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Campground Culture

I took Lily out glampin’ a few weekends ago to a Forest Service campground near a beautiful Idaho lake with white-sand beaches. I have to say that I have a new appreciation for campgrounds. I’ve always tried to avoid them, but this was a Butters family reunion, and so a bona fide campground seemed like the easiest thing to do.

As it turns out, I loved it—the sounds of all the people coming and going, the voices of children, babies laughing, people singing around their campfires, guitars, even dogs barking! Walking around the campground at night, I saw every kind of nationality, family size, RV style and size, kids on skateboards, people on bikes … and in thinking about it afterward, what I loved most about it was how happy everyone was. They were, for a tiny fraction of their lives, exactly where they were hard-wired to be. Outdoors.

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My Airstream is named Lily because of a beautiful vintage painting that adorns her bedroom partition.

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As were leaving the farm and getting on the road (my husband driving his own truck/camper), I looked behind me to see if we were still a convoy, but he’d disappeared. My son and his wife were in a Jeep with a teardrop trailer in tow and my daughter and her husband were in a truck pulling our Tabitha. As it turns out, my husband had hopped out to pick a matching pink lily from my garden for me to enjoy all weekend. What an aroma they give! My lily smelled like a lily all weekend. (And my husband is a big ole sweetheart!)

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Slacker came too.

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And four of my grandgirls.

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Here are some glamour shots of Lily adorned in her vintage gelatin molds. They always put a smile on people’s faces.

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And some interior shots I’d taken earlier. I actually bolted a 4′ cast-iron bathtub to the floor. I use a propane on-demand hot-water heater to fill it. Luxurious! And the floor is a portion of a basketball court that was up for grabs from our local building recycler.

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The linen curtains and bedding are made from some rather ugly curtains on sale at Bed-Bath-Beyond that had big 2″ grommets in the tops. I cut those off and used an entire extra curtain to make the ruffles. Love linen fabric that is gauzy like these are!

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You’ve heard of snake charmers …

… but how about worm charmers?

On the Florida panhandle in a corner of the Apalachicola National Forest, Gary and Audrey Revell carry on a generations-old ritual they call worm grunting. Or worm charming. Or worm fiddling. Or worm calling. How about worm snoring? Whatever you call it, it’s a method of creating vibrations in the soil that mimic the sounds of moles, earthworm predators, and send the earthworms wriggling to the surface to escape … right into the hands of the grunters. And apparently, it works; Gary and Audrey have collected enough earthworms to reach the moon and back!

Gary uses a thin piece of metal rubbed against a wooden stake (creating an eerie “grunting” sound) while Audrey scoops up the bounty, but there are many methods to this particular madness. Some worm charmers simply sprinkle the earth with water, tea, or beer; some use a pitchfork; some tap dance; some saw a tree; and some even use knitting needles to lure the worms. (Do I hear a new Merit Badge coming on?) At England’s World Worm Charming Championships, 10-year-old Sophie Smith set the Guinness World Record for most worms charmed in 30 minutes (567) by simply sticking a fork into the ground and wiggling it around while hitting it with a stick.


On a typical early-morning forest outing, Gary and Audrey will gather 3,000-4,000 worms. What do they do with all those worms? They sell them for fishing bait at $35 for a bucket of 50 worms. Do the math. It might just inspire a little grunting, fiddling, charming, calling, snoring, or even tap dancing! Continue reading

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Jam-ee Glam-ee Camping

After a wonderful weekend spent under the stars, Mom and I were perusing our pictures and noticed a theme.

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My cousin, Adria, somehow managed to get dressed on our first day, but if you look closely, you’ll see that I stayed in my jammies the entire time.

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And my sister, Mia Marie, was definitely too busy with dish duty to worry about her attire.

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By the second day, Adria had joined us!

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And by the third day, little Alina had run out of clean clothes anyway. New trend: jam-ee glamping!

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