All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


For a long time now, the boys and I have been talking about building a sandbox. It's not like we can just run down to Home Depot, by the supplies, whip it together in a few hours and call it good. Everything here takes time. Well, a few weeks ago we finally found the time over a weekend to make it happen. Here's how it went down: First we laid it out and marked the corners.

Then we started digging. The ground was very uneven, so we had to level it out. All the boys showed up to dig. Tanner wasn't about to let the shovel manhandle him--he tried with all his might to dig to China. I guess since China is practically next door, I'd have to say "dig to America" now if I wanted to be dramatic.

Tyler, however, had a much more supervisory demeanor. He reminded me a lot of some of the PA road crews I used to see back in the day. You know... a couple of guys all standing around staring at a hole (as if it was going to dig itself if they just staired long enough,)--and always one guy, probably the supervisor, leaning on a shovel. But let me tell you, don't try to take that shovel away from Tyler. Whoa doggy! That boy takes ownership of his tools!

Eventually, Britton and I were able to finish off the digging.

Then we formed up and varnished the first of two framed sections that would form the sandbox itself. Again, keep in mind that you don't just run to the store and get nice dimensional lumber. This was rough-cut, non-dimensional wood, that we then had to plane and cut to our liking. But let me tell you, it's gorgeous hardwood. Anything but hardwood would get devoured by termites and ants here. And it's pretty cheap. But I still feel guilty. It'd be like building a sandbox out of oak or something like that back in the U.S.

Before dropping the box into our hole, we lined it with heavy-duty vinyl, so as to keep the prolific grass and banana trees from growing up through the sand later.

Then we plopped in the first secion, built another one on top, and tied the two together.

Finally, we rounded the edges and took the splinters off the top, so as to save on future applications of bandaids to the "backside."

Well, that was supposed to be it. But a few days later we realized that the project couldn't end there. Anytime the twins got out front, they'd head straight for the sandbox and dive in like a pair of home-sick meerkats being chased by an eagle! That wasn't going over to well with the mommy, especially just after their baths. So we built a picket fence with a gate to close it off from the little munchkins. Again, we had to hand plane, cut and rip every piece of wood from large, heavy, rough-cut lumber. To the left of this picture is our little front porch with locally made rocking chairs. To the right, behind the picket fence and under the banana trees is the new sandbox.

It was a bit of work, but a fun project with the kids, and probably the new favorite spot in our yard--well worth the effort.


theda said...

how fun. That looks awesome. Great job everyone.

Alan said...


I just looked at your last two enteries ...the "view from my office" and the "sand box."

The beauty of the utterly remote terrain is amazing. It's crazy, we watch documentaries about the remote jungles of Borneo, and then see the photos of where you spend your day in those same place. Wow.

The Sand Box photos and story with the kids -- so VERY cool. When I see the way you include your boys in the projects...I'm jealous :), I would have loved to grown up as one of your sons. I deeply respect and appreciate your hands-on, loving heart for all your children. Way to go dad! Way to go!


Jennifer said...

I love this post - it brightened my day! I can't believe how the kids are growing! Looks like a great addition to the yard.