Winterizing: sun room and cat shelter

It warmed up a little bit today, so we got to work on winterizing the sun room. When that was done, I was even able to modify the shelf we have outside the sun room into a cat shelter.

What a job it was, too!!

The first order of business was to empty enough of the sun room to access the windows – and clean the floor as much as we could of the “presents” our visiting skunk has been leaving us.

Some stuff went into the Old Kitchen, but most of it went outside.

One of the things that had to go completely was my tool dresser.

I’d already removed one of the drawers completely, but could not open the other two. With my daughter’s help, we got the middle one out fairly easily, but the top one just wouldn’t happen. We ended up having to tip the whole thing backwards so we could apply pressure to the bottom of the drawer and get it past a certain point, when we could finally pull it the rest of the way out.

This is why.

Moisture had gotten into the drawers in a few places, and they are badly damaged. We moved all the tools out, but this shelf is not going back.

Here is how the sun room looked before we started working on the insulation.

We spent the next while taking measurements and cutting sheets of insulation to size.

Which took some creativity.

It turns out there wasn’t a plumb line anywhere!

In some places, we had to shave bits off to make them fit, while in others we had to wedge in small pieces to fill in the gap. The window to the right in the above photo had extra issues. The inner pane of the window is gone, and there are still little bits of glass stuck in the frame, sticking out just enough to keep things from laying flush against the wood. Or as flush as possible. There was up to half an inch difference in different areas – sometimes in the middle!

Once the windows were done, my daughter and I moved a shelf out of the Old Kitchen to replace my tool dresser.

That… was not pleasant.

It had stuff in it. Mostly glass jars, but also some cast iron items. I’ll have to get photos of them later. There was an old box of granular fertilizer. The box was damp. I don’t want to know why the box was damp. There was a plastic container that I tried to move out and the plastic disintegrated in my hands, dumping what turned out to be nails all over the floor.

I’ll have to come back to clean that up during the day. For now, I’ve had to leave it where it fell. šŸ˜¦

The shelf also turned out to be partly metal, so even when we managed to empty it, it was still unexpectedly heavy.

Still, we got it in position and, now that we know that water on the floor can be an issue, it’s up on bricks.

Once that was in position, everything else could go back inside. This is how it looks now.

Of course, it’s now really dark in there, but that’s okay. The doors will be kept propped open, so the cats can go into daylight any time they want.

I then used scrap pieces of insulation and a tarp to create a shelter out of the shelf outside – which I also raised up on bricks to keep the wood out of the snow.

The stuff on the bottom two levels of the shelf got crammed into the top, and then I added sheets of insulation. The winds come around the house on the far side, so creating a tarp wall on that side was the main protection. I used a staple gun to affix the tarp. I salvaged two of the broken dresser drawers to help support the sheet of insulation that’s being used as another wall; I’m not sure how well that’ll stay without being fastened in place, but if it doesn’t, we can deal with that later. Scraps of insulation went onto the bottoms of the drawers, too – along with some cat toys. šŸ™‚

The food bowls that were kept under the little “roof” over the window to the basement have been moved into the new shelter. It’ll be easier to reach them here.

The one thing that made the whole job harder than I expected was the rose bush. Parts of it lean under the rail, towards the shelf. I figured I’d just use a broom handle to move them out of there, so I could position the tarp. That rose bush did NOT want to be moved! This variety of roses is covered with masses of thorns, so it all had to be done quite gingerly, too. šŸ™‚

As you can see by the picture, that cats are already investigating the new shelter. Depending on how things go, we might modify it a bit, but for now, it’s an experiment.

Two more items we can cross of the to-do before winter, list! I’m not counting moving the dresser – without any drawers – to the garage. It’ll just be a surface to work on, as needed, but eventually, this dresser is going to end up on the junk pile, where the most damaged drawer already is.

Unfortunately, “reorganize the Old Kitchen” has now been added to the to-do list, so it was two steps forward, one step back, this time!

Well, I was needing incentive to work on the Old Kitchen, anyway. šŸ˜‰

It should be interesting to see how much of a difference adding the insulation to the sun room windows will make.

The Re-Farmer

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