Easy post for the first of 7 Posts in 7 Days ~ enjoying our piece of Alaska's woods.
We have a little house on 9 acres of wilderness. Nine acres for the children to play in (and over and under, because they can also be found high up in trees and in underground formations. I don't really know the geological term for 'places where huge trees tipped over and left holes big enough for a bunch of kids to crawl in'). There's an open field, plenty of woods, and --glory of glories-- a swamp. During breakup when all the snow melts, the swamp overflows onto game trails and they can canoe all around. During summertime, there are frogs galore, and during winter, it is ice (duh) for slipping and sliding. This excites the boys because they get great bruises ("Mine looks like a hot dog; mine's as big as Dad's fist, etc.").
Only in the woods like this can a child come in and tell me, "I climbed a tree all the way at the end of the property and didn't hear anything but birds so I practiced bird calls and sketched stuff from up high. Oh, and I saw fox tracks and hare tracks and a moose calf but no mother so I sang loudly all the way home so she knew I was around and wouldn't get scared."
I get neighbors (we do have some; just can't see them) stopping by to let me know that they had a grizzly bear in their "back 5" or that "There's a large male porcupine poking around and he's very aggressive; tell the kids to keep a watch out." (my all-time favorite) So, um, "Kids, watch out for an aggressive male porcupine, OK?" "Can we shoot it with a BB gun?" "No, just grab a stick, have a look, and draw me a picture when you come back in." Hey, we're homeschoolers.
Ken camps out with kids in their snow forts for fun as they work on fire-making skills and keeping-warm skills and eating-whatever skills (he keeps some snickers bars in his pocket to bring out when they're really hungry!). In the warmer weather, they make their own shelters for warmth and sleeping and shoot stuff to eat. That's just right here; he also takes kids at about 8 year old and older on bigger, longer adventures around our state: winter camping, survival camping (nothing but a knife), mountain climbing. For family camping, I insist on a tent and sleeping bag. Maybe another of these posts can be about all around AK adventures? Anyway.
Living and playing in the wilderness has playground disadvantages, though. My kids stink at playgrounds. The can't pump a swing or ride bikes and they climb on the outside of the play structures, which messes up any pick-up games of tag or capture the flag with the regulars. A good reminder to take them to more playgrounds ...
(Well, the kids need to eat lunch and one of the points of these 7 days is not to sit on a post for a week, polishing and perfecting and adding photos. Just "git er done"directly from last night's post ideas list. If you really want to see pictures, the label "Alaska" has some : )