Cool tree swing ideas

My daughter wants a swing in her backyard for her daughter. I started thinking about the different ways that I could create it, so I started searching the web for all kinds of ideas.

It appears there are some safety basics.

    • Tree Type: The branches of a sturdy hardwood tree are best for a tree swing – oaks are ideal but use what you have. Avoid fruit trees, evergreens, or trees that split easily.
    • Branch Size: A tree swing needs a horizontal branch at least 8” in diameter that is no more than 20’ off the ground….ideally.
    • Branch Condition: The branch chosen for a tree swing must be healthy.  (Really, I was going to use a rotten one.) Inspect the branch from trunk to tip, and avoid branches that show any signs of infestation, disease, splitting, or narrow connections to the main trunk. And above all, don’t use a dead branch! (this must be a list for sadists)
    • Clearance: The branch should be large enough that the swing can hang at least 3’-5’ away from the trunk without the branch bouncing. (darn, they take all the fun out of it)

This is what I found in my search for the different styles of swings.

The next issue is how to attach it to the branch. If you can find a nice strong horizontal branch, that is one thing, but what if none of the trees in your yard have these ideal branches? Do you go out and buy a cheap steel swing-set? I went back to the web and came up with different ways to attach the rope to the tree branch. This is what I came up with below. If you have some better ideas, share them with us. The branches on the trees in my daughter’s backyard are over 25′ high and I’m going to have to find an extension ladder to install this. When I was young, I just took a big bolt, tied the rope through the bolt hole and threw it over the branch. Next, I simply tied a great slip knot and slid the end of the rope through the slip knot, but my aim isn’t as good as it used to be and the next door neighbor might get a bolt torpedo through his window!

So, which swing do you like best and which method of attaching it to your tree has worked the best as well?

I hated history class!

As a baby boomer, I often wonder why I’m suddenly interested in history. I hated history class in both high school and college. Now, I can’t wait to go to Colonial Williamsburg, watch the history channel or visit Monticello. Anything nostalgic or retro is in. The 50’s furniture we grew to hate as teenagers is now affectionately called “mid century” style and very popular. Talk to any Baby Boomer guy and they will tell you they love to watch ‘American Pickers’ on the history channel.
The two guys on this show, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are the epitome of our generation. They look for anything old and nostalgic. When we watch this show, we see things from our childhood that flood our memories with an easier time, at least in our own mind.  Maybe this is why I enjoy renovating things, be it an old home, car or old piece of machinery. Don’t get me wrong, I also love thinking about the future and all of the inventions that people are coming up with. It’s as if I have one hand in the past and one hand in the future with my body in the present. My two favorite places in Disneyworld are Epcot, where you can learn about nation’s history and Tomorrowland, where a child could dream of going into space and learning about all of the technologies that were emerging.

I’ve often threatened to buy a “mid century” home and totally furnish and decorate it in “mid century” style; I mean down to the old black and white TV’s with reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘Leave it to Beaver’. Somehow, even though there were a lot of scary things going on in the 50’s like the cold war, as youngsters, we felt insulated. There weren’t reality TV shows and continuous news networks that bombarded us with more than we could handle. There were only 3 channels and the quality of the video wasn’t that good so that reality and fiction weren’t blurred as they are today.

We were told as kids that we could do anything. We were trying to figure out how to get men to the moon.  Buck Rogers was the precursor to Star Trek. We were thinking of the future.  That future included leaving our past behind. People were moving out of the city into the suburbs. We wanted the new ranch style homes. We didn’t want to live on the farm or in a row house. We wanted a 100 x 100 lot with an attached garage. Most families had only one car, a modest home and making a living wasn’t as hard. We were a more formal nation. We wore a coat and tie to the movies as well as on an “air”plane. I know there was social unrest and the past wasn’t as kind to many, but the present isn’t exactly kind to all of us either.

There is a saying that if we don’t remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it, both good and bad. Many of the books that my teachers tried to get me to read while I was in school, I now actually buy and read in my spare time! Talking to many of my peers, they say the same thing, they became interested in history over the past 10-15 years.  Colonial Williamsburg is having a hard time staying afloat due to their attendance waning. The Rockefellers  felt that our nation’s history was important enough to save, so they funded the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg.

I don’t know why I have become so nostalgic about the past. Maybe I see the unrest in our nation and the uncertainty of the present, wishing that I could somehow go back to what seemed like a more calmer period in our history. I know that I’m probably looking back through rose colored glasses, but let me continue to live in my memories, as memories can be changed to fit whatever we want to remember.

I’m interested to know if you find yourself more interested in history as you get older or is it just me and those in my circle.

Does anybody really want to work?

I haven’t been this frustrated in a long time. I have a small company. We are looking for people to work in our mini warehouse. It’s really a minimum wage job, but we pay$12 per hour plus benefits. We sell small parts for power tools, most of them less than 1/2 lb. The boxes are small, maybe 5″ x 5″. This is really a simple job. When you think of warehouse, you think of forklifts and conveyor belts; that’s not us. We have 20 shelf units that hold our parts. There are only 2 people in our warehouse and we all get along great. We advertise the job telling everyone about the job. We get applicants via email. We email them back a simple questionnaire, asking just a few questions and can you believe that nobody bothered to even reply to the questionnaire? Hey, you emailed me asking for an interview. I reply with 5 easy questions and you don’t even bother to reply. When we do get people to reply and set up interviews, at least 50% of the people never show up for the interview.  We call them and say, “Where were you? You had an interview today at 1PM and it’s now 2.” Their response typically is, “Oh, I didn’t know I had an interview” or “Sorry, I forgot.”

This is so frustrating! Do you or do you not want a job?
I can’t even imagine running a fast food restaurant. The number of people you need for all of the shifts has to be staggering. I have contractors that come into my place of business that feel the same way that I do. They have more work than they have employees to do the work. Many of the employees that they have had simply stopped showing up.

I believe that we have made it too easy for people to obtain assistance from our state and federal agencies so working is well, just not necessary.  In Virginia, you can receive unemployment benefits for up to half a year.  I know that unemployment benefits are necessary, but if someone answers an ad for employment  only to satisfy the requirements to receive unemployment, and I seem interested in your resume, at least reply to my questions. Maybe I should say in my help wanted ad. “If you apply to us for employment and we respond positively and you do not reply or show up for the interview, we will forward your name to the unemployment agency so that they can remove you from the roles of the unemployed!”

Many of my friends have decided to become consultants because this allows them to not have to depend on anyone else and avoid employees altogether. It’s pretty sad actually. I’m really concerned about the future of our nation as the work ethic has seemed to fall to an all time low, at least for what I am seeing in my world. Don’t get me wrong. I have a good number of great employees and they are as shocked as I am when people just don’t show up for an interview. It makes their jobs harder when we can’t find people to fill vacancies, because they are carrying a heavier load due to lack of staff.

My latest attempt at finding employees is to advertise through the local community college. Hopefully, if you are attending college, you want to learn more, you want to improve yourself and are more apt to respond to an opportunity to work and earn some money. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It’s time to brush off those dusty power tools and outdoor lawn and garden tools and get to work! In Virginia, we will hit a high of 92° today. Forget spring, we skipped that whole season.