Winter in central California is growing shorter every year. It’s wildflower time already! At March’s end all bulbs have withered to compost, all except the tulips, who for Easter have conceded to wait. Like last year, in order to feel the hint of a real Winter on our cheeks, we drove to the sierras for some fun in the snow. We would have been happy enough just to feel some frost in the air but were quite the lucky ones to have piles of old snow gleaming beneath 70F degrees of clear (for the most part) alpine sunshine! How’s that for the proverbial icing on the cake?!
No matter how much money you toss at ski school or lift tickets or airfare, nothing captures a child more joyfully than plain old snowball warfare. While the greedy man makes up ways to profit from the snow, children intuitively know how to have fun on the cheap. I trust their lead.
Just let them into the kitchen. Give them free reign to choose tools.
Carry them outside in a large bag with a thermos of cocoa and a camera.
And let the games begin!
Little ones instinctively learn to hoard the snowballs while the older kids learn to pile the hoard atop an “ammunition sled” which they can push or carry around quickly from tree to tree
For adequate protection, one can multitask with said (and spent!) ammunition sled to improvise a “snowball shield”
While the others collaboratively mound the unused ammo snow into bricks for a serviceable fort.
NO WATER-SOAKED OR ICY SNOWBALLS ALLOWED!
100 years or so ago we’d have followed Beard’s lead and pulled together a flour barrel, a saw, a hatchet, some shingle nails and an old pine board just to make the artillery that sleds and kitchen tools provide but today’s kid has it made with a visit to any given thrift store or the local Freecycle list. I guess if one’s really pinched there’s always Big Retail –but honestly, sleds and kitchen utensils are a dime a dozen if you know where to look.
And snow? Well, I hope you didn’t have to drive 4 hours on the interstate in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get there!