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About the Author

Dan Ellens
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Author Info

Dan Ellens is an outdoor enthusiast who spends about 200 days a year living in his hand-built off-grid treehouse in the Michigan forest, with oil lamps, woodstove heat, and hand pumped water. He is retired from a full career in industry and international business, and currently promotes restoration of natural and agricultural land, self-reliant lifestyles, and outward-bound activities. His lifelong hobbies include woodworking, drawing, reading, outdoor recreation, and travel.

While Ellens lived in Germany as a child, and India as an adult, he has always called Michigan home. His extensive travels, which have encompassed much of the world, provide a broad range of cultural, historical, and geographic context to his life and writings. 

Books authored by Ellens include Turning Ten - Great Adventures in the Great Lakes, A Time for India, Building the Bunkee - A Photo Anthology of Custom Log Cabin Construction, and Treehouse Letters – The Unabridged Michigan Forest Life Journal.

Dan Ellens is a graduate of Calvin University, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. His education continued with studies in Business Administration at Cleary University (BBA), and Michigan State University (MBA).

Dan Ellens can be contacted at: dellens1957@gmail.com



Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a hand-built treehouse in the forest, without electricity, with oil lamp lighting, woodstove heat, and hand pumped water?  Since 2006, I have spent more than 2000 days, off and on, doing just that.  Let me share another book with you, “Treehouse Letters – The Unabridged Michigan Forest Life Journal”, which chronicles my treehouse forest life experience from the fall of 2018 through the summer of 2020.

The hardcover book, nearly 700 pages, is loaded with color photographs, information about forest conditions, Michigan seasonal change, treehouse design, animal behavior, backwoods cooking, maple syrup production, and log cabin construction. It provides thoughts on forest conservation, self-sufficient lifestyles, off-grid living, and human nature.

“Treehouse Letters” weaves a tale about how a tranquil, self-reliant life with nature can fit into today’s busy civilized world. One day at a time, the book will connect you with a comforting Zen of the Michigan forest. Be inspired!

What People are saying about Treehouse Letters

  • Life in the Forest. A collection of letters and pictures sent to friends and family over many months, this is a profoundly thoughtful book about making and seeing. The author describes his journey building a beautiful treehouse cottage and log cabin in the deep woods of Michigan. He also gives us glimpses into the splendor of time spent plugged into the breathing, moving, teeming life of the forest. It will make you think about how we spend our time, and what we miss when we absent ourselves from nature.  Amazon 5-Star Rating.
  • Excellent read. This book, with all the wonderful photos, tells the story of the beautiful Michigan woods, about its enchantment and abundant life. With a constant streak of cleverness, ingenuity and persistence, the author gives a detailed journal of his days spent building a treehouse and accompanying bunkee cabin for his family. What I really enjoyed, beyond the charm, were the daily stories of living in the wilderness while crafting ways to be comfortable and cozy, and respectful of nature. This book is for any outdoor enthusiast, engineer, hunter, craftsman, architect, nature lover and more. This is a large book with many photos, and I keep mine out on my coffee table.   Amazon 5-Star Rating
  • What a story. The use of letters to tell a story is such a great idea and used so well in this book. Amazon 5-Star Rating.
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