A journey of 1,000 miles begins with just one step, and a stick den is no different. The first stick, which in this case I have indicated in the final photo above using the big red arrow, makes all the difference and in this case the first stick was an upright at the corner with a branch sticking out from it at just the right height for my purposes. This stick leant against one of the four trees that we chose to build around and the branch sticking out was used to support the second stick: a beam running to the second tree and against which not only the sticks forming that side wall and the roof would later be supported, but also the second of the beams going out to the third tree would be supported by it too. At first, this forms a highly rickety and precarious structure that one has to support while others pass you the parts you need (NO! Not that one dumbass, THAT one!) but as you build on more and more carefully-selected and even more carefully-placed sticks, all supported by the ones that have gone before, eventually the thing does begin to have some integrity. It can finally stand alone without ones constant assistance, even when the wind blows and the kids keep carelessly bumping against it and banging their fresh supplies of sticks into the thing. Pesky little critters. All the help you can take, as expected.
After a half hour or so of jolliness, scavenging and construction, the thing was finally plenty safe enough to sit inside and eat lunch. Not very exciting really — unless you're 7 or 8 years old, in which case it's the most exciting thing since ... well the last thing you did.
Anyway, once the kids were finally inside I had a thought and smiled to myself. Rather like the $IMFS being built atop the first "dollar", which formed the base of the system that has been pyramided onto ever since, the whole thing is at the end of the day all being held up by that first carefully-selected and even more carefully-placed stick at the corner. Without the critical support of that first stick, it would all come crashing down in a second onto these unsuspecting children, and I would piss my pants laughing from a safe position outside. Oh, the deep and plentiful joys of parenthood.
I hope nobody ever decides to kick the stick holding up the $IMFS, to see if it brings the whole house of cards down, just because they can from a safe position.
(Yes I could have, but no I didn't :) )