at the end of last summer, after camping in the trees and watching movies treehouse movie theater i was excited to kick off weekly movie screenings and having all sorts of fun up in the trees this summer.
but after spending the winter looking at the 14′x16′ deck over the winter, i couldn’t stop wondering if the supports for the deck needed to more, well, more supportive. it’s not that i think it’s dangerous now, but thinking out a few years when wear and tear starts taking its toll, i decided i needed to bolster the supports and strengthen some potential points of failure. and in order to do that, i need to take down the supports, which is extra challenging since there are no posts running to the ground.
first things first – i needed to jack up one end of the deck. a 1.5 ton bottle jack and a 4″x4″ post were the right tools for the job though they were a wee bit prone to falling over so having a second post ready was important. i’m glad i thought of that ahead of time
odin helped crank up the end of the deck a few inches while i put the second post in place.
next, i secured some shims in place on the second support on the same tree so the support could take some of the load off the 4″x4″ post.
with the 4″x4″ post secured and the shims in place, now it’s time to take down the rightmost support down.
i have to add a bit of leverage in the form of a copper pipe to wrench out the 12″ lag bolt at the base of the support. every creak and groan in the deck is a bit nerve wracking.
with the lag bolt out, then i attack the support to a pulley and knock it off the 3/4″ threaded rod that’s holding the top of the support on the tree. standing on a ladder holding a sledge hammer while knocking the support off the rod and holding the pulley rope is trickier than you might think.
and then it’s time to start making the support more supportive! i’m going to lengthen the horizontal section of the support so it runs the entire length of the deck, “sister” a second set of boards to the support to make it twice as thick and attach 3/8″ 12″x12″ steel plates to both sides of the support where the lag bolt goes into the tree. the bottom of the support is the key failure point so reinforcing it with over a half inch of steel will go a long way to ease my mind.
and no, i didn’t really need to use a 2 foot bit to work on the supports, but if you’ve got a big bit, baby you should use it when you get the chance.
am i going to get around to making violet syrup before i’m forced to mow the lawn lest i get a ticket from The Lawn Police.
nope. not this year.
we thought maybe peach tree was dead but were holding out hope that the appearance of a few leaves meant the core tree was still alive.
a fruit tree expert recommended i do scratch test to see if it was really alive. what’s the scratch test ( i didn’t know either )? you scratch a bit of the bark and look for greenish hued living tissue that is the vascular cambium. dry, brittle, and brown cambium means the tree is dead.
unfortunately, i don’t see any green.
any thoughts from the arborists in the audience? am i doing the scratch test correctly?
to teach kids about chickens!
The Ruler of The Compost Bin Roost.
the home garden is coming along. i decided to build kris a “strawberry pyramid” for mother’s day. it’s built out of three tiers of squares built from 1×6 boards. the bottom layer is 6′x6′, middle is 4′x4′ and the top is 2′x2′.
sixteen wheelbarrow loads of soil and compost later and it’s ready for planting!
blueberries are in the upper right, with a rhubarb plant between the blueberries and strawberries. there’s a new apple tree behind the strawberries and raspberries in the back of the photo.
i’m not sure what the plan is for the two beds between the strawberries and raspberries but i’m sure the plan will be revealed to me soon
a few months ago we got odin an hockeyshot extreme passing kit so he could practice his stick handling and shooting skills over the summer. now that the weather is warmer we can put it on a piece of plywood so i don’t have to listen to him shooting in the house
i’m going to guess someone might be getting a net for his birthday.
exactly one year after the fire at the organic valley headquarters, we re-opened the rebuilt section of the building. hurray! and a few days after that cosmos organicos garden collective was in the garden preparing beds and planting. it’s great to get out and get your hands dirty and even more so when you’re doing it in the “shadow” of a rebuilt headquarters ( big shout-out to everyone who made it happen )!
working in the healthy organic soil you find lots of friends like this toad and many, many earthworms.
and even more fun – one of the collective found a four leaf clover! which got me to wondering what are the odds? turns out, it’s about 1 in 10,000 clovers which is a square of 100×100 clovers. assuming there are about 4 clovers in an inch, that’s a square of 33″x33″ or almost 3′x3′. so in every 3 foot square you should find a 4 leaf clover. that sounds relatively trivial, but the way my eyes work, i’ll never find the four leaf clover. they all look the same. the odds of me actually finding a 4 leaf clover in a 3 foot patch are small.
odin helped out in the garden which is always fun and reminded me of just how many years he’s been toiling away in our garden plot, since well before the formation of the collective! in fact, i think that yellow wheel barrow is the same from the photos taken five years ago. it’s amazing how time flies.
work break! don’t tell The Suits odin was running around on the roof of the tool shed. haha. just kidding. there are no suits.
amazingly enough, just a bit after finding a a four leaf clover the same person found a five leaf clover! this hurts my brain a bit. the odds of finding it are about 1 in 1,000,000 clovers which is a square of about 1,000×1,000 clovers which is about 333″x333″ or 27′x27′. so that’s a manageable amount of search space but still, IT’S A MILLION CLOVERS! i mean, the actual odds of me picking put a 5 leaf clover out of a million clovers is nill. nada. zip. and yet i’m working side by side with someone who can do it like it’s a parlor trick.
i asked him how he does it.
“i dunno, the irregularity sticks out.”
so we’ve got a four and five leaf clover finding savant in the collective. my question is what are the odds of finding a 4 leaf clover and then a 5 leaf clover? it feels like a similar calculating the odds of rolling two successive yahtzees in two rolls but how do you factor in the visual heuristic?
and it’s a very sweet card. here’s the front.
i think he might have a career in writing mother’s day cards
happy mother’s day to all the mothers!
odin made his mother a nice card for mother’s day and he also knows that one of her very favorite things to have for breakfast is swedish pancakes ( sometimes known as nordic pancakes ) which are more like crepes than your traditional north american pancake.
odin created a handy mnemonic device to remember the recipe. 321 EMF! that’s 3 eggs, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of flour. mix together and add a pinch of sugar and salt and you’re ready to go.
pour a thin layer of batter on a preheated skillet and cook for a few minutes ( until flippable ), turn and cook for a few more until golden brown. roll-up each pancake and serve with fruit and maple syrup.
super easy and super delicious!