A wonderful surprise!

I know I’ve said this before. I’ll probably say it many more times.

I have the best brother!

He and his wife are just amazing. Yesterday, we had a wonderful surprise from them. I got a message from my SIL that my brother would be coming over with their old dog house, for us to use as a cat shelter!

They have always had large dogs. When their last one passed away, they decided not to get another dog. With a new grand child in another province, and prospects of retirement and selling the property in the future, it just wasn’t something they wanted to do.

This left them with a large dog house in their yard that wasn’t being used.

And they know we’ve been using the sun room to provide shelter for the cats over the winter, leaving the doors propped open slightly.

What they didn’t know is that we were looking into building a larger shelter with a roof that could be lifted up, for easy access and cleaning.

Their dog house not only has such a roof, but it’s wired for electricity!

My brother, saint that he is, ended up taking several hours not only to move the heavy shelter (using tools like a come-along, and good old physics!) onto their trailer – something my SIL could not help with at all, having had surgery not long ago – but to replace part of the roof and paint it, too!

Just look at this thing!

He even brought the pallets that were under it.

With three of us working together, we got it unloaded and set up in only a couple of hours. We had to set up a fence post, at an almost 45 degree angle, to have something to attach a chain for the come-along to. The shelter itself is on top of a skid. Once that reached the edge of the trailer, my brother and I levered up the ends of the skid to go over the lip and clear the board he’d put on the ramps. The ramps were designed for wheels, with recesses in the middle to prevent them from going sideways. The skid would have fallen right into those, but he had boards wide enough to fit right in there.

The chain for the come-along had to be adjusted a couple of times before the shelter was at the end of the ramps, but at that point, the fence post was now in the way. My brother unhitched the truck from the trailer and, while I removed the post, drove the truck around to the other side and used it to pull the shelter off the rest of the way. He then had to move the trailer out, back the truck up to where the trailer was, then haul the shelter to where we had decided it should go.

Which is pretty much where one of the old doghouses, now set up near the outhouse, used to be!

There were three possible places we could put the shelter, and have easy access to an outlet. There’s the outlet on the side of the house, but with the fancy lilacs and cherry trees right there, that wasn’t really an option. We could have put it near the back of the garage, but it gets very wet there when the snow melts. So that brought us to the spot in front of the sun room. We should be able to run a cord through, and still close the doors, in the winter.

Check it out!

You can see an outlet that the light it plugged into. The light has a pool-grade cover over it, so nothing it getting at that bulb. It’s a 100 watt bulb, so it will also provide a bit of warmth. There is a second outlet just on the other side of where the cord goes through the wall. They had had a pet safe warming blanket plugged into there. My brother tested them out before bringing it over, and it all works. We will be able to plug in the heated water bowl in there. It has a long enough cord to be plugged in and still be outside.

The main part of the doghouse turned out to be too small for when they had two dogs, so my brother added the “porch” at the end – which now has a fresh new roof. The flax inside was still clean, so they left that.

Though my brother brought the pallets it was on, I wanted it on bricks. I’ve cleaned up way too many rotten pallets to go with wood directly on the ground again! And we just happened to have a stack of bricks I’d cleaned up from various places that we could use.

We will continue to add bricks for both support, and to level the shelter more. You can see the patch of dirt where the previous doghouse had been sitting. We went further out, where the ground was more level, but it’s still not flat.

Do you see that beam sticking out, with the decorative cut at the end?

The roof of this is very heavy, and my brother had included this with the thought to add a counter weight, or maybe a spring – anything to make it easier to open the roof up. He never got around to adding anything, though. It’s something we might do. Or not. We’ll see.

With the skid under the main body of the doghouse, the “porch” just sort of floats above ground. The top is starting to pull away from the main section, though – despite the many deck screws holding it in place! – so I intend to add bricks to support that, too.

There are two layers of shredded carpet over the opening to keep the weather out, while still letting critters in.

The skid is starting to look kinda rotten, even though it had always been on top of pallets, not directly on the ground, and I find myself looking at it and thinking…

Is that about the same size as the long frames we made for the goat catcher? If I cut the ends at an angle, one of those would make a very strong replacement skid!

Switching those out would be a huge job, but it would be worth it.

Aside from little things like that, and some minor repairs to old wood, we are now set for a winter shelter for the yard cats! One with warmth and light.

I hope the cats enjoy it!

On a completely different note, while going around and deciding where best to put the shelter, I decided to dig out the hose attachments and fertilizer and give our garden beds a good feeding. I was moving the hose at the front of the house, so I could reach the carrots and beets, when I suddenly lost water.

The hose end snapped off, right at the tap!

I hadn’t even pulled on it. The hose was just moving. It’s designed to rotate freely, and you can see the piece that was there to keep it from bending.

I bought this hose last fall. It’s less than a year old, and has seen hardly any use!

The more inconvenient part, though, is that the tap at the front of the house needs a new seal. We can’t turn it off, because it just sprays at the tap. Which meant that, when I discovered what happened, there was water flowing at full pressure right at the house, and while shutting the tap off did slow it a bit, I still had to yell for a daughter to dash into the basement and shut the water off from there. Thankfully, the pipes to the outside taps do have their own shut off valves, unlike the pipes supplying water inside the house.

A couple more things to add to the fix-it list!

For now, however, it’s time to shut down the computer. I’m seeing thunderstorm warnings flashing on my task bar! I expect the storms to miss us again, but we’ll likely loose internet, and possibly get power flickers, too.

That, and my daughters are taking me into town to pick up Chinese food for my birthday. They are so sweet! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

5 thoughts on “A wonderful surprise!

    • It has been empty long enough, the dog smells should be mostly gone. I think they will put up with it, to get out of the elements!

      As for the hose, no kidding! And that was a heavy duty one. It’s supposed to be able to handle a lot!

      Of course, I don’t have any of the original packaging to see if it has any sort of life time guarantee, like my long handled pruning shears.

      Liked by 1 person

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