Today, I finally was able to get working on the old dog houses, getting them ready for winter! 🙂
The first thing on the list was to take off the tarp I’d put over them temporarily, and take down the rope I’d used to hold it up.
Since I was there anyway, I decided to do something about the fallen tree beside them. It’s too big to add to the chipping pile, so I just cut it into three and pulled the top of it out of the trees it had fallen on.
In the process, I noticed something.
Was that a newly fallen tree back there?
I don’t know if it came down during the blizzard last month, but from the looks of it, it either came down then, or shortly after.
The only reason I don’t think it came down during the storm is because the winds were coming from the north. The other dead spruce that came down during the storm fell towards the south because of that. This section broke off the main trunk and fell the opposite way.
It will be good when I can get into this area and clear all the dead wood away!
Until then, it’s not in the way of anything, so there is no rush. My brain still jumps to “fire hazard” every time I look at the area, even though it’s less of a risk here than, say, the overgrown grass in the outer yard.
Once the dog houses were cleared, I grabbed a wheelbarrow load of straw. As outer layers of the straw fell off the bale, knocking over the wheelbarrow, some of it fell into the wheelbarrow, so I just used my hands to fill it, leaving the fork where it was.
I came back to this.
The fork still being stuck in the ground (it turned out to be frozen in place!) and my filling the wheelbarrow created a little hidey-hole that Creamsicle was curled up in! As I was digging out my phone to take pictures, there was a rush of cats coming over to join him! You can see three of them here, and a fourth dove in, moments later, and they began chasing each other in the straw.
They are so much fun to watch!
But, I had work to do!
The first thing I needed to do was stuff straw in between the two dog houses, then start building straw up around the sides and backs.
Potato Beetle was very curious about the whole thing!
After building straw up the sides, I also covered the roofs. The smaller dog house has scraps of metal roofing loosely placed, to protect what’s left of the original roof, that keep sliding off, so I took the remains of a gate found while clearing the old wood pile and used that to shore it up.
I also made sure the ground in front of the entrances has straw (the doghouses themselves already have straw in them) to keep little paws warm as they go in and out.
As cats were doing while I worked. 🙂
I added a couple more salvaged fence posts across the top, for a little extra stability. After taking this picture, I twisted the last salvaged fence post around the rope on the south side, to keep it from sagging under the weight of the tarp.
The last thing was to put the tarp back on.
Which turned out to be more difficult than I expected.
I deliberately put the rope back higher than before, because it sagged so much when I had the tarp on temporarily. Unfortunately, that meant the tarp didn’t cover it the same as before!
But I managed.
The most important part was to have it enclosed on the north side, because of the way the winds from the north get funneled between the spruce grove and the house.
I’m hoping that metal bar, plus wiring the edges together at the tree on the left, will be enough to hold this side in place. The only real issue I expect here will be the winds from the north blowing things out of position. The entrance to the smaller doghouse should have adequate shelter.
I did end up pegging the corner on the left down, after this photo was taken.
There we have it! Two dog houses, insulated and covered for the winter. The black of the tarp should absorb some warmth on sunny days, too. With the entrances facing in opposite directions, I hope that critters that would normally stay away from each other, or start fighting, will be able to use them and not even see each other. 🙂 While I expect these to be used by the cats, I would not be surprised if it’s also used by the skunks, too. Or raccoons. Maybe even grouse. Heck, even a deer could tuck under the tarp and curl up in the straw, if it was desperate.
Another job off the to-do list to finish before winter! 🙂