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Little Fort in the Woods

We recently travelled 900 km/560miles to visit our grandson Nolan. And his parents, of course.

We’ve had some nice, low-key days together with nothing planned, and they’ve unrolled according to our moods. We played a day-long game of Star Wars Monopoly, ate at a local Mexican restaurant, and enjoyed a movie night. Those activities were all good, but my favourite thing was spending some outdoor time with just-turned-twelve-year-old Nolan today.

The weather was cold and windy, so we bundled up in warm winter coats, hooked the leash to the dog, and set off for Nolan’s woods.

At first, we took a well-travelled path before veering off through the trees. After hopping a stream and scrambling up the bank, Nolan finally said, “We’re here!” We found what looked like a wall of branches leaning against a fallen tree.

At the other end of the leaning branches was an opening, and Nolan stooped down and crawled inside. So did Pop.

When I interviewed Nolan later, as he said I should do before writing this, he told me that he and his friend Matthew found the main tree they used as a ridge pole already bent, so they pulled it down even farther and then found branches to form the walls. It took a long time to haul them to the building site, but it’s easy to see that they did a very good job.

Then Nolan showed us these mud bowls that he had made a couple of weeks ago. He’d hoped they would dry out but agreed that would probably work better in the summer than in November.

This is how he got the mud to create the bowls: First, he found a long metal pipe and an old electrical box in the metal recycling. He used this to scoop mud from the stream.

He always rinses his scoop under a small waterfall when he’s finished.

After this demonstration, Nolan asked Pop to help him pick up a big branch and then showed him how to balance it across a huge log. We had lots of fun playing on the seesaw they’d just made.

After we finished at the fort, we saw The Tunnel (a big storm culvert) and then walked to another part of the forest to see The Pools.

Then it was on to The Lookout Tree.

We found crazy-looking Osage Oranges that looked like dozens of big tennis balls lying in the leaves. I wish we had those trees in Ontario. They’re super cool.

Finally, it was time to head home, Nolan with his walking stick and Pop carrying two interesting rocks they found beside the pools. Nolan promised to make us hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate shavings when we got back.

We didn’t take a picture of our hot chocolate, but we did grab a photo of the yummy dinner Nolan’s mom made. What a great way to end our day.


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

One thought on “Little Fort in the Woods

  1. What a lovely story. And it’s so great when today’s children are interested in playing in the woods and doing the kinds of things that we did when we were small. Not on screens and having to be involved in expensive activities all the time. And of course you tell the story so well. I almost felt like I was there.

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