Report from Beth Rossow, the treehouse lady: Blessed with two feet of snow


Editor’s Note:  Beth Rossow, the Shelton woman who has been living in a treehouse for the past 35 years and is the subject of a Mountain News profile, has just sent us an update on her life.

She just weathered two feet of snow at her treehouse home, located on three acres in the woodlands near the shores of Shelton Inlet.   

The “dome” that she mentions is a 20-foot wide geodesic dome that used to grace the grounds of the Pierce County Fair, which Beth purchased used at auction.  It serves as her living room and indoor kitchen, and is uphill from the treehouse.

Here is her report:


Happy New Year!!  

 How did your place hold up in the storm?  Wasn’t it so beautiful?  I assume you are back in your cabin for the rest of the winter, writing non-stop.

 I had a fun time going everywhere on snowshoes for a few days.  Neighbors were also skiing on the beach.  There was two feet of snow here.  A weird effect of this particular storm was a thick ice fog that hung over Shelton for almost two days.  In a 15 minute walk from my treehouse to a neighbor’s house I became completely encased with clear glaze ice.  My coat and nylon pants were like an eggshell of ice.  It slabbed off in thin shards as I tapped on myself and hatched out of my outer layers.

Beth's dome under snow

 The trees all sported ice beads dangling from their dreadlocked needles.  A natty look.  Then the 50-mph wind came and did all the pruning from above.  It sounded like gunshots going off in the forest, but it was just the treetops snapping off.  Most of the stuff that came down around my place actually landed right on my woodpile, there by my outdoor cooking area.  Sometimes I just have to laugh at how well my property intuits my needs.  I will be able to stand in one place to saw the mostly 7-inch diameter blow-down with my electric chainsaw, and stack it where it landed.  There is some other blow-down that I will need my other chainsaw for.  I am sharpening all three of my chainsaws today and gassing them up for the work.  The neighborhood is already abuzz with the drone of chainsaws on every property.  It will go on for awhile.

 Nothing hit treehouse or dome, or any of my other structures.  A tree just missed the red garage and a small broken alder is propped up on the corner of the green shed behind my red house.  That shed has been hit five times by alder trees in the past, but now, I’m still very happy I have no insurance claims this time.  The treehouse and dome were very igloo-like.  The dome heated up with just three sticks of wood and stayed warm with little stoking of fires for the three days I kept it going.  Of course my woodstove is much larger, with much more BTU potential, than the whale-blubber lamps used to heat the Inuit igloos in the Arctic.

Beth's treehouse under snow


To read more about Beth and her life in a tree house, here is a link to the Mountain News article about her from last year:

©  2012  Beth Rossow

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