Fort progress

We finally got started on building the fort. And since we got started it has basically rained everyday including the day we actually worked on it.

First step was digging the holes for concrete footings. Brett rented a burly two man auger. The”man” is important here. It didn’t say person, so what could a girl do but watch Brett and his dad, Dan, manhandle the crazy hole digging auger. As a bystander it seemed pretty slick. We went from no holes to seriously deep holes in record time. I really do prefer hobbies without the risk of dismembering. Even if the risk is slight…

Gideon thoroughly enjoyed throwing dirt into the holes, because why not?

We first set out to mix the cement with Dan’s hammer drill. Turns out the drill was not a fan of the hard labor. It went from smoking to shooting flames in quick succession. After a quick trip to my folks to borrow their wheelbarrow, we mixed the cement by hand. I am using the term we loosely. Mostly Brett and Dan. We were scrambling to get the cement in before the rain. We got 3 out of 4 footings in before it started pouring. We then set up a fancy bucket and tarp system so as not to ruin our new still wet footings.

Brett and I finished the last footing another day. This time I actually did some work.

A week or so later we put all the posts into the brackets. Getting those little buggers level was a real treat. When it comes to eyeballing level I consider myself above par. But with two different slopes it was a bit of a doozy even with a real level.


This is where we are at now. See all the rainbows. Magic right? I mean it looks so close to complete!

Next steps include: actually building the fort. We have found there are some serious advantages to dragging our feet when we really have no clue what we are doing.

Take for example the joists for the floor. Most people would probably do some research see what type of wood to buy. Nope. I sent Brett with two crazy poorly slept children to buy boards that barely fit in the van. Turns out knowing they should be treated and nothing else may not have led to buying the correct wood.

But the bright side? We have only unloaded them from the van. It’s not like we have to tear apart what we already built. We can exchange them.

I am now beginning to see why projects truly take us forever.

  • Step 1. Think about how much we don’t know
  • Step 2. Argue with Brett about the minute details of the project of which I know nothing about
  • Step 3. Decide we should really move on to the next step of attaching joists to build the floor for the fort
  • Step 4. Do no research
  • Step 5. Purchase lots of really long boards
  • Step 6. Talk to people who actually know whats what and realize you bought the wrong boards
  • Step 7. Return wrong boards
  • Step 8. Buy right boards

I could see where you might get to thinking maybe if we switched the order of some of the steps we could eliminate some steps… Hindsight is 20/20.

So that’s where we are Step 6. I’m going to guess winter is our hard deadline. Let’s hope we can eliminate some extra steps and make some progress, cause the kids aren’t really buying that the fort is almost done 😉



Secret Lair. Hideout. Fort.

Gideon and Levi love a good fort.  They love to make them, which really means they love to pull off the couch cushions. Every. Single. Day. But they mostly love when we make them a fort. Life was perfectly fine when I would use some blankets to drape them over things and make a fort. Then one day Brett pulls out his clamps and ratchet straps and makes the kids the ultimate fort. The kind of fort where you get to crawl on your hands and knees to the garage door at 6 in the morning on your way to work. The kids loved it and now they only ask for an awesome fort every single day.

So we had this killer idea to build the kids a fort outside. The kind of fort you build one time and then just leave it up. Growing up Brett’s dad built one out of plywood and Brett said it was basically the coolest thing ever. You could hideout from grown ups and play cars or whatever but no one knew what you were doing.

We have this spot in the front/side yard that is lined with Lilac and Huckleberry bushes. Behind there is a little nook that backs up to our neighbor’s fence. We used to stash sticks and brush there, until said neighbor was kind enough to have a massive fire and burn it all up, so we could clear out the space. (Don’t worry she is totally on board with the fort).


That dirt spot with the shovel is the future home of the fort. Our house is to the right of this picture.

We told the kids we had to first tear off the old deck in the back before we could start it. But if you remember it sorta sucked and took forever. So we had a bit too much time to dream things up. Brett and I may have also watched a serious amount of Treehouse Masters at one point and got some big ideas.

Here’s a bit of the inspiration for it:

A hobbit door of course. Treated wood. Circle plexi windows.

Climbing wall on the roof. The cabana picture is the general shape, except with walls in the front and back.

Now that you see how awesome it will be, let me show you Brett’s original concept drawing. The idea is to bring the roof all the way to the ground on the left side for a climbing wall. The circle on the front is the hobbit door.


It’s fair to say I’m not a spatial thinker. I can’t see problems until they smack me in the face. I also can’t draw worth beans. So in order for both Brett and I to be on the same page, I made a model. Luckily for me it was the night before trash day. The recycling options were plentiful, but I was looking for ease of cutting, since somehow our eight scissors we own have all disappeared. I was left with kid safety scissors and scotch tape.  Prepare to be blown away with my 3D model building.

IMG_20170801_172908857Front view. Climbing wall/roof on the left. Hobbit door in the front with a little tunnel through the bushes. My dream is to have a moss living roof on that little tunnel.


IMG_20170801_172950102This is the side that would face the street. The idea is a lookout window, too small for children to fit out, with a ladder on the inside to keep a lookout for bad guys.


IMG_20170801_172917718This side, with the two windows, would face our neighbor’s fence.

In case the model wasn’t crystal clear. Here it is in my beloved Paint.


Brett’s dad is coming this weekend to help us put the cement footings. The frost line is 36 inches, so we need to dig at least 6 inches below that. I was delighted to find out that we aren’t further north where the frost line is 60 inches. Here’s hoping the two person auger we rented makes hole digging fun!