A Secret Outback

Every child deserves their very own fort in the woods, but not every child is so fortunate.  However, we know two little sisters that are very fortunate to have such a fort…  in a small paradise in their backyard.  The girls have a beautiful little forest of Australian pines (Casuarina equisetifolia) that they have turned into their own private space.  They proudly refer to it as their “Australia”.

Australian pines "out back" in a Florida yard.

The entrance to "Australia". It has lots of paths throughout.

This is the view when you look up. These trees reach up to 80 feet... maybe higher.

These woods may look a little spooky, but they are very friendly.

Lots of friendly faces.

There is something magical and fun in every nook and cranny in these woods.

I think every child dreams of having a secret place like this.

This is the children's arts & crafts area.

Supplies for making things.

I love this. They glued pieces of mirror onto wooden blocks and hung them from twine. When the light hits them, they leave dancing prisms of light all over the woods.

The pines make a soft noise that sound like somebody is whispering around you. These bells blend into the background and add even more magic.

This old Ford pickup is scenic. The cab is used for dry storage.

There is also a bathtub with a plumbed-in drain. The bottom is painted gold and the girls are going to decorate it with all sorts of sparkly things.

There's a table and bench behind the tub.

There are "screens" of hanging moss everywhere. It breaks the forest up into rooms.

How great is this?

There is so much for kids to do in this secret land.  They have a dry erase board hanging on a tree where they keep track of their snacks.  There are several adorable wooden benches and shelving all over.  If you look up, you see all kinds of clever things.  My favorite is a plastic bat that hangs from a fishing line over a hammock chair.  It definitely made me look twice.  There is a wooden bucket that hangs from a long piece of twine and is looped over several branches so that it can be raised and lowered.  It is tied to a tree to keep it steady when it’s not in use.  Their goal is to keep the forest looking like a forest and they want everything they add to look like it belongs.  If something stands out too much, it probably won’t stay in there for long.  It would take many visits to notice everything.

One of the exits... if you ever want to leave.

This wonderful setting reminds me how much children love to have a secret place to call their own.  I still remember mine.  I am really inspired to help my kids build one for themselves.  I have a feeling Grayson will go for a treehouse with edible landscaping at the bottom and probably a passion vine or two trailing up.

Come grow with us!

3 Responses to “A Secret Outback”

  1. What a wonderful place!

  2. Yes, but pictures and words cannot equal actually experiencing these woods. It is an awesome retreat.

  3. Janet Lewis Says:

    You have captured the very essence of this wonderful retreat. Im so happy that it now available for others to discover and enjoy. Thank you. – Janet (Sam’s mum)

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