Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Coal Hunting

I've been wanting to spend time with Jack after all the business of sewing and preparing for Christmas.

Monday we went on a nice long hike in the woods near our home and yesterday we went back down into the park for a very different purpose.

We followed the railroad tracks into old Ellicott City to get a bite to eat but mostly to collect coal.

There are many trains that still run along the Patapsco River along the B&O Railroad (the first ever rail line in the U.S.). Ellicott City has a great little railroad museum which is worth a look if you ever come this way.

Well, our job was to collect as much coal as we could to burn in the firepit for New Year's Eve. It seems a good enough activity for Jack and his Texas cousin who are both 12 years old. A treasure hunt, of sorts, followed by the promise of playing with fire. Just a 21st century Mom looking for creative ways to get these boys unplugged from electronic devices. Though the iPod did come along, by the middle of the hike, it was out of his ears...success!

We did learn that the kids had much better eyesight than us older folks when it came to spotting the coal. Can you find it in this picture?

We were lucky enough to have a train come by as we were walking along.

I don't care how old you are, it's still exciting to be that close to a big, powerful train that's motoring along.

I don't have a picture of our hoard but it was substantial. It should be quite the blaze this evening when we burn it. Anybody ever burned coal? This is a new one fore us!

We've collected coal a few other times so my brother John made coal buckets out of old cans for the kids.

I carried Jack's bucket today since it wasn't big enough for the amount of coal he was able to find. I just think it looks cute. Jack just rolls his eyes at that one...


Carol said...

What a great idea! Nice family outing. Lucky you!

Allison Ann Aller said...

Coal gives a steady, mellow heat. You're going to be toasty tonight!

What a perfect guy outing...

Debra said...

You are just barely beginning to border on "Oh, Mom! You are so dorky!" It's OK. He will still love you and your dorkiness will become a Badge of Honor. Ask me how I know.

I think it sounds like a fun idea and I bet the whole gang was energized and enthused when they returned home.

We'll be sweating tonight. May have to break out the swimsuit. *wink*

Judy S. said...

What a great adventure, Susan! Maybe you need to write these up in a book on how to unplug kids? Seems to me something like that is sorely needed! And you are filled with great, creative suggestions that have been kid-tested!

Wanda said...

Such a blessing...your family time

morvoren said...

What wonderful fun Susan this was with the family,thanks for sharing.
I have 5 grown up children and we still ''play''...they say ''a family that plays together always stays together''...and its seems true!
Mine think me quite ''odd''if thats the right word? at times esp the men BUT THEY LOVE ME FOR IT...BUT ODD IS NEVERING BORING :o)I LIKE THAT,AIM TO NEVER GROW UP IF ITS THIS MUCH FUN LOL!
Also I am sitting around a coal fire right now and its so cosy.
Pam UK

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