Time in and on the Tree House

Uh-oh, a tree fell on it...

June, 2013

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Over the past five years or so we have lost a lot of our pine trees, even some of the big old 300+ year old ones, to Mountain Pine Beetles. I have thinned most of the diseased ones out, but one of the problems is you often don't notice that a tree has been hit by beetles until the new beetles from the eggs that were laid in the tree have already grown up and flown off to infect other trees. In those cases, if the infected tree is a nice big one, I sometimes choose to leave it as a wildlife tree.

In any case, we had some pine beetles which devastated a small bunch of ponderosas around the tree house. Unfortunately, they also killed three of the four trees which support the tree house, and one particularly large one nearby. We had a bad wind storm this spring, and a big tree nearby broke off and came crashing down on a corner of the tree house, breaking off the tops of two of the trees supporting it. It bent up the corner of the roof and tore out and broke the 2x6 crossbeam supporting the roof trusses. The big tree on the right in the photos below is the one that crashed and caused all the damage.

Broken Tree House Broken Tree House Broken Tree House Broken Tree House
Broken Tree House
photos by Dona

The trees supporting the tree house still seemed to be sturdy, and the floor was not affected by all the crashing and destruction, so I decided to put the roof back so we could use it for a few more years.

The tractor bucket didn't reach high enough to raise the roof back up, but I was able to use a 2x6 extending from the bucket up to the underside of the end roof truss to do it.

Fixing Roof Fixing Roof Fixing Roof
2x6 pushing the roof up
Note big bad tree on ground
Pushing the roof up Before repairs, but raised back up

It was a little tricky pushing the roof back up, as I didn't want the truss to slip off the 2x6 from the tractor that I was pushing with and come crashing down. So I made a crude "U" shaped jig to hold it on the end of the 2x6, which you can see in the photo below. Once it was raised up, I removed the old broken 2x6 beam and replaced it with a 2x8, then lowered the roof trusses back down. There are a total of four trusses, but the roof as a whole was pretty solid; so when I raised the corner, the other two trusses which were "floating" and had been supported by the broken 2x6 beam went up with the roof.

Fixing Roof
Damaged Corner Supported by 2x6 with jig on the end
Now all it needs is a new 2x6 to support the truss...
Note spike and lag bolt in tree where old 2x6 was fastened

A week or so later, Aidan and Riley were at our place for the weekend. The weather was gorgeous, so we desided to sleep up in the tree house. We brought sleeping bags, some snacks, water bottles, a game or two, books to read, and flashlights. It took a while to get all that stuff up there; the boys had a good time raising it up in the bucket that hangs from a pulley.

There were a few mosquitoes so we put up a mosquito net. Then we read as the sun went down and the coyotes howled. That night, it started thundering and lightninging and raining. We stayed pretty dry, except for a little rain that blew in from the side.

Dona Aidan Riley Dona Aidan Riley
Dona, Aidan and Riley

As I write this, winter is coming. Maybe we'll sleep up there this winter and listen for owls.