Caveat: Treehouse update

As some of you might know, I have this project going on: I want to build a treehouse. Not a full-scale house by any means, but not a tiny, kid-treehouse either. Just a kind of Arcata pumphouse-style outbuilding, I suppose.

I had originally meant for it to be down by the water. But I lost my confidence in the reliability of the trees near the water – although they are big and fat old-growth trees, they are old and their root-systems are precarious. I felt that putting a treehouse among those trees was likely to be fraught with the risk of one of those trees going down in a storm.

So I chose a spot among the third-growth trees up on the hillside, near the southern property line. Most of these third-growth western hemlocks and sitka spruce are about 8 inches in diameter – that’s enough to support a well-engineered treehouse, in my estimation.

When my brother Andrew was here, I consulted with him, because I know he has actual experience engineering and building treehouses. And he asked me for an update on progress, recently. I decided to post it here because other people might be curious too.

Progress is slow. I’ve cleared the spot where I intend for it go. It’s a rough quadrilateral with three 8-inch trees and one 6-inch tree. The 6-inch tree seems a bit small to support the treehouse, but it’s one corner out of four, and it’s attached to a hefty old stump, so if I rely somewhat on that, structurally, I think it will be OK.

I accepted Andrew’s recommendation to supplement my fat brackets that I bought specially for this project with cables to suspend the corners. So I bought the hardware for that.

I haven’t made much progress mostly because of the weather. Firstly, it’s been sunny and just below freezing, mostly, since Andrew left. That’s actually not good weather for working on this – the hillside has become very slippery, with old snow, repeatedly melted and frozen, turning into sheets of ice. Good old Prince-of-Wales rain would be better – that would make things muddy but manageable. This is a problem on the road, too, and so I’ve also decided to wait on going into town with the trailer to buy the additional lumber I need for this.

So meanwhile, all I do is go up periodically and judge the quality of my path up there, and clear spots of nearby brush.

I’ll hopefully make more effort once Art and I are back from our Australian venture, to start next week. We’ll see.

Caveat: Poem #953

I set aside my thoughts, just walking.
The alien along the road
appeared and gave me pause, his talking –
his soulless pleadings – like a code
made up of tangled verbs and meanings
from which I got the barest gleanings.
I followed through an open gate,
his gestures seemed to show we’re late,
how could I know, could he be trusted?
In dark and looming halls we roamed,
his pointless words spilled out and foamed.
We stopped beside machines, all rusted.
And he explained what he had planned,
but still I didn’t understand.