photo credit: Lajos Geenen
* “How to Build a Backyard Treehouse,” Popular Mechanics, March 2010
For the past five years, I’ve enjoyed your writing and adventures, specifically in PM and PS. My family and I just relocated to Appomattox, Virginia and we have some great Oak and Walnut trees on our small farm. I conducted an engine search on tree houses and your 2010 article was one of the first that surfaced.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I’ll benefit over the next year as we build our own tiny “above ground fortress” to protect and nurture the imaginations of our family. Thanks!
Hi, Greg. Sounds like you’re in for some fun! I’d love to know how the project turns out. Best of luck. Logan
I am almost done with your book, See you in a Hundred Years. What a great book. My husband and I live in Swoope and bought a small 1816 farm about the time you did. We are not originally from this area, and I found the book humerous and interesting. I must say, I am not thrilled how the roosters were killed..ugh. Also, we love our post lady Jeanie and cannot wait to hear her reaction about her in the book!! Any new books coming out?
Sally and Bill Koch
Lambsgate Farm (connected to Middle River as well)
Hi Sally! It’s nice to know you’re enjoying the book. Being a Swoopian (Swooper? Swoopester?), you’ve got an interesting perspective. If you see Jeannie, please give her my best!
I just finished your book, having waited years for it to be available on my Kindle – finally breaking down and reading it the old fashioned way! I have to say I envy you the experience, although not the backbreaking work. I am surprised you gave up gardening so easily, but am glad you are doing it on a smaller scale once again. I grew up, and lived only in big cities, but have always been nostalgic for self-reliance of the ‘old’ ways. Any time I can participate in any way I feel so fulfilled. My tiny community garden plot isn’t as successful as I’d hoped, but I totally love every aspect of the seed to table activities.
Your tree house design has totally inspired me. I have been sketching out a bunch of ideas for one for my kids and you have totally solved my undercarriage issues. In my case, the tree is in bad shape, so I was going to top it, leave an 8′ stump, and just plop the house on top.
Looking a few years down the road, has it been plenty stiff enough in the wind? Do you feel like you overbuilt the walls? I was planning on 24″ studs just to reduce weight aloft. As your kids have gotten older, is it still big enough, or would you bump it a bit bigger?
Looks like you have a good plan. Because I used rough-cut oak, my walls are definitely overbuilt. I think studs on 24″ centers should be fine as long as your siding and roofing materials aren’t too heavy. I used very light pine siding and a cedar shake roof. I noticed one comment suggesting you allow the tree to push through to the roof for support, but you don’t need it. In fact, my ceiling rafters are not anchored to the tree. Good luck! Logan
Hi Mr. Ward, I just finished reading your book “See You in a Hundred Years” and I can’t tell you how much I loved it!!! I’ve stayed up late and read at work the past week in order to finish it as quickly as possible. I’ve never had an assignment (I’m reading it for my Radford core 201 class) that I’ve enjoyed so much! I live in Virginia, about an hour and twenty minutes away from Swoope, and this area’s history is just so interesting to me. I’m going to take an Appalachian studies class this semester as well, and I’m interested to see if it has any correlation to your book’s content. I think we get to meet with you sometime during the first few weeks of class, and if that’s true, I can’t wait! You’re stories of your son’s playful two year old nature cracked me up throughout the book, and those of your hardships were very concerning and touching. I was also very happy to read at the end of your book that you and Heather were able to conceive your daughter (and that she’s so interested in nature! ) Thank you for a fun, interesting, and inspiring novel, and I can’t wait to read more of your work.
Best regards, a new fan, Burke
P.S. I know its random but I love making jewelry, and the bracelet you made your wife was probably one of my favorite little things that you did…so creative, resourceful, and sweet!
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