Eli picked this tree for his tree fort.


Draw up plans…

Attach a couple of 2 x 10s using 1/2 inch lag screws.

Eli using racket wrench to screw two by ten to tree

Install Hurricane Ties.

Eli installing Hurricane Tie on 2 by 10 that is attached to tree. On left is a 2 by 6 joist attached to a 2 by 10 using a Hurricane Tie.

Add 2x6s on top of the beams.  Eli wanted to drill in the screws so I turned the torque all the way down and let him have a shot at it… he is doing all he can to hold the drill!

Eli trying to use a drill ...he can't quite hold it up and position it correctlyI originally was going to pour concrete for the posts, but I found these concrete post blocks at home depot which was a lot easier than making sure they get below the frost line, and also makes the tree-house slightly more portable if I should ever need to move it.  Attached 4×4 posts to the outer joists (with two deck screws for now, but added 3/8 x 5.5″ bolts later).  Eli’s job was to make sure everything was level.

Framing of treefort. Beams, joists, and vertical posts attached at each corner.

2x6s for floor boards.  I left a gap between the tree and joists so it can grow a little without affecting the tree fort.

Floor boards are down, Eli on top of treefort. Drill and a box of screws. Eli wearing gloves.

Eli partway on ladder and treehouse surveying floor

Add walls…

Two walls have been added to the treeouse using 2 by 6es and 2 by 4s

Those 45° angles are perfect… Eli leveled them to 45.  We left an opening on two walls so there will be a few ways in and out.

Eli at a side entrace to the tree house, last wall built with an X pattern

Trap door

Trapdoor near trunk of tree

Inside the tree house-- tree trunk coming up in the middle.

One side..

Outside of tree-house showing completed wall

Another side… every side is a bit different.

Another angle outside of tree-house showing wall.

Discussing our plans for the two openings…

Eli in tree house

Add a climbing cargo net from Amazon…

Eli climbing treefort climbing cargo net

Used two screw ground anchors to hold the other end of the net to the ground.

Eli climbing cargo net up to treehouse

Added a 2×4 diagonal brace on each side.  Also notice the bucket connected to a rope and pulley on the right?

Added 2 by 4 diagonal braces

Ran out of color film…

Diagonal brace on back wall... Google turned the photo to black and white

Oh, something came today, we need one more 2×4…

Eli carrying 2 by 4

To support a slide!

Eli attaching two parts of slide with boltsSlide is attached to teehouse. Eli is going down slide.

Ben and Eli pose in treefort

Tree house floor plan showing slide and net

Eli Playing Chess

Magnus Carlsen is the best chess player in the world.  And I’m going to beat him.  – Elijah Bryan

Eli playing chess

Eli playing Chess

Eli practicing Chess speech


Why I Still Prefer Paper Statements

Paper vs Online Statements

I suppose sending the actual statement as an attachment in an email isn’t an option?  If security is a concern encrypt it to my PGP key.

Eli and Screwdriver

Kris gave me a small powered screwdriver for our Anniversary (thanks Kris!)

Eli took an interest in it so I got out an old hard drive and a few screws… he sat there the next 15 minutes screwing and unscrewing…

Eli with Screwdriver


jonlumley here’s the Minecraft world


If you are jonlumley here’s the Narnia Minecraft world that I can no longer host from my server because I’m stuck behind a Verizon NAT.  The rest of you can ignore this.


Website back up

My Xeoned Microserver caught fire and burned up!

Just kidding. |:-)

deer_backyardA few weeks ago out of the blue a real-estate agent told me the house we’re renting was going to be put on the market.  I was surprised because owners typically list in Spring or Summer when people are looking to buy a house, but here I am a month away from snow with the possibility we’ll have to leave at any moment with only a 30 days notice and at this time the housing market is very thin.  I really don’t want to be moving during a blizzard and couldn’t find a place in town this time of year.  I thought the wisest choice was to preemptively move when we have some control of the timing so we moved to a house in a semi-rural area.

aircraft_ran_off_runwayWe’re enjoying the new house–It’s fun to see wildlife in my backyard, also my commute is great, I get to see fun and exciting things on my drive home for lunch like airplanes running off the end of the runway!  The downside is the area I live in has been reported as having the slowest and worst internet in the United States.


2013_subaru_outbackIt took me awhile to get internet because I was concerned with quite a few other things like unpacking essential stuff, fixing important things in the house (like outlets with no plates) and buying a car since I no longer live close enough to walk to work and making sure to still spend time with Kris and Eli and also prayer and meditation so I just didn’t have time to get to it.  When I got around to it, getting the website back up was challenging.  Cable and DSL were out of the question, there isn’t even a phone line to the house.  I spent a couple weeks trying to get a local site-to-site wireless provider but none could reach us due to trees and mountains blocking line-of-site to the towers.  So backyardthat left two options, Satellite or Verizon Wireless (I do get LTE here!).  Both had limited bandwidth so the obvious choice was Verizon Wireless via Millenicom which gives me 20GB data per month (I am used to 250GB/month so we’re having to cut way back).  I used my extra DD-WRT router to act as a wireless bridge between the MiFi and my main Tomato router to get an Ethernet connection to the server–so that’s what is serving this website up now.  If you should try to visit this blog and it’s down, you can assume it’s either a snowstorm or I ran out of bandwidth–in which case it will be back up on the 1st of the next month.

Earlier in the week to see what my Google ranking damage was I did a search on “b3n” and I did see that someone on homeservershow noticed it was down–I tried to register for an account so I could reply, but I can’t seem to get the activation to work.  I got an activation email, clicked on the link, but I still can’t login.  But thought I’d let you know the website owner dragging worked.

Well, I’m off to look at snowplows…