Friday, November 9, 2012

we're on a fort hunt

forts are a childhood essential. if i have to convince you of that, you are hopeless! bedsheets over the furniture, at the very least. but beyond that is even better, and for that we have to go outside. i remember the tree fort my dad built for my little brother, high up on the trunks of the evergreens in the woods behind our house. i remember the fort he helped me construct down in those same woods but at the roots of those trees so i could pretend to live like The Boxcar Children (and then got too scared to actually stay in the thing). i remember the hollowed out tree – by what seemed like a river bank but probably was a seasonal creek – at my friend's dairy farm. one of the highlights of that one was a stairway carved into the mud.

sigh. what a fun way to experience the dual powers of engineering and imagination!

our family recently moved. back at our old house, there wasn't much room outdoors for fort-building. we did most of our forts with bedsheets inside. we had an apple tree, but it was far too small for any kind of fort action. then, in a rare genius moment, i looked at our alley-access garage in a whole new way. that stairway up to the door from our backyard may be just the right size...

some free scrap wood, an old corkboard, a $5 salvaged window, and a 25-cent length of old linoleum and we had a fort!

the concrete foundation made a perfect canvas for sidewalk chalk creations. tea parties were a regular feature. we moved before we got around to adding a mailbox or a PVC-pipe "telephone."

now, in a new place, i'm scouting around for good fort opportunities and coming up blank. the loft in the old carriage house would be perfect, but we're not comfortable putting small children at the ground floor yet much less the upper story accessible only by ladder. there's a fruit tree that will be perfect for a swing (if the drippy sap doesn't act as a permanent seat belt, that is) but too small for a fort.

so i'm on a fort hunt, searching out ideas. right now, i'm eyeing the wall of laurel by the fence line. hmmm... we'll keep you posted.

for now, if you like forts too, check out All for the Boys' Fort Fridays, where there's a weekly round-up of images and inspiration from around the web. i am a regular visitor there! and for some wonderful literary inspiration, go out and find Andrew Henry's Meadow, definitely one of the best books you could ever own as a family – in our family's opinion anyway – and you can support an independent little publishing house while you're at it!

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