Size Matters in Camping and Nature
Finally…enough room at the dinner table

Finding elbow space at the dinner table is always a problem when you camp with seven in a small pop-up trailer, especially as the children grow longer each year.  We don’t notice it as much eating at the dining room table at home.  However, when we cram into the trailer for meals if it’s raining or if the children just prefer the soft cushions of our dinette seats after a day of hiking, it becomes an issue. 

This trip we journeyed to the beautiful and varied landscape of the state of New York.  We always learn something new when we camp with the family during the summer.  And I mean something besides the fact that the children are getting too long for the dinette tables.  We took the Uncle Sam Two Nation boat tour of the 1000 Island Region and learned why the Saint Lawrence River is so crystal clear.  Zebra mussels clean pollutants out of the water.  These tiny prolific mussels have few predators in the United States, and they are not good to eat.  The unfortunate circumstance of these invasive creatures, the boat captain explained, is that they cling to boat propellers and pipes and grates in many waterways and gum up the works of not only watercraft but also water treatment and power plants. 
            Nuts!  We discover a creature that cleans pollutants out of our water systems, but then they can in turn mess up the balance of the ecosystem.
            I tried not to dwell on this as I gazed into the glasslike, blue Saint Lawrence as we steamed around the luscious islands in the stillness of a sunny summer day.
            Then we visited Boldt Castle on Heart Island.  A masterpiece of architecture in the making.  But the owner, the creator of this work of art, never lived here.  Millionaire Boldt built this castle for the love of his life, his wife.  How romantic.  No expense spared.  [I know.  It’s easy if you’re a millionaire.]  Look at the size of that dining table!  And they only had two children.  There’s enough room at this table for the Lees crew to have a meal and not bicker…I mean bump elbows.   
            But then the wife died only months before the castle paradise was complete.  And Boldt abandoned the island project.  Another sad fact to learn in one day.  I was beginning to become depressed.  
Of course, there were many other interesting non-depressing facts given on the boat tour.  Like if there was a tree on rock above the waterline, it was an island.  However, those other two facts stuck with me.
            To brighten my spirits, my husband thought of a treat for the family.  No, we couldn’t eat dinner in Boldt castle’s dining room, but after a week of canned and boxed foods, we ate in an air-conditioned restaurant on the docks of the 1000 island region.  After baking in the sun while touring the 1000 Islands by boat, then melting on Heart Island exploring Boldt Castle, it took a while to “cool down” before we could enjoy our meal at the little island eatery.
            Even though we don’t have all the space Mr. Boldt had, we still enjoy our little pop-up trailer.  Besides, it’s easier to reach the cupboards or counters if we forget something or share foods between dinette tables when we eat now.  

12 thoughts on “Size Matters in Camping and Nature”

  1. always love your stories. I knew about those zebra mussels from when I worked at the museum. nasty little things, but I keep thinking that everything has its purpose in life. We haven't figured out theirs

  2. I mean, you think that clarifying the water is a good thing, but these little devils attach by the thousands onto our native mussels until they can't function any more. Then the little snots change the environment for other native aquatic species. As I said in the blog post; Nuts! Thank you so much, Marie, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog and leaving a note. It is greatly appreciated.

  3. Thank you, Lynda. Camping is always an adventure when you have five kids. It's also a great way to see the world. When you went camping, did you have a tent or trailer?

    It's always a pleasure seeing you at Camping with Kids. Thanks again!

  4. Nature sure is strange, and yes, nature always wins. I hope you're correct, because it seems that these zebra mussels are getting into everything and spreading everywhere. Thanks so much, Bill, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog and leaving a note. It is greatly appreciated.

  5. I've read that the mussels came into the U.S. on freighter ships, either in their bilge water [the water that floods the bottom of the ship for balance and is discharged when the ship comes to port for new freight] or on anchors and chains. These zebras are tiny and reproduce like mad. Thanks so much, Michelle, for visiting my Camping with Kids blog and leaving a note. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.

  6. Hello and welcome to Camping with Kids! Thank you so much for your kind words. We enjoy camping with our five children and will continue to document our adventures here at Camping with Kids. Please stop by again.


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