Just behind the Earthship, the land falls away about 80 feet or so down to the lower pasture. There is a constant breeze here, coming up the valley, with lovely views stretching towards the south and the west.

So years ago we built a frame from nearby saplings and strung a couple tarps over them – figuring we could get a year or two out of this shelter. We set up some chairs and tables and found we used this space nearly every day in the spring, summer and fall.

Surprisingly the sapling structure lasted much longer than hoped. In fact it stood for almost 10 years. And we got a tremendous amount of enjoyment out of it (not to mention shade). But then, as we all must one day, it rotted and collapsed.

So we decided to go crazy – building a permanent structure of nearly three times the size. Our intern of the summer, Nicholas Anderson, wanted to learn some more traditional carpentry skills. As they say, be careful what you wish for. But he did a terrific job.