Fun times at Colemans Lake

one last hurrah before construction begins…

After months of talking about joining us at the lake, the Astroths and the Hunt/Barnums, finally found some free time in their busy social calendars and headed down with us Labor Day weekend for a little end of the summer fun…Steve Duval and his son, Ethan, were waiting for us when we arrived. We spent a full day kayaking, fishing, skeet shooting, riding ATV’s and dirt bikes.  I do believe a good time was had by all!


We three Kings, the Hunt/Barnums and the Astroths

a little fishing and kayaking…

time to head up top…

a little after dinner target practice….

now for some fun on wheels…

We left the lake as we found it, calm and serene…completely unaware of the activity that will descend upon it in the coming weeks.

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trail happy

A major reason for purchasing a piece of land the size we had, was so that we would have plenty of room for riding ATVs and dirt bikes.  We now had the land, but it was completely wooded, so a trail would have to be cleared before we could make use of it. Dave was completely psyched when one of our neighbors put him in touch with a fellow who lived nearby that might be able to help us out.  He happened to own a John Deere 333D excavator with a Loftness Carbide Cutter attachment that will tear down trees and grind up anything in its way, creating an 8′ wide path as it moves along.  Though it looked like a lot of fun to use, Dave opted to have Todd do the job for us.  Dave had been down the weekend prior and marked the area for our trail and, having received word that it had been mostly cleared, we were anxious to drive down to the lake and check it out.  Todd had said he still had a bit of clearing left to do, but the trail was mostly complete.

Check out this video clip of a carbide cutter in action….how much fun does this look?!  (This was not filmed on our property.)

Undaunted by the fact that it had been raining for days and days and knowing that the ground would most likely be a bit muddy, we headed down early Sunday morning with the hopes of doing a test run.  We also wanted to see how the new dock had faired with all the recent rain.  We were not surprised to find the water spilling over the dam as we drove up to the lake.

Happy to find that the dock had withstood the high waters, we turned our attention to what we had really come down to do.  We suited up and hopped on our vehicles.

We  crossed over Colemans Lake Rd and headed over to the other side of the property to see what we would find.  We drove directly into the entrance of the new trail without considering that we might want to check it out before bringing Max along on his dirt bike.  Probably not an awesome parenting decision.  The path was extremely slippery, very rough, and still had stumps protruding from the ground as well as broken branches hanging down from the trees above.  Max lasted about half way into woods before refusing to go any farther.  I had been following behind on my ATV keeping an eye on him and could see that he was having difficulty, so was somewhat relieved when he wanted to turn around and go back.  Dave, too, was happy enough to take his own dirt bike back and trade it in for the ATV.  We rode Max back to the truck where he happily sat playing on his iPad while Dave and I went back to check out the rest of the trail atop the much more stable ATVs.

We had much fun on the ATVs, but definitely need to wait till the trail is cleared completly before taking the dirt bikes back out!  Once we’d explored as much of the trail as we could, we headed in, cleaned off as much of the mud as possible and called it a day.

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play time

Having spent all Saturday and Sunday working on the new dock, we were looking forward to going back on Memorial Day to test it out.  So, Monday morning we loaded up the dogs, picked up Max’s BFF, Chris, and headed down to Ford for a day of fun at the lake.

The boys wasted no time and headed down to the dock….

Dave hopped into the one man kayak to try a little fishing…

Having tired of the lake, the boys put on their dry clothes and took out the ATV and dirt bikes…

Time for lunch so we headed up to Waffles Ridge….

After a full day we packed everything back into the shed and headed home.  I do believe a good time was had by all!

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fun filled May days

Much has happened around here since our last blog post preventing me from keeping everyone up on what’s happening at the coleman cabin. What with my birthday, traveling to Amherst to watch Dave supervise the filming of a TKA tv commercial, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, dress rehearsal for my ballet recital, Max’s soccer games and throw in a few April/May showers on the weekends and here we are in the middle of May already and we haven’t spent nearly enough time down there.  However, we did manage a couple of trips to finish up the barn and play on our new toys!

The day after filming the commercial for the Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, we up loaded Dave’s new dirt bike into the van and headed down to Ford with hopes of finishing up the painting of the trim on the barn and getting in a little play time as well.  It was Cinco de Mayo after all and we wanted to finish up in time to head over to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, El Caporal, to join in their little fiesta.  We were joined by our good friend Steve Duval, who finally found himself with a little free time and was able to come check out our new place.

Steve pulled up about the time we were finishing up with the painting.  Dave and I were both a little bummed at the results as we completely hated the way the bright white trim looked on the barn.  After being so pleased with our color choice for the walls, and how easily that paint had gone on, we were left feeling a little frustrated not only over the white color choice, but how crappy the painting turned out.  We’ve painted many interior rooms and always have always painted the walls first and then the trim as it’s easier to cut in the trim…however, we soon discovered that when painting barns that have rough surfaces, one should paint the trim first as there is no way to neatly cut in when the rough surface of the wall keeps grabbing the bristles of the brush and causing much white paint to slip onto the red wall surface.  😦  We  realized we would have to go back with more red paint and recut the edges at a later date.  However, we were happy to see Steve and to show him around the place.

We packed up the toys and the painting supplies and headed over to El Caporal for a little celebration…

After a fantastic dinner and a few choice beverages, we headed back to RVA.

Over the course of the next week we discussed what to do about the barn trim and decided to try painting over the bright white with an antique white to see if that would look any better.  In the mean time, we kept our eyes open for a good deal on another kayak and larger ATV to complete our toy supply.  We found both and,  a fresh gallon of antique white paint in hand, we loaded up the new toys and headed back down to the lake on Mother’s Day.

After testing out our new, much larger ATV, we broke out the paint to see if we could fix the mess we’d made the week prior.

We then headed up to Waffles Ridge for a little lunch.  By the time we finished eating, the wind had died down enough that we could take  the kayaks out onto the lake.

After a couple of spins around the lake, we headed in to spend a little quiet time looking out at the lake.

The sun was beginning to fade, the shadows were long…time to pack up and head home again.

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who says work can’t be fun?

Dave took a day off last Wednesday and we drove down to the Lake to meet up with the fellows from Backyard Buildings who would be building our new toy shed.  We drove separately as they were planning on delivering the shed at 7:00 am (!) and I had to stick around home to get Max off to school before I could head down.  Knowing that I was bummed about not being there from the begining, Dave was kind enough to text me photos of the the beautiful view I was missing of the early morning sky over the lake.  Nope wasn’t jealous at all….

They arrived with the shed kit shortly after Dave got there and wasted no time getting started.  By the time I arrived around 10 am, they had all four walls up and were getting ready to start on the roof.

While they were hard at work with the shed, Dave put a fresh coat of stain on our picnic bench (before I arrived) and then we went to work pulling up the boards from the old dock.

We broke for lunch at Sutherlands BBQ, which we’d been wanting to try for quite some time and were very happy to discover that, not only do they serve lunch and dinner, but they are open for breakfast as well AND serve from the breakfast menu all day..hooray!  Yes, it’s true, I am a huge fan of breakfast for lunch and dinner.  We look forward to trying everything on the menu in the up coming months. 🙂

Back to work after lunch, the two men were rockin and rollin on the shed while Dave and I went to the back of our property to mark the property line more clearly.  We’ve had issues finding our way out without the aid of our iPhones, so thought perhaps we should tie fluorescent pink tape along the line of trees every few feet so we don’t get lost quite as easily!

By the time we finished marking the property line, the shed was nearly completed.  It took eight hours to build…I think these guys might have done this once or twice before!

We left shortly after the shed was finished, only to return the following Sunday, having recruited my awesome friend, Doreen, to help us paint the new shed.  Doreen’s son, Jamison, just happens to be Max’s age and, as they’ve been buds since preschool days,  he was happy to come along and pal around with Max while Dave, Doreen and I went to work on the shed.

The boys found plenty to do while we painted the shed:

After a long day of work, we took a break up on Waffles Ridge before packing up and heading  for home.

We packed up all of our toys into the shed and headed home.  Yes, it was another beautiful day on the lake…

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Waffles and Daisy check out their new playground

After a very sad week in which we had to say goodbye to Bistro, our ever faithful companion of 15 1/2 years, we decided it was high time we introduce the rest of the pack to their new playground.  We packed everyone up in the van and headed down to the lake where we were also joined by the Clarke family.   Waffles and Daisy hit the ground running as soon as we opened the door.  There was much sniffing to be done, things to be peed on, cliffs to be jumped off of (naughty Waffles), dead fish carcasses to roll in (yuck Daisy), and best of all, the giant lake to swim in.

Dan and Kris brought their two man kayak along with them and we finally had the opportunity to get out on the lake.  Being that it is L shaped, the far end of the lake isn’t visible from our property so Kris and I decided we must  venture out to see what is on the other side. We rowed the kayak all the way to the other end and back…yep, my arms are a bit sore today.  While we were out, we discovered one of the bald eagles perched high upon a branch across the lake and rowed  over to see how close we could get to it.  We actually were able to get almost right under the tree he was perched in before he got spooked and flew off.  Very cool!

Dave and Dan then took a turn on the kayak and brought their fishing gear along as well.  They each caught their first fish on the lake so were very pleased with themselves.  Hopefully that’s just the first of many to come.

Max and Matthew had a blast swimming in the lake for the first time along with Daisy and Waffles.  Until Waffles decided she needed to play chicken with Matthew and in the process raked her giant talons along his torso.  😦  Bad Waffles.


Dave chills out on the bank while Waffles and Matthew run out into the lake

A day of many firsts; Kris shot her first gun and Dan and Matthew road their first dirt bike!

After a full day, we packed up the very pooped hounds and headed back home.

Although Bistro never made it to the new property, he was with us in spirit the entire day.  RIP old friend…..

Rest in Peace, old friend...

Rest in Peace, old friend…

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sprucing up the common area

We completely lucked out, weather wise, this weekend when we attended our first annual Colemans Lake clean up day. Every spring several of the property owners along the lake gather together to pick up trash along Colemans Lake Rd and to spruce up the common area in front of the dam, trimming back underbrush and picking up the dead limbs that have fallen over the past year.  The common area just happens to be right next to our property so, yeah for us, they all helped clean up the side of our property as well!  We’ve had entirely too many cold, rainy days this spring, but Saturday morning the sun was shining brightly and the temperature reached around 60 degrees so it was a perfect day to be working outside.

We ended up coming home with an extra passenger…

Although we couldn’t keep him (three dogs are about all we can presently handle at our house), we did take him to one of our local animal shelters and hope very much that he finds a new home.

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yes boys, the war is over

We were driving along, on our way to the property Saturday, pointing out to Megan various things along the way (Jason and the three boys were in the vehicle behind us) when we entered the Petersburg National Civil War battlefield.  Megan remarked that she had never seen a Civil War reenactment and wondered if we had (we have not), when we noticed a large gathering at the Five Forks intersection where we were supposed to be making the turn onto White Oak Rd. As we approached, we caught sight of the “Southern Cross” flying high…..and what do you suppose we had happened upon?!

Megan could have kicked herself for not having played the lottery that day.  🙂

Having grown up in Richmond VA, Max is used to the constant reminders of the Civil War and the heavy focus on the history of the Confederacy, so it was not a shock to him to see the Confederate flags flying. (We had to have a long talk with him when he was in the fourth grade after he returned from a field trip to the Petersburg Civil War Museum proudly wearing a Confederate cap and waving the Confederate flag….there is a certain part of that history lesson that is left out in the 4th grade and a huge emphasis on the pride of southern heritage.)  Never having lived south of the Mason Dixon line, however, Jake and Adam have had no such exposure …I hear the reaction in their car was particularly amusing.

It dawned on me later that April 1st was the 148th anniversary of battle of Five Forks, the loss of which sealed the fate of the Confederate army and led to the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond on April 2nd, 1865.  (For anyone interested in more information on that battle, you can check out the link to our Civil War history page on the upper right.)

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easter weekend

Jill’s brother and family joined us this weekend for a fun filled day at Colemans Lake.

There was fishing to be done…

and other assorted outdoor activities.

The boys climbed things, because that’s what boys do…

and road dirt bikes.

We had our first picnic on the lake…

and then did a little after-dinner target practice.

Everyone chilled out as the light began to fade…

and marveled at the peaceful tranquility of the lake, as the sun started to set.

If only we had a log cabin, we could have spent the night.  Soon, very soon….

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our resident bald eagle

We took Dave’s parents to see the property the weekend after we closed and as we walked up to the lake, a bald eagle dove down, not more than 100 feet in front of us, talons out stretched as he grabbed a fish out of the water and flew off.  The timing couldn’t have been any more perfect!  Sadly, my photo journalism skills are not what they should be but I was able to snap one photo as it flew away….

Our resident Bald Eagle

Our resident Bald Eagle

We were told that there are three of them living on the lake and that if you put fish out on your dock, they will swoop down and grab them.  Can’t wait to try this, but first we have to build our dock!

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