tree house part III - roof, ladder, and railing

wrapped up some work on the treehouse awhile ago, but never posted the pictures, so you here go:

finally replaced the aluminum extension ladder with a real ladder - very sturdy and nice

up the ladder...

we made the railing out of some fallen trees from around our property

here it is almost done

view from the yard

the treehouse is not quite done - still needs a handrail on the ladder and some window screens, but constructions is wrapped up for the winter.


treehouse part II - walls



up next...the roof


evolution of a treehouse - part one

step 1 - you might think we should start with the tree, but i didnt take any pictures of the trees before i started, so lets skip ahead.

step 2 - build bracketry. why use just wood when using metal means i get to weld something?

step 3 - integrate wood and metal

step 4 - attach supports to tree. the supports run up at a 45° angle to support the four main beams.

(i thought they turned out pretty nice, if i do say so myself)

step 5 - step back and get the big picture. those are some tall trees

step 6 - repeat process on second tree. here is a shot of one side complete and the second side going up

step 7 - install floor so you dont have to keep balancing on the small edge of the 2x6s.

step 8 - enjoy!

but the evolution is not complete - we have the support structure and floor in place, but the treehouse is missing the 'house' part (a 'treefloor' just doesnt have the same ring to it). check back later to see how it progresses.


mt. rainier summit climb

june 5th-8th i headed to mt. rainier to attempt a summit climb. although it is a two day climb, it is really more like one really long day. on the first day, you hike about 4-5 miles from Paradise up to Camp Muir (@ 10,000 ft) and then that same night around midnight, you head out on the summit portion (another few miles and another 4,000 ft up).

the weather at Paradise when we left on Sunday morning was lousy, kind of misty and rainy and foggy, but at least it wasnt very cold.

we hiked about an hour at a time, and then took 10-15 minute breaks inbetween. here is the rest of my team taking a break about halfway up. from this point on, we got above the cloud cover and it was super sunny and hot. a few smart guys were hiking in short and t-shirts and that turned out to be the best idea of all.

here are a couple of shots looking across and up the mountain. you can see the huge crevasses that are opening up as the summer wears on.

only a few other peaks were tall enough to poke up above the cloud cover.

is that where we are headed?

we arrived at Camp Muir around 4 in the afternoon and a lots of other teams and people were already there, hanging out and waiting for their summit attempts.

i didnt get any more good pictures past Camp Muir because 1) most of the summit climb was in the dark, 2) once you are climbing, there is very little stopping and no chance to take pictures while you climb, 3) when we finally did reach the summit, my camera was frozen (along with our water, sunscreen, and pretty much everything else). the wind was blowing hard and it was really cold on the final climb, but it was really an amazing view from the top. and the trek down was pretty exciting too since we finally got to see the crevasses and icefalls that we had been threading around in the dark on the way up. (jumping over a two-foot wide bottomless crevasse seems somewhat more palatable when you cant see anything but the headlamp-illuminated snow directly in front of you). highly recommended!


landscaping part 4

actually, this is parts 4 and 5 all rolled into one. when last we left the backyard, it was shaping up, but still had a long way to go.

the first project was to get the bark/mulch spread on the second large mound. turns out we have *way* too much mulch left over, so we are trying to find places to use it up. one of the places we decided to use some was next to the deck, behind the garage. in order to transition from the bedding to the walkway and yard, michaleen had the idea to use some of our found rocks to build a boulder wall. it turned out great, including the little nooks for plants:

we finally got the deck stained (not without some incident, but that is another story), so it was time to spruce it up a bit. we got some really nice adirondack chairs from a guy here on whidbey island who makes them from local wood - they are really comfortable. we also got some plants planted in our planters, including a tiny japanese maple, some native grasses, and some fresh herbs.

we also finally used up the last of the slate flagstone that has been sitting in the middle of the yard for a few months. we havent permanently laid the stones yet, but you can see the beginning of our circle patio:

with the mounds in and mulched, the walkways all laid out, the desk complete, and even some trees and plant going in, the last major thing to tackle was the grass. after waiting around for it to be delivered all stinking day, it finally arrived at around 5 pm. still, it only took a few hours and we went from a giant dirt patch to a really nice lawn:

while i was gone to mt. rainier, michaleen finished mulching the play area so now the bedding and grass (in the backyard at least) are complete.


landscaping: part three

in case you missed the first two exciting installments, let's recap:

part I: Tractor Work
mowed some weeds, leveled some dirt, and just generally got an idea of what we were working with

part II: The Deck
it only took several months and was still only 90% complete. (but really, it is quite nice if i do say so myself)

so now we move on to the thrilling third installment in our 434-part series: Better Know a Landscape - the Fightin' Landscapers!

we had already started working on the lower area of the backyard and completed a couple of retaining walls around the play area. we went ahead and built a similar wall on the other side. We also cleared some brush and put some edging around the lower yard area.

we also spent some time working on the trails leading into the woods from the backyard. We built some steps down a particularly steep portion and use some of our patio stones to make a nice stepping stone pathway.

next up - the front yard. after getting kind of neglected while we worked hard on the back yard, we decided to (temporarily) turn our attention to the front yard. we needed a bunch of dirt to shape the backyard, and the front yard needed a big parking space dug out, so we figured we could get all the dirt we needed that way. we hired Scotty Dozy (that is not his real name, but that is what we called him) to do the job. he brought in a big excavator and a bulldozer and did most of the work in one day. with 4 truck loads of gravel to top it off, we finally had a nice smooth driveway.

that left us with the big pile of dirt that we needed for the back, so it was time to switch gears and focus on the backyard again. this time we brought back the mighty little track loader to do our bidding. load after load of dirt was moved and shaped into some contouring mounds surrounding a large circular yard area. we packed and raked the mounds smooth, and then proceeded to start covering them with 'local hogged fuel', which is kind of like really big mulch.

now it was time to move back to the deck and patio. we had to replace a few boards on the deck that we never did like (well, at least one of us was really concerned about them anyway). we also added some more stones to the patio/walkway to start wrapping it around to the side of the house. it is really turning out nice.

last year when we moved in, we planted a tree for Earth day, so in keeping with our new tradition, we headed to Bayview nursery to find another tree to plant this year. we ended up with two: a Japanese maple called Katsura and a zig-zaggy weeping birch.

we also have a bunch of plants that we got from the native plant sale to plant still, but for now they are doing just fine in some pots on the side of the house. (although we saw some more mature serviceberry trees at the nursery and i am excited to get those planted and growing).

after all of that, we still have a medium sized dirt pile left to deal with (although it was about 4 or 5 times this size when we started):

we have also been saving all of our big rocks that we come across - not sure what we are going to do with them yet, but we have a pile of them waiting nonetheless.

more hogged fuel is on the way this coming weekend so we can get the rest of the bedding areas covered, and then (maybe) we will be ready to get some sod and actually have a yard for summer.