Doing the morning rounds is much more pleasant! We’re at a mild (relatively speaking) -15C/5F right now, though the wind chill of -21C/-6F made it a bit nippy. The wind was coming from the south, so it’s basically funnelling between outbuildings.

Not that it stopped the cats, any!

I counted a total of 17 this morning.

I’m happy to confirm – now that there so no longer frost on the windows – that the cats are using their house. Yesterday, I’d seen about five faces watching me from the main window. This morning, however, I saw something different in front of the window.

Something shiny.

It was the disposable aluminum pan that we had mounted above the fixture holding the heat bulb. The cats had somehow knocked it down!

I had been wondering for a while now, if the heat bulb was still working.

It is.

You can see that cats have been sitting on the warm spot above it!

That spot is there, even with the heat shield in place. At least it is, if it isn’t so cold out, the bulb can’t make a difference to the outside.

I am not too concerned about the shield being down; it was more an extra layer of protection, and to reflect heat back downwards to the cats. Like the smoke detector we also installed in there, it’s more just that one extra “just in case” bit. The bulb itself has a limited heat range, and the fixture has a steel “cage” to protect the bulb itself. The girls and I will still go out and fix it. In the summer, I could do it myself, thanks to the counterweight making it easier to lift the roof, and keeping it from dropping down again. This time of year, it’s a 3 person job; two to carefully lift the roof and hold it open, since the snow prevents it from being opened completely, and one to climb in and put the shield back.

Until then, it remains unshielded.

In the summer, we’re going to have to give this a thorough check and repair. It’s getting old, and when we lift the heavy roof, I can feel it twisting and cracking. The down side of the heat bulb is, it’s very dry in there, and I found the wood of the frame, at one of the roof hinges, has already split. It’s been screwed together again, but that was just a stop gap measure until we can work on it later. Once we do as many repairs as we can, I want to at least give it a new paint job on the outside. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to replace the shingles. They’re getting a bit beat up and worn out.

I’m so thankful to my brother for giving us their old dog house. He really went all out, with all the windows, as “porch”, the power outlets inside, the light fixture, and so on. The cats just love it, and it may well have saved a few lives. Farm cats tend to have short life spans, but at least we can keep the cold from getting them!

The Re-Farmer

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