Camping With Cows

>Last day to enter to win Shari Barr‘s OPERATION: EXCITEMENT!
To enter, see contest rules below<

Camping with cows sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not, but let me explain. I grew up on a dairy farm, and my best friend also grew up on a farm, so cows were always in the background. Summers were super busy with picking rock, harvesting crops, baling hay, and other *fun* farm chores, so we had to grab the free time when we could and camp close to home. That usually meant heading to one of two places: the hayloft or cow pasture.

The hayloft / shed was great for the rainy night. I’d head out there with my sister, my friend, and her younger sisters, munchies and boombox in tow. (No boys allowed!) We’d form a stage out of hay bales and pop in the Grease cassette or 8-track (yes, I know that ages me). Someone would blink a flashlight to create cool stage effects (for a hayloft, the effects were cool!) while others sang and danced.

MP900385381[1]For the non-stormy nights, my sister and I would bike over to our friend’s farm. She’d hook a large wagon onto a tractor, we’d fill the wagon with sleeping bags and blankets and pillows and boomboxes and guitars and munchies (we really roughed it!) and head out to a wooded part of the pasture. After getting a fire started, we’d roast hot dogs and make s’mores, then break out the guitars to serenade the cows.

Oddly enough, few cows visited us in that pasture. Wonder what that says about our music …

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What’s your camping story? Tell us about it in the comment section below to get your name in a drawing for Shari Barr’s book Operation: Excitement. The more you comment on any Inksper blog posts dated June 23 – July 4, 2014, the greater your chances of winning. The giveaway ends at midnight on July 4, central time, and is open to continental U. S. residents only.

Operation excitement 1Here’s the blurb to Operation Excitement, featuring three Camp Club Girl’s stories (by Shari Barr, Janice Hanna, and Linda Carlblom) in one book:

Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.

Purchase Operation Excitement online:

Parable | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

So Not a Camper

We’re celebrating the release of Shari’s Camp Club Girls release, McKenzie’s Oregon Operation included in the 3 in 1 volume, Operation: Excitement!

When I tell people I never went to church camp, they always seem shocked. I guess they assume this preacher’s wife grew up in church. But I didn’t start consistently attending until I was twelve. And our church was very small. Small as in twelve members who were all related to me on my mom’s side or my dad’s. There weren’t any kids my age. There were some younger cousins five and under, but I don’t remember camp ever being mentioned. If our church had sent kids to camp, I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not the rough it type.

Gold Hiking SandalsI’ve always said my idea of camping would be a motor home with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. But I like Dawn’s idea better – a cabin with electricity, great air conditioning, and plumbing. With accommodations like that, I probably wouldn’t go outside. I don’t like bugs, heat, humidity, or critters such as ticks and snakes, and I’m extremely allergic to poison ivy. Camping in a cabin in the fall would be nice.

Last summer, I had my first and only brush with camping when my local writers group, ACFW AR had a retreat at a church camp. We slept in squeaky bunk beds with ladders in the middle of one side and the open side against the wall. We all chose the bottom bunks, but the top might have been better. Crawling out the hole beside the ladder was a bit like crawling out of the birth canal. The showers were and toilets were all in one long room in stalls with shower curtains.

I was completely unprepared and never dreamed we’d go hiking. I brought two pairs of wedge sandals–no tennis shoes. But never one to use my shoes as an excuse, I went on the prayer walk in my gold and rhinestone sandals. It turned out to be a mountain climbing expedition and my shoes became forever known as my hiking boots. Those are the intrepid hikers above: Debbie Sheetrum, Rosie Baldwin, Ann McCauley, and me.

This year, our writers group found a Bed & Breakfast used for Christian retreats. Talk about accommodations. Technically, it couldn’t beRustic Retreat called camping, but it was my idea of camping. Nice beds, rustic decor, and very comfy with two bathrooms. The mosquitoes were thick, so I didn’t step outside except when I arrived and when I left. I don’t like the smell of Off. They need to come up with a perfume scented version. I told you, I don’t rough it.

Comment or share your camp experience to enter the drawing for a copy of Operation: Excitement!

Operation Excitement!Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.

 

Surviving Camp

Summer time. A time for mosquitoes, sunburns, and camp. Today Lorna is out at our church camp, Nebraska Youth Camp in Kearney, Nebraska, serving as a bible teacher, so it is my great pleasure to introduce Shari Barr’s new Camp Club Girls, Operation Excitement! book. In honor of Operation Excitement’s release, we are sharing our camping stories with you.

My idea of camping is a log cabin in the woods with electricity, running water, and inside latrines. Since I never went to camp as a kid, here’s my top 10 tips on how to survive camp from a non-camper’s perspective. (The picture of me was the one time I went to camp to get it ready for the campers, so I HAVE camped, I just don’t like to camp.)

Dawn at camp1. Always take the low bunk. Unless the last one to choose bunks is a girl named Big Bertha. You may want to be magnanimous and take the top bunk instead.

2. Camp mattresses are not Posturepedic. Unless you are a rich kid going to a ritzy camp, which may exist but I’m doubtful it does.  Otherwise plan to bring an extra blanket to sleep on.

3. People CAN tell when you don’t shower. Be kind, lather and shine. (No that doesn’t rhyme, but I’m not a poet, just a spectator whose sense of smell is in perfect, working order.)

4. Do not pack heavy. A common sense tip, however Lorna can tell you I don’t pack light. Ever. There really is only so much room to spread out before your camp buddies start talking revenge.

5. New shoes should never be broken in the same day you go hiking. Unless you like blisters, which I do not. Wear them around for about a week before you take them to camp. Your feet will thank you.

6. The outdoors has lots of bugs and crawly things. If you’re squeamish, don’t bunk with me. Someone has to be brave enough to kill the spiders, and that just isn’t going to be me.

7. Don’t get lost. This may sound simple, but I’ve learned the hard way moss grows on all sides of the trees, and I can get lost in my own back yard if the circumstances are right.

8. Always bring ample socks and underwear. Trust me on this one.

9. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. That said, don’t forget the batteries for your trusty flashlight. For those of you city slickers, there are no lights (save lightening bugs and moonlight) in the wild. You might find the smooth path you take during the day becoming an obstacle course at night, and it doubles as a weapon when the dark begins to make you ninja paranoid.

10. Booby traps are your best security while sleeping. Especially if you go to bed early and others in your cabin don’t, and you know they’re fond of practical jokes.

Operation excitement 1

What’s your camp story? Tell us about it in the comment section below to get your name in a drawing for Shari’s book Operation: ExcitementThe more you comment on any Inksper blog post dated June 23 – July 4, 2014, the greater your chances of winning. The giveaway ends at midnight on July 4, central time, and is open to continental U. S. residents only.

Here’s the blurb to Shari’s book, Operation Excitement, featuring three Camp Club Girl’s stories in one book:
Join the Camp Club Girls on a series of clue-filled adventures and cheer them on as they crack the case in this entertaining 3-in-1 story collection. Whether the Camp Club Girls are vanquishing vermin in Vermont, searching for stolen sea lion pups on the Oregon Coast, or investigating peculiar elk stampedes in Estes Park, you’ll encounter six charming characters who combine their mystery-solving skills to save the day.

Here’s where you can buy it online: Operation Excitement!