Thursday, September 10, 2015

Unity Farm Journal Second Week of September 2015

The work on the tree house continues.  The Labor Day weekend provided plenty of time for me to labor (in 90+ degree heat)

First, I built a small model  of the tree house platform using lightweight 2x2 pine and placed it on the tree 10 feet up to serve as a template for drilling the permanent supports.

I rented a 2000W generator and a high torque right angle drill.    Using a self feeding 3 inch bit at the east and west edges of the tree 10 feet high, I drilled 2 inches into the cambium (past the bark).   I then used a 1 1/8 bit to drill a 6.25 inch hole past the 3 inch hole.    I used a rather large 1 7/8 socket wrench three feet long (pictured below) to screw in the 9 inch long treehouse attachment bolts, ensuring they were perfectly level and square to the template.

Then, with the help of two friends, we lag bolted four 2x8x12 pressure treated timbers to the treehouse attachment bolts.

We bought 1000 pounds of lumber at Home Depot and built the treehouse in the driveway of the farm.    We numbered each piece and then took it apart can carried the 52 individual 12 foot boards half a mile into the forest.

Here’s a view of the truck at Home Depot, the platform in the driveway, and the joists mounted in the tree.

This weekend we’ll add the knee braces (four 10 foot 4x6’s), supporting the edges of the platform, add the decking, and install a 12 foot staircase to the treehouse.   Hopefully by the end of the weekend, I’ll be able to work on IT strategic plans from the forest canopy.

Last weekend we released our 7 pheasants and they have adapted well to the forest.   The male and 6 females seem to constitute a loosely knit harem that spends the days in the shade of ferns then arrives back to the barnyard at 5pm for a few mealworm snacks.   They are so timely about their 5pm farm visits that we assume they must have Apple watches underneath all those feathers.

We’ve had an immense amount of hawk activity in the barnyard (red tail and cooper’s hawks), so we’ve put a Caravan canopy in the chicken dust bath area to protect them from predation.  The dogs and guineas have done a good job warning the chickens, ducks, and geese of the incoming raptor flights, so thus far all is well.

We’ll continue with apple picking this weekend - the Northern Spies, Galas, Macs, and Red Delicious are ready.   The Empires will wait until October.     Soon we’ll be crushing cider and our fermenters will be bubbling with the 2015 vintage!

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