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.
Timothy 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.
Little 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.
“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?”
First fish caught! The little bluegills are biting. Aren’t you glad you left the worm on the hook, Mack?
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 . . .
My 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!
A 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.)
At 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?
A hot dog for breakfast . . . followed by . . . The Best Sausages Ever. Why does food cooked outside always taste so good?
After 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.
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?
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.
Amalia had to throw this one back, but it was fun to catch.
Bryan and Uncle Mark pick a pretty spot to clean the fish.
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.
Uncle 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.
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 . . .
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I have not gone fishing in more than 5 decades… No, I don’t miss it, either.
But, i do see others enjoying the activity (ok, the non-activity).
Wow–five decades, Roy–did you fish as an infant??
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.
Susie, I hope you do!
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.
Oh, he’d wrinkle up his face at that, Francene, but it did make me smile!
Now *that* looks like a good trip! Great smiley family pictures – made me smile all the way over on this side of the pond!
Awww, I’m glad, GreatG!
Looks like so much fun! I’d love to take the kids camping like this one day when they’re older.
Happy birthday Little Mack xx
He looks like one happy birthday boy! One of my sons loves fishing more than anything in the world, so his dad tries to take him fishing at least once a year.
What a great photo documentary of your fishing trip. Glad you caught enough to have a fish fry!
I don’t think 7 is too young to have a pocket knife, and it will probably teach responsibility. He may not want to take it to school!
I agree about not taking the knife to school, Arla, though–since we home school–it’ll probably be permitted.
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.
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!
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!
What fun!! We were just talking about having done such things “Back in the day”!!
Happy birthday to little Mack!
Thank you Carrie!
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.
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 . . .
What a fun story! I love how you shared it in words and pictures! Lucky Mack to have everyone gather like this to make his birthday special!
wonderful blog, I loved camping when I was little, It looks like you had the most amazing time 🙂 Happy 7th Birthday to your radiant young man !
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.
Happy Birthday to Mack. Love that the trip included other family, not just mom & dad. Looks like you all had so much fun.
It was an awesome experience, Alessa, and you’re right, having some extended fam made it more fun!
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!!
Our little Mack really felt special that we went to all this trouble for him, I think. We had a great time!