Monday, March 5, 2012
Where There's a Will There's a Way
As mentioned approximately 500 other times, this has been an unseasonably warm winter with very little snow. My snow play equipment has languished in storage except for the one time we got to sled down an icy road for a few minutes. Over the past week we've gotten a little bit more snow so I was determined to get out there Sunday and play.
Only by the time we made it into the great outdoors, most of the snow had melted from the sunny 40 degree day. Foiled again.....or was I?
We had the sleds and snowboards, the warmly-clad participants, and some very antsy dogs all piled into my van. I was not going through all that work just to head home disappointed. Then it came to me. The gravel pit.
The gravel pit has large piles of different types of gravel. In the warmer months it's used for target practice by local sporting enthusiasts, but not much happens there during the winter. In fact, when we drove in we flushed a whole herd of deer that had been hanging out there in relative comfort and privacy.
That all changed when we opened the doors and released a river of canine enthusiasm. Of course I waited until the deer were hopelessly in the distance, but that didn't stop the dogs from trying anyway. Some time later, they staggered back panting with happiness; Jackie was so winded that she had to take a snow bath then and there to cool down.
Meanwhile, we began a cautious and tentative exploration of the gravel pile's sledding possibilities. At least it was on my part. As I teetered half way up one of the smallest piles, I looked up at the sound of wild whoops and hollers to see Caleb snow boarding down the tallest gravel mountain. He kept his balance and made it all the way to the bottom----whew! No unscheduled trips to the emergency room today.
Unfortunately, the next trip down was a little less successful. He made it halfway before tumbling head over tail down the rest of the slope. At least after that he put his jacket back on so he could keep a little bit of skin.
Damon has none of that magical stuff known as health insurance, so I made him stick to sledding.
After I saw how much fun they were having on their majestic mountain I decided to leave my little hills and go join them. Yup, it was great. So great that nothing else would do but that my mom should try, too. After all, where is the fun in standing safely on level ground watching your offspring risk their necks without you?
I helped her about a third of the way up the slope and got her situated on the sled. She was little far down the length of it, so I tried to get her to hold still while I slid the sled down slope. Only problem was that she kept going down slope, too. I had to give up and cut her loose with a cry of, "Look out belooooooooooow!" It was a good thing Caleb listened and rolled out of the way, because she flew right over the snowboard that he'd been lying on 2 seconds before. My mom, the sledding assassin.
Little by little I inched my way higher on the slope for my runs. Finally, on my last run of the afternoon I went all the way to the top of the hill. The gravel on this hill is well mixed with dirt, and since the slope is south-facing, it had thawed into a warm, soft, dirty slide. It's kind of interesting, because the first part of the run is through gravel and sprays you with fine dirt and rocks. Then you hit the snow at the bottom and get coated with a liberal spray of ice. It was EPIC!
That wasn't even quite dirty enough for the boys, who spent a good share of the time throwing muddy snow at each other or rolling around in the dirt. They were lucky I even let them back in the car for the trip home. On the plus side, they got good and tired!
The dogs had a great time, too, climbing hills and chasing each other once they secured the area from any vicious deer. Jackie liked to chase snowballs the boys through for her---a border collie's work is never done. Finley just got muddy like the mud pig he is. Anika (a short little dog who likes to sit on high places) mostly just patrolled the hill tops.
This is why mothers---and washing machines---of teen boys age faster than the average population!
Wearing his glasses, no less!