The Great Campout of 2010

Some of you knew that my kids were out camping this last week. Alone. Well, as alone as five kids can be, so I suppose that means no adults were along. Just them. My oldest is 17 and very handy and the youngest will be 9 this summer. Sprinkled between them is an oh-so-close-to 16, a 14.5 and a 12 year old. Did I mention there were no adults?

You can imagine my fears. Starvation. Fire. Fights. Death caused by any of those three...

Setting out they wagon trained their supplies out to the campsite they chose in our far field (that's been over-run by Russian Olive trees).

Here they are in their original kitchen area. This spot was in the middle of the three younger ones' tents. They called it a cavern and due to the trees, that's how it felt. Comfy and cozy.

That is until the wind died down and the smoke filled the cavern. They said they almost died from smoke inhalation (I hadn't even thought of that one!)

So they moved their kitchen up to the fence row between the two oldest ones' tents.

Naturally, Abby was the camp cook. Huh. I wonder why? They quickly got tired of johnny cake (cornbread pancake thingies) so she made biscuits, and they were quite tasty!

Their food box/counter and bench was an old ammo box. Behind her was the fence row and a farmer's winter wheat crop.

The kids invited us to lunch one day and fixed us chicken stew and biscuits. I was sooo impressed with their set up and how well they were doing!

They had no convenience food, only food similar to what pioneers had, so they were cooking from scratch (which we normally do anyway).

Here's the view the kids had from the fence row right behind their campsite. They loved sitting and watching the wheat wave in the wind and the purple martins catching the insects. They were at the crest of a hill and could see a fair distance. It really was quite peaceful and pretty!

The kids might not have had an adult presence with them, but Gracie, our faithful dog stayed with them almost all the time, watching over them. I felt much better knowing she was with them. Here's one of her favorite spots where she could overlook her domain and keep an eye on the kids and catch all the breeze she could.

To round out the experience (LoL), it rained. Hard. For a long time. It stopped raining long enough for them to get a fire going (they learned they should have listened to us about keeping some wood covered overnight) and to almost dry out the bedding that got wet.

The kids came home to get water when they needed it, but they didn't stay long. It was as close as we could get to packing water from the stream.

Each one had their own tent and here's one of them. This is my dad's tent from when we lived in Ecuador and backpacked and fished in the Andes Mountains. This is the tent a mountain lion circled one night. While we were in it. When I was the only one awake. It. was. scary! Dad laughed at me when I told him the next morning, that is until he went out and saw the prints. *shiver* Which explains a good part of my relief that Gracie stayed with the kids!

Here are the kids at the end of their campout. Alex rigged the tarp over the fire so they could cook a meal on that rainy day.

Notice that there are still five kids, alive and smiling. Miracles never cease and God answers prayer!

While the older ones took care of the cooking and tending the fire, the little boys were responsible for rustling firewood, of which there was plenty.

They worked together and came home with smiles.

Or maybe the smiles were because they were home. Home with their computers and mp3 players and microwave and stove that turns on with the twist of a knob. LoL. I dunno. What do you think?

We let them use the tractor to haul their stuff home and for some reason, they really appreciated that thing! It's good to have them home. It's good to have them not complaining about chores around the house! (hehe)

Now, what can we do about the bickering that followed them home?


  1. Anonymous4:43 PM

    COOL! Great pics and I'm thankful they did so well.
    Thank you, Lord.

  2. What a wonderful homeschool project to end their pioneer studies! They'll remember this forever.

  3. hehe, yep, we are not going to be forgetting this trip anytime soon! I forgot how wonderful it feels to be CLEAN! =) ahh, I'm glad to be home!

  4. Yes, it IS on the calendar as school, Vonnie. Pioneer days intrigued several of the kids and naturally they tended to (greatly) romanticize it. We thought a campout like this would be a great learning experience about history, about how good they have it now and many other life lessons.

    It wasn't an easy trip for them, or for me and Jim knowing they were out there in the rain, but it was VERY good for them!

  5. I think this is awesome.
    So many kids today don't get this kind of freedom to explore, to learn and to work together.
    I remember walking to school when I was little - maybe 4 or 5 with just my big sister who was all of maybe 7. No parents. and everybody else did it too.
    We played outside after school too - and never had parents watching us all the time - it's a kind of freedom that most kids today don't seem to get.
    I'm glad they all came back alive LOL - and I bet they learned a whole lot more than just appreciation for a homecooked meal :p
    You're a great mom to let them do this. Takes a lot of faith and trust - you've obviously raised a good lot!

  6. What a NEAT experience. You guys did GREAT (all of you! ). Neat stuff.

  7. Loved seeing the photos. What a great learning experience in many areas.


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