This afternoon Sugar, Spice, and Nice had their last Quiet Time in the tent, kitties curled up beside them in their sleeping bags (except for the ones who couldn't resist the smell of the sausages I was cooking over the fire for tonight's soup). Then, in the wind from the approaching storm, they helped my Farmer pack up the tent. I put away camp chairs. Stacked the few remaining sticks of firewood against a tree.
The fire still burned - low -, a lone potato and a handful of chestnuts left on the grate. We kept the fire going all week. This morning's breakfast fire was the first time we needed matches since we started it last Saturday. Even then, the ash was warm.
Every meal for a week, we ate around the fire. Most days we cooked once or twice using the campfire: hot dogs (of course), toast, chicken satay, grilled tomato & cheese sandwiches, hobo packets of potato and sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes in foil, apples, onions, sausages, and more and more s'mores. Meals took forever, somehow. No one seemed to mind.
We didn't do anything flashy this week. No grand experiments. No pricey field trips. Not even many photos. We just lived. Outside.
Nice found her own "poking stick" for the fire (I'm a little possessive when I've got a good one). Spice made "pencils" to write on an old pallet, by holding sticks in the fire till their ends were blackened. Sugar hauled firewood and cut brush for resurrecting a fire from the previous coals.
They played with corncob dolls with braided "hair". Baked "bread" wrapped up in grape leaves in the fire, to feed the cats. Went fishing. Walked back in the woods to wade in a very small spring-fed "swimming hole". We went to the tractor pull at a local fair, ate funnel cake and elephant ear. One day we took bikes to a nearby park to ride the trails and spent the morning riding, walking, even running in the sunshine, and ended up getting pizza to eat in the pavilion. For a very cold ten minutes on the warmest day, the children and my Farmer had the last swim of the season in our pool.
Last night after dark, we walked over the rise to catch the moon as it came up full over the cornfield.
And now the week is over.
Tonight Lil' Snip will get a much-needed bath. We'll tuck them all into their inside beds, their pillows still smelling faintly of campfire smoke. We'll leave the windows open a crack for the music of rain and cricketsong.
And then in the morning we'll eat breakfast sitting at the table, dressed in churchy clothes like civilized folks, and go sit in circulated air for two hours, listening to people sing and talk into microphones and surreptitiously thumb their smartphones ...
... and our week outside will fade into vapor like a dream ...