A happy-birthday-little-Mack camping trip

We took little Mack fishing for the first time on his 6th birthday, last May. He loved it.  We all had such a good time, in fact, that we decided that we needed to do more fishing, not just on special birthday trips . . . but the summer went so fast that we didn’t go fishing again even once!

So when Mack started talking about fishing on his birthday this year, oh, I think it was in February (and his birthday in May!) I decided that I was going to make plenty of fishing opportunities happen this summer, even if it means learning to filet the fish, myself.  (How hard can it be?) Carpe diem! Seize the fishing pole, baby!

So this year, we planned an overnight camping trip to celebrate little Mack’s 7th birthday, and we packed up tents and fishing poles and birthday cake and live bait and we went.  Fishing and camping.  It was grand.  Here are some pictures from our weekend.

We set up camp at a beautiful little lake not far from us, with not many people around–but plenty of geese.

happy birthday camping tripTimothy does a nice job of starting a fire, then he tries to dart out of the picture.  Gotcha, Timothy!  He’s just home from his own camping trip with his buddies, and he’s not moving as quickly as he usually would.

happy birthday camping tripLittle Mack puts his line in the water right away, as we set up tents and tend the fire.  What you are seeing here is several months of fishing anticipation finally satisfied.

happy birthday fishing trip“This is fun, Mom, even if I don’t catch anything . . . but I hope I catch something . . . . . do you think I should change my bait? So I will catch something?”

happy birthday fishing tripFirst fish caught!  The little bluegills are biting. Aren’t you glad you left the worm on the hook, Mack?

happy birthday camping trip It’s a beautiful evening to be outside by the lake. This is my favorite time of day, when the sun dips low and turns everything golden and rosy and you feel that delicious fatigue from a day well-spent . . . . and you look forward to the night lying on the hard ground . . . in a tent . . . with super-noisy geese by the hundreds, if not thousands, honking–honking–honking–right outside your tent . . . .wait . . .

happy birthday camping tripMy sister Anne, her son Davey and hubby Dave enjoy the fire as the sun goes down.  We heard a lot of coyotes as we sat by the fire, and also a bobcat, and (of course) the aforementioned (and cursed) geese.  We had a hurried supper of hot dogs and beans and fruit, and then we have happy birthday cake and ice cream, and little Mack gets down to business . . . opening his presents!

happy birthday camping tripA Swiss army knife is the present that Mack has been pining for for years.  I wrote about my dilemma in deciding when I could give this gift to him in my blog post right here.

I’m still not sure what the magic age is, at which you should trust your son (or daughter) with a pocket knife.  All I know is I don’t think I could have denied him this treasure for another year.  I’ve been hearing about how much he wants (nay, needs) a pocket knife on a daily, moaning basis for some time now.  Is 7 too tender of an age for a boy to have his own knife?  (If it is, I don’t want to hear it.)

happy birthday camping tripAt breakfast time, little Mack promply went to the cooler, found himself a hot dog left over from last night’s hurried supper, and roasted it for his breakfast.  It was his birthday . . . what could I say?

Besides, when but on your happy birthday camping trip can you have a hot dog for breakfast?

Besides, when but on your happy birthday camping trip can you have a hot dog for breakfast?

A hot dog for breakfast . . . followed by . . . happy birthday camping tripThe Best Sausages Ever.  Why does food cooked outside always taste so good?

happy birthday camping tripAfter breakfast, we get our fishing lines ready for a morning’s fishing. Here Amalia tends to her bobber and sinker needs, and tries not to get her line caught up in her morning tent-hair.

happy birthday camping trip

We throw back the babies. This little bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) has spiney dorsal fins, like all bluegills do, and which I am attempting to hold down with my hand.  I don’t relish having my hand impaled by this baby fish, and I toss him back, carefully. Grow up, little baby fish, and I will come back and catch you later . . .deal?

 "God in his wisdom made the fly And then forgot to tell us why."

“God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.”

Amalia and I sit for a few minutes without a nibble, so she pulls out her copy of Ogden Nash poems that she has been reading, and begins to read aloud to me.  I could spend the rest of the morning like this, I think, Ogden Nash is so entertaining and my daughter is so charming, but the fish start biting again, all at once. We decide that the fish want to hear more Ogden Nash.

A largemouth bass!

A largemouth bass–much bigger than the bluegills we’ve been catching, but not big enough to keep.  You can’t keep any of these babies until they are 21″ long.

Amalia had to throw this one back, but it was fun to catch.

happy birthday camping tripBryan and Uncle Mark pick a pretty spot to clean the fish.

This cooking shortcut was a great idea!

This cooking shortcut was a great idea!

happy birthday camping trip

Mark washes the fillets so I can fry them for lunch.

The weather is changing, with the wind picking up and dark clouds blowing in.  It’s time to pack up, so I make a fire to cook our lunch, while everybody else begins to collapse tents and fold up sleeping bags.

It all goes pretty fast when you’ve got an eye on a storm blowing in.

IMG_1536Uncle Mark and Cathy take a break from packing to mug for the camera. A camping trip is so much work, and I appreciate how cheerful these two helped make it a memorable event for little Mack.

Oooh, baby, these little fillets were so delicious!

Oooh, baby, these little fillets were so delicious!

A shore lunch–just-caught fish, fried for just a few minutes, and served so hot that you can barely eat them–sometimes is just the thing!

Little Mack pronounced his happy-birthday camping trip a wondrous success, and he wants to do another one, soon.  Soon. 

We’ll talk about that, son, perhaps after your mama has forgotten about those noisy geese . . .


28 thoughts on “A happy-birthday-little-Mack camping trip

  1. Susie Brown

    I love this post. Such memories for everyone, especially the birthday boy! We camped all the time when I was a kid and loved it. It makes me want to plan a camping trip with my grand kids. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Francene Stanley

    I enjoyed your fishing trip. I’ll bet the birthday boy enjoyed it under that wonderful tree. Wrapped in a blanket like that in the chair, he looks like a baby in a stroller. Shhh. Don’t tell him. It’s just that he’s so cute.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I agree about not taking the knife to school, Arla, though–since we home school–it’ll probably be permitted.

  3. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    My family did tent camping when we were younger. My son loved fishing (I hated it as much as he loved it – does that nominate me for the Bad Mother club?). But I have other memories of the great outdoors – mosquitoes and ticks top the list. I’m glad you didn’t invite me along. I guarantee that any lake I would have camped near would have been infested with mosquitoes, and Mack’s special campout would have been ruined. Let me tell you about camping in Vermont, camping in Michigan, camping in Canada…..seriously, seeing little Mack gave me little grandparent-one-day (maybe) pangs. Thank you for giving him an unforgettable birthday.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      There are times of the year when it’s not so pleasant to camp in Nebraska, too. We did see a few ticks, but the flies and mosquitoes haven’t come out yet. Once they do–we don’t do so much camping then. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Dayna Camp

    Looks like all of you had a great time, especially the birthday boy! I grew up camping. Such wonderful memories! We also did lots of fishing in Florida. Good times!

  5. Chef William

    My grandfather gave me my first knife for Christmas, four weeks before I turned 7. The first thing I cut was my thumb. Oh did grandpa ever get yelled at by grandma for giving me a knife. Guess what, I have made a pretty good living all my working years and the main tool I used was a knife, or a bunch of different knives. Happy birthday little Mack, enjoy your knife. Now start working on you mother for a Boning knife. It is designed to bone out all those fish you caught, as well as poultry and cattle. It comes in varying degrees of blade flexibility. For fish you want one that is very flexible but you want one that isn’t very flexible for poultry and cattle, so you better ask her for one of each.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Chef, I don’t know if I’ll show Mack this comment or not . . . those boning knives look sharp. Although if Uncle William stopped by and gave him a lesson, well, then, maybe . . .

  6. DinoMama

    Love this post!
    Which reminds me that I should start planning for my 7yr old’s birthday party in August! We don’t do fishing here so I have to think of some other ways to make his birthday a memorable one.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      It was an awesome experience, Alessa, and you’re right, having some extended fam made it more fun!

  7. Ricardo Jenkins W.

    I have been wondering what to do different for my son’s birthday, and reading this post gave me fresh ideas! We have gone for camping before, but have never done camping and fishing. Sounds like a fun idea, and yes of course food during camping tastes so much better!!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Our little Mack really felt special that we went to all this trouble for him, I think. We had a great time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.