So one of my several recent outdoor projects was to build a tree house in the willow tree. It wasn't really a planned thing, more of a vague notion that suddenly sprang into tangible wood-and-nails reality. (Well, "suddenly" may be an exaggeration. It took a couple of hefty weekends.) First I just made a little boards-on-the-trunk ladder to the main crook of the tree, for ease of climbing and perching. But then the ladder looked like it really needed to be going somewhere more built-ish. So I made the main deck (on a weekend when the kids were out of town, so they would be pleasantly surprised on their return — and so June wouldn't harangue me every two minutes asking if it was ready). The following week, I kept staring at the lone deck, dreaming up embellishments. That next weekend, the embellishments sprang into existence, and the fully realized "Willow House" was born:1 four decks at varying heights (The Main Deck, two Sentry Decks, and the Crow's Nest2), capable of fitting a whole gaggle of kids, giving a sense of dizzying independence while actually remaining quite solid and sensible. I like it. The girls do too.
1 To be clear, there will be more embellishments. A tree house is never done. But the essential components are in place.
2 The Crow's Nest — the tippity-toppity one in the picture — is the really cool spot, a secret perch in the heart of the willow, from which a child can observe and ponder all the comings and goings in Adult-land down below. (Only advanced tree house occupants are permitted in the Crow's Nest, a list currently consisting of Louise, June, and myself.)