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August 7, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

For social climbers

Branching out with a plan for building a new platform. Getting ready to swing it.

And the tree is shaping up marvelously.

oak tree branches. ALL rights reserved copyrighted. NO permissions granted

It is possible to climb into OZ.©

Nurturing this oak to be just right. Kid friendly.

  • There must be toe holds for easy climbing.
  • A sweeping thick horizontal branch over an open area for a swing.
  • And up there –  high enough to pull the ladder up and taunt “Nana nana boo-boo” from, but low enough for a bucket to be sent down by pulley for cookies and sandwiches – there has to be just the right spot for a 2-3 person treehouse fort.

The treehouse area is the most critical. (What kid doesn’t need instant neighborhood status?)

An ideal tree has a pair of neighboring branches running parallel and close enough together to be safely spanned by a sturdy wooden frame. The frame preferably secured by ropes and some serious lashing, not nails, so as not to damage a fine oak tree.

We did get permission to use about eight nails to build a triangular treehouse fort once in three non-valuable/pulpwood quality trees as kids. But never an oak.

As kids we came to know trees. Farmed them actually Protecting valuable trees was just common sense, not an environmental movement back then.

See? There on the right. The branch forks, and there are 2 parallel horizontal branches. That's probably the treehouse fort site.

See? There on the right. The branch forks into 2 parallel horizontal limbs just right for holding a platform.©

A kid shelf in a tree. All that’s needed.

Instant jet, pirate ship, castle, space station, fort.

Even reading is cooler up there. Of course, books served up with a side of daydreaming.

Not to mention a special place to pout and feel miserable.

All those important developmental kid things.

 Eventually, this tree will make summer perfect. For some kid.

One I won’t know.

It’s what I leave behind each time we move on: an oak tree suitable for climbing.

Opposite the tree house fort site, is a perfect branch for a swing: tire or basic rope one. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Opposite the treehouse site, is a perfect branch for a swing.©

Some choose monuments out of stones to tell their stories once they are gone. Others decide to hand down words, or pay for space in outer space or cyberspace.

Trees are a far more lasting in many cases. Far more useful. Far more cheerful to hug and visit.

The thought of a kid scrambling up, scraping knees and knuckles without even caring, taking the daring risks, ignoring all the worried cautions, defying gravity – that makes me smile.

Somehow I’ll feel it.

Tree roots go deep and network. Across space and time.

This oak tree’s a work in progress, but there’s no hurry to rush perfection.

Happy to leave something behind that will grow on.

Phil, the Philosophy Mouse of the Hedge

Oak tree branches arrange for convenient climbing steps (NO permissions granted . ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

The tree seems to be arranging itself into a ladder perfect for climbing.©




  1. Kate Crimmins / Aug 7 2015 1:24 pm

    Some lucky kid! We had fruit trees that were for producing fruit, not playing on when I was a kid. There is a fabulous tree house built in an old, really large tree about a mile from my house. I’ve never seen anyone in it but it is kept nice and is large enough for several kids. Once in a while I am tempted to pull over and climb it. It brings out the inner kid in me. Trees are the best improvements to make on a property. I plant them all the time and move on only to find that the new owners cut them down. I am a certified tree-hugger.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 1:40 pm

      You never touch a fruit tree! We had plums and pears. When I was little my dad planted a tiny – like acorn grown – oak tree in our front yard. Mom wanted it closer to the house, but dad said he wanted it where it would never be cut down. Pleased to have run by the old block where all the tiny houses have been torn down and replaced by McMansions – yet the big sprawling oak is still there gracing the entire front yard. YEA TREES! Thanks for swinging over to chat

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:33 pm

      Kate, PLEASE … do climb it and report back. You can do it! You won’t be sorry …

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul / Aug 7 2015 1:59 pm

    Loved, loved, loved tree forts. Built a number of them when I was young. It ran in the family. I had an aunt who, as an adult owned her own home. She built a huge tree fort on her property. It had plumbing and electricity and was weather tight. She spent more time in her tree fort than she did in her house. Ha! I loved her, everyone else thought she was a bit eccentric.

    I enjoy watching Discovery programs about tree hotels in the rain forests.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 2:33 pm

      How fabulous. Your aunt was just ahead of her time. Tree houses help you break free of gravity and all those heavy thoughts that hold you down. Thanks for the link. I’ve seen a few tree hotels on some travel show: from basic fun to so luxurious (which changes the whole concept of being in a tree a bit…kind like those fancy tent camping experiences?)
      We had an oak tree so big that my dad couldn’t put his arms around the trunk – the first branch was 8 feet up and that limb so wide I couldn’t reach half way around it. No platforms needed – lots of broad flats spaces.I think dad bought that place for the tree.
      Animal Planet has a tree house builder show. (Darn I should have thought of that.)
      Thanks for climbing over to chat. (Hey posted recently? If so, WP isn’t letting me know.)


      • Paul / Aug 7 2015 2:35 pm

        Thanks Phil – no I haven’t posted recently – a bit down right now.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 2:40 pm

          Sorry to hear that. Try to float through it – (It’s August. Dreadful month for me for so many reasons) Always good to have you stop by and love running into you at other blogs!


    • Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:32 pm

      Yes, I saw this, as well. I’ve seen residential tree houses, too! How cool!


  3. Carrie Rubin / Aug 7 2015 2:40 pm

    I wonder if tree houses are built as often these days. Seems so many kids miss out on the joy of outdoor adventures.

    “A sweeping thick horizontal branch over an open area for a swing.”—Or a nice, cushy hammock for an adult to sink into while reading. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 2:48 pm

      Or one of those nice “basket” swings to curl up in with a book. Swinging mindlessly in a quiet spot is an important childhood experience. You do worry kids are missing out (“There’s bugs. It’s hot. Boring…”) You know how parents tend to make things over-safe these days and schedule every single minute. Even the tree houses must be elaborate (so why/who are they really built for?) Have you seen the TV tree house building show? Not the old neighborhood kids’ project anymore…we were excited when one dad put a roof on one for us.
      Something to be said for letting kids come up with stuff on their own. Thanks for adding a railing to the treehouse comments


      • Carrie Rubin / Aug 7 2015 2:49 pm

        Absolutely. Letting kids guide the building helps them in many ways. Haven’t seen the show. Seems there’s a show about everything!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 2:55 pm

          Tree houses and forts are how we learned many of the basics of building and safe use of hammers …blame all our too ambitious house remodeling adventures on those tree houses
          Reality shows. We are in the wrong business, Carrie


        • Carrie Rubin / Aug 7 2015 3:26 pm

          Haha, apparently so.


    • Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:31 pm

      I think kids would STILL love them … if we could drag them away from the video games.


  4. pensitivity101 / Aug 7 2015 3:35 pm

    Hubby and I love trees and woods. Never had a tree house though. The thought appeals, imagine sitting amongst the leaves, pretending to be a bird in the nest, or it’s a secret den known to only a select few, the perfect hiding place or sanctuary, to observe and not be observed. Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 3:51 pm

      Ah, it’s just those thoughts. Maybe that’s why some adults are building tree houses for themselves – trying to reclaim those joys. Boats works in a similar fashion? Anyway, trying to make a place that will some child will see potential for. Thanks for wandering these woods

      Liked by 1 person

  5. D. Wallace Peach / Aug 7 2015 3:38 pm

    This post brought back great childhood memories, much of which were spent in trees. My dad built tree houses, and if us kids lined up our sleeping bag like sardines, we could sleep 7 in the largest. We had long swings so we could soar! Thanks for the memories – time for me to get cracking on the tree house for my city-raised grandkid! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 3:55 pm

      Now those are real summer memories. 7 kids? What a tree house. Cool. Nothing better than a tree house to give to a grandkid – a whole new world. (You can show pix when completed…everyone love smiling faces) Thanks for hammering up a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:30 pm

      Sleeping in the tree house! Yes! Thanks for adding this vivid image and recollection, Diana.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. sustainabilitea / Aug 7 2015 3:46 pm

    You have to have a permit to build a tree house? My mom built us a tree house when we were little and it was great. Our house in Cleveland, although wonderful and with trees around it, didn’t have any suitable for a tree or a swing. Honestly, I would have loved a clothesline, which are evidently banned in some places, although I don’t know about there. My parents stayed in a hotel where each room was a tree house, possibly in Oregon? Not sure, but quite adventuresome for people who were probably in their early 70’s at that time. 🙂

    Have a tree-mendous weekend, Phil.


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 4:18 pm

      Maybe in some subdivisions you have to have permits – or can’t build in the front yard. But that’s the good part about a simple platform and a thick growth of branches – no one knows! ( and great for tossing water balloons from). We had a chain tightrope between trees as a kid. About 2 feet off the ground and you could hold onto branches to get across. Ropes were scowled with potential hanging situations, but apparently falling wasn’t banned. Hey, a few skinned knees and scarped knuckle never hurt anyone, right? Thanks for leaping over with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • sustainabilitea / Aug 7 2015 4:25 pm

        We had those roller skates that clamped onto your shoes and when skating on the sidewalk, when you feel, there were scrapes aplenty!


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 4:35 pm

          Aad hanging onto that skate key…actually, I recently found one of those in a box full of old junk. Oh, the bruised ankles…especially when the darn skate slipped off of the Keds.


  7. Ally Bean / Aug 7 2015 4:25 pm

    My Dad built me a “tree house” when I was a girl. It was a ramshackle two-level affair with no roof located under a weeping willow tree! He insisted that this was just as good as a traditional tree house– even better because it was so much easier to climb into via a slidingboard ladder AND we got a much wider look inside a tree. All us kids loved the dumb thing so we didn’t really care about the technicalities of what it was called. It was just fun– and let us learn a little bit about birds + the seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 4:39 pm

      WOW. That was an elaborate one. Many of the neighborhood’s had a corner or two on a tree branch with 2-3 thick legs like stilts. Technically those were still tree houses we decided back then. As long as there were leaves around it, it counted. Pictures of those old things were be nice to have now. Yea for tree house building parents! Thanks for sliding in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

    • Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:29 pm

      Love this.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Jay E. / Aug 7 2015 6:26 pm

    I immediately thought of Calvin and Hobbes tree house / fort / club. I never had one; but I had plenty of trees to climb!

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 7:48 pm

      Oh yes, Calvin and Hobbes. Good one! Glad you thought of that. Some trees are enough without any accessories. Thanks for swinging through to leaf a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Robin / Aug 7 2015 7:22 pm

    What a wonderful tree! There’s something almost magical about it. Perfect for the future. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 7:54 pm

      This one’s doing good. There’s another contender, but it hangs over concrete and that’s a bit more of a risk. The third has chosen the role of tall guardian soldier all on its’ own with little trimming necessary. The trees know somehow. We’re just the stewards of these until a kid comes and claims them at some point. Trees always make me smile. Thanks for grinning along

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Erik / Aug 7 2015 9:28 pm

    You really captured it perfectly, Phil. It’s staggering to think that some will look and see “just a tree.” You see it for what it really is: possibility. Today is my birthday, and I’m on vacation. this brought back the best of childhood fun and summer vacations. I STILL climb those trees … and feel exactly the same way now as then. Wonderful piece!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 7 2015 10:29 pm

      There is some human connection to trees – especially oak trees which were/are considered sacred to some since ancient times. Kids still see/feel that somehow, I think. Wonderful to hold those summer memories. Thanks for climbing over to leaf a comment. Happy Birthday!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. marthaschaefer / Aug 7 2015 11:55 pm

    Wouldn’t today’s tree houses be required to have wi-fi and a fridge? Gone are the days of imagination…
    Great post, Phil!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kourtney Heintz / Aug 8 2015 5:54 pm

    Great post Phil. I never climbed a tree or had a treehouse. I have a bad fear of heights and I’ve never been nimble even when I was little. But this makes me wish I had one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 9 2015 11:58 pm

      It’s like being on a wide platform at the top of a slide. Top of the Whirl! (You’ve been their in your dreams). Sitting under a tree is acceptable equivalent for adults. You’re an official treehouse club member by popular demand. (dogs allowed) Thanks for sitting in the shade to chat

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kourtney Heintz / Aug 16 2015 3:55 am

        That’s a swoon inducing moment for me. 😉 That too. I do enjoy hanging out beneath a tree with my bum on solid ground.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 17 2015 4:10 pm

          Work up slowly…hammocks are a good choice…maybe enough of a destination itself? (giggles)


  13. PiedType / Aug 10 2015 1:56 am

    Great post. Sure brought back a lot of memories. My treehouse/platform was in a giant maple tree in our back yard. Lucky me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 2:44 pm

      Kids with treehouses are the envy of the block.Maples are very sturdy trees and a good choice. Wish there had been cell phones to take pictures then, but even with Instamatics/Polaroids treehouse images wasn’t often captured…it cost to make prints …and it was just kids playing. Real change of focus. Thanks for snapping a comment to share

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erik / Aug 10 2015 5:45 pm

        Phil, I’m really enjoying the natural and unique word play that is clearly part of your personality.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 8:38 pm

          If society insist that chickens be free range, then words should be let out to play, too. Thanks for sittin’ for a spell

          Liked by 1 person

  14. Sun / Aug 10 2015 4:50 am

    love those BIG oaks! majestic trees that give us not only fun spaces for humans to hang out but also wildlife shelter. i bet Molly and German would like to run about over here at this dreamy tree house:

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 10 2015 2:47 pm

      August is when newcomers realize why the area is so rabid about planting sweeping trees…shade makes a real difference. And there’s the potential for cooling water balloon surprise attacks…like no one ever hear the muffled giggles. Molly is already planning a dog friendly treehouse – easier to get to know the squirrels. Thanks for nailing up a comment

      Liked by 2 people

  15. jmmcdowell / Aug 11 2015 7:50 pm

    There are two very young oaks planted in our new yard. If they survive (the builder planted them in the middle of the coldest part of winter, and you know they weren’t properly watered), they’ll make some lovely shade and climbing opportunities for a future generation. If they don’t survive, we’ll plant something equally native and designed for the long haul.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erik / Aug 11 2015 8:11 pm

      “Rooting” for them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 11 2015 9:27 pm

      Actually winter is the preferred time to plant/transplant trees as they are dormant. (Can’t tell you how many thousands of pine seedlings we planted by hand in Jan. when the ground was so frozen it broke the sharpshooter.). New trees get a bit knocked back at first. Important thing is to mulch heavily and water now (Those stick in the ground tree watering pipes to water the roots deeply. or drag a hose on barely dribbling and leave it 3-4 hours once a week. Too much sprinkler watering encourages the top shallow roots to grow – and those are the ones you trip on when they are larger) You can trim dead branches off…but make sure they are dead not just resting -scratch bark off and look for green Plants grow when temperatures are moderate – mid 80’s or lower here.Check some local tree nursery/county agent website for fall fertilizing suggestions. Might be worth the fee to have a tree guy recommend fertilizer/feeding schedule next spring if you are worried, but you can probably branch out and manage this.
      (Our subdivision planted 2 oaks in July just as the heat hit with not extra watering…both dead…more planted…dead. Fall and winter for trees’ success)
      More than you ever wanted to know about trees….
      Thanks for caring for twigs!


      • jmmcdowell / Aug 11 2015 10:29 pm

        Now that you mention it, I vaguely remember hearing that about tree planting back in the old days of “This Old House.” I just wouldn’t bet good money on the builder having done a good job of the planting. 😉 We’ve been doing some long, slow watering, and we’ve decided to have a landscape company give us a hand—at least for a year or two to help everything get established.

        Even if the original topsoil had been left in place, it’s not good quality. We’re in the piedmont, and soils are rocky and clayey with seasonal ponding. And bedrock is just a few feet down, so nothing gets too deep a root system. I guess it’s not surprising that heavy snows, ice, and windstorms can bring down so many old trees. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Cynthia Reyes / Aug 27 2015 1:36 am

    Here’s to trees, the world over. My favourite childhood activity in Jamaica was climbing trees. a thrilling adventure, every time.


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