Tag Archives: SOWER Projects

Getting to our January Home

We are safely tucked in at our January project, but it certainly wasn’t without just a little bit of drama.
Friday started with beautiful sunshine, and some of the first “Yes! We’re in Florida now!” scenery.
Drive to Islamorada-1
But before we even made it to lunch time, we were stuck in a 4 mile long back-up due to a multi-car accident. So glad we carry our bathroom with us!
Drive to Islamorada-2
Apparently the accident had happened several hours earlier, so I guess we should be happy we were only tied up for about 90 minutes. Once we got to the accident site, and saw that they needed a crane to clear the accident, I think we realized we were very fortunate indeed!
Drive to Islamorada-3
I loved our drive through the Everglades –
Drive to Islamorada-4
So many beautiful birds – and places I would have loved to have stopped except that there were no shoulders and we really wanted to make it to the project before dark.
Drive to Islamorada-5
With the delay, we were driving through downtown Homestead, FL right about rush hour,
Drive to Islamorada-6
and our hopes of reaching Islamorada by dark was fading.
Drive to Islamorada-7
You might wonder why we were so anxious for a daylight arrival at the project. While parking a motorhome in a parking spot (as opposed to in a big parking lot) in the dark is never an first choice, we knew that the parking at this project was quite challenging. Lots of trees, all back-in sites, and lots of bad angles. And lots of trees.
It was quite dark when we arrived :(, but they found an overnight spot for us behind the school and we were delighted to just dry camp for the night.
In the morning we inspected our designated spot –
islamorado parking-1
Ooooo – lots of fun branches, and trees. But, Gary LOVES a good back-up challenge, so he was ready to go.
islamorado parking-2
He also had four guys giving him directions. (I stayed far away, chatting with the girls!)
It only took him a couple of swings before we were all set.
islamorado parking-6
I really don’t know how he does it!

So our slides are out, the utilities are good to go, and we’ve spent the weekend just scratching the surface of all the delightful things to see and do here in the Keys! But most important, we’re here to help. Work starts tomorrow morning, and we’re ready!

PS – Here’s a map of where we are.
Islamorado map
When people are giving us directions to things they usually include the words “Ocean side” or “Gulf side”. And the “sides” are literally just across the street from each other! I am really looking forward to this month!

Drawing to a close

But there is still plenty to do!
We’re down to the last couple of days here at Prescott Pines Camp – and I thought I’d share a little about the camp and what we’ve been doing here.
Prescott Pines Camp, like many of the facilities that we work at, is a multi-faceted conference center. They have a great summer camp program, which centers around Frontier Town –
Frontier Village
and comes complete with teepees (tipis?) and rustic cabins. There are zip lines and challenge courses and of course a pool. In fact, they even have a Human Fooz Ball court –
Fooz Ball
(We’re running across them more and more. One of these days we might even get to see someone PLAY Human Fooz Ball!)
The other side of the camp is still rustic, but much more civilized. There’s a lovely chapel –
Prescott Pines-1
a great gynmasium (that looks like a chapel)
Prescott Pines-3
and cabins and dormitory style buildings to accommodate men’s and ladies’ retreats and winter youth retreats along with Outdoor Education Classes from local (and not so local) schools. This place is busy all year around.
But truth be told, they had a very rough winter. The weather was especially harsh, storms were longer and meaner, and parts of the camp were severely damaged. One of the staff houses caught fire and sustained enough damage to render it unusable. A large pine fell into the dining hall, taking out a large portion of the roof. The septic system literally floated out of the ground after an especially wet stretch of winter weather. Pipes burst, trees fell, insurance was ornery. But through it all they could see the Lord’s gracious hand. No one was injured in any of the calamities. Since the roof now needed to be replaced on the dining hall, it made for the perfect opportunity to do some much need expansion and improvement (the original dining hall had been constructed in the 40’s I think). Not all of the work would be covered by insurance, but it was a good start. The septic system was needing an upgrade too, and since it was already mostly out of the ground…. you get my drift. God has been providing resources and enthusiasm and for the last several months He’s also been providing SOWERS to help with the various projects. 🙂
We worked hard this month – the guys were busy doing all kinds of things, from moving walk-in boxes to moving landscaping, to digging ditches and building sheds. They even got to help with some of the dining hall interior demolition. One of our group this month is a heavy equipment operator, and he has spent hours on a backhoe and a little bobcat. (I personally think he’s been having lots of fun on those big toys!)
Here are some shots of the guys at work –

Gary at Work Ron at Work Harley at Work Gary sr at work


Those boys have been workin’ hard!
But we girls have put in our fair share of work too! We started the week by removing landscaping stones from in front of the dining hall, then moved to cleaning two new-to-them commercial stoves and then tackled painting one of the cabins!

rock  moving oven cleaning Sandy at Work Foundation cleaning


The bottom right shot is at the foundation of the house that burned. We were asked to clean up the debris from around the foundation. What a job!
Before –
Foundation
After –
Foundation-1
The backhoe guy came up today and scooped up all the debris we had moved from the foundation. I’m not sure what their plans are for this site, but at least now it’s nice and tidy. Well, more tidy than it was anyway!
And I must admit we were quite pleased with how the cabin came out!
Completed Paintjob
And all in just three mornings! (Ok, so we just did the body of the building – the trim and deck had already been done. But still….)
Oh, and the dining hall? This is how it looked when we got here (except that the blue tarp and some of the repair boards have been removed)-
dining hall
And this is how it looked last weekend –
Dining hall
I think all the building permits are now in hand, so the rest of the demolition and renovations can begin. They were smashing up the concrete floor today. (I’m telling you, those backhoe guys have the most fun!)

And once again, it’s hard to believe that we’ll be back on the road again in just a few days. There have been some challenges this month (one couple had to leave after a week due to altitude sickness), but it’s been wonderful to see so many jobs accomplished. And it will be exciting to keep in touch with the folks here to see how their spring and summer progress. I know that feeding the multitudes in a wedding-type tent is getting a little old! But I know that God will continue to work here at Prescott Pines Camp!

Life

Utmost
It’s hard to believe (as it almost always is) that we’ll be leaving Camp Utmost in just a week. Our time here in the hills outside of Missoula has been lovely! The weather has been exceptional – cool nights and mostly sunny bright days. Perfect painting weather!
Utmost
And that’s mostly what we’ve doing!
See this lodge –
IMG_4036
Ok – so we didn’t paint ALL of it, but we did the right side and around the back. Then we moved to the woodshed and the pump house –
Utmost-2
The thing is, virtually every building on the campus has this beautiful cedar siding and all of them are due for a paint (stain) job.
utmost
There certainly is some job security here! The guys have been working on winterizing the bathhouses and doing repairs from last winter when they weren’t winterized. Ouch. We’ve all been kept good and busy – those long weekends feel mighty fine! (Actually having an hour for lunch is pretty nice too! It’s much easier to fit a quick nap in!)
But as always, it’s not all work and no play around here. We’ve gotten together a couple of times for games, and one night we even had a little goofy golf (or whatever you’d like to call it) tournament. Not surprisingly, the couple that play in a senior softball league cleaned up!
Utmost-2
We girls took a little jaunt into Seeley Lake (about 20 minutes north) to check out a local quilt shop and do the post office/milk and eggs run. This is a shot of Salmon Lake that we pass on our way to town –
Salmon Lake
There are a lot of lakes in this area – all of them seem to be full of Montana beauty!
So, I’m sure my week was a lot like yours. Some work, some play, some chores, some ups and some downs. We are so blessed to have been able to spend these weeks at Camp Utmost! Hope your week was blessed too!
Camp Utmost Shadow