Friday, February 8, 2013

A "Handy Tip" for the Approaching Storm

Today’s handy tip comes from The American Boy’s Handy Book, Chapter 27

By now you've probably heard about a little storm that is quickly approaching, potentially dropping two feet (or more!) of snow across the Northeast. Many of us will be stuck at homes for the next 36 hours – what can you do to pass the time?

If you have kids (or just a strong connection to your inner child), they'll probably be itching to get outdoors and start creating anything they can out of snow. What could be more fun than building a snow fort? In a snow fort, you can rule over your snow kingdom or strategize for your next snowball fight. The American Boy's Handy Book has us covered for winter fun, including this handy tip for the perfected creation of a snow fort. With the impending blizzard approaching the Northeast, it seems like the perfect time for this handy tip! (Disclaimer: we recommend waiting until after the white-out conditions have passed before venturing outside. Stay safe!)

The proper building of a snow fort:

  1. For a group of ten boys, it is recommended that a square fort foundation be determined with sides of 10 feet. Trace lines in the snow to create the foundation.
  2. Tip: “Care must be taken to have the corners of the square opposite the most probable approach of the enemy. This will leave the smallest point possible exposed to the attack.”
  3. Start rolling large snowballs: “as large and dense as possible.” Roll the giant snowballs into place on the traced lines.
  4. After all four sides have been covered with large snowballs; the company of boys may pack the crevices and holes with snow until the walls have been filled.
  5. Using spades and shovels; the next step requires the walls to be flattened and trimmed out into perpendicular shapes on each side, in order to give the fort the appearance of the base of a pyramid. For example: “the top of the wall may be two feet broad and the base four feet.”
  6. To complete the snow fort, a mound of snow should be made in the very centre of the fort to support the flagstaff.
A young female snowball warrior has created a weak point in her fort where enemy snowballs may enter, but demonstrated her skills in packing crevices quite nicely. 

The American Boy's Handy Book was first published in 1882, and was written by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. It's a beloved, vintage Americana guide book, filled with activities that are guaranteed to keep kids busy and entertained. You can purchase it on the Godine website.

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