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Treehouse Chronicles, our book about the building of an enormous timberframe treehouse in the Maine woods, has been named as finalist for a Nautilus Book Award in the catagory of Art/Specialty/Gift. If the book wins, this will be its 9th national book award (see the awards page).

Treehouse Chronicles cover with stickers 

According to the award’s sponsor, Marilyn McGuire & Associates, Inc., The Nautilus Awards are give to those books that “contribute to our society’s awareness and well-being, and that embrace spiritual and ecological values such as compassion, sustainability, simplicity, and global peace.”

We are honored to be named finalists for this award and hope that the publicity that comes with the award will help the book’s sales. Although widely and critically acclaimed, sales of Treehouse Chronicles have been poor. It’s very hard for a tiny publishing company such as ours (TMC Books) to compete with the publishing juggernauts.  

You can find out much more about the book–and how to buy it–by traveling around this blog, or visiting our web site, TMC Books, or by going to Thank you for visiting.


Treehouse Chronicles cover with stickers 

Most reviews are run-of-the mill. I liked the book; I didn’t like the book, and here’s why. And that’s why I was so tickled when I checked out the latest Amazon the reviews for our book, Treehouse Chronicles, and found this review from a reader:

You know that delightful list of warm and wonderful things that Julie Andrews tucks the children in with in the old musical classic?

It’s like that.

That novel that you can’t put down?
It’s like that.

That cup of coffee that is brewed just right?
It’s like that.

That poem or song that says it all and brings a tear to your eye?
It’s like that.

That photo that captures you and makes you want to frame it and put it on your wall?
It’s like that.

The gift that you decide is the best thing that you can give to all of the families on your Christmas list?
It’s like that.

In fact, last year when I first saw it, that is exactly what I did! I just had to. As different as all those families are, there was something about it that was perfect for each of them. The contractor, the dreamer, the writer, the displaced Mainer, the hobbyest, and the photographer. It was perfect for each one of them.

That’s just about the nicest thing I’ve ever read. If you would like to buy a signed copy of the book (winner of 8 national book awards, by the way), please click here

Treehouse Chronicles cover with stickers

Early in January Treehouse Chronicles was honored with its 8th national book award (not bad for a book created by a publishing company so small that all its employees can easily fit in a Mini Cooper). This latest award was an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s International Self-Published Book Awards in the category of Life Stories.  Here is an excerpt from the judge’s commentary sheet, based on the question, “What did you like best about this book?”

I suppose it would be too general, and not that helpful, to respond with “everything,” so I’ll focus on the most delightful aspects. But just so you know, “everything” was my first thought. Very witty and smart project. From the subtitle, to the Table of Contents, to the “Can I visit the Treehouse?” I devoured the linguistically interesting way of expressing ideas and philosophies. The photographs and illustrations are beautiful and refreshingly placed throughout. I like the turquoise of the font in the section titles and also the attention and adoration of detail and usually-neglected perspective. Also, the varying moods of the author were appreciated. This work truly holds gems of breezy enlightenment and I hope to catch the interview on NPR’s Fresh Air… if I haven’t missed it! I wish this wasn’t one of the works I had to give back.

A critique doesn’t get much better than that! If you would like to purchase a signed copy of this book, direct from the publisher (free shipping), please click here. Or, you can go straight to Amazon.

To see the other awards the book has won, please click here.

 Treehouse Chronicles cover with stickers

There’s still time to give the dreamer among your family and friends a great book for the holidays. Our book, Treehouse Chronicles: One Man’s Dream of Life Aloft, has won seven national book awards and praise from reviewers everywhere.

The most recent reviewer, Cheryl Hurst, Managing Editor for the Spencer County Leader, had this to say in late November 2006:

“Wonderfully unusual and architecturally amazing pictures and illustrations of this unique hideaway are only a tad of what makes this book one of the best I have ever read. It is artistically exciting to view and articulately insatiable reading. The humorous and poetic wording author Lewis spreads throughout the 130-page, hardback bound edition are a joy to comprehend, often left this reader laughing out loud. Combined with well chosen and cropped photos, balanced with magnificent watercolor illustrations and sketches, and iced with true-storytelling sidebars, Lewis has a winner on his hands.”

If you would like to purchase a signed and personalized copy, please visit our website, You can also purchase the book through, other online booksellers everywhere, or your favorite book store.

 The Uppermost House in winter.

The Uppermost House, our 300 sq. ft. timberframe treehouse in the Maine woods, is full of odd things. Perhaps the oddest, is the drawbridge—it certainly gets the most comments. Cobbled together out of timbers, lumber, cables, pulleys, boulders, and plumbing supplies, it is a contraption in the finest Rube Goldberg tradition.

The theory is simple: make a set of stairs that look like the spinal column from a Stegosaurus and that can be lifted into the air with ease because they are counterweighted with big rocks yet fall gracefully to earth (unfolding their steps as they descent amidst a cacophony of creaking, grunting, and thunking sounds) when the (hidden) catch mechanism on the counterweight is tripped by a secret latch. See, simple.

The key to this whole mess, is the catch mechanism. Here is an excerpt from the book, Treehouse Chronicles: One Man’s Dream of Life Aloft, that tells the story of the discovery of the magic gadget:

Sometimes a dashed plan is like a poor draw in poker. If the title to your house is on the table and you’re dealt just a pair of twos, you either bluff well or end up living with your in-laws. Ted came back from an expedition to the local hardware stores today with dire news: we can’t use a gate latch as the catch for the drawbridge. One store didn’t have any latches. One store had cheap flimsy things that weren’t up to the task. And the last store had so much stuff lying in the aisles that Ted gave up and waded back to his truck. I had always known that a gate latch was the key to this Rube Goldberg contraption, and now I had to face the cruel fact that it wouldn’t work. I felt like the guy who swam across the English Channel until he saw the waves breaking on the beach in Calais, France. He didn’t think he had the strength to make it, so he turned around and swam back to England. Things suddenly looked so hopeless I feared we might have to start the whole treehouse over. “If we can’t make the stairs work, how are we ever going to get up into the treehouse?” I moaned.

Ted, always the optimist, yelled “Don’t give up yet,” and then bolted downstairs and out to the sprawling garages. A half an hour later he returned from what he calls “the land of archaic hardware” with his hands full. “There,” he said proudly, spilling a jumble of oddball widgets onto the table. Among the treasures was a spring-loaded door catch with no apparent way to attach it to anything, a neat little thing milled from a block of aluminum with a perpendicular pair of what appeared to be thumb screws, another door catch that had “Push” stamped boldly on the side of it but no moving parts, and, lastly, an odd, cylindrical, aluminum, ball-bearing-equipped, spring-loaded, something-or-other. This last item turned out to be the pearl. (Our other business partner, Frank, has a collection of outbuildings that are the equivalent of giant oysters. A tiny little annoyance-a metal thingy of unknown purpose-gets stuck inside one of these buildings and over time it is transformed-at least in the human mind-into something wonderful, and sometimes even useful.)

You can see where this is leading. To read the whole story, and see a detailed drawing of the catch and the drawbridge itself, please click these links:

drawbridge gizmo


And, to see the whole story of the building of this whimsical treehouse, please buy our award-winning book, Treehouse Chronicles. If you buy it from our website, TMC, we will sign the book and include a personal message (if you wish). You can also purchase the book from all online and retail booksellers.

Thanks for visiting our blog.

The Uppermost House in winter.

Last night I found my daughter staring out the kitchen window. “Oh, no,” she said, hands on her hips. “Dad, wears the snow shovel?” I looked out and saw just a dusting on the lawn. “I don’t think there is enough, Mandy,” I said. “Oh, there will be,” she said, confidently.

This morning at 5:30 I was shovelling six inches. Welcome, winter.

For the next four months, we will hibernate, coming out only to shovel off the skating pond, scrape a windshield, or go for a quiet ski across the fields. But, every once in a while, we will trudge out to the forest, climb three stories into a tree, light a fire in the stove, and just sit and watch the world go by.

If you want to find out more about the treehouse, and the award-winning book that tells its story, please visit our extensive pages, or our website, You can order a signed copy of the book directly from our website and get it in time for the holidays!

With the holidays coming, I thought I would give you a sneak peak at our book Treehouse Chronicles: One Man’s Dream of Life Aloft

Please see the links to sample pages at the end of this post.

The book, published in 2005 by TMC Books (Too Many Cats), a micropublisher made up of three guys working out of an old barn in New Hampshire, has gone on to win 7 (seven!) national book awards. It will make a wonderful gift for anyone interested in treehouses, family, relationships, natural history, and dreaming big dreams.

Yes, this is shameless self-promotion, but don’t just take my word for it. Here is just a (small) sampling of the outstanding coverage this story has recieved:

  1. The story of this amazing treehouse and the book that tells it’s tale has been featured in over 30 newspapers across the US including USA Today, the the Boston Globe, the Dallas Morning News, and the St. Petersburg Times.
  2. The treehouse has been featured on local TV as well as on the Home & Garden cable channel, on the Hallmark channel, and on New Hampshire Public Radio.
  3. The book has been praised by dozens of reviewers including the chair of the National Outdoor Book awards, Garrison Keillor (of NPR’s Prairie Home Companion and Writer’s Almanac fame), Bill McKibben, author of the classic book The End of Nature, Judson Hale, Editor-In-Chief of Yankee Magazine, and Michael Collier, the director of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.
  4. The story has been told in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Maine Boats Homes & Harbors, Portland Monthly, and Accent Home & Garden.
  5. If you want even more, check out our endorsements and review pages.

And now for the fun part
(just click the embedded links)

Treehouse Chronicles
“The story of what happens when big people decide
to be kids again and they have tools and lumber.”

Read the introduction by Tedd Benson, renowned timberframe builder and author.
Read the opening essay.
Things didn’t always go smoothly; read about a couple of close calls.
This book is all about family; read about the author’s Mom.
Full of natural history essays; read about a brush with hurricane.
Read about a touching father and son moment (sort of).
A three-year lesson in problem-solving; read about a clever solution.

Hooked? If you would like to buy a signed copy of the book (personalized by the author), please visit Alternately, you can visit your favorite online bookseller, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

A hard frost 

It was 11 degrees this morning. The earth is setting up like concrete and I sleep a little better each night—with each new inch of frost the treehouse is tied more firmly to the ground.  I met a friend at a coffee shop this morning at 6:15 and as we walked out together he pulled up his collar and shuddered. “I haven’t hardened off yet,” he said. I like that.

This time of year each night gets darker and colder and the frost seeps deeper into the earth. In a few short weeks the ground will be clamped solid four feet down. I can’t wait.

In the meantime, I worry. November was wet, very wet, we nearly set a record for rain. Walking in my yard was like walking on a gigantic sponge. You could dig for clams in my yard, it was so wet. When the ground is this saturated, it has no strength, no holding power; the trees of my forest just stand there–floating more or less. And November means wind; usually the first big blows (50 mph+) of the year. And that means that I worry about the treehouse. Soggy ground, huge tree floating, enormous treehouse to catch the wind–a recipe for apprehension.

I hope it goes below zero and stays there for a week.

More than 50 people visited the treehouse over the Thanksgiving break and for an hour or so on Saturday there were 18 adults in the treehouse at the same time. This set the all-time record, at least in terms of sheer human tonnage (approaching 3000 pounds). Nothing moved, nothing creaked, the cables just hung there, taught as always. The decibel level was astonishing. At one point I stood up on a bench and began counting people on the first-floor deck (pointing dramatically and calling out the numbers). When I finished I made a terrified face and shouted, “quick, I need at least two people to move to this side of the tree!” A lady in the back shrieked. Several people rushed forward and panic seemed imminent. Then people began laughing and a guy threw a pine cone at me.

Two days later 15 junior high students and their chaperones showed up. The total weight was lower than the record day, but the number of questions (some of them very clever) was way up. The smart-aleck remark of the day came from one young man who, after hearing me rant about how much of a hassle it had been to work up in the air hanging from ropes, raised his hand and said, “Wouldn’t it have been much easier if you just built this thing on the ground?”

Later, another boy took me aside. “I had a treehouse once,” he said quietly. “Now it’s a ground house. ”

“Wind?” I asked.

“Wind,” he said.

And we just stood there with our hands in our pockets, nodding together, commiserating; two guys sharing a common trajedy: one that had already occurred, one that was inevitable.

 Treehouse Chronicles cover with stickers

Sales of the award-winning book that tells the tale of this treehouse have been creeping upward lately–no doubt from people discovering that this is by far one of the best holiday gifts ideas ever. If you would like to learn more or buy an autographed copy, please visit, or


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