Friday, May 30, 2008

Spring Trip

Kristen and I headed to the treehouse late in April to see how it wintered.

We opened the place up, and took a look around. There wasn't any apparent water damage on the inside. It did appear that the siding on the rear of the treehouse was aging prematurely due to water running off the roof, hitting the trunk of the tree, then splashing back onto the siding. Nothing major, just some discoloration of the T-111.

The big surprise was the amount of mouse feces inside the treehouse. Being 16 feet above the ground, only attached to the tree via chains, I really didn't expect to have mouse issues. Even though there wasn't anything of interest to them in the treehouse, they appeared to have spent a lot of there spare time in there. We swept up, and unpacked our luggage.

A few small trees had fallen nearby, so we spent some time cleaning up the area. We also cut down one dead tree that looked like it could fall into the treehouse if things went badly.

One of the goals of the trip was to get a door installed. The original plan was to have it swing outwards, but without a landing near the door, it would have been difficult to hold it in place while it was being attached. Instead we installed it so swung inwards. While this was easy to do, eventually we want to flip it around. Installed the way it is now, it's difficult to reach the door handle from the ladder, and you have to keep a pretty good area clear on the inside for it to open completely.

We'd pulled all the boards off the non-windowed rough openings in preparation for installing the windows. An enterprising bird decided that the treehouse was a great place to build a nest, and snuck an amazing amount of moss, leaves, and bark in while we were off doing something else. The bird filled up one of our rain hats with the stuff, and sprinkled a fair amount around the place as well.

The remaining windows that needed to be installed did not have any casements. I'd debated hinging them some way so that they could swing inward. I couldn't figure out a good way to do it without consuming a lot of interior room, so instead I opted for a solution that would let me just remove the windows easily. The thought was that I could remove them and put screens in their place during warm weather.

To do this, we cut four trim boards sized appropriately so that they formed a lip that prevented the windows from falling outward. I temporarily used two screws to hold the top and bottom of the windows against the trip boards. I'll come up with a better long term solution down the road.

The newly installed windows looked good from the outside. I'll need to eventually paint the trim boards, they're pine, and won't last long if exposed to the elements. For that matter, the lower windows also need to be re-painted, they're in pretty bad shape.

I realized afterwards that the window solution that I chose will have issues if water runs down the window. It'll get trapped behind the trim board, and eventually leak into the interior. I might be able to solve this with an angled sill board that will cause the water to run back to the outside.

Kristen and I slept in the treehouse for 4 nights. Every night around 3 am, something would jump onto the roof, scurry around, then jump back to a tree trunk. Kristen was a little worried, especially since she was near the windowless rough openings. Luckily nothing jumped in and ate us.

We also weathered a few rainstorms and one particularly windy night. I awoke on the windy night to the treehouse swaying a lot more than I expected. It was swaying enough that the roof was colliding with one of the trunks of the tree. It wasn't anything too terrifying, but still surprising.

It was great finally getting to spend some time in the treehouse.