We've had pleasant weather since the deluge last Wednesday, but that doesn't mean our homemade rain shelter has been abandoned. On the contrary, it has been augmented and perfected.
In my prior post I said the kids used all the scrap wood and fence planks. I would have been more accurate in writing that they used all the wood readily available to them. In an attempt to de-clutter our small space, I'd relegated much of our wood supply to the storage shed with the idea of getting it out when the kids needed it. They obviously needed it to build this hideout.
(In case you're curious, those panels of gauzy fabric hanging from the trees are explained here.)
And naturally a hideout must be protected, which has lead to the laying of several traps around the premises, designed to capture the various bad guys . . . Well, to be honest I'm a little confused about this because Max, one of trap builders, is a "bad guy" himself, while the rest of them are "good guys." I'm starting to have the sneaking suspicion that these traps are actually intended to capture girls, but so far they've been too cagey to let on because they don't want to face my withering criticism that they are being "old fashioned," which is one of the ways we talk about sexism. The whole thing, however, has stayed underground largely because the girls have so far shown absolutely no interest in invading this hideout.
But the traps are ready, just in case. It started with this devious trap.
You don't see it, of course, because that's the whole idea. Under that sand is a deep hole, into which they poured water and over which they've placed a piece of wood. They've cleverly disguised it by covering the whole thing with a layer of sand. The completion of this trap was followed by several rounds of uncovering it to find that the water was gone, refilling, recovering, then digging it up again.
This lead to this innovation in Woodland Park trap-making:
That's right, by burying a bucket (this is actually the bottom half of a watering can) in the sand, they found that the water stayed put. It was also decided to forego the wood over the top and leave it open, just waiting for an unsuspecting intruder to come along.
The grounds soon had more of these "traps," which are really to my mind more of a watery practical joke version of a land mine, but let's not quibble.
I'm unsure about how or if those ropes were part of the plan.
Protecting the entryway to the hideout is this complicated number employing one of our belts and a strand of the gauzy fabric:
Max played director here, insisting that I photograph his
trap from this angle.
I'm no engineer, but as near as I can figure from his detailed explanation, this is not a trap of the booby variety. It requires him, as operator, to employ precise timing to activate it just as the bad guy (or in his case good guy) is in position. I've left the traps just as they were when we left school last week.
As a boy, I once protected my tree house by placing straight pins upright in the dirt at the bottom of the ladder and then proceeded to get two of them embedded in my own heel. I wonder if our trap-makers, after a long weekend during which to forget, risk a similar fate.