Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Treehouse Made By Grandpa Frank




My husband Frank decided to build a treehouse for our grandkids, Carli and Collin in our back yard at Windmill Farm. We have a very stately silver maple directly out back from our house which is a perfect tree for a perfect treehouse. Frank read a great deal about how to attach a treehouse to a tree without harming the tree. He designed it all out around the many large branches and decided to build it out of as many products that were light weight but were also affordable and he used many wood items that we already had around the farm. He made all the windows and the back door himself and cut out a perfect star on the door that can be seen through the treehouse from our kitchen window. The progress was at times slow because he built it all by himself, many times hanging off a ladder very high up in the tree or using a ladder on top of his scaffolding. He was scaring me to death!! He used rough fencing material for the siding and planed it down for the railings, windows and doors. His surprise was to have it finished for our big weekend family get together with our family and grandkids. Carli and Collin were so surprised and loved it so much, especially the pulley system he put in with a basket attached so if the kids wanted anything from below, all they had to do was pull up the basket. Great idea to send up snacks and drinks. We found some cute pink and blue kids chairs that we put on the treehouse deck. What a view they have up in the tree, you can see all around the property, the fields in the back and it has such a fabulous breeze through the branches. Frank and I are thinking we just might sleep up there some warm night, but hope we don't have to get up in the middle of the night for any reason!!!


The treehouse turned out so beautiful, we can't believe what a fabulous job Frank did on it. A true testament to his love of his grandkids. He said his next project is a slide and a zip line!
Other news on the farm is that our CSA baskets have been going well and each week they are filled with at least 8-10 items of fruits and vegetables.


This week we have been using our dehydrator and trying out any fruit that we have available. We did some strawberries which I think were fantastic. Yesterday we dried apricots and nectarines. We are experimenting with using honey/water on the strawberries, dipped in it and then they are dried. We used sorbic acid/water and dipped the apricots in that (a preservative) and then dried them. It took over 25 hours for the apricots to finally be dried.

Next week our relatives from the Bay Area are coming to spend a few days drying apricots in the sun. This is a different process than the dehydrator.


We first wash, slice in half and pit the apricots and place them face up on our large drying racks. We place the racks in our large covered dryer to be smoked using a small amount of sulfur and then all the trays are laid out in the sun for several days to complete their drying. We call it our Italian apricot drying marathon because we get all of Frank's Italian relatives cutting up the cots. As children, their families owned apricot and bean farms and every summer all the kids would cut up cots to earn a little money from their parents. It is a great time for all of us to talk about the old days and here we are doing it again, many, many years later.


My gladiolas have been beautiful this year. Bouquets of them have been available to our CSA members and are sale at Windmill Farm via email or telephone orders.


Working on our small farm here in Gridley is sure a lot of hard physical work. But Frank and I are enjoying every minute of this life and hope you enjoy hearing about it in our Windmill blog. Have a great 4th of July weekend. God Bless our troops who make us all safe here at home.































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