Life in the Country – Video

Pioneer Days

Yard Fill (or Why I Have Very Creative Children and a Very Messy Yard!)

A dear friend of mine was the first to name it “yard fill.” I looked at her blankly until she explained that yard fill was all the stuff that fills up the yard when you have children. You know…bikes, little tike’s cars, jump ropes, soccer goals, t-ball sets, toy lawnmowers, etc….

Since our sand box area has become a playhouse of sorts, I have noticed that most of our yard fill originates from the sand box and tends to stretch through-out the yard.

Our sand box was made from some old landscape timbers and sits under the pine trees where it is always shady and cool. It also provides great needles and pine cones to play with. My husband made a little shed beside it to hold all of the sand box toys, but they rarely make it there.

Our sand box toys include the normal array of “big machines” like bulldozers and cranes, but the majority of the toys are a motley collection of old kitchen items. There are frying pans, sauce pans, plates, strainers, utensils of every shape and size, old muffin tins and bread pans, etc…

My children spend hours with these “toys” to create amazing dishes. They use whatever they can scrounge up to cook with, including pine cones, pine needles, sand, rocks, wood, grass, weeds, and even flowers. The picture above is of a chicken-fried steak (a piece of wood covered with sand) with hash browns (wood chips) on the side.

But these “toys” don’t just stay in the sand box! After a rain they get taken to the deepest mud puddle and used to dig ditches, or to the place where the soil is clay-like to help mold pottery. Sometimes a wagon load of stuff is hauled to the “Green Forest” where the children have created a camp site under the silver maples.

During the winter the same “toys” are hauled around the yard wherever the snow is deepest to be used to create snow sculptures and snow men.

So, if you should happen to drive into my yard and see a soup ladle by the back door where someone dropped it on his way into lunch, or an old cooking pot sitting by the mud puddle, or a sandbox covered with plates of dried grass and mud, don’t be alarmed. It’s only our “yard fill”.

Someday I will have a beautiful lawn with flower beds and lovely landscaping. But for today, I’m a mother who wants my children to have the freedom to create and to play, even if it means a messy yard and very dirty children.

Check out more sand box creations in our original movie “An Ode to Yard Fill”.