Tag Archives: paddle

Kayaks Spell Summer Fun, Garden and Flower Update

I have been coveting a kayak for quite some time. I eyed them longingly when shopping at Costco.  I could never convince myself to pull the trigger, $300+ is a lot of money for one kayak.  Recently I received a hot deal coupon for Dunham’s.  They had several models of kayak selling under $200.  I had planned on getting a future beach mariner 10.4, but changed tack and purchased a Pelican Ultimate 100 sit on top kayak.  My thinking was that it would be easier for the kids to enter and exit the kayak with a sit on top style.  I also purchased a Lifetime kid’s kayak from Sam’s Club for under $100.  Two kayaks would certainly be enough for our family, as we could take turns, and life would be good.  Right?

The kayaks themselves performed flawlessly.  The Lifetime kid’s kayak was great.  It came with a paddle and is extremely stable.  The kids are able to stand up on it without tipping it.  And it is highly maneuverable, allowing the kids to turn on a dime.  The Pelican is equally as fun.  It did not come with a paddle.  It is much faster than the smaller kayak, and is quite stable as well.  None of us have tipped the kayaks when we haven’t been trying to tip them.  The kids enjoy using them at my parents lake and they both seem quite durable so they should offer years of boating fun.

Now for the bad… two kayaks is clearly not enough for my family.  In talking with my wife and mother, we were all in agreement that more kayaks would be ideal.  A solution was crafted.  My parents would buy a full sized kayak, the one that we brought with us.  They would have it to use for themselves at all times, but it would allow for another kayak while we were there.  We would buy another Pelican to replace the one my parents bought from us, and another Lifetime kayak so we would have two kids’ kayaks.  This solution allowed for me, or my wife or mother, to go for paddles on the lake with the three oldest kids.  So far, this solution has worked out well.  I can still see situations where another kayak would be helpful, and that Future Beach Mariner 10.4 keeps tempting me…

Our watery playground
Kayak fun
Pure Joy

The wildflower garden that I planted around our septic tanks continues to fill in.  It is quite beautiful now, and the variety of flowers is pleasing to the eye.  I am glad that I gave it more time before plowing it under and starting again.  I may still add some more seed to it, but it is definitely getting there.  The kids and I are having fun searching out the new flowers that seem to be blooming every day.

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The garden keeps trucking along, weed choked though it is.  The grass and weeds obscure the view of the vegetables in many areas, but time has not allowed for any sort of weeding to be done.  I am lucky if I get the 21″ mower down there to cut some of the paths between rows.  Despite all this, the garden is producing.  While we were away this past weekend, the zucchinis blew up into club sized squashes.  The tomatoes are also starting to ripen, and are delicious.  I have even gotten a handful of beans despite very limited trellising. The one thing I did today was to set up a sprinkler.  The rain has stayed away for over a week for the first time this summer, and as such things are starting to thirst.  I purchased a tripod sprinkler that covers about 80% of the garden.  It will have to do for now.  I had plans of getting a drip tape system set up, but that has joined the other projects that will have to wait for next year.  It is rewarding to know that the garden is providing healthy food, despite not having as much time as I would like to devote to it.


Sore Body, Refreshed Soul

We were again able to spend some time at my parents cottage again this weekend and let me tell you I am sore.  But it is a good sore, really it is.  The physical activities we were able to partake in were many.

After cleaning the spark plugs on the boat (previously we had been running on only three cylinders and that just wasn’t going to cut it trying to pull my not-so-light-weight-behind out of the water) we were ready to go.  With all cylinders firing, the boat was able to drag me out of the water and onto my skis.  I can’t remember the last time I went water skiing but it has been at least ten years, probably closer to fifteen, but I still remember how.  I even worried the kids when I dropped a ski and slalomed for a bit.  They thought I had lost the ski, not on purpose.  My wife said it was really humorous.  Then I knee boarded for a bit, despite a warning from a good friend that my knees would not be happy with me.  I was even able to do a couple 180’s and so far my knees are OK.  For some reason I don’t remember it being that hard to hold onto the tow rope, must be higher friction skis and kneeboard.  Couldn’t have anything to do with carrying extra weight, right?  Then I drove the boat while my dad water skied.  He couldn’t let his son out-do him, so he too dropped a ski and slalomed.

The next day we brought the canoe down to the water.  It hadn’t been used in years, and was previously my grandma and grandpa’s.  My aunt, uncle, and cousins had it for awhile and used it, but it was going unused recently so it was brought to my parents lake.  After getting it to the water, we filled it up and started cleaning.  Spiders, webs, dirt, all got a thorough brushing and rinsing.  Once clean I took it out on the lake.  It took me a minute to remember how to canoe, and after a pointer on a “J stroke” from my dad (in order to paddle on one side only and still go straight) I was off.  I forgot how much fun canoeing is, the kids weren’t really interested in canoeing this time as they had made new friends, so we will see about next time.

On top of the canoeing, skiing, and kneeboarding, I swam quite a bit.  I had just read an article in Men’s Journal (at least I think it was Men’s Journal) about how swim training with swim fins, mask, and snorkel is great for becoming a more efficient swimmer.  I didn’t use the mask or snorkel this time, as I wanted to be able to keep an eye on the kids, but I used the fins quite a bit.  It is amazing how adding a little resistance can work your legs so much more.  One of the benefits to swim training, and doing it with fins, is that even with the added resistance of fins it is almost impossible to add enough resistance to pull a muscle.  Since the kids were almost always in the water, it made it easy for me to pull on the fins and swim out and back while keeping an eye on them.

All of those activities, and that doesn’t even count the paddle boat and playing and swimming with the kids.  I think the kids new favorite lake game, at least our oldest’s favorite game, is follow the leader.  I have a blast playing it too.  He even taught it to his new friend who was visiting their family cottage next door.

We also had some time to visit with our good friends who live near my parents lake.  It was wonderful to watch their son play with our kids, while we were able to visit and catch up on life.  Our kids even had their first “lake baths”, soaping off in the lake rather than going up to the shower.  And we even managed to sneak in a few minutes of fishing.

My shoulders are pretty sore, and my back has seen better days, but man do I feel good.  It was a great weekend, filled with many activities, the kids had fun, we played outside(I think the only time the television was on was after dinner before bed and that was watching educational shows on how things were made), and and relationships with family and friends were strengthened.  I call that a good weekend.

Photographic proof I water skied and canoed.