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Sledding on the farm

01.28.14

If one thing has become clear in the past few days, it’s that my family does not fool around when it comes to sledding. After the winter of last year, where hardly a flake fell to the ground, we’re taking full advantage of the powder covering the hills this year. 

The back hill on my grandfather’s farm has some serious hills. Though I feel like none of my pictures quite capture the breath-taking terrain (and I mean that in both the beauty and the “you want me to sled down THAT?“) it is the ideal sledding spot. 

The perfect place to send your toddler whizzing down the hill on a round plastic disc. 

If the speed of the hill and wipeout potential doesn’t get you, then the stream snaking through the bottom of the hill or the small pond on your left might. Not to mention the concrete cattle waterers. 

My husband errs on the side of “kids have been doing this forever, they’ll be fine.” while I would like to micro-manage every send off and be sure I’m sending them down the hill in a path to land perfectly between pond and stream. 

One of the things that I love about watching this, is to see my kids’ personalities emerge on the hill. One is fearless. One will try it once or twice, but that’s plenty for her. One just goes and goes and goes and loves to talk about how much each lump and bump hurt. 

But there was one sledder among us, who doesn’t fool around. 

Waxing up the runners. We're not fooling around here, people.
Waxing up the runners. We’re not fooling around here, people.

Lord help me be this adventurous and nimble at 84. Let me still be climbing on sleds and hoofing it back up the hills. 

I’m pretty sure my grandfather loves this just as much as the small sledders. 

When the hill seemed like it just wasn’t fast enough or sending people far enough, things got serious. 

The tractor came out.

A path was packed down and suddenly my dear children were skidding down the hill on a trail of new speeds and distances.  (If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see my oldest daughter climbing out of the stream bed.) Everyone needs a good sledding story, I tell her. Mine involves a big hill, a jump and a tailbone so bruised I missed two months of my high school basketball season. 

After sledding, we came inside for a dinner of steak and warm soup and a celebration of Robbie Burns’s birthday (more on that soon.) and between dessert and hot chocolate everyone was back on the hill, sledding by moonlight. 

I’d lose sight of them about halfway down the hill and throw out a little prayer that they were fine at the bottom–made obviously clear when I’d hear whopping and laughing from the darkness. 

7 comments on “Sledding on the farm”

  1. What fun memories for you all to have! My kids would love to join you. We are on our 4th "snow" day of the year in the Chicago ‘burbs, but the temps are way too cold for outdoor play despite all the snow we’ve gotten.

  2. oh, molly!!! how fabulous!! your grandpa is just like my father-in-law, who goes out with us every time at the farm. what a wonderful place to sled!! this actually brought a memory to me i hadn’t thought about in some time. as a first grader, i had a best friend with a farm. we would go ‘tobogganing’ on a hill similar to this… tons of kids and a very small stream at the bottom. if the run was too good… you might end up in it! one of those dark dark nights, my younger sister did and managed to loose her boot in it! what wonderful memories. sledding in the moonlight is just the best.

  3. What wonderful memories for your girls. They are so lucky to know and spend time with their great grandpa!
    When I first saw the tractor I thought perhaps it was used to pull the sleds. It brought back some fond childhood memories. My dad would sometimes get the tractor out and attach an old truck hood to the back that my brothers and I would climb on and ride as he pulled us through the fields. (Kind of like tubing) We grew up in very flat farmland. If we wanted to sled we headed to the local golf course. The ride behind the tractor was a lot of fun.

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