Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Castle's Climbing Wall

Climbing wall for Moses

The castle is still not quite complete, but we were able to add the climbing wall and pipe slide on the back in the last week or so—despite miserable, hot weather.
Moses loves it.
The grips came from Rocky Mountain Climbing Gear. Excellent quality and good price. I mounted them on treated 2X12s. The pipe slide uses standard one-inch pipe.
Moses' new climbing wall

Get to the top, grab the pipe.

Slide down the pipe. He also can climb the pipe to the roof.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Castle: Almost Complete

Claire and Brandon enjoy the castle


The castle for the grandchildren is almost done and my other grandchildren, Claire and Brandon, got to see it for the first time today. Claire and Moses promptly settled in for a good time. Note the Loder arms and the date added above the drawbridge.
Moses and Claire on the battlements. No, the castle is not crooked. I just couldn't hold the camera level.
Brandon is not so sure and enjoys his Mommy's help on the drawbridge.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Roofing the Castle

Downstairs walls complete and the roofers came and finished the roof.

Moses Eastman examines the new south doors of the castle.
On the first of July, we finished the downstairs walls and the south double doors. The castle looks mostly done except for painting and caulking.

On Friday, July 8th, Terry Hartman's crew appeared and by noon they had finished the roof. The copper corners came from old gutters replaced on the Walnut Meadows barn.

Note that the Blassingames now have a flag to fly as well.
The three-man crew gets busy.
Placing the final shingles.
Cutting the copper for the window.
Securing the copper trim.
Finishing the peak.
The Castle's finished roof. Note the banner with white horse of the Blassingames

 A few odds and ends to finish up and the castle will be done. If you want to see a real play castle, check out what the Lowther Trust has built on the grounds of Lowther Castle <http://www.lowthercastle.org/>. More later.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Walling in the lower level of the Castle

Lots of old boards

With the upper floor virtually complete, I turned my attention to what will be the first floor of the grandchildren's castle. Following the same pattern as the north wall, I used old boards that once walled a pig house and other out buildings at the family farm. Most are pine, but a few are oak. Cutting out the rotten parts and squaring up the reminders has been quite a challenge. 
The walls of the second floor are complete.


A small window went above Mo's desk. We added two more larger windows—light downstairs being more important than security. The back of the east wall includes an extra door to give adults direct access to the ships ladder to the second floor.

Two more boards for the east wall and the doors for the south face, and the exterior will be almost complete. Lots of painting and caulking still to go.

The south entrance will have a double door.  Side door is for adult access.




















Snow fencing helps keep the children out of the poison ivy and brambles.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Adding a bit of color to the children's castle.



 Banners for the castle

Thought the castle (in progress) needed a bit of color. It was raining, so I worked inside to finish the first two banners for the castle.
The yellow and black is my LODER coat-of-arms. The red banner with the sable rampart lion is one of the EASTMAN coat-of-arms. More will follow in due time.

The banners in their mounts. Getting them up there is not easy.



Charlotte and Rayne Loder visit the castle.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Building a castle

Castle as of June 12th

 A Play Castle for the Grandchildren

This is my first entry on the "castle" we are building as a play house for our grandchildren. Check back for updates.


Moses by his "house."
A "house" Moses built from loose lumber.
Moses Eastman, my older grandson, is a persistent builder. So in April, I said, “What would you think if I build you a castle?”
    “Cool.”
    So we read David Macaulay’s Castle. We searched the web for images of castles (Search under <http://www.carneycastle.com/> for a web site that has the most pictures of various real castles. We purchased a DVD of Ivanhoe (1953 version with Robert Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor—great scenes of a castle siege).
Moses making plans for the castle.
Site we picked behind work shed.

Moses drew plans. Papi drew plans. Mimi selected the best site.
Base and uprights in place—late April.
Four concrete bases and four 4X4 twelve-footers became the frame for a two-story tower in the woods.
Putting in the first floor.
The first floor has a trapdoor to give access to a dungeon.


Moses helped whenever he could.
Moses on stair to upper floor.
 The ceiling is just over six-foot between the joists.
The second floor is where the action is. A covered balcony with crenelations will allow the castle to be defended. The roof mirrors the roofs we see on many real castle towers, and allows adults to stand inside.
Outline of the roof.
Outrigger post.
We added posts as outriggers and buried them in concrete to add extra strength and stability.



 By early May the roof was beginning to take shape.



A castle in the woods.

The dragons were routed out.
 The porch uprights have Loder dragons carved into them.


The dragon posts in place.
Roof is covered and walls started.




Upper walls going on.
Starting to paint.

The framing lumber and plywood all came from our local Home Depot, but the lower walls and the back were built with loose boards from the family farm’s barn. Once they were part of a pig house.

At least four different species of wood.


Door to balcony and west window. Upper window in place.
The upper story windows were once part of a chicken house. Recycle-recycle.We made the door to the balcony using two of the old 1x12s from the farm—arched, of course.

Moses now has his own special corner on the first level with a desk and shelf.
Moses' corner.

The project is in its 50th day (more-or-less). The upper level is starting to take on its final shape. Still need to finish the drawbridge, main castle door and the first floor walls.  Stay-tuned. Will add another blog report soon.
Drawbridge is up but needs ropes.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Death by moonlight, dinner by day

People travel from all over the world to places like the Serengeti to watch grazing animals get torn apart and eaten by big cats and other predators. This winter Nature-ripe-with-tooth-and-claw-and-beak came to our own back yard.
First it was the accipitors who find our cute little sparrows that come to our feeder so irresistible.
Turkey vulture, carcass and tracks.
Then two nights ago something, a coyote perhaps, broke into the deer pen at the bottom of our hill and routed the deer sheltered there. Perhaps half-a-dozen fled uphill. All but one got away. By mid-day, the turkey vultures had discovered the remains and dined al fresco all afternoon. This morning, the crows are taking their turn.
Turkey vultures on the deerkill.
The deer was young, perhaps a yearling. It bogged down in the deep, crushed snow, its thin hooves breaking through over a foot-and-a-half, reducing its panicked run to a crawl, while the coyote danced about it, its paws sinking in no more than an inch.
Deer tracks to right, deep and dragged.  Coyote's to left, barely breaking the surface of the snow.
The chase ranged back-and-forth over an area half the size of a football field before the victim slipped and stumbled once too often. All this story was easy to see in the bright sunshine of Monday.
The scene of battle with remains of the loser.
I hope that what little is left will be carted way by foxes before all this snow finally melts.