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In the sycamore

July 25th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Out at Shepherd’s Valley organic farm, they’ve built a wonderful tree house on Kahola Creek. Tracy’s kids and Heather’s kids had fun up there and also riding the zip line.

A sturdy tree house in a huge old sycamore.

nature, places

  1. elizamid
    July 25th, 2008 at 21:47 | #1

    This is a beautiful treehouse. It looks really good in that tree, too.

    A fellow in England has taken many photographs of another sycamore tree, in sunshine and in snow, in summer and in winter, during sunrise and sunset, and with sheep grazing in the grass around it, or standing completely alone.

    Most of the pictures are taken of it standing alone, so I wrote a piece called “Solitary Sycamore,” which is on my Elements of Trees CD.

    Now this Kansas sycamore won’t be solitary . . . very often, anyway.

  2. shep
    July 26th, 2008 at 20:08 | #2

    The children refer to this giant sycamore as the “Zacchaeus tree” from the Bible story (Luke 19:1-10). I have guesstimated the old tree to have been present during the era of the Santa Fe trail, around 150 years ago. It is located on the site of the chief of the Kansa Indians personal hunting grounds and campsite area. It’s not hard to imagine an Indian warrior hunting for deer, antelope, elk, or buffalo from this tree. Arrowheads, stone tools, and fossils have been found along the creek here.

    The treehouse deck is 9’x20′ and is situated not quite half way up the tree. The floor of the deck is three stories above the old creek channel. The channel changed during a flood in the 1970’s, and the channel is now dry – except during spring floods.

    At the time I built it, I had an apprentice that admitted he was “afraid of heights.” I said, “I know just the project you can help me with.” By the time we finished it, he was completely cured of his phobia.

    I tell people, the last thing I built was the ladder to the platform, and that’s true. I have built several giant treehouses over the years for children’s camps and friends.

    A 100 foot zip line extends from just underneath the platform to an old box elder tree farther up the old creek channel. It’s has been a great addition to the campground, and is pretty exciting to traverse. It is a favorite among children of all ages – including some of us who never quite grew up.