Photos by Kurt A. Keeler
INTO THE WOODS
The artist, the artful gardener and their magical woodland retreat.
By Chris Christen
Inspired Home Omaha Editor
Once upon a time in the land of Blair, an artist and his artful gardener wife built a homey cottage in a glen at the edge of a magical forest.
All summer long for several years strong, the artful gardener worked the soil and tended her hostas, hemlocks, bleeding hearts and hundreds more until they grew full and lush along her winding woodchip paths.
Meanwhile, the artist fashioned trellises from cedar poles and branches, cast birds in bronze and pondered his dream of a storybook clubhouse at the edge of an emerald green ravine.
One day, the artist fixed his gaze on a patio lantern. He thought of the musical “Brigadoon” and knew his plan. “There's a terribly gushy, romantic side of me,” the artist, Milt Heinrich, reveals.
And so the artist, with his oldest grandson by his side, toiled with hammer, nails, saw and trusty level until they had built the most enchanting clubhouse that Milt, his artful wife, Jane, and their seven precious grandchildren could have possibly imagined.
Cleverly perched on a platform with one corner touching grade and the opposite side resting on 12-foot posts, the clubhouse feels more like a tree house dangling over the ravine.
Here, spirits soar.
“Papa” and “Mimi's” grandkids, who range in age from 3 to 14, have the best time here on weekend “spendovers.''
Goosebumps and giggles are guaranteed, along with silly card games, Mimi's sandwiches and chocolate milk and Barred Owls in the cottonwood trees.
Relaxation and contemplation are enjoyed here, too.
“Discovery,” Milt says. “That's the reason for all of this.”
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