#58- Tree housing

When we first moved to the Coast, and I suffered many sleepless nights, I spent a decent amount of time driving these crazy backroads and google-earth searching my neighborhood.  There is quite a bit of crazy going on in these mountains, in my humble, suburb-inner city perspective. Typically, my mind asks the same question every time I see a road, home, hiker or the like:  how can anyone be so far out in the middle of what seems to be nowhere?  Granted, the Santa Cruz mountains is really  only 20-30 miles wide from Coastline to City limits, but still. I need other human contact in a general mile radius to stay sane I’ve decided. The half mile to my closest neighbor is tough.

What I’m getting at, is not long ago I was told about a Treehouse not far from my home. I was told it was a site worth seeing and you had to hike in to get to it. After talking to several other locals and determining I wasn’t going to get attacked or killed (The hills have eyes?), and having another enthusiastic family of friends want to come along, I put it on my bucket list (#58) for the year and we finally made the trek today!

It’s quite a hike.  Uphill. approx. 3 miles, though we were originally told two. I carried Holly on my back the entire way so it was a workout worth remembering.  We passed a total of two other thrill-seekers besides ourselves (ourselves being Keith, Jen, Miles and Natalie).  We were hoping to also come across some known waterfalls in the area, but it was determined that the persisting drought made them non-existent. Towards the end of this windy curving trail it became a standing joke that surely, it was “right around that next corner.”  Several points along the way we stopped to assess the noises we heard, only to determine it was departing & arriving SFO jumbo aircraft shifting gears and working landing gear.  We were THAT close!

But, the end destination made it all worth it.  Private property, bordering two state parks.  It was loosely fenced off with polite and charming signs asking us to not trespass, and and added bonus were the railcars that found their way to the top as well.  No one was home, I’m not sure how often the owners visits- I am tempted to ask next time I see them.  They have several kiddos the same age as Natalie, so I spent some time trying to convince Natalie to get more friendly with them and they might just invite her to come play.  I want to come play.   I don’t have a good picture of it, but at the very very VERY top of those trees & treehouse is a Crow’s Nest set up that you have to climb up to using pulleys & harnesses.  I would love to see what that view is like!

#20- Rooted

Last Bucket list, I carved my name in a tree. This time I thought my love for trees should be a little more giving rather than taking (#20- plant a tree).

I have a lot of potted trees, and I pretty much live in a Redwood forest, so planting another one on our property didn’t seem like it’d make much of an impact. I spent some time thinking about where I’d want this tree to go (besides in the ground) that would be meaningful.  My parents house, and other family properties seemed unrealistic as well.

Then it dawned on me that this would be another fun project to take on with Natalie & her classmates.  And I love doing fun things in her class! After talking it over with her teacher, I planned a curriculum using another favorite children’s book (The Red Lemon) followed with some tasting & experimenting with three potential options- Lemons, Plums & Apples.  All this mixed in with some fun finger songs about things that grow in trees and we ended with a class voting on which tree should be planted in the school garden…

Dannah Nielsen Pescadero Grown Plum Tree

As each child voiced their opinion, I marked it on the appropriate tree.  I was actually surprised Plum was the big winner- although knowing these kids, it might have been because the girls liked the color purple, and once that momentum got going and the kids were all cheering and dancing…. everyone else might have followed suit and chose plum just to keep the party going.

So, I went out and bought a Plum Treeling. The following Gardening class for Kinder was a lesson on how to properly plant and care for the Plum Tree, and the kids got to work. I think they really enjoyed it!  We started out in one area, dug halfway down… hit a pipe (in the middle of nowhere??) and had to start over.  Then, we hit the jackpot with underground  critters & crawlers which was a good distraction for several minutes.

I loved that the Garden had it’s own heaping pile of compost from lunchtimes that filled in around the tree.  Next comes the deer fencing, and hopefully some Plums next year!  We are also working on a little plaque of sorts, to say it was a gift from Natalie as a big thank you to her school for a fantastic first year 🙂

#7- The Beach!

I know what you’re thinking…. how is watching a movie an adventure, and why The Beach when (1) I’m no fan of Leo and (2) I get enough of the beach as it is?

Well, we don’t watch a lot of TV, or movies, in our house. So… putting one on and sitting all the way through it IS a bit of a adventure.  And anyone who has gone with me to the movies knows I don’t do well.  I’m the one that talks back and heckles the characters and plot lines. I can’t help it!

But The Beach was actually Blake’s contribution to the Bucket List (#7). And believe it or not, we still have one of those Video Rental stores in town which carries a lot of stuff.  It’s amazing they have survived this long, but I guess they do well. After talking about it on the car ride home, we realized we both had seen it when it came out in 2000 and never again since.  I remembered that I wasn’t a fan of Leo and pretty much stopped watching anything of his after Catch Me if you Can. Part of my repulsion to any hype or craze is the fact that there is a hype to begin with, so while all my friends were swooning and taping TigerBeat “posters” to their walls, I was turning my nose up.

the Beach Leonardo

Back to the movie- it’s good. I guess. I like movies that are consistent and realistic with their characters and storyline, and this one had little deviation or nonsense.  The South Pacific is as gorgeous as the movie depicts it to be, of course, and with that I will say it makes me want to go back. Right after they find that plane….