Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Iowa - Mississippi Boating


As a little extra treat this Iowa trip, cousin Kent invited us out boating on the Mississippi.  Owen, Nora and I went with Grandpa Z and Uncle Ken to the river a little early and checked out the Buffalo Bill museum and the old Lone Star paddle boat in LeClaire.  Kent, Truman and Daniel joined us a little later and we all took a quick trip upriver and back.  Given our difficulties getting out sailing this year, it was great to have a little extra time out on the water this trip.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Iowa - Tipi


Sometimes the Pond is so much fun you just don't want to leave.  Saturday was one of those days: Cornfest in the morning, swimming all afternoon, and s'mores by the fire in the evening.  Fortunately, the solution to this problem lies just through the trees on the west end of the Pond, the tipi.  Owen and I have camped out in the tipi the last couple years, and this year Elaine and Nora joined us along with Thomas, Ethan and Simon.

The kids were all a little excited of course, so when we all settled in for bed, after a little time around the new tipi fire ring, there was quite a bit of laughter and giggles before the kids all drifted off to sleep.  For Thomas, sleep was a little more difficult to come by.  A mysterious rustling and digging sound kept him up, but despite some middle of the night exploration with the flashlight, he couldn't find the source of the strange noises.  In the morning we all went up to the cabin for some of Thomas' delicious pancakes, and when I went back to the tipi to pack up the tarp and air-mattresses, I found what had been keeping Thomas awake.  Some sort of rodent had burrowed under our beds, built a nest and given birth in the middle of the night.  Quite an eventful night indeed.

Iowa - Corn Fest

We try to coordinate our trip to Iowa each year with the Fawcett Family's Sweet Corn Festival which primarily consists of several branches of the Fawcett family descending on West Branch for several days, picking sweetcorn, cooking it, eating an absurd amount of it, and then cutting the corn off the remaining ears, placing it in ziploc bags and storing it in a pond freezer until said family members take some home with them to eat throughout the year (or if you're Allen, use it to make corn butter and then force your wife to drink a corn milkshake). While the yield this year was a bit lower due to the draught, the turnout was pretty impressive.

Aunt Kara (Uncle Dave was in Chicago at a Cubs game. No really), Steve, Becky and all the kids as well as Mom and Dad represented the Zimmerman side, and while we were the only attendees of the John Fawcett branch (John had been back the week before for his 50th reunion and Katherine had to work), the Ken, Martha, Nan, Dick, Jim, and Becky Fawcett off-shoots were all well represented.

The came. They ate (or in the case of Samuel's first birthday cake, devoured). They swam, took wagon rides, had some batting practice, retrieved a wayward ball from said batting practice, enjoyed the view from the new balcony, and had a lovely time in general.

But what was probably most impressive, was the sheer number of little Fawcetts running around, which (hopefully) means we have a lot more Corn Fests in our future.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Iowa - Hollywood


One of the best things about swimming in the Pond is Hollywood.  Our little man-made floating island gives swimmers a destination aside from the beach and the dock -- a spot to rest and play in the middle of the Pond.  In the last few years, we noticed that Hollywood was sitting lower and lower in the water, to the point that it could barely support the weight of more than one person.  Finally, after 20 some years, when one last attempt was made to take Hollywood out of the water for the Winter, it gave up the ghost and crumpled into a heap.  Well, this summer the big project during our visit was to build Hollywood II (or following the lead of Apple, just the New Hollywood, or even simply Hollywood).  Grandpa Z, Owen and I joined cousin Kent and Uncle Ken over at the machine shed on Wednesday morning to cut foam, stretch rubber, bend metal, and rout corners (and even get in some hitting practice).  Owen rode in the tractor with cousin Kent as we hauled Hollywood to the Pond, Uncle Ken Christened it with a Fat Tire, and the New Hollywood was launched into the Pond.  Sure, the actual launch resulted in the loss of my wedding ring as it sunk to the bottom of the pond after I dove in to give Hollywood a tow, but that seems a small price to pay (though Elaine doesn't entirely agree). With all the progress in Hollywood technology over the decades that has been incorporated into this new and improved design, hopefully we won't have to build Hollywood III for another 20 or 30 years.


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's not Heaven, it's Iowa


It's time for our annual summer vacation in Iowa.  Two weeks of summer fun, a long drive out, made a lot more pleasant with a stop to visit Aunt Katherine and Uncle L in Cleveland, followed by lots of swimming, sweet corn, and family fun.  Too much to fit in one blog post of course, so enjoy our next few posts about the homeland.

(To see all the Iowa photos, please click here.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012



Grandpa Don invited us for our first sail of the season on Sunday. We slathered on sunscreen, donned our life-jackets and boarded Innisfree for an afternoon of sailing. But after motoring by the slip for about 10 minutes Grandpa Don announced that we were heading back -- ironically our sail was being aborted due to a transmission failure.

We were a bit bummed, particularly Owen who'd looked forward to hanging out on the bow and catching wakes, but a lovely picnic and the presence of "Molly," the boating club mascot and fetch-loving dog made for a fun alternative. Plus for once I didn't get seasick.

(click here for the pictures)

Monday, July 09, 2012

OBX 2012


After our adventures in air-conditioning repair we were certainly ready to get out of town.   And given that record-breaking heat was in the cards for DC the week of July 4th, it was the prefect time for a beach trip.  This year we visited South Nags Head with Katherine & Lee, the Brown's, and even Makayla joined us for a couple days at the end of the week.  We had a perfect little beach house, Three Gulls & a Buoy, that was one of the last houses before the beach turned into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  We loved the set up and loved our stretch of beach, so we may just have to come back to this spot again sometime.


On Monday we drove down to Hatteras to visit Brad & Marlo's friend Katrina, and had a wonderful night out on the beach, roasting marshmallows, eating s'mores, and relaxing under the full moon.  Tuesday we climbed Jockey's Ridge, and visited Kitty Hawk Kites where I picked up a fancy new power kite.  Katherine & Lee weren't quite satisfied just pushing past us to see the oasis at Jockey's Ridge, and went all the way up to Corolla to find the wild horses.  Wednesday of course was Independence Day, so we broke out the fireworks and put on a little show.  Thursday Lee's family stopped by to visit for the afternoon, and Makayla came to stay the rest of the trip.  On Thursday, Elaine, Owen & I took the kayak out to the sand bar, and we watched all the kids on Friday while Brad & Marlo went SCUBA diving in the graveyard of the Atlantic.


Bringing back memories of some of my best beach trips in years past, we had a great sand bar in front of our house.  At low tide we could swim out 30 yards or so to a sand bar that was as shallow as two feet in places.  One day, Owen and I were out there body boarding together, and a couple of dolphins playfully swam up just 20 feet or so away from us.  I had a similar experience years ago when I was young, and it was really special to be able to share it this time with Owen.


The best part of the trip though was just swimming, boarding, playing relaxing on the beach, and spending time with such great people all week.

(click here for all the pictures)