Atz Kilcher

From the blog

Homestead games – Ice bowling

homestead games with Atz Kilcher willard cabin winter

Even though we were secluded as a family in the early days on the homestead, as kids do anywhere, we played a lot. There were some of the standard indoor games such as checkers and Parcheesi and various card games. Outdoor games included tag and hide and go seek, Mother May I, and a game whose title I don’t remember only we used to have to say, “Red rover, red rover, send so and so over”.

But we also invented a lot of our own games, just made them up, as I imagine kids around the world do also. We made up a lot of them on the spur of the moment. It might’ve been seeing who could run down the log the farthest without falling off. It might’ve been putting a smaller log across a larger log and trying to balance or teeter totter on it. There were ropes hanging from trees over many gullies and canyons that served as swings. We would toss any object we could make or find into any container, or see who could hit a target on a tree.

Winter only increased our great outdoor playground and the many new games it offered.

One of my biggest thrills to this day is to take young children out into the middle of nowhere and observe them. After a brief uncomfortable period, during which there seems to be nothing to do, they begin, you guessed it, playing. Playing in nature’s playground, with mud or sticks or water or ice or snow or trees or branches or driftwood.

It’s also wonderful to observe young kids figure out a way to turn work into play, we had to do that a lot on the homestead. Here my little friend Riley, thought chopping a hole in the ice to get water was just another game. So we just kept that game going. Made bowling balls out of chunks of ice and tried to knock down the hammer. I think that’s how curling might have been invented!

It was a good day on the river ice –yes siree!
For my little friend Riley and me
So much to explore, so much to see
How happy could one little nature boy be.

Oh yes, did I also mention that as kids out in the middle of the woods we also made up poems and stories and songs. Not a bad way to grow up. We were never too bored. If we weren’t playing at work or busy inventing and playing a new game, we were singing or making up a story about it.


  1. I love when you include Riley in these posts. You are teaching him the forgotten and almost lost ways of having a good time in life. No expensive toys or electronics needed! Bless you Atz!

  2. We watch the new and reruns every week. Love how the family works and plays together. I’m amazed how good you get around on horse back or climbing up the side of the mountain to hunt. Must be all the work that keeps you young. Can’t wait till October 1,2017 for the new shows airing. I love the bird nest. I was going to buy the bird nest, but I’ll let someone else have it, isn’t that nice of me.

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing you, Aztec Lee and Nikos perform with Jewel on her Homemade Holiday concert. There will be artisan crafts prior to the concert and there’s no info about what time the venues will open before the concert. I’ve written Jewel and yourself about this, but no one will answer me

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