Tag Archives: Nature

Vacation 2021

I didn’t take vacation time in 2020 so this year I was really looking forward to the time off to complete some much needed projects. I had a total of 19 days this year and five projects planned. Only one of the projects was an indoor project – replace foam tiles on playroom floor. It had originally been on my list for 2020 but then – no vacation, no reno.

I have replaced the interlocking foam tiles many, many times as a weekend project because removing old worn tiles and installing new ones isn’t very difficult. However, this time it was going to take longer as I was NOT planning on adding more foam tiles because Montgomery eats them and I don’t need more vet bills.

This time I went with much more durable rubber gym flooring. Like the foam, it provides traction and sound dampening over the hardwood floor and is so much nicer for sitting or crawling on.

My second project was not a play space but it improved access. The front sidewalk was just off centre of the front yard – two fence panels on the West side of the walkway and one fence panel on the East. There were stepping stones from the sidewalk to the front steps and side gate both located on the East side of the yard.

Now all three fence panels are together and the sidewalk is located on the East side of the yard and leads directly to the front steps and back yard gate. Bonus result is I could also expand the native prairie garden into the space where the sidewalk had been. The opportunity to add garden space means this project was more ‘relaxing’ than actual work even though the temps were about 30C every day! Oh, and we also added a garden bench because we had some extra wood! Only needed to buy a little soil and mulch, otherwise everything for this project was recycled/reused so total cost under $100 ūüôā

The remaining three mini projects were all part of the full back yard renovation. The main purpose of which was to define the spaces better and improve storage for all the loose parts.

The picture below is from 2019 and shows the deep gravel ‘digging’ area on the right surrounded by stumps and the lower ‘building’ area on the left. I tried to keep the gravel in the building area level and packed – better for building on – but the children tended to dig here too, after all it was gravel.

The full back yard now looks like this (reverse viewpoint from above photo);

The logs, stumps, table, stepping stones, composter and main garden have not changed this year. The benches have been removed from the swing area, a new herb garden space was added and the mulch was replaced with turf tiles. Though part of the ‘master plan’ this project was actually completed on a weekend in the Spring prior to my vacation.

The first of the three backyard projects during my vacation was the loose parts storage wall between the gravel digging area and the new, larger building area with recycled rubber surfacing (and a carpet in case it gets too hot to sit on – though it is fully shaded). I kept the water area adjacent to the building area because the children LOVE building bridges.

There is so much more space for storing loose parts/building supplies and it is easier to access than the previous deep bins. I used pallets for the wall so more recycled wood!

Bigger items are still stored in some of the bins.

The other side of the pallet wall has new storage for the digging area which never used to have any loose parts or storage, just a few pails, pots and digging tools. Now there are so many more options.

Backyard project two was to replace the tipi – I know, everyone loved the tipi but its shape and placement were not very functional. I used the poles and covering to form a roof over the entire corner of the yard. It makes a larger ‘house’ and the tunnel was moved here too.

This is the view of the yard from inside the house;

The third backyard project is the new messy play area. Located inside the garden wall it is separate from the other areas. Made from reclaimed wood, tile samples, and a salvaged laundry sink, the total cost for this project was $0. We have not used it yet (only been one day), I don’t think any of the children even noticed it as they were so excited to explore all the other new spaces. Besides, I’m still collecting some containers of ‘ingredients’ for the children to use here but…soon…

Lazy

I don’t seem to be writing blog posts any more – at least not many compared to previous years. I was pondering why I was so uninspired to write.

We have done many interesting crafts and activities. We have gone on some adventures. I have done several small and large play space modifications. Yet, I have done very few posts about any of these things.

Is it a result of the pandemic? Maybe, though most of the restrictions have had very little impact on my day-to-day work life which is why there should be more posts to write. So, why am I not writing them?

Is it lack of time? Maybe, though I have always had long work hours and still managed to find time to write blog posts. Sure, sometimes I have a lot of bookkeeping work that is more urgent/time sensitive so blog posts have to wait. I have recently begun a couple of new projects that had necessary writing components but nothing that required vast amounts of time.

All of the committees I volunteer on have been meeting virtually – this has actually decreased the time commitment. There is no traveling time to/from the meetings and virtual meetings tend to be shorter than in-person ones which have more social interactions. Virtual ones are less fun though – often frustrating – and even somewhat depressing.

So maybe it isn’t the lack of actual time available outside my regular work and volunteer commitments that is the issue. Maybe the problem is the increased screen time. I have always struggled to stay focused on a screen for any length of time. I can’t fathom how teachers and students of any age can manage with online learning exclusively – even briefly. I personally would find it impossible. I struggle to focus on watching or listening to anything on a screen without something hands on to do.

I haven’t gone to a movie theater in over 30 years because there is no way I can sit in a seat though a whole movie with no commercial breaks or pause button. I don’t binge watch anything – in fact, I have some of my exercise equipment handy so I can keep ‘busy’ (active) while watching TV. Plus, I’m often baking things as well – hence the need for the commercial breaks and pause button. I’ve been known to wander away, get busy elsewhere and forget I was supposed to be watching something.

Of course, if too much screen time is the problem then going outside is the solution. Screen time can be overstimulating – a sensory overload that zaps creativity. Most certainly I will be much happier outside but not necessarily more productive. Yes, going outside is refreshing and offers a ‘reset’ when I am overwhelmed or stressed, but does not always help me focus.

Outside I can can completely lose track of time, daydreaming, getting lost in my imagination. It is a wonderful place for reflection, and wonder but there are far too many distractions for me to stay focused on an activity like writing a blog post. In fact, just writing about going outside is currently distracting be from finishing this post.

Outdoors is relaxing – an opportunity to unwind and feel grounded. Working in the garden, exploring the neighbourhood or going on long hikes provide connections to nature. So many things to hear, see, smell and feel. None of these activities feel like exercise to me. Even very physical outdoor activities like shoveling snow or completing major landscaping projects don’t feel as strenuous as a gym workout.

So, maybe I’ve now figured out what the problem is…

The gym is closed – and even for the brief periods they have been allowed to open, they had limited hours and did not open early enough for me to go. Many years ago, when I first joined a gym, I went in the evening after work. I quickly discovered that this was a bad idea. After a high intensity workout I am so energized that there is absolutely no chance I would be going to bed any time soon. For a morning person like me, late nights mean no sleep at all since I simply cannot sleep past dawn and actually prefer to get up before the sun.

So, for me, the best time for a visit to the gym is 4 or 5 AM several times each week. High intensity cardio between sets of weight training and my mind is racing – writing posts, planning activities and designing spaces – and it keeps going all day long, The limited space and equipment I have available at home just doesn’t provide the same opportunity for this type of workout.

Hence, I feel lazy, unmotivated and unable to focus. I am still getting things done but it is taking me a lot longer. This simple blog post has taken several hours over many days. I could normally finish a post like this in under an hour after an invigorating morning gym workout.

Early morning is my most productive period and that is the part of my daily routine that has been significantly disrupted. It is the high intensity morning workout that I need to kick-start my day and improve my ability to focus.

Catching Up

I’m spending a portion of this four day holiday weekend catching up on some of the things I never seem to have enough time for. This morning my task list included going through a multitude of photos I have taken and deciding which to delete, file, add to the entrance area slideshow or write blog posts about.

Now I have to actually write some posts – this first one is actually about TWO projects that we worked on last summer. Yes, I am that far behind which is why I’m combining two projects in one post.

Back in June I wrote about the new octagon shaped dining table. I also wanted to write about the place mats the children (aged 2-8) made to define their spaces at the table. Each child worked on their place mat design independently so each one would be unique as some of the children are prone to copying or competing with others.

When they were all complete and dry I covered the place mats with clear plastic film to protect them from spills. Only once they were all together on the table did the children get to see what the others had created.

For several weeks these place mats were the main focus of discussions around the table at meal/snack times. The conversations were amazing. So many questions. So much interest in what others had done.

Interestingly it was the work of the two-year-old that garnered the most attention – ‘Hey, how did he do that?’

The answer to that question is ‘After he added paint, he used the handle of the brush to create the textured pattern’. This was exactly why I had them all work independently. Had they all been painting at the same time then either someone would have ‘corrected’ him by telling him he was using the wrong end of his paint brush or everyone would have copied him and the place mats would have all looked the same… End of conversation.

The second project didn’t involve the children but was a space I created for the children. The ‘Nature Area’ is the small room off the main play space. It has always been a quiet space to read, relax or reflect. This post from last year show what it used to look like after the addition of the nest swing.

The babies’ cribs used to be situated on opposite sides of the room with their long side against the wall and the ‘quiet’ space in the centre of the room. There was some ‘extra’ space at the ends of the cribs – not really enough to be considered useful for storage space or play space just wasted space. Wasted space bothers me immensely.

Last summer I moved both cribs to the same side of the room with their short sides against the wall and the cot storage between them – no more wasted space. At nap time a temporary divider wall is placed between the cribs to provide a little privacy for sleeping babies now that they are much closer to each other.

The open area of the room is now considerably larger with the addition of the space on the other side of the room. I rearranged the trees and added some cushions and a wall tapestry. It is now a much more cozy, comfortable area for reading and relaxing.

There is still plenty of open space in front of the window if the children want to stand and look outside at ‘real’ nature. Of course there are still fake branches, bird and butterflies to look up at when you lay on the nest swing.

But that could change too. I did buy another tapestry that I considered hanging on the ceiling here…but I love it so much I might put it somewhere else. I just haven’t yet decided where that may be…

Sunflowers & Squirrels

Squash, peas, beans and sunflower seeds are large enough that the toddlers can plant them independently so we plan to grow them in our garden every year. We always grow a little bit of wheat so we can grind it into flour and bake something with it. Tomatoes are a staple in our garden too but we usually purchase seedlings to ensure we get plenty of tomatoes. Each year we also try some different things for variety – this year it was dill, radicchio, and carrots.

The weather was crazy this summer – most of our plants did OK but not great. All four types of squash failed to produce any usable fruit. The wheat and radicchio started off nicely and then fizzled and died – first time we’ve ever had a complete wheat crop failure. We had a fair number of tomatoes and a few beans and carrots but would have liked more. The sunflowers grew very well – almost taking over the whole garden.

We had planted two different types of sunflower seeds but there seemed to be more than two varieties of sunflowers – many different sizes and colours, some stalks with just a single flower, others with multiple flowers, some with few seeds and others that were mostly seeds. These fancy ones were my favourites;

The sunflowers created a lot of interest in the garden. Butterflies and bees were plentiful all summer long.

Squirrels were also frequent visitors in our garden – and they were not overly concerned about sharing the yard with toddlers.

The cats were entranced – probably wished they were allowed outside too instead of just watching through the window.

The squirrels were very messy – leaving piles of discarded shells and debris all over the yard.

They also left our sunflowers looking like this;

Luckily we still managed to collect some seeds to plant next year – and we discovered that the seeds from those fancy sunflowers turn your fingers bright purple!

Even without seeds the sunflowers made wonderful loose parts for outdoor play. The biggest one was a whopping sixteen inches wide!

Both squirrels and sunflowers were welcome attractions in our yard this summer.

Quiet Spaces 2

Our indoor ‘nature area’ located just off the main play area has always been considered a quiet space. Decorations include trees, flowers, rocks, birds, butterflies and grass-like carpet. The large window provides plenty of natural light (when the sun is shining) and a view to the real outdoors. The entrance/exit gates serve as a reminder that toys were not supposed to be brought in here. The babies’ cribs are also in this room allowing them to nap if necessary while the older children play in the play room – another reason why this was not a play area. This is where the children can come to read books or just relax.

There were some cushions here for sitting or relaxing on but some of the children thought they were better for tossing or using for pillow fights. *sigh* While most of the children appreciated this quiet space, there were occasionally some that thought the 30 square foot ‘grass’ area was a good spot to play tag or wrestle.

After creating the little quiet nooks I wrote about in my last post, I wondered if we still needed this quiet space – maybe I could somehow re-purpose the nature area into an active play space. I decided against it. We have the music/dance space and we use balance pods, resistance bands and tunnels for some indoor gross motor play when we can’t go outside. We spend a lot of time outdoors and that is still the best place for tag and rough and tumble play. Even if our indoor nature area mimics an outdoor space, it is still indoors and not to be used for active play.

I needed to find a way to encourage all the children to use this indoor nature area for its intended reading/relaxing purpose. So, I purchased this nest swing;

It is small enough that is doesn’t use the whole space but large enough to discourage running and jumping. I have it hung less than one foot off the ground so even the toddlers can easily get on and off the ‘nest’ (we don’t call it a swing) without assistance. It is also the perfect height to use as a table/desk – some of the children prefer to sit on the ground around the nest and place their books on it instead.

I have the nest anchored on two sides so it does not swing far but still provides a gentle, relaxing movement. It is especially nice when laying down and looking up at the trees above.

It has definitely become a favourite quiet space for everyone to read and relax.

Field Trip

For many years I regularly used my 15 passenger van to take the children on field trips. ¬†It had plenty of room for all the car/booster seats, supplies, and even my teens when they came along to help out. Eventually the costs of upkeep for the old van began to outweigh the benefits of using it. When all my original car seats expired I priced out buying five new ones I decided that the expense wasn’t justified for just a few outings a year.

I discovered that I don’t miss taking the children to museums and we can walk to the library and many other neighbourhood attractions. ¬†So, for the past four years we haven’t gone on an outing that required transportation. ¬†In fact, we go on far more walking adventures than we ever did before and they are much more spontaneous (emergent). I do however miss the farm trips and many of the distant hiking trails we used to frequent. So this summer I decided to take my little group on a city bus adventure to the closest one of ¬†the trails – Bunn’s Creek Trail.

For some of the children this was their first ever experience on a city bus. ¬†They were all very excited. ¬†Throughout the 20 minute ride they giggled and cheered and sang songs amusing all the regular bus riders. ¬†We disembarked and began our hike down the 3 km trail. ¬†I loved that my little group of preschool hikers immediately began assessing risks. ¬†‘Those trees look like bridges – it would be fun to walk on them but if they broke we would fall in the water’;

17-07-FT01

I told the children I would take a picture of anything they found interesting along the way. ¬†The first one they requested was this lonely ‘rainbow leaf’;

17-07-FT02

They were amazed by the ‘broken beaver dam’;

17-07-FT03

Of course they noticed all the thistles growing along the trail.

These boys find thistles everywhere – in parks, back lanes, trails and even gardens. ¬†They like to touch them – they know they are prickly but to them this seems to be an acceptable risk. ¬†I find it interesting how gently they touch the thistles. ¬† Most of the time ‘gentle’ seems to be difficult for this group yet when it comes to thistles they demonstrate that they have the ability to be gentle so yes, keep practicing that!

Then they spotted ‘dandelions’ but they were very tall so a quick check of our field guide and we found out that they were actually sow thistles.

The children don’t think sow-thistle is as prickly as Canada Thistle and quickly lost interest until they found this;

‘Sticky!’

We’ve seen these big leaves of the Common Burdock on many of our hikes but the children have never paid much attention to them or the burrs. ¬†Now these have become the ‘must touch’ favourites on all our hikes.

We reached the park at the end of the trail and took a washroom break.  Everyone wanted to stay on the bridge for a while and look at the creek.

This was the mid point of our hike Рwe headed back along the trail to where we started.  It was interesting how many of the landmarks the children remembered on our return trip.  They got really excited as we approached the spot where the lonely rainbow leaf was.  Pretty amazing that they can find the same leaf twice in a 6 km nature hike.

We had our lunch in the field near where the creek meets the Red River.  It was so peaceful.  

There was a bald eagle that flew from one side of the clearing and back several times but I was never able to get a picture of him.

The bus ride home was still exciting but much quieter and everyone was ready for a nap when we returned.

We continue to go on long hikes in our neighbourhood but now the children point out all the prickly/sticky plants AND the buses too. Maybe we’ll have to try another bus adventure soon.

Summer 2017 – The Hill Project

As usual my summer ‘vacation’ project list was very long – too long for the two week time slot I allotted. ¬†The back yard was not actually on the list at first but in June I suddenly had an idea to solve a concern I had about ‘the hill’ (sometimes called the bridge or tunnel). ¬†This is a picture taken last summer of the view of the hill/bridge/tunnel from the tipi;

17-07-yard01

The hill was originally created back in 2010 when the old play structures were removed leaving the gravel area looking quite bare. ¬†I didn’t want another large structure but I did think the space needed something. ¬†The hill originally had a slide on one side, the tunnel was very popular, and the native prairie plants provided some much needed greenery in the yard at that time.

The slide and log steps never stayed as secure as I would have liked so they were soon removed. ¬†For a few years the platform and tunnel were very popular for many dramatic play and gross motor activities like ‘Motabular’ (the children named that activity). As the interests of the children enrolled changed, play on the hill also changed and two years ago I added some rocks.

The children liked to use the platform to ‘play hockey’;

17-07-yard02

And sit on the ‘bridge’ to go fishing;

17-07-yard02b

But there were many disputes over who would be on each side.  There were also problems with reckless behaviour like racing up and down the hill or jumping off the bridge without first looking for obstacles or hazards. Additionally, the structure was beginning to show its age.  I decided it was time for the hill to go.

My first step was to gather some supplies (thanks Annika);

17-07-yard03

Then I spent two days removing rocks, transplanting plants, moving pails of soil to the other gardens, disassembling the bridge and cribbing and raking gravel.  It was beginning to take shape;

17-07-yard04

I used the new stumps in addition to the old ones to create a full circle with little space between the stumps. ¬†The majority of the gravel was raked to one side of the inner circle to three distinct levels. ¬†Outside the circle the gravel in the ‘walkway’ is about 8 inches deep and fairly well packed as we haven’t dug here in years. ¬†Inside the circle there is no gravel, just an old blue tarp on one side and nearly two feet of gravel on the other side. ¬†The slope between the two sides is held in place by all those big rocks that used to be on the hill. ¬†So now the gravel area looks like this;

17-07-yard05

And from the other side;

17-07-yard06

The view from the tipi now;

17-07-yard07

And in case you were wondering what happens when it rains….I said it was an old blue tarp – it has holes in it so the water drains out.

Within seconds of entering the yard on the first day back after vacation this is where the boys were, happily chatting about what they did on their vacation;

17-07-yard08

The Destination

Going for a walk or hike is one of our favourite things to do. ¬†Whether planning a short walk or a full day outing we rarely have ‘destination’. ¬†We have some preferred routes but we often deviate from are original plan when we find something interesting. ¬†Walks are time for exploration.

The children are involved in the planning of our trips but I don’t usually ask ‘where’ do you want to go – implying that there is an end point. ¬†Rather, I ask ‘which direction should we head’ and at various points I’ll ask ‘which way should we turn’.

Walking through the cemetery is one of their favourite routes – they like to look for owls in the nest boxes. Last fall on one of our cemetery walks they noticed this park on the far side of the river – “Can we go there?”

17-06-dest01

Hmm, some day maybe.  I was not very familiar with the area on that side of the river and although I had a rough idea how to get there I would need to scout the trail without children first.

Earlier this spring my husband and I went on an evening hike to check out the available routes. ¬†The park wasn’t actually difficult to get to – just a short detour off one of our familiar trails. ¬†However, to make a full loop back to my house was not possible that day because the spring river levels were too high and parts of the trail were under water.

Last week the children and I made our first trip to the new park Рnot the playground, I rarely go to playgrounds (read why here). Parks are full of nature and so many things to explore and discover.  We left early and took our morning snack and picnic blanket with us;

17-06-dest02

It is a little difficult to see in the photo but the children were easily able to locate the cemetery across the river from our picnic spot;

17-06-dest03

The new park also has an amazing forest and riverbank to explore;

17-06-dest04

The boys like to look for bears and wolves in the forest – this trip resulted in a very exciting discovery;

17-06-dest05

Probably just a dog tracks but HUGE like a wolf!

I was impressed when these three and four year olds noticed Рand correctly identified this bridge by name.  It is one of five bridges we frequently visit but we have never approached it from this side.

17-06-dest06

Crossing the bridge on our way back they stopped as usual to look at and talk about this ‘house-shaped’ cement barricade/structure (please leave a comment if you know the real name for this thing).

17-06-dest07

When we pass this way we often discuss the river levels at various times of the year. ¬†This day they were talking about how the driftwood got stuck up there in the spring when the river was higher. ¬†Then they noticed something even more interesting in the driftwood…is that a nest? ¬†Why would she want to have a nest there?

17-06-dest08

We’ve visited the new park twice now. ¬†On our second trip the children eagerly anticipated seeing this goose again – and maybe babies. ¬†She wasn’t there, however there was a pair of mallard ducks.

17-06-dest09

While we were watching them they jumped off the cement into the river below. ¬†The children were thrilled and now refer to this as ‘the diving board’. ¬†I suppose that’s better than ‘house shaped cement thing that I don’t know the real name for’.

Picnics in our new park and the exploration along the way have been full of adventure and discovery. ¬†I’m sure there will be many more to come.

Hiking in the City

It has been just over a week since I returned home after Nature Summit 2016.¬† I’ll admit that for the first few days I did seriously consider putting my tent up in the backyard because I really missed spending all day, every day outside.¬† Summit was fabulous as usual – I got to participate in many outdoor workshops.¬† I went for a ride on a zip line, climbed almost to the top of this;

16-09-hike0

And of course I did a lot of hiking through the woods.

I know I really enjoy a nature hike and so do the¬† children in my care.¬† I also know that, even in the city, there are many places where we can hike and feel like we are out in the wilderness.¬† However, a city hike can be pretty special too – especially to a group of boys who can tell me the name and purpose of almost every type of construction vehicle. ūüôā

My little group and I have spent the last few months exploring the the nearby neighbourhoods.¬† Our city hikes vary in length from just a few blocks to up to 8 km.¬† They can take anywhere from a half hour to several hours and it is rarely the children that suggest we’ve been walking too long and it is time to go back.¬† Pretty amazing when you consider that these are 2 and 3 year olds.

So, what do we see when we go on an 8km city hike?  Back hoes, buses, dump trucks and trains.  Cement trucks, front loaders, street cleaners and cranes.  Yes, there is a lot of noisy traffic but there are also many quiet spots too.  In fact, one of our favourite paths takes us through the cemetery.

16-09-hike00

We look for birds Рthe children know where all the nest boxes are located (there is a nest box in the above picture but it is hard to see).  We listen to the wind in the trees and watch the river in the distance.  Inevitably the river sparks the topic of bridges Рwhich one will we cross today?  Within walking distance of the cemetery there are FIVE bridges we can go over, and THREE that we can go under.

There are several more bridges we can explore if we pack a lunch and make it a day long hike but that tends to be too much even for this active little group.  Once this past summer we did make it to two distant bridges but the children were obviously tired and there was not much excitement.  Besides, when we stick to the familiar, nearby areas there is a whole more to our hikes than just walking.

In some cases we can cross one bridge and examine the structure of another bridge at the same time.

16-09-hike01

There are bridges for people, bikes, cars and trains. Only some of our bridges cross over water.  Others cross over roads or train tracks and give us a whole lot more to talk about.  The children often complained that there were never any trains on these tracks when we crossed over them Рbut twice this summer there was a train here!  So of course we had to stop for a while to watch.

16-09-hike02

One time the train was moving so very slowly that we were able to continue our walk, loop around and walk under the same train we had just been standing over.

16-09-hike03

Standing under a train bridge while a train slowly squeaked and creaked, clanged and banged overhead was a new experience.¬† Trains on bridges sound much different than cars on bridges. The children also enjoyed yelling ‘ECHO!’ as they do every time we venture under bridges.

We don’t spend all our time on noisy city streets.¬† For contrast we also explore parks and riverbanks along the way.¬† We get to hear and smell the difference between the roadway and the forest.¬† On this particular hike the ‘big’ boys were with us and the ‘littles’ enjoyed showing them all our favourite spots.

16-09-hike04

Just as we use the bridges to compare the traffic and trains from above and below we can also do the same with the river.  Standing on the bridge we watch the water flow, count geese and ducks, and watch sticks and other debris float by but there is the noise of the traffic crossing the bridge too.

It is amazing how just a few steps away from a busy road can feel like a totally different world.  What can you hear now?  Our river bank trails offer another perspective of the water.  We can get closer to the water Рbut not too close, this is not a swimming river.

16-09-hike05

There is a tree they want to climb.¬† Normally I’d say yes to a tree climbing adventure but a quick risk assessment resulted in a ‘No’ to climbing on this tree;

16-09-hike06

Yes, I love a good nature hike but a city hike offers something special too.  We could read books or watch videos and memorize facts about cars and trucks, trees and birds, rivers and roads or we can go for a city hike, experience it, and begin to understand the impact we have on the natural environment.

Winter Yard

Last summer I rearranged the stumps in the yard to create a path to and over the rocks on the little hill/tunnel.

16-01-hill01

At that time I wasn’t thinking about winter but now that the snow is here we have been creating a BIG hill in the yard by piling all the snow inside the stump circle.

16-01-hill02

This picture was taken before the recent snowfall.¬† Yesterday we spent nearly two hours adding more snow to the pile so now the hill is much bigger ūüôā Watching the children play on this hill makes me dream of permanently filling that stump circle so we have a big hill in the summer too – but I would miss the inner stump circle and the tunnel too.

With all the snow piled up one side of the tunnel is now blocked so the ‘tunnel’ is actually a ‘cave’.

16-01-hill03

This cave is now a favourite – not so secret – hiding spot.

16-01-hill04

Found you!

16-01-hill05

Another favourite space is inside the tipi.  In summer it is nice to be able to see through the tipi and into the lane beyond the fence.

16-01-hill06

In the winter I pile snow behind the tipi and it becomes a wonderful place to sit when you want shelter from the wind.

16-01-hill07

We love our winter yard.