I learned that the most important skill set in making a treehouse in not construction but organization. I spend more time climbing down the ladder to get tools and supplies I left on the ground than I did building. (Although, adding a slide has made going back down easier!)
Shipbuilding tradition dictates that a gold coin be layed in the keel of a new ship and a silver coin under the mast. The gold coins are gold engraved dog tags, the silver coin is a 2012 El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico) US Quarter under the ship's wheel stanchion. It is from the year of the ship's build, Puerto Rico is a Carribean island, and it has a parrot on it ~ all of which seem appropriate for a pirate ship.
That round thing in the lower left corner is NOT a cannon ball, it's the back of Daddy's head!
Here is some technical information about attaching treehouses to trees
1/4 inch plywood on the straight areas and double thickness 1/8 inch Masonite on the curved areas..
Painted medium brown and dry-brushed with a darker brown. The support legs are painted tan and camouflaged a bit with some spray paint. Large cannon is in place on the starboard and a smaller swivel cannon mounted on the port. Slide is in place and you can see the "Walk the Plank" balance beam to the bottom left.
The skull is very thick ceramic with spider web crackle glaze, the lettering is cut into the board with a router and stained. Solar lamps on both sides.
I'm pretty sure that red/port and green/starboard marker lanterns were not standard on pirate ships. Pirates were not known for flossing their teeth or following the law, I doubt they would have had the lights even if they were required. But I needed an excuse for a few more solar lights. You can also see the brass ship's bell.
A ship christening is in order for the Scallywag Scoundrel of the Skies (thank you for that name Rachel & Natalie) but having a 3 year-old break a bottle of rum over the bow is probably not a good idea. I'll have to come up with an alternate ceremony.
That parrot looks suspiciously like a dove decoy in disguise!
No self-respecting pirate ship would be complete without Captain Hook's nemesis. Tic Toc is about 6 feet long, made of concrete and weighs 110 lbs. Baby Toc is about 3 feet long and made of ceramic.
Ceramic crocodile skull figurehead on the bow
I need age appropriate "pirate activities" in the ship for Tyler so I built this rotating pirate character thingy (I don't know what you call it LOL)
4 different heads on one block, 4 torsos on the next block, and 4 legs & feet on the bottom block. The blocks turn to form different pirates.
The chalk board also serves as a locking door to block the slide opening so the ship can be secured for sleep-overs or in the event of an attack by Captain Hook. Behind the chalk board you can see the hatch with a deadbolt that secures the opening over the ladder.
Pirate Plinko should provide some entertainment for years to come. A "cannonball" (black golf ball) dropped in the slot on top bounces down and ends up in one of 6 slots. The slots are labeled with six of Jake & the Neverland Pirates for now but labels can be swapped out for numbers 1-6 to serve as dice, or whatever game evolves. The rack at the top holds spare cannonballs.
Now that the construction phase is done, I have the next 10 years to add details. It needs an anchor, a cannon that shoots tennis balls, some speaking tubes, a larger wooden ship's wheel at some point, a large pirate version of "Battleship" and who knows what else.
Christmas in the Tree House with Captain Santa
Wood-Leg Willie's Treasure ~ Legend has it that the previous captain of the Scalliwag Scoundrel of the Skies was a pirate named Wood-Leg Willie. Willie sealed his loot in a wooden box, locked it with chain, and sailed the Scalliwag up a river during an unusually high tide. He got off the ship to bury his treasure and returned to find the tide had receeded, leaving his ship stuck up in a tree. While Wood-Leg Willie waited for the tide to come back in, he drew out a treasure map and hid it in a secret compartment on the ship. After 2 weeks of waiting, the tide never did come back enought to free his ship and he was running low on provisions. So Willie walked back to the coast and jacked another ship, leaving the Scalliwag and his treasure behind. Is there really a hidden map? And does it lead to a buried treasure? Only Wood-Leg Willie knows for sure.
Pirate Ship Sleep-Over - June 2016
Tyler is now 6 and has already had one sleep-over. Tanner is 4, this is his first. The boys "discovered" Wood-Leg Willie's treasure map and together we dug up his treasure (which was buried deeper than I remember)
An evening of hotdog, S'mores, and Peter Pan
5:30 the next morning with Captain Goober (right) and First Mate Tater Tot (left) soundly sleeping on the deck
Here's what it would look like if I flooded the backyard :)