MAKE A LEAN-TO WITH YOUR KID, THEN SLEEP IN IT
Since my boy could first walk, he’s helped stack firewood. He’ll pick up ribbons of fresh-split kindling, then lean the strips of wood against the drying ricks of maple and hickory. When the snow melted this spring and we picked up sticks in the yard, he did the same thing. Ambling over to a white pine on his 2-year-old feet, he leaned a stick against the sappy giant. It gave me an idea: I set a 5-inch-diameter black-cherry log in a weevilled split 5 feet up the pine to make an angled ridge pole. Then I dragged a few big branches from the woods and set them against that cherry brace. My boy caught on right away; we’ve added to our shelter with twigs, branches, and leaves. As we were taking out the recycling one day, he walked off with a magazine and a milk jug to insulate, or decorate, the side of his little shelter. The whole thing is primitive as can be but solid, without lashings or tarp. My son can walk around inside it, or sit with me and read picture books in the shade. Come July, when the nights warm up here, we’ll unroll our sleeping bags and spend a night in Henry’s lean-to.