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A trek 'up north' marks first "real" outing


Actual trips from my home have been rare this past year. Even when I did get in the car, it was to go to the grocery store. When in that establishment I hurried to pick up the items on my list and then I hurried home again.

Last week I stopped for coffee with friends. I hadn’t felt comfortable doing that for many months. Now that we older gals are getting our shots, I can stop with them and relax, well almost relax. I wear my mask when not drinking my coffee. It’s going to take a few more months before I really feel comfortable. Still, traveling six miles from home wasn’t much of an outing. Finally, last Friday I had a real getaway. 

Daughter Rebecca volunteered to take me to meet Rachel and David at their ‘new’ cabin near St. Germain. It would take about three hours to get there from the farm—even farther for Rebecca. 

Rachel and David had taken vacation time to upgrade the cabin. There was a lot to do before their family could feel comfortable spending time there. 

Out came old kitchen shelving and appliances. New would replace the old, but first, the cement floor needed covering. 

Since Rebecca and I would be going on Friday, we were getting photo updates from Rachel on their work progress. Wood flooring was their first big challenge.

Rachel told me that she could put in straight strips of flooring, but she left the hard corners to David. If there were any tricky cuts needed, her husband took that chore. This slowed down David. With this work division, Rachel covered more square feet.

Wall painting took place in between removing cabinets and putting in flooring.

We had seen the before photos and knew we would see great improvements.

Rebecca and I started at eight in the morning, figuring to be at the cabin at 11. A Google map in my oldest daughter’s car told us our route, broadcasting upcoming turns. “Turn left onto Highway 29.” But we didn’t stay on 29. Most of our drive was on 45, which took us through many towns along our way.

Halfway point was Antigo. It was time for a quick restroom break, but in minutes we were on the road again. At eleven, we found our way to the cabin driveway. 

First thing, after hellos, we were shown the inside of the cabin. Wow, the difference between before and the present was amazing.

Since the cabin is about double-garage size, we could see a lot from the doorway. To the right was the great room which included the living room, dining room, and kitchen. To the left was one of the two bedrooms. The only flooring needing completion was in the working bathroom. 

I took my time going up to the loft, above the bedrooms. Railings were in the offing but without them yet in place made me a little dizzy.

Next, we took a walk around part of the 38-acre property. The ground was still frozen. There were spots where snow and ice remained. We were up-north after all.

Looking around at the trees and landscape, I almost slipped on a patch of ice. Good thing I didn’t fall.

All the while we four walked, we wondered what Bob would have said about Rachel and David’s new adventure. I’m sure he would have been impressed with all their work. (When Bob and I were young, we often talked about building our home in the woods on the farm.)

Lunch was take-out. Up to that point, meals for the two carpenters consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, and bananas. (No stove or refrigerator were yet installed.)

After a three-hour visit, Rebecca and I headed back home. Leaving Rachel and David to return to the work on their ‘dream’ cabin.

The outing was a whirlwind but well worth it. When I next visit there will be a working stove and refrigerator, and grandchildren running around—the kids are going to love playing in the creek, just like their mother did growing up on Gardner Road.

It was a perfect first outing for me.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.