I'm going to think out loud for a few minutes.....I need to figure this out.
Today C&L went on an "adventure" in the woods behind our house. I don't know how long they were gone when H came in the house in a panic to announce that they were lost. So I go out behind the house and yell their names several times.....no answer. So I yell into Mike so he can come out and use his big manly voice to call them....still no answer. Was I worried yet? Yes. About what? I'm not quite sure. So we continue to call them....finally (after 5 minutes of making Mom panic) they come running down the hill...."Here we are Mom!" I asked them if they heard us calling.....they admitted that they DID hear us. This made me mad, so I assigned them two hours of chores (of my choosing) in the house before they could go back outside. They informed that I was a mean Mom because they were simply on an adventure. "That's Ok if you explore and go on an adventure." I said "That is not why you are in trouble." You are in trouble for not answering or coming when we called you. It is disrespectful and you made us worried.
Granted....there are hundreds of acres of woods behind our house and eventually they would make their way to one of the distant neighbors house. There is the remote possibility that they would meet up with a dangerous animal. Even a smaller possibility that they would meet up with a dangerous person. BUT.....I need the courtesy of an answer when I call. Otherwise I might panic and call the K9 unit out to find you. We have a liitle friend from our homeschooling group that got lost this winter. He was lost in the woods for an hour when it started getting dark and we had to call the K9 unit to come find him. Eventually he was found by Will who took his snowmobile two miles away and found him walking in the forest. He followed his tiny footsteps through the snow. Alot of prayers were answered that day...let me tell you. Anyway....the kids know all about the K9 unit. I didn't want to scare them but they need to know that the woods can be dangerous and we need to know they are safe. Enough said.
There are a few trails back there, which we have explored together...but really.....how well do they know those woods? I think I need to have them take me on a hike back there so I can test their navigation skills.
Lately thay have beem "camping" in the front yard. They have gathered large branches form the yard and surrounding forest, leaned them against a tree and tied a tarp around it to make a teepee. They built a fire pit, a leantoo (sp?) and a weapons closet where they store the homemade bows and arrows. It is quite impressive, I must say.
We went to a "You alone in the Maine Woods" workshop a couple weeks ago. I had no idea they learned so much. We have not been camping as a family in a long time (it feels like camping everytime I walk outside so I don't get that URGE to connect with nature like I did when we lived in the city) so I know they didn't learn this stuff from us.
The birds are so beautiful. We have a mocking bird that has been hanging out in one of our trees lately. He is so charming. "Woody" (as the kids named him several years ago) is also back this year and continues to mark his territory by pecking on the metal roof of the barn out back. I don't think he will find any bugs there....again. He is so funny. I think Bushtail (the squirrel) has died or found a new home. We have yet to see him this year. Allthough there are several others who made their winter home in our ski boots that were in the shed. We left them out there (they were ruined) incase they want to renew their lease next winter. This year we have stored the boots in the house.
The shade has returned to the yard. The leaves are so thick, green and baeutiful. Last year we had to cut down the huge white birch right out front, as it was dying and we didn't want it to fall on the house. The stump makes a great base for various games such as tag and baseball. It also makes a great thinking spot. It reminds me of "The Giving Tree" which is one of my favorite books.
It is late and slumber awaits me.