Some evening activities

After the onions were harvested, and my daughter no longer needed help with her build, I headed over to the platform bed frame the girls have been slowly getting painted. The top, where the litter boxes will be sitting, got several coats of paint. They’ve been working on the under side. It’s the legs that need the extra coats of paint, now that we know the newer basement floor can get water seeping in, despite the weeping tile.

There was just one last coat of paint to add to the leg ends, plus around the edges. The platform is upside down on the picnic table, so I went to put a couple of bricks under it, to elevate it enough to paint the edges, and not the picnic table.

As I came around the back, I found this.

Well, so much for my trying not to get red paint on the blue picnic table when I was painting the bench I made!

The platform now has its final coat of paint, though. We’ll be able to bring it back into the house and into the basement any time after tonight.

Meanwhile, my daughter got some good progress on the water bowl shelter today.

As you can see, it’s already kitten approved!

She worked on this without any detailed plan; just a general idea of the build, adapted to what materials were available. I found the scrap piece of half inch plywood in the barn, so that became the size of the shelter.

The smaller cross pieces at the bottom, inside the uprights, will be the supports for the floor. Another cross piece will be added for extra support. We might have some scraps in the barn that will work. With the floor lower that the top of the cross piece in the front, there will be a lip to prevent the bowls from being casually knocked out. When we built the kibble house, one of the first problems we discovered was that the skunks would pull the kibble trays right off, scattering kibble all over the ground and making an awful lot of noise. Putting a board across the front solved that problem. My daughter made sure that would not be an issue this time!

Once a floor is figured out, it will need walls on three sides. We have more of the wider boards across the front and back. They are pretty rotten on the ends, but they are also longer than needed. Most likely, the shelter will be flipped onto its roof, then boards added across the back with the rotten ends sticking out. Once they are secured, we can simply saw the ends off along the vertical support, then do the same thing on the sides. It doesn’t need to be perfectly seals. It just need to keep the snow out.

This should fit rather well beside the kibble house. The cats’ house, the kibble house and this water shelter, will together form a sort of U shape. The heated water bowl is plugged into an outlet inside the cats’ house, which has its own extension cord that is more than long enough to reach. So even if the regular water bowls freeze, they will still have at least one bowl of liquid water available.

We painted the kibble house a bright yellow, but we no longer have any of that paint left. I’ll have to pick up some more, probably next month. The kibble house could use a touch up, too. Plus, if we dig up the shingles we found in some sheds, we could do both roofs, too.

Yeah. We’re sucks when it comes to the cats.

Speaking of shingles and roofs…

This is a section of roof on the house that caught my attention today.

You can see a loose shingle has started to slide down. This is a very steep roof, but at least it’s low enough that it can be patched from a ladder. This section of roof forms the angled walls of the second floor. Both sides used to be like this, but my dad had one side raised into a low slope roof to make more room in the second floor. Unfortunately, that low slope is why there is now water leaking in through one of the second floor windows.

That brick chimney is for the wood furnace we can no longer use. When the new roof is done, that chimney will be removed completely. It needed to be redone since my parents bought the place. That’s what the chimney blocks I’m now using as planters and retaining walls were for! It just never got done, and now it never will.

This is the only section of roof that is north facing. Ice and snow remains here the longest, and you can really tell. All of the shingles are lifting. It’s worse now than it was even in the spring! This is over the attic above the old kitchen – an attic no one goes into, as the entrance is difficult to get at, so the girls have simply blocked it off with furniture.

The chimney here is to the old wood cookstove in the old kitchen. The stove can no longer be used. Not only is it unsafe, being so close to the wall with no heat shield (how did we never burn the house down when I was a kid???), but the fire box is badly damaged, and the door to the oven is broken off. Some day, however, we may be able to replace it with another cookstove, with a proper heat shield and protective flooring. If nothing else, it would be good to have something like that as an emergency back up if we lose electricity. We certainly have the option to cook outside, but if we lose power in the winter, not only would we want to be cooking indoors, such a set up would also be a heat source.

Not that we could do that any time soon. Right now, the only reason my brother was able to get property insurance was by providing photographic proof that all wood burning stoves – including the ones in the storage shed, installed back when it was a work shop – and the wood burning furnace were disabled. Without that, the cost of insurance would have been much, much higher, for things that can’t even be used. We’ll probably have our outdoor kitchen built long before we’re in a position to remove the old wood cookstove and replace it with something else.

The main thing for now it, getting a new roof.

I really hope my mother isn’t just yanking my brother’s chain again, and will actually follow through. I’m just praying that she’ll make good on her promise, and it can be done before winter. Not only because of how bad the roof is getting, but because it will probably save us money on our heating bills, too. Our equal payment plan has been reset to just over $330 per month. It used to be just under $300, but just this past month, our usage has been up 20% from last year. For January and February – our coldest months of the year – our actual usage in 2021 would have cost us almost $450 in January, and almost $600 in February. In 2022, our actual usage would have cost us almost $600 in January, and almost $450 in February – and March, too! Meanwhile, the upstairs gets freezing cold, even with their heaters. Then, in the summer, it gets so hot, their computers start to have problems. A few roof would help reduce those extremes and reduce the energy we use.

I’m afraid to hope my mother will follow through, though. I know once she sees how expensive it is now, she’s going to start backing off. I just hope my brother can persuade her how urgently it’s needed.

Well. We’ll see. The guy that came by today will send me his estimate tomorrow, and then we’ll see.

The Re-Farmer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s