A Good Development

October 28, 2021

This showed up today…

It’s wood that Jim salvaged from our former trellis and then cut to fit for his latest project: converting Peter’s play structure into an observation tower… sort of an adult play structure, a place we can sit, read, drink wine. (And by we, I mean me.)

He’s going to build walls around the lower part of this structure.. which will make it a bit more visually interesting — as seen from the house — and provide a place for storage of gardening tools (or whatever).

I’m reminded of that great comic strip (can’t remember whose great comic strip it was but it was great) where the main character kid leaves the house for college, forgets something on his way out, returns to get whatever it is, and his parents have already converted his room to a home office. “It’s a home office now” has been a joke for about five years around here. Cracks us up every time we say it.

And now Peter’s childhood backyard play structure is an observation tower. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, but same idea.

Sorry honey.


Here’s a little retrospective:

Jim started the build on this when Peter was 4-years-old, in 2002:

He built it right over a DG path, that encircled the back yard, and a whole bunch of existing landscaping (which had already seen some degradation once kids came along…. don’t forget, our house had once been on the annual Pence Garden Tour because of the gorgeous backyard Adelaide (previous owner) had put in and lovingly cared for — a huge selling point for the house.).

Jim’s plan was to build a 6’x6′ (I’m estimating) second story platform, accessible via metal ladder, with a slide descending down the backside, a swing attached to the side and a sandbox comprising the entire ground floor. Oh, and a peaked roof covering the whole thing and glassless windows in all four directions. The whole thing would sit on a huge bed of bark, a foot (or two?) deep all around, enclosed with redwood borders.

More shots in progress:

This is what Jim looked like during that era, underscoring how long ago this play structure was built!:


And here are Peter and Jim working on the project together**

(** never happened the way Jim mighta thought it would, but that was a-okay! Peter has many gifts… construction is not one of them. )

Here’s what it looked like once the slide and swing were added….

Note the very safe way (not) that Peter got up to that swing (which was actually not envisioned by the designer (Jim) as a sit-on-swing).

Because…. being shot down by the enemy positioned at the top of the slide and landing in the pool below happened a lot (and sometimes that pool had water in it). (Jeez, that’s a long way down!)

Speaking of using pools inappropriately (and in the dead of night, no less…) (looks like I may have surprised them…):

When, if fact, this was the way it was supposed to work:

Also in the category of unintended slide uses… the old slide-down-the-slide-in-a-chair routine… (I cannot imagine that ended well..)

On the tamer side…. the sandbox was a big hit for years.. not that it was always tame sand play, because: boys.

This is a view from the top floor of Peter climbing the adjacent cherry tree.. which he loved doing.. (I probably made him wear his bike helmet!) … until it had to be cut down due to disease…


Much fun was had in/on/around the play structure. But now… it’s an observation tower; no slide, no swing, no pools, no bark, no sand…. just a ladder to the shaded top floor, which also has a great view!!

And, with that lumber seen in the first picture, will soon have designer walls around the first level. Stay tuned!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: