I’ll remind you here, reader, that we Lathams weren’t exactly country folk before we moved to the country! Our land was beautiful. It was mostly wooded, but a few acres were open pasture. Some people would have thought of using the pasture for livestock. Not us. We immediately set up a backstop in one corner for baseball and softball games. The rest of the field was left as a giant, meadowy playground for the kids.
This pasture was where the Little Lathams played a game which they called Grass Houses. I remember the day they invented the game. It was springtime. I was mowing along our driveway beside the pasture. The grass in the field was new, but it was already 18 inches tall. On a whim, I pushed the mower into the tall growth. It was quite easy to cut. I knew the children liked to pick flowers and explore in the field, so it seemed like a good idea to make a path. I set out through the field. I made a few curving, crisscrossing trails and came out the other side.
The children loved the maze. They ran laughing and chasing one another. Then things grew quiet. I looked out and saw that they had spread out in different directions across the field. Heads down, they were each working on something. That’s when I saw that they had raided our supply of picnic blankets. Each child used an old wool blanket to flatten the grass to make a place to sit. These little cleared spots became their houses. They were spaced out along the pathways. There weren’t any furnishings in the grass houses. The fun came with travelling around the trails to visit one another. As the days passed, the game evolved. Sometimes a picnic lunch was in order. Other times, the game turned exciting when there was a monster or bad guy loose! Then, the kids ran screaming to each other’s houses for safety.
As spring turned to summer, the field kept growing and I kept the pathway mowed. This made the grass houses even better. I could barely see the tops of the kids’ heads as they played in the field. They were completely hidden when they sat on their blankets surrounded by the tall grass walls.
All in all, it was a fun game. And,yes, there were times when I wished we had more farming experience. But if we had to do it over, I’d choose baseball games and grass houses in that field over a few head of cattle any day!