet.

So that March weekend we were up, I set out to get as much junk cleared out as I could. I vacuumed a half dozen times, I swiffered so much dust, I sneezed and coughed, but I made a little dent.
I had a big pile of stuff next to the stairs ready to take to Goodwill. Now all I needed was the carpet to be put back in place as well as possible, and I could move some furniture around.

During our last visit in June, Jimmy cut the carpet for me and patched up the spots where the subfloor was exposed. It's not pretty, but it's oh so very much nicer. Eventually we'll have the whole place recarpeted, but we'll wait till all construction is complete.
Finally, the loft is ready for habitation. The nephews and their friends are coming the end of this month, and for the 1st time in 3 years, they'll all be able to sleep and hang out up there.

There's still quite a bit of work to do. We've got a few boxes to sort though, and some carpet and padding that we need to figure out what to do with.
But those are neatly stacked in corners and shouldn't get in their way.

So here's a little side by side comparison:
The front of the loft. That window looks over the deck and the front yard.
By the way, eventually, we'd love to make that window into french doors with a very small balcony that overlooks the deck. Just a standing balcony, probably not even big enough for a chair. We don't think the roofline will allow for more than that.

And this is the back of the loft, with the brand new stairs.
That window overlooks the backyard. We have no plans for changing it, aside from maybe putting in better glass when we do the balcony in the front.

Finally feeling pretty satisfied after not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel for so long.

Now bring on those nephews...Camp Retz is ready!!!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

the joy of being an aunt. the 'joy' of being a homeowner.

It's a good year to be an aunt!

The 2nd oldest niece got married last weekend.
I made this card for her and her beloved earlier this month. Her husband's last name is very similar to ours. She joked about hyphenating her name. That's not at all awkward, lol!

Jimmy and I got this letter today from youngest Retzlaff nephew.
(click to make the photo larger)
How about that?? Can't wait till they all come up for our annual Camp Retz. The kids will finally get the loft all to themselves. Probably more important to their parents because they won't have to share a room with them. Ha!

Note from nephew...segues to finally being able to use the loft...segues to...another cabin remodel video. LOL. Yes, I'm on a video kick. So is Jimmy, he's putting them together, I'm putting them up to share.

This is a yucky part of the remodel. In order to get the deck approved for permits, we had to have our leach field completely redone. A major annoyance. It seemed to us that the old leach field was fine, but the type/style is no longer allowed, so whenever anyone rebuilds, they have to have their's redone. Anyhoo...Jimmy set up a webcam in one of our windows to take a snapshot every 5 minutes. Here's another time lapse video of the work the man did on Monday. It's short, about a minute. The first 20 seconds just shows the sun rising, which is totally cool to us, but you can skip to 20 seconds in to watch the guy start working. If that even interests you at all. We like being able to see what's going on especially since we can't be there in person to watch.
(didn't put music to this one. really. what music would be appropriate for something related to a septic system?).

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Go Ahead and Jump

When the boys weren't in the boat, they were climbing and jumping off rocks.

They started off at the 'slow' lake. We call it slow because there's a speed limit and you can't tow tubes or water-skis.

This was the 1st time youngest Danny, age 7, jumped off a pretty big rock.

We were all cheering him on!

This rock was old hat to the older boys, so they added another element to it...catch a football in mid-jump.
It was quite a challenge and only 1 of the 5 older boys was able to catch it and keep a hold of it, oldest brother Reggie. Though middle Jakee certainly gave it great effort!

The next day we went to the big lake, which offered bigger jumps.

They boys found a tall tree stump to jump from.
11 year old Reggie takes the 1st jump.

Notice in the 1st image that the log is completely out of the water. (click to enlarge). They needed to seriously push off that log to clear the rocks and ground below. (Yes, my heart was palpitating furiously).

Middle child Jakee was right behind his big brother.

He told his dad that one of the times, his foot touched the bottom.

But that didn't stop them from doing it over and over again. They'd climb back up those rocks like mountain goats.

Their dad, Jimmy's older brother, had to show those boys that not only can he jump off that tall stump, he could dive off it.

Little Danny considered it, but after looking over the edge, decided not to take the leap. (smart boy!)

He was happy to jump off the less risky rock.

which was tall enough for him and when he looked down, he saw water, not land.
He's got great form though. Nice push-off from that rock. It won't be long till he'll join his older brothers on those big jumps.