Chopping wood, building forts and more

My sister and I met with my Aunt yesterday. She was telling us how shocked her girls were that she knew how to stack wood. Stack wood she thought, I can fell a tree, chop it stack it, we had a huge boiler and wood stove to keep a wood pile for, there was never an end to work.

My sister and I remember visiting that house. As my sister said she always remembered that as a huge boiler, but maybe that was because we were small at the time. “Oh No,” my Aunt replied, “it was huge! You could put 1/2 a tree into it.”
Nancy. my sister recalled the drying rack over the wood stove. I remembered chasing or being chased by my Uncle, probably playing tag, and I fell on to some cleared shrub brush, off to the hospital for stitches, which came out on my 5th birthday, right after the party, what an ending. I remember my sister swinging on the Tarzan rope, she started to lose her grip and asked my other Uncle to catch her, but he didn’t realize she was losing her grip and didn’t, she fell and broke her arm or collar bone.
My Grandparents had a blue berry orchard there, kind of fitting that when I moved to Manitoba, I ended up running a 5 acre saskatoon berry farm for 19 years. I can understand the work involved with that alone, thank goodness I didn’t have to chop wood to heat our house and for the stove as well.
So glad we didn’t grow up in the “Good Old Days”, memories of others I hear don’t sound all that great. I am glad my children got to grow up at the family farm in Manitoba, in that they got to really run around and explore nature. I especially liked how they built forts. They had several, one long one nature provided in the tree shelter row, where the trees grew so close that not enough light could get into the bottom of the row so the branches died off and there was a long above ground tunnel with evergreen canopy, and a blanket of spruce needles at the bottom, a perfect place for bird nests as well. A magical place. They built some forts with scraps of lumber up in the willows by the slough, with horizontal scraps used to create a ladder so they could get up high. The creaking of the willows always making an interesting sound. There was another fort in front of the house near the saskatoons a good place to have a look out from. There was also the one they built, or dug down by the dug out, it was deep, big, quite a feat. Those forts sure kept them occupied for hours and days on end.
Snow forts were quite an adventure as well, when younger just shovelling and heaping up snow and digging into them, how many people could they fit inside? Quite a few, and it would be pretty cosy. Don’t think they ever slept in one over night but I know it had been the plan from time to time.
As they got older they advanced to using sheets of plywood for forms that they would fill with snow, amazing forts.
Then of course, there was jumping into piles of fresh heaped snow, just like jumping into leaves, the older they could the higher the piles and the higher they would jump from. Jumping off of the 2nd floor balcony. One day a friend was over and there was a big pile of snow over by the granaries. He decided to jump off the granary into the pile of snow……on top of that for some strange reason, he decided to do it in barefeet!!!! I was called after he jumped, feet first up to his neck practically and he was wanting out. Quickly we dug and freed him, he was fine but his feet hurt, go figure, sometimes snow crystals are almost like glass, add the cold and he was feeling a burning sensation. Silly guy, he didn’t do that again at our house that I’m aware of but he was (still is I imagine) coming up with interesting things to try, no lack of adventure there.
Out doors a never ending play ground and place to explore. Watching their cats hunt, the stealth, the patience, how close they could flatten themselves out to the ground and spring up in an instance to catch a bird.. Seeing how quickly a dead animal is cleaned up by nature, it doesn’t last long.
Nature is a wonderful class room, and such a rejuvenating place to be. I’d rather be going on a walk through nature any day than the concrete jungle. Good memories.
Do you have a favorite memory of building forts, or learning from nature?

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