Have Fun Storming the Castle!

When the architect & I purchased our house, there was a castle in the backyard. The previous owner had built it as a combo playhouse for his son/garden shed.

I thought it was hilarious.Β  I remember making jokes with the sewer inspector about possibly needing to install a moat or hire some archers.

It didn’t take long, however, for my appreciation of the castle to wane.

It was poorly constructed (1/4″ plywood, people!) and not water tight, meaning our garden tools (and stored bicycles, rest in peace, Jolly Green Giant) got rusty. And full of spiders. And on a memorable occasion, there were wasps.

After the last couple of winters, the castle started looking pretty sad. The grey paint was fading. There were huge gaps in the sides.

It was time.

Friday, the architect & I put on our castle storming armor & had at it.

I made him promise that I would get to be the one to hit it with a sledge hammer until it fell down. However, turns out we don’t have a sledge hammer (or a catapult, or a trebuchet, or even a good maul), so I had to make do with our dirt tamper.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to hit the walls of the castle until they fell down. Once we removed all the (1/4″ plywood) walls, and a few 2x4s, the castle started wobbling (which made us feel really awesome about the part where the architect had just been on the roof of the castle removing the turrety parts.

We huffed & we puffed, gave the castle one shove, and it toppled over. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until this point that we realized we should’ve video-taped me pushing the castle over all by myself. The castle had no real footings. The main supports were in the ground less than an inch. I can’t believe it hadn’t fallen over in one of our recent wind storms.

Castle demolition got a lot less fun after that point. We had to pull out all eleventy-million nails from the rotten spider-infested wood so that we could properly dispose of everything, and then make little piles.

In the next few weeks, a new & improved garden shed will arrive. This one will have concrete-reinforced footings that go down a couple of feet. Also a place for the motorcycle & all garden tools to live. And a sliding door! And rain barrels! And a covered area for me to do potting! YAY!

Recent Comments

  • Alisa
    April 14, 2010 - 8:05 am ·

    This is awesome. And, PS, how is it that I never noticed the castle in your yard before??!?!?!?!

  • Glam
    April 14, 2010 - 10:52 am ·

    OMG. how did i not know about this castle. i love it. wish i had a castle in my backyard. well, minus the spiders, wasps, mold, rust & shoddy architecture. But other than that!

    You look like a badass wielding that dirt tamper!

    • gazelle
      April 14, 2010 - 10:58 am ·

      due to privacy issues, I didn’t publicize my backyard castle. It may be the only one of its kind in Portland. Of course, I publicize pictures of my garden, which is also fancy, so my non-disclosure issues are a little weird.

      I actually kind of loved it – and if it had been well-crafted, I would’ve kept it forever. πŸ™‚

      I felt like such a badass knocking out the walls. Girl power! πŸ™‚

      • Glam
        April 14, 2010 - 11:03 am ·

        Good call! I didn’t think about weirdos being able to track you down. You mean everyone in Portland doesn’t have a castle in their backyard? My illusion of the awesomeness that is the Northwest has been shattered.
        So, thanks for that.

        • gazelle
          April 14, 2010 - 11:11 am ·

          so sorry. I promise, though, if you ever buy a house anywhere in the Pacific NW, I will come and personally build you a castle in the back yard. And then we will admire it & drink martinis. And then, probably go shoe shopping.

  • CilleyGirl
    April 14, 2010 - 11:34 am ·

    I’m vaguely disappointed that one of you didn’t dress up like the Dread Pirate Roberts for this.

    • gazelle
      April 14, 2010 - 11:37 am ·

      I wore a bandana! That’s super piratey. πŸ™‚ the comfortable face mask didn’t really function as protective eye wear, though, and had to go.

  • Michael
    April 14, 2010 - 1:29 pm ·

    Although I can’t tell anyone coming over to “look for the castle” I can’t say I will miss it. However, I think under the new shed B-Rad should construct an undergroud shelter 3 stories down with a forever lap pool at the bottom so we can all relax during the summer heat waves.

  • kristen
    April 15, 2010 - 6:50 am ·

    That thing was horrid. Why did it take you so long to take a sledge to it?! I can’t belive they let thier children play in it. Can you say ‘safety hazzard’! Holy cow!

    I can’t wait to see the new shed. Sliding door. Nice feature!

    • gazelle
      April 17, 2010 - 12:23 pm ·

      we had so many other projects to take care of first, and it did at least keep the wet off our garden implements until this last winter! But, I am sure glad it’s gone now!

  • Carolina John
    April 15, 2010 - 6:00 pm ·

    i’m surprised the dirt tamp didn’t go straight through the 1/4″ plywood.

    i’ve got to build a workshop too once we get moved into the new house. we should compare plans.

    • gazelle
      April 17, 2010 - 12:24 pm ·

      there are plenty of places in the walls that ended up with holes when I swung the tamper a bit crooked.

      I will talk to the architect re: plans. I know that our shed is not intended to be a full workshop, but I bet he wouldn’t mind sharing plans.