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Marmon Valley Farm January 2016

My first campout this scouting season was a good one.
Friday night I showed up just as night fell for our departure from the Eagles.  The rain was light and the temperature had warmed to about 40.  Not too bad for a midJanuary night.  We were off to Marmon Valley Farms before too long, and I was stoked.  Not least of which because this is a campsite that I knew how to get to without a map!
After a long week of school, the boys are often quiet and sleepy in the car, and this was no different.  I often ask the boys if they would rather hear music or an audio book during the ride just to get a rise out of them.  On some occasions (like this weekend) they saw, “doesn’t matter, I won’t listen anyway.”
We stepped out of the car after a rainy ride to the farm and the ground was swampy and icey.  We were headed for cabins, so that meant we would be dry, but we warned the boys to be sure and take their shoes off  before walking around too much in their cabin.  They got all their personal gear loaded into the cabin and we headed for the Welcome Center to checkin and begin our festivities.
The common room we were in was The Founders Room and is one we have used before.  We setup tables and chairs and had our Friday night cracker barrel.  Games were cracked out and people headed out to play (the rain had stopped).  In case you were wondering, the boys often go from playing outside, to playing inside and often without any prompting.  Some of them got a frisbee and went to an indoor arena and played.
We got checked in and found out the rules for camp – pretty simple stuff.  Quiet after 10:00 and be kind to the animals.  After a bit more playing the kids headed back to their log cabin (yup a real log cabin) to turn in for the night.
At 8:00 the next morning we had our first farm breakfast.  Eggs, biscuits, gravy and tator tots.  Life is good in the farm neighborhood.  After we cleaned up our tables we headed back for our largest block of downtime for the day.  Kids played more board games – Exploding Kittens, Magic, Sushi Go, Coup and Munchkin Quest.  They also went to the animal barn to see the goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, miniature horses, and llamas.  Some explored a little bit around the barns and welcome center.  When we got to our common room after breakfast we did have a challenge.  The wood stove had gone out.  Our Senior Patrol Leader took the opportunity not only to light it, but to ask the rest of the troop about different types of fire building.  It took a couple of trys, but the room warmed up quickly.
After a hearty lunch of chicken sandwiches, we got ready for wall climbing.  The climbing wall at Marmon Valley Farms is in the loft of a barn.  The weather was just cold enough so that after an attempt on the wall, your fingers were frozen.  After a couple minutes in your pockets they were warm enough to try again.  We had kids climbing the easy wall and the slanted wall.  We had kids climb in the upside down cave area also.  For some of them, this was certainly their first chance to try an experience like this.
We had about 30 minutes to get changed and warm up for our trail ride on horse back.  All our boys mounted like pros, and took a couple practice laps around the outdoor ring.  Unless there memories are incredibly short, they should all know how to mount, dismount, walk, turn and stop a horse.  I don’t know about them, but I definitely walked like John Wayne when we got back from our 1.5ish hour ride.
The view was beautiful, and the animals were majestic.  We saw several deer grazing off in the distance.  Still, sitting out in the cold… is cold.  The warm up time after over an hour on horseback, is the best warm up time ever. After an hour or so of warmup and games playing, we headed off for supper.
Once again the food for supper was awesome.  Meatloaf, mashed potatos, peas, and a giant salad.  The most awesome part was the gargantuan slice of chocolate cake that came at the end.   Thankfully there was copious amounts of milk to go with it.
After supper, I got to play a game that I have been looking forward to for a long time – Werewolf.  Most of the troop decided to join to play at one time or another.  I think the werewolves won only one game this weekend.  Your son may be able to explain the rules to you.
The hay ride came by to pick us up about 7:30.  We sang a few songs – Cheese and Boom-chika-boom.  The views at night from the hills and overlooks were amazing.
The night finished with some more snacking and games.  I know when I finally hit the bed that night, I was bushed.
The next morning I knew would go quick.  At breakfast we saw cowboy Matt flip pancakes – over a rafter!  Just to show that was not a fluke, we got a scout and placed him on the other side of the room and flipped a pancake over 3 rafters to land on the boys plate.  Boys, if you want to impress someone practice a skill that no one else has 🙂
After a hearty breakfast, we went to the top of the activity barn for a short sermon.  We heard a story about Matt’s trip and the importance of helping others with the skills we have learned.  He also shared a little about George Washington and how his bravery prepared him for a lifetime of service.
We got all of our rooms cleaned up and packed the trailer and got ready to go.  We still had a few minutes before we had planned to leave, so there was time revisit the animals and of course there were a few who played werewolf.
After a safe trip back to the Eagles I asked a few what they liked best about the trip and once again I got a variety of answers – horseback riding, food, new games, petting the animals were the ones I can remember now.
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon.
John

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