American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Snow Fort:The Lessons Learned

We're inundated with snow. 10-12" last week and another 10-14" today.

I've been shoveling like a maniac as the snow blower just can't handle the wet, heavy stuff we're getting.

Today I had the brilliant idea to build a snow fort for Jake and Laura--something I used to do with regularity as a kid.

While digging down into the bank I realized just how important a snow shelter could be and decided to use the time as a learning opportunity for the kids.

We talked about the importance of patting the snow to compact it slightly and then to rub the snow to smooth it out to prevent low/high spots which would drip and freeze overnight. We also discussed how to combine the various types of snow to best effect. Some of the old snow has frozen and it doesn't pack well but, when mixed with some of the fresh snow, provides us with a great "filler" on the interior and exterior of the fort.

When measuring the fort we decided to make walls that were tall enough for Jake to stand up and long enough for me to lay down. It was also wide enough to accommodate the three of us in snowball-throwing position. It's important to make your snow fort a multi-use shelter.

We built three walls and brought the top of the walls back toward the inside like a jug to provide us with some shelter from additional snow. We dug into the deepest part of the bank to make a "bed" but the snow was just too loose inside the bank and it wasn't worth the risk to climb in and give it a test nap. Buried alive isn't the best way to teach...

We talked about the best ways to keep warm inside our shelter and I showed the kids how important it was to stay out of the wind when you're wet and cold. Body heat was plenty this afternoon to keep us all comfortable.

If the snowplows don't come along tonight and smash our fort to bits it should be frozen solid by tomorrow morning much like an igloo. Then we'll have a semi-permanent shelter at least until the temperatures warm up for a few days.

Who knew that all those years building snow forts as a kid would actually have some practical application as an adult that enjoys spending time outdoors in winter?

Thanks for reading,



At 3:36 AM, Blogger sam_acw said...

no photos?

At 10:07 AM, Blogger American Bushman said...

No, sorry Sam.

I really went out there to clear the driveway and the fort was an afterthought.

It was cold, wet work and would have surely destroyed my digital camera.

If it'd lasted the night I would have taken some pictures this morning but the village snow plow took down the front wall last night.



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