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Victoria Day Deer Camp

This past weekend is my favourite of the year! Victoria Day weekend, or May 2-4 weekend (although I can’t remember the last time it fell on May 24), always marks the beginning of summer in my mind. My goal every year is to be outside as much as possible. Mission accomplished this year, we went to Emily’s dad’s deer camp!

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Not our first experience at the ol’ Deer Run Inn, it is becoming an annual thing. We usually go up in the winter, which is quite an adventure because you have to walk in while dragging your stuff on toboggans behind you. Last year it was just Emily, Corey, Evan and I, as Dawn and Mark had a newborn at home and pulling your newborn into the camp on a toboggan in the dead of winter is probably frowned upon. But two years ago the six of us were up there.

Our first group deer camp pic:

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Aww, Bolt (who is still doing so well, by the way! We get updates pretty often). That was actually the first time that Evan really hung out with my friends.

Last year’s deer camp photo:

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And this year’s group pic:

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We had a couple new puppy additions with us. Still Miyou, the original doge, as well as Emily and Corey’s doberman Ace, and Dawn’s sister Melon’s dog Rocky was with us. Fun fact, all three of those dogs are rescues, and they are all just muffins.

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I haven’t been to the hunting camp in the spring since I was in Grade 7 when I came with Emily and her parents. I still think it’s better in the winter, but it was nice to be able to go outside without full winter gear on. And it was green and beautiful, so I can’t complain about that.

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I busted out my best plaid for the occasion.

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Even though we weren’t actually hunting, and it is not actually hunting season. My mom used to have a really similar plaid jacket that she wore fishing when I was growing up (so it was called the fishing jacket) and she used to wear it to pick me up from school and I would just die of embarrassment. I don’t even know why, but I thought it was the most embarrassing thing in the world. And look where I am now. Now I feel proud of her plaid fishing jacket.

We were only at the deer camp from Saturday afternoon until Sunday, so we had to make the most of our time. We played a bunch of lawn games, and took the dogs on a big nature walk.

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Can you spot Evan’s sass face in this photo?

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It really is beautiful there in the spring.

The deer camp does not have indoor plumbing or electricity, so it is kind of like camping in a cabin. There is an outhouse, and there is also a generator to power lighting and stuff.

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So it’s definitely roughing it, but I like it. And then there is the sleeping quarters. Five double bunk beds.

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We have already talked about if there is a zombie apocalypse this is probably where we will be headed. And as Emily brought up, the entire area is not very populated, so we wouldn’t have to deal with very many zombies for a while. It seems like a good plan.

Once it got dark we ate dinner (pasta!) and played a bunch of games. The usual game suspects (Cards Against Humanity), Bingo (Evan cheated), and Jenga Xtreme.

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Which is not as good as regular Jenga, just a heads up.

And of course we celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday on Victoria Day, and for that you need fireworks. This is what most of my pictures of our fireworks looked like.

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I have skills. This is the best one I got.

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The dogs hated.

It was a good hunting camp time with our friennnnds.

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The next day we took the dogs on another walk, had a big breakfast, packed up and hit the road. On Sunday the weather was ridiculously beautiful and Evan and I weren’t ready to go home just yet, so we stopped in Peterborough on the way back. Oh and dropped by Farm Boy and it was definitely NOT the same as the Farm Boy in Ottawa, and they did not have the lemon garlic dressing. So that was disappointing.

It was not a wasted trip though, we stopped at the Peterborough Riverview Park and Zoo for a couple hours. I have been to Peterborough many, many times before, but we usually just go to the bar, so I have never been to this park (and zoo). It was forest-y and pretty (and free!), and had mostly North American creatures. But here we have the exotic yak:

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This would be the bobcat:

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And I can’t lie, the cage over there had a strong cat pee aroma.

The most magnificent turkey:

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This mountain goat was king of his castle:

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The duck-faced camel:

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The cherry blossoms!

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And the Otanabee River.

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Quite the zoo. There were a few more kinds of animals, but you get the idea.

Afterwards we went on a walk downtown and stopped by the Olde Stone for lunch. I have definitely been before with my bestie Lisa and her friends (I distinctly remember their cheddar and ale soup), but it was a while ago. They are a brewery also, so we started with beer.

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Well Evan did, I went with the Pommies dry cider because I was in a cider kind of mood.

The Olde Stone has a cute patio on George Street, which I enjoyed for people-watching purposes. And I had the best veggie burger of my life. I don’t usually go for veggie burgers at restaurants, but this did not sound like your typical veggie burger.

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It is the curried chickpea and apple burger, topped with mango chutney, sweet pickle slaw, lettuce and feta. It was seriously delicious. I also loved that you could order half fries and half salad. Evan did not enjoy his regular burger as much as I enjoyed my meal, but you can’t win them all. He had some meal envy for sure.

After wandering around downtown a bit more we came home and played Rummy on our balcony while we watched the fireworks in our neighbourhood.

And on Monday we went for a long walk along the Finch corridor.

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I love finding forest trails in the city. There was a Buzzfeed quiz recently about picking the trail that was the most enticing to you, and that trail above is extremely enticing to me. I look at that and I just want to explore it. It’s just trees and more trees, but I like.

And that is that. Hope you guys had a great Victoria Day weekend! And if you are not Canadian I hope you had a great regular weekend!

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The Deer Run Inn

Hi friends!

As mentioned in my last post, a bunch of us spent the weekend doing winter stuff in the middle of nowhere Ontario, at Emily’s Dad Al’s hunting camp, the famous Deer Run Inn.

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Tripod for the group photo win. From left: Corey, Emily, Evan, myself, Dawn, Mark, and Dawn and Mark’s dogs Miyou and Bolt. You should recognize them all if you have been following my blog for a while since most of those beautiful faces tend to make an almost weekly appearance around here.

It was awesome to spend the weekend outside of the city with them all, and I had a really fun time.

The camp isn’t on an official road, so getting into it is a bit tricky in the winter because there is typically a LOT of snow and the “road” is unplowed and hilly. So we met Em’s Dad Al on the drive up in his 4×4 truck and he drove us in. I was grateful, as we had a lot of stuff.

Dawn and Mark came up a bit later though, so we made the trek back out so we could walk them in and help them carry everything.

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Dawn with her backpack and her brown blanket killed me. She reminded me of a movie character. I think the hunchback from 300.

The walk is about 30 minutes, but it wasn’t bad as we had beer to get us through.

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We liked to call Evan the Mechanic, or Coveralls, or Dan Ackroyd (because of Ghostbusters) because he was wearing an attractive one piece coverall set as snow pants.

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He said the coveralls were nice and toasty.

So a little about the camp. It’s gorgeous. Though the term “inn” is probably used a bit loosely…

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It has a lot of deer paraphernalia kicking around, and a lot of gun racks.

There are two rooms. In modern open-concept fashion, the main room is the kitchen and the living room together, and then there is the bunk room, which has five bunk beds with double mattresses on both the top and bottom bunks. Very functional.

The camp has no electricity (though there is a generator), and no running water. It is heated by a wood stove and a cook stove, and there is also a propane stove if needed (we used it for breakfast). There’s an old fridge on the porch that isn’t plugged in, and it kind of acts like a cooler. But in the winter keeping everything cold isn’t a problem, because you can just leave it outside.

We didn’t need a fridge for our snacks anyway.

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Epitome of health right there. We do not mess around when it comes to snacks. I had a lot of everything.

There is also no bathroom. Just this fancy outhouse.

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We were trying to figure out why anyone would put a window on an outhouse door, and we think it is because when all the men are up there actually hunting deer, they probably keep their gun nearby when they are using that in the morning. In case any deer wander by, you know.  It’s important to keep an eye out for your enemy at all times.

Anyway, the seat was frigid, but as far as outhouses go it wasn’t too bad. And besides the cold seat I have decided I much prefer outhouses in the winter to the summer, because there isn’t really a smell and there are no bugs. I have a feeling that thing gets pretty spider infested in the summer. And spiders, as you may know, are the one thing that make me panic inside.

The snow was up to our knees, so Evan shovelled a path over to the outhouse so we could easily get to it from the cabin.

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Very nice of him. Also, to the right of the cabin in that picture is the shower. We didn’t use it though. We just stayed dirty.

After we unpacked our stuff and got all settled, we got right into the winter activities. Like building snowmen!

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It was perfect snowman-building packing snow. We built two awesome ones, and then we trashed them.

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We had a pellet gun up there so we shot some cans off of that snowman before Mark tackled it. I actually have a pretty good shot!

And I have been wanting to make a snow angel for at least two years, so I got that dream out of the way.

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We also took the dogs on a big walk through the snow around the camp, and Corey showed us the tree stand he uses when he is there actually hunting deer with Emily’s Dad.

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I didn’t get a picture of it, but I wanted to post this one because in the top left of the photo is the “skinning shack.” We did not go in there, because I have a feeling it is just as horrifying as it sounds.

After dinner (lasagne), we played a round of Apples to Apples which I have never played before. It’s a really good family game and it was pretty funny.

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Coincidentally Evan brought the game Cards Against Humanity, which is exactly like Apples to Apples, only a million times more inappropriate.

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And I really do mean a million times more inappropriate. No exaggeration there. So we played that next, and let me tell you, it was the funniest game I have ever played. Ever. I was dying. Like laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. A couple people had to actually take a Tylenol because their heads hurt so much from laughing. Emily eventually had to lie down, as she just couldn’t take the laughter anymore.

And I really appreciated that they tailored the game for Canadians.

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I don’t think Evan stole his copy of Cards Against Humanity, just for the record. But there were a few American cards we didn’t understand, so we appreciated the Canadian effort.

We played the entire game, while wearing hats.

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We went through every card. It took us about five hours, but we did take a break to squeeze in some nighttime tobogganing.

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The hill wasn’t the greatest, but it was still a good time. We lit it with flares so we could see where we were going.

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It was pretty.

The next morning we woke up and made the best breakfast ever.

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So good. The hash browns almost reminded me of the amazing hash browns we had in Jamaica. Almost.

We also had toast, which Evan brought cinnamon spread for. Cinnamon spread!

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It took me back to my childhood! I took the leftover tub home with me and have been stirring it into my oatmeal in the mornings. It is goooood.

Corey, Evan and I also all had very attractive onesies that came in handy for the morning chilliness. Corey missed the onesie picture, sadly.

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Bolt and Miyou enjoyed them. My onesie was super comfortable. I think I might start wearing it all the time.

Fun times at the hunting camp!

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I am already excited to go back.

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