Monday, December 12, 2011

T is for...

T is for...tree houses

I think we moved from the house I was born in to the house I grew up in when I was about 6 or 7. Well, I wasn't actually born in the house but it was the house my parents lived in when I was born in the hospital like all good modern babies were.

We moved from a post-war housing neighborhood to a custom built home on one acre in a neighborhood carved out of a pine forest across Buffalo Bayou from the heavily wooded and mostly undeveloped (then) forest of Memorial Park. We didn't actually live on the bayou but it was a short walk down the street and through the yard of a house that did back onto the bayou.

A couple of years after we moved, my father built us kids a tree house. He selected three large pines on the wooded side of our acre so that our tree house was triangular in shape and built maybe 10' off the ground, perhaps 6' x 10' on two of the three sides. The only picture I have of it is the one in my head so I'm guessing at any and all dimensions. It had a board ladder nailed to the trunk of one of the supporting pines, low walls probably 3' high and was roofed and sided with cedar shakes.

Well, probably he built the tree house for my brother, but I spent many an hour up there.

Like all kids in all neighborhoods we would, every so often, divide up into factions and war on each other. Every year after christmas, we would make and raid each other's christmas tree forts but what I really remember were the pine cone wars. Not for the meek were they. They would always start in someone's yard, pine cones were plentiful and hurt like the devil if one of the missiles hit their mark, but once we retreated to the tree house, we were unbeatable. We had not only the advantage of high ground but we also kept a stockpile of the closed hard prickly pine cones up there.

Eventually, as we all grew older, the tree house was abandoned and after we were all grown, my parents sold the house. A high rise stands now where our house and the tree house once stood. The woods and fields we played in are also gone.

I've never lost my love of tree houses, gained though watching many a Tarzan movie, and I sometimes wish we had moved out to the country sooner. Any one of the three large pecans in the big back yard or even the tallow in the little back yard would hold a small tree house. I fear the grandkids are already too old though for one to hold much mystery for them.

While the one we had as kids was quite simple, I could easily live in one of these.

If you would like to catch up on the rest of my alphabet posts, click on the link on my side bar. It's up there near the top under 'stuff about me'.


  1. those are pretty impressive! enjoyed your memories of your treehouse and pine cone wars!

  2. Yes I think I agree I could too! The split level one we could maybe even share?

  3. Lucky kids! I always wished for a tree house and I know my kids did too, but we never lived in a place where we had substantial enough trees for it [newer housing development and a townhome community]

    But if I ever get that one level home it will have trees for a tree house. Even if no one can use it.

    And may I please have the English Tudor tree house. Thank you.

  4. Always loved tree houses myself. California avocado trees were perfect for them, but ours were quite simple. The Swiss Family Robinson place, well, that's another story! Good post, and great photos! EFH

  5. These are marvelous and it would be so great to be that close to nature, but I'm wondering how they give when there are strong winds. It's funny how kids are always having "wars". I wonder if it is innate or learned.

  6. Wow! I adore tree houses, and these are especially amazing and inviting.

  7. What nice memories you have, there's something so pure childhood about your treehouse and woods story. I spent a couple years living in NH when I was a kid, with a state forest bordering our backyard. We'd build forts in the woods, stacking sticks into lean-to's, then covering them with huge ferns for the roof. It's nice to have that place that is solely meant for the kids.

  8. I don't know if there is anything in this world as charming as the idea of a tree house. I think we all share it. Do we have avian ancestors? Or is it just the safety of being up high like you were during your pine cone fights? The mama bear teaching her babies to climb trees if danger threatens.
    If I had been Jane and Tarzan had offered to share his tree house with me, I, too, would have given up the trappings of civilization.
    Lovely pictures and lovely post.

  9. The pecans sound like an area to place your next deck.No reason not to use something that would give a great deal of pleasure. I had one on one home I had, and had some of the best of times, complete with using the tarzan language we got from movies and comics.

  10. When you get your tree house this time- scoot over, I am moving in with you...

  11. That was the part I loved most about Swiss Family Robinson - I LOVED the tree house!

  12. A well conceived treehouse is truly a transformative and spiritual place.

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  15. Those are so beautiful!! I think I definitely could use one of those as my studio! That would be so cool!!

  16. I agree that tree houses are fascinating in shapes and possibilities. They are great places to hang out and dangle bare feet over the edge to spend hours daydreaming. In my area, Longwood Gardens and Tyler Arboretum have some beautiful creations open for kids to climb around.

  17. I could live in a tree house...

    And you've made me remember the childish "wars" we had with neighbor kids back in the day. :-) Funny. I'd forgotten...


  18. We must be somewhat "of an age" because your memories evoke similar ones in me.

    Now I'm gonna have to make a Rusty Nail and wallow in a little nostalgia.

    Thanks! ;)


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