Fences, planter boxes, retaining walls, cages, and now a tiny mining town, all recipients of items gathered from our valuable piles of junk located in the back field. My initial intention was a clean up, trying to make use of what I could gather from our worthwhile discards. I drug giant logs and beams, broke up and stacked thousands of pounds of old concrete, and cut and nailed what good wood I could find in an effort to create something fun for us all. I was inspired by what junk I pulled from the rubbish piles, old metal tank halves lead to the creation of a water tower, mostly rotten decking pieces made a great boardwalk for our town front, unused tree stakes looked like great fencing material, and our long plywood track could easily be transformed into a railway for a runaway mine cart, my design evolved as I worked. My end result was a deserted mining town I named Motherlode, the home town of the Golden Brother Mining Company, and it's completion happened to coincide with Jo's big day.
A mining birthday party was a perfect fit for Jo. He's fascinated by the treasures that can be found in the earth. However his fascination is in the experience, not the treasure. Unfortunately this makes for an unprofitable miner, too bad dollars are only given in exchange for your found precious metals or stones, and not in your excitement over finding it. Material objects have no real or lasting value to Jo, he'd prefer a fun outing over any toy, and so his real birthday present each year is his party. A party experience, where he can invite who ever he pleases to share it with.
With no limit on his invite list, a large group of young children invaded our backyard last Wednesday. They got to excavate there own diamond and ruby, find and crack their own geode, dive for emeralds, pan for gold to use for purchases at the general store and rootbeer floats at the saloon, and take their found golden nuggets to the bank in exchange for chocolate coins.
It was a success, and with the last minute visit from my brother quite the experience. It seems he and his mining buddy 'Clem' forgot where they stumbled across a special rock filled with gold. It was a good thing they had about 35 new miners to help them find their forgotten spot..... too bad these new miners spent most of their time stepping on the treasure rock instead of finding it.
|Yep... that's Sol's left foot on the treasure rock, they realized it's value only after spotting me taking pictures of it.|
Gold, diamonds, rubies, recycled concrete, and old partially rotten wood, a recipe for fun? It was amusing and satisfying to give my unmaterialistic son a golden birthday experience, and in the process building and giving life to what once was junk, with the price tag of only hard work. Happy Ninth Birthday Jo, I hope you hit the Motherlode!