These fabulous photos are from Spence's all-boy boot camp last week. He typed up a really nice post about it, but committed some deadly blogging sin and lost it all. He's relegated himself to a brutal punishment of push-mowing the lawn in the blazing sun in hopes he dies of heat stroke rather than the shame of being tagged a lousy blogger. So allow me to tell his story -- briefly.
These fine young men are great-grandsons of Hattie and Will Terry Johnson, Spence's longtime next-door neighbors, both of whom died in the 90s. Their children, grandchildren and greats still enjoy the 100+ acre farm in Roaring River valley, and this summer the boys decided to sign up for some fishing, frivolity and fellowship with Spence.
Spence first took them to Waterloo Falls on Spring Creek, one of our favorite hangouts. Spence and the boys caught and cooked their own dinner. This photo was taken at Mill Creek Falls, a great spot to swim and fish.
The fruits of our labor. Well, mostly Jack's and Russell's labor.
This was a day when Spence wasn't cracking the whip and allowed the boys to just have fun. Just kidding! Campbell on the rope swing at Roaring River.
Russell and Jack fishing at Roaring River. Who's the best fisherman? Who caught the biggest and the most? These subjects were debated at great length all week.
Campbell, Will, and Wes at old mill site and falls on Flat Creek.
Wes, Will, and Campbell on Flat Creek. Cool rock formations. (This is a hike Spence and I have only done once together. We hike down Flat Creek, which really should be called Fall Flat on Your Behind Creek because the "flat" part of creek means the bottom is flat and slippery, until you reach the confluence of Roaring River, then you hike up RR through the gorge. The formations are so dramatic, it's hard to believe this is practically in our backyard.) Soon after Spence and the boys reached the confluence, some of their fish were in distress (obviously it's not practical to haul a cooler along), so Spence being the mountain-goat rock-hopper he is sprinted a 12-minute mile up Roaring River to the truck with them, where the cooler was waiting. He saved the fish! Of course, until they met their end with the filet knife a little later.
Spence with two nice smallmouth bass on Roaring River.
One day, Spence went with the boys and grandmothers (who had been graciously keeping Dawit every day) to Hidden Springs Orchard about 3 miles from our house to pick blueberries. This is Betty Sue. Now that our bridges are out (one killed by the flood; the other being rebuilt), it takes about 35 minutes to get there.
It was a hot proposition, but Caroline and Russell had fun in the sun.
Russell and Jack were dang proud of their big catch Thursday afternoon.
Jack and his longear sunfish.
The boys agreed to share their catch with all of us at fish fry at the Johnson farm.
Dawit preferred corn!
Jack's and Russell's fish. Smallmouth bass and a longear sunfish above. Rock bass (redeye) below. (These are Spence's detailed fish facts, not mine.)
That's a big crawdad! Shouldn't he be on a leash? (I don't think anyone ate him.)
Hellgramite. Great bait, but not too pretty. (Ick!)
Dawie LOVED hanging with the boys, especially Jack and Russell. Here they were showing off Jack's box turtle.
Wes, Will, Campbell, Spence (back row) Russell, Jack, Dawit (front). What great boys!!