Sunday, August 14, 2011

Treehouse Project Update!

It's been another busy week here at Out in Them Sticks, albeit quite pleasant and wonderful.  Our Wisco relatives came for a much anticipated visit late this week and we had such a great time!  How I wish they lived closer to us and we could make visits more frequent.  We had a wonderful time chatting and even doing a little hiking up on the old AT.

After our guests left for their 17 hour journey home and we completed our long run (thanks to G-ma), it was time again to get working on the treehouse.  On Saturday we hit the Habitat Store for some recycled building products for the treehouse.  We were hoping to find a few functioning windows we could incorporate.  We weren't able to find quite what we were looking for but we did find this cute little window that we thought we can incorporate into the house.  In the meantime we'll have to keep our eyes peeled on Craigslist and Freecycle.


When we got back from the store, we got back to the nitty gritty.  By that, I mean I took care of the kiddos (doing the occasional consult of course) while Nick did the truly difficult work of constructing this monster.  This project has been an organic one and has been evolving from day one of construction.  We are constantly changing things for the better.  I also just love the idea of us finding construction materials and incorporating them as we go along.



For now though, we are still trying to get the base structure up.  Nick built the joist frame today, securing it with hurricane ties and began inserting and securing the joists.  As of today, we still have not quite finished securing all the joists.


Once he finishes placing the joists, he'll be working on installing the final post.  That is sort of a long story I suppose Nick should tell.  Essentially, Nick had some issues installing one of them due to a very large tree root so he'll have to go back and finish that one this week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tree House Project

With little work to do in the garden, the good news is that we finally got started on the playhouse project.  We were hoping to have our tree house built back 6 months ago when Nick had some paternity leave but it was cold outside and there was barely enough time for him to build new shelves in the pantry and re-do our closet. Both have been wonderful and I've been enjoying them quite a bit but I have felt quite guilty that we hadn't gotten to the kids play structure.

Designing the structure took way longer than I'd like to admit. We kept changing where we thought the tree house should go and what it should look like. In the end, we decided there were no good trees to really attach a tree house to so we decided to do it amongst the trees with a mature pine tree actually running through the deck portion of the house to give it  a tree house feel. Our structure will be approximately 8'x8' with a 4'x8' deck and a 4'x8' shelter structure. The large pine running through the deck can also act as a ladder to access the deck and play structure. The tree house shall be no higher than 6' or so on the high side.

Once we decided on the plan, Nick installed the footings.  Installing the footings can be quite time consuming when you are trying to get them just square.

Making sure the footing locations are correct

Placing gravel at the base of the footing.

Tubes ready to be poured
Once the concrete had properly cured (and our kids names written on them), Nick installed the posts using stirrups and secured them with temporary bracing.
Once the posts were installed, it was time to cut the posts to the proper height and then secure the beams to the posts.

And that, my friends, is where we are at today.  I'm so excited, it's hard to be patient.  We will keep the blog updated as we progress.  We expect a grand opening sometime this fall.

Tomatoes!!

I know the last garden update was a bit of a downer.  While it has been a tough year for our garden, not all is lost!  We have not given up.  Our tomatoes are doing amazingly well and I'm on Vat #3 of pizza sauce.  It's the best year yet for our tomatoes!

Pizza dough rising (left) and the 3rd vat of pizza sauce reducing on the stove (right)

We are expecting guests in town later this week, so I whipped up some whole wheat pizza dough this morning to go along with it so we can all make our own, fresh pizzas later this week. When I was at Whole Foods last week I noticed 1ball of pizza dough cost $2.99 each.  I made 8 of them just over a buck.  That's a savings of over $22 bucks!!! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cloth Diaper Update

As I have no garden post (the tomatoes are doing well and I made a giant vat of homeade pizza sauce on Friday so that's good), I'll thought I'd give you an update on our cloth diaper experiment


Hubby set up a line in my laundry room for year round diaper drying  LOVE it!

I couldn't be happier with cloth.  Wow, what a difference it makes on the pocket book!  I was nervous about it with all the problems that can happen with ammonia build up, detergent buildup, etc.  No one wants to invest in a system that ends up failing on them.  But, so far, so good.  I use Arm & Hammer Sensitive and use the tiniest bit of bleach on my diapers once every month or so making sure I do plenty of extra rinsing (stripping) to make sure it's all gone.  That's about it.  We are at month 6 with plenty of time to continue to bank our savings.  Sweet.

I'll be posting soon on our newest project, our tree house/play house.  We couldn't be more excited about that.  For now though, I don't want to jinx it. 

Much love,
M.