Nebraska father builds treehouses for his family
By LARAYNE TOPP
Dec. 24, 2017
NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) — Some kids grow up loafing around a playhouse, amidst make-believe furniture, pretending they're somewhere else besides outside on the lawn.
But for 12-year-old Carson Urwiler of Wisner, his 10-foot by 14-foot playhouse features two windows for gazing at clouds overhead.
It comes equipped with electricity and real furniture: a television set, a refrigerator and dropdown cots attached to the wall. Plus it's somewhere else than his backyard; it's landed in the arms of a Hackberry tree.
Urwiler's treehouse is the second his dad, Carter Urwiler, has built, both soaring 25 feet up in the air. Carter built the first at his family's feedlot in 2002 for his three oldest children, Levi Urwiler, Paige Masat and Jasmin Kepler.
It rested in the extended branches of a large cottonwood tree. Some of his kids' favorite memories are of staying in it overnight with friends.
Urwiler's love for treehouses is rooted in his childhood.
He was always tinkering, he told the Norfolk Daily News , learning carpentry and welding by leaning over the shoulder of his dad and uncle, Daryle Urwiler and Rollin Bremerman, both of Pender. Many evenings his mother trudged out to the garage at midnight to remind him to go to bed.
When Urwiler and his brother, Scott, decided to build a treehouse, his dad directed them to the scrapwood pile. They nailed enough boards together to make a little deck to perch in a tree on the family's farm.
"We would sit up there, thinking how cool it was," Urwiler said.
The deck was high enough for them to gain access to the roof of the chicken house, making it all the cooler.
When Urwiler tore out the feedlot grove in 2013 to put up a machine shed, Carson was only 8. It seemed unfair that Carson should be left out, so Urwiler decided to build a treehouse for him this year.
Working evenings and weekends, it took Urwiler about a month to build the house, using a payloader and hay sweep to lift materials to the building site.
Urwiler was able to stand on the sweep to build three sides, but balanced on the tree's branches while building the fourth. As he did so, plus stretched over the treehouse's roof to install the steel siding, Carson watched from below.
"Don't fall," he warned his dad. "It's not worth dying over!"
Urwiler constructed the floor around the tree's trunk that grows out through the rooftop. The frame, roof and sides came next, leaving one side open so that he could insulate and line the inside. After that he added the final wall and attached the stairway.
Urwiler, who's fortunately not afraid of heights, enjoys the challenge of constructing a finely-built treehouse, figuring out obstacles to overcome and dreaming up solutions.
"The more elaborate it is," he said, "the more elaborate you want it to be."
Information from: Norfolk Daily News, http://www.norfolkdailynews.com