Spur of the moment ‘time out’

After years of keeping track of time, looking at my watch constantly to get everyone out of class on time, I don’t often look at the time or plan ahead too much anymore. 

Teaching a Junior High or High School shop class was a daunting challenge, making sure everything was put away in the tool cabinet, floors were swept, and all projects were put away before anyone could leave for their next class. 

If the students didn’t clean up, I would have to do those jobs before the next class came in 4 minutes later.

My wife and usually work on a short fuse, getting things ready after getting a “wild hair” or getting invited by someone else to go someplace or do something. 

This state of mind makes life interesting and keeps us on our toes. Since we had been “stay-at-homes” for the past 11 months because of the pandemic, we decided to get out and go on a canoe ride and maybe go fishing. 

We picked up some necessities; fishing equipment, and a few clothes, and headed to the cabin in the woods. 

Now I realize this is not considered a “true” camping trip in a lot of people’s minds, but we don’t lie on the ground much anymore in a tent. 

The biggest reason for not roughing it is, we struggle getting back on our feet after a cold night on the rough ground. (Never mind that)! 

After leaving home we stopped by the grocery store to get food and drinks for the next few days. 

Once we got everything settled, we took a lunch and water and put the canoe on top of our 2002 Kia Sportage, (which by the way is a real mule), and headed for the lake. 

This little car is scratched dented and was cheap but we love it for getting around anywhere. 

Getting to the lake is a chore in itself. Even though it is only a half-mile from the cabin, it is almost straight up and straight down, with many deep ruts, gullies, logs and boulders to traverse. 

Once there we unloaded the canoe and got the fishing jugs ready and the cut bait ready.

The cove we were in was sheltering us from the wind but we could see on the main lake body that it was a bit choppy.

We loaded the jugs, life jackets, paddles and paddled into the main body of water. 

We were surprised to see and feel just how hard the wind was blowing. These were not at all satisfactory canoe conditions.

As the wind caught the front of the canoe it turned us hard to port and that’s exactly where we wanted to go, back into the cove. 

When we got out of the canoe, we sat for a while, contemplating the next move.
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Since I like to be prepared for different situations, I remembered the kit I assembled last fall for just this occasion.

Since I take this little Kia into the woods a lot and never know what to expect, I carry water, an axe, fire-starting materials, farm jack tow straps, chain, rags, first aid kit, and many other things one might need while in the woods along with a homemade can stove and coffee and tea.

Okay, I over-do-it with the stuff I carry, but it fits and makes me feel prepared. This can stove was made from a large tomato can and only needed extra materials for the top cross supports and grate. 

It did take a lot of small cuts with a Dremel tool and some holes drilled to construct it, but it was a fun project. The little can stove can be used as a campfire container that really throws off the heat, also. 

Since we live in a hardwood forest it is easy to get wood for a fire, so I don’t bother bringing firewood with me; I just collect it where I am.

It was a nice day but windy, and I was glad to be tucked away between two hills right on the water. 

The lake we were on was formed from barite mining. The lake is big enough to get tired paddling around and has a rock/stone dam. 

The whole lake is surrounded by oaks, pine and pine trees and a lot of small sharp gravel pieces left over from the barite mining. 

I’m sure everyone has heard of the mineral barite. Barite is a milky white/rusty-colored mineral that is almost as heavy as lead. 

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