Again apologies for the lack of recipes, after all this began as a food blog but has slowly transformed into some kind of monster…and something to do with treehouses. There will be plenty of good’uns as the weeks roll on; I just need somewhere to live first.
The hardest part of this whole project is my stupid, unyielding fetish for perfection. I want lots of natural features, everything has to look just right…don’t even get me started on the functionality of the place! So, making it all come together has been no picnic, and I know that once the building finishes the furnishings (the fun bit) come next, along with the previously mentioned anality of perfection.
The walls have steadily gone up along with the windows; bits of garden shed have been broken up with a downward thrust of plank off cuts, an interesting look, but one that can’t be helped when using recycled materials. The result being a bit of a patchwork mosaic, but one that fits the integrity of the place and fits it well. Before I go all “Kevin Mcloud” on your ass, I think we should move on.
The most important thing with any dwelling, be it up in the leaves or down amongst the earth, is somewhere to lay your head. Initially I thought “yes…I’m going to make a four poster bed!” unfortunately, that dream was quashed yesterday afternoon, when I realised that my windows open upwards and a post, let alone four, would lead to serious amounts of ball-ache. Functionality Weston…functionality.
So here we have a little sequence of wall and bed making...
And now a few bed materials....
The bed took an afternoon to put together, and as I am not one for fannying about with finish (probably a remnant from my first job as a set designer), it was ready to go that evening. The bed size was determined by the mattress size…obviously. I would love to get a proper mattress, but as this project has a bit more of a camping “edge” to it an inflatable mattress seemed more appropriate. Luckily for me, Coleman don’t expect people to use their inflatable’s for permanent use…hence a 1 year guaranteed if it bursts, should only have to buy the one then and see what happens, just keep the receipt!
Last night was my first night on the bed and I can honestly say, it was one of the best sleeps I’ve ever had…I didn’t wake up till 10am! If you have slept in woods before, you would know that you often wake up as soon as the blackbird farts or the sun comes up, depending on which comes first (quite often, the latter). And for the first time I slept sans sleeping bag and only used a duvet for protection.
This is where a sly bit of treehouse/outdoor nerdery comes into play. The bed is built at exactly the same height as Bertha’s firebox, we all know hot air rises, and I am just above the cold level in the warm “thermal layer”- so cunning you could brush your teeth with it.
And now onto Bertha: She has recently met Mr. Stovepipe, but before that happened I had to take her for a bit of a makeover. It just so happens that my Godfather owns a classic car garage, and his son Rupert is well in to the family business. Rupert and I used to be good mates, School, Uni, London has taken its toll and we went our separate ways. We used to do everything from beating at the local shoot to sleeping out and building camps together, so when I bumped into him at a friends BBQ, I explained my troubles with Bertha: she needed a little Red October action…she needed to be airtight.
I popped down to the garage and Rupert came out with his welding torch to seal up the firebox. The gap was perhaps too much for TIG welding to accomplish, so after a little tacking, Rupert suggested Using Exhaust pipe sealant (goes up to 800 degrees- apparently) and promptly plugged up Bertha’ Firebox.
Notice the corrugated iron backing for heat protection and the bucket for fire protection.
On the subject of plugging, I still had a entire front side and a door that needed fitting. Hanging a door is really a two man job, so I got two men into to do it. Chris, who came to help me with the platform and the roof and Nick, the design geek and sharp shooter who built my ladder, gladly volunteered their services in return for beer and food and a little fresh air (actually they both seemed eager to go and watch sport on TV the next day…didn’t think I smelt that bad…. yet). They were an enormous help and we got the door fitted and hung and even put a lock on it, which came with a nice big Hogwarts style key.
That evening we had a few drams and sat in front of Bertha as she burned away with her brand new stovepipe attached…despite having a door we hadn’t finished the wall, so unlike Bertha, no Red October.
The next day we finished the wall and sorted out the minor glitches with the door, I whittled down a piece of hazel (an off cut from a previous felling) and fashioned it into a most desirable door handle. Done.
Apart from the treehouse, my patch or kitchen garden as it is fast becoming, is doing quite well the runner beans are reaching for the skies and the salads and peas are giving me an awful lot to eat. Despite putting my patch in on complete virgin soil it is going slowly but working well….if only my rules allowed a bit of fertiliser! I did find something quite special the other day: A load of wild raspberries…a lot, should be good for jam to make breakfast a little more interesting!
So much has gone on and happened this week, it’s hard to know what to post…but these are, I feel the most important bits going on at the moment. I mean I might even take the “Springwatch” approach and put up a picture of two Ladybirds having a whale of a time on my hop plants…