Ian and Jenny came up to visit in early August with Autumn and Hayden. They spent some time exploring Yellowstone for a few days, then drove up to see us. It was their first time up here so there were a lot of things to figure out.
One of the first things we had to figure out was where the tree house was and how it worked. It straddles an irrigation ditch, which with a good imagination serves as a moat; it has the obligatory drawbridge / ladder you can raise up to keep intruders at bay; and it has a bucket to raise up supplies and ammunition and for use dumping hot oil on invaders. We made sure all was in working order.
There's also a rope swing underneath, a bit of a challenge at first. It can be used to swing across the moat, or just for a joy ride once you get the hang of it.
|Hayden figuring out the Swing|
|Jenny escaping down the ladder|
We had some work still to do which Jack and Sam didn't get finished on their visit the previous week. There were some big tree root-balls left over from when we dug the basement for the house. They needed to be moved and used to fill a hole created when an irrigation ditch washed out the first year we were here. Hayden was first up on the tractor; it's a bit different driving a real one from a model...
|Hayden getting used to the Tractor|
We were having a pretty dry, toasty summer, so I had the fire-fighting pump and hose with the water tank on the back of the tractor. It makes a pretty good counter-weight when carrying heavy things like stumps, so we left it on.
One down, then it was Autumn's turn. Being a little older, she got the hang of it pretty quickly.
|Autumn getting familiar with the Tractor|
Seeing as how it was hot, we headed down to the swimming hole to cool off. We took my one-person fishing raft, so everyone could practice rowing.
|Jenny at the Swimming Hole|
|Autumn and Hayden||Hayden ferrying Ian around|
It always looks easier than it is at first...
|It always looks easier than it is at first...|
There is a big pile of logs on the island that separates the swimming hole from the main part of the river; most of it came down in a high-water year after the big fire of 1988. We found a hole under it made at high water and decided to investigate. The kids were pretty reluctant, so I went in first. It was a bit of a squeeze.
|Gary checking out the hole under the logjam|
Once in, the question was how easy it was to get out...
|Ian crawled in next...|
That seemed to make it safe enough for Autumn and Hayden to follow, albeit somewhat reluctantly at first.
And then they were all in!
|Ian, Hayden and Autumn|
We had a great dinner down by the river with s'mores for desert, and put the campfire out with the firehose.
Unfortunately, they could only stay a few days, but we had a pretty good time. The kids really enjoyed playing down at the tree house; they could make up all sorts of wondrous adventures. Then they had to pack up and do the long drive home to Colorado.