Cold progress

Well, today has turned out to be a pretty miserable day, weather wise. It’s 9C/48F right now – as warm as we’re going to get today – but the “feels like” is at 6C/44F. After the heat we’ve had in the last while, this is sweater weather. A few weeks ago, it would have been t-shirt weather! 😄

There was some wind, but the direction changed, so I felt I could bring the transplants out for a few hours. They need to get used to the chill, too, before getting in the ground.

I had intended to take down some trees to use to build our trellis tunnel, and was planning to haul out the electric chainsaw and an extension cord. We do have a power outlet on the fence along the road that I could hook up to. There was, however, a constant threat of rain. The trees I singled out are not very large, but straight and tall. I could take them down with hand saws, but I really wasn’t up to that.

So, I worked to solve a problem, instead.

This one.

This is the bed the shallots were transplanted into.

Which the cats promptly started to lie on.

I put the largest of the old window screens we use for things like curing onions, etc. in the fall to cover it. It’s not quite bit enough, and I kept having to put it at more of an angle because, of course, the cats still went on top of it. Sometimes, I’d find one corner pressed down inside the bed. No damage to the shallots, but that’s just been luck, so far.

So this bed needs protection from the cats, with a decent amount of height to it. I rifled through some material we used to make covers for the long, low raised beds in the main garden area for wood. Those frames had started to break apart over the winter, but I was able to take them apart, and some of the wood was still useable. I brought over three lengths, which you can see in the background of the photo.

This bed is 4′ x 2′ in size, and the boards I brought over were 8′ long, so I was able to cut one in half for the sides of a frame, choosing the board with the least damage. From a second board, I was able to cut the end pieces, which are 2′, minus the thickness of two boards. Nothing is exact, so after marking 2′, I used the edges of the boards to mark of the actual length needed.

This would have been a good day to use the miter saw I got at the garage sale awhile back, but I would have had to bring it outside to use it, and I didn’t want to risk it getting rained on.

I took progress photos and will probably make a video of the process when it’s done, but I had to stop before it was finished. This is what it looks like, now.

The chicken wire and hula hoop pieces were salvaged from the old frames. You can also see that I used small pieces of wood to reinforce the corners, using 3″ long pieces of wood. I had planned to just nail them in place, but didn’t have good nails for it (I’ve never seen the tip of a nail bend like that before… 😲), so I had to use screws for those, too. I did break out the drill to make pilot holes. Thankfully, the rain held off while I was using it.

Gooby really wanted attention while I was working. Not good when using cutting implements or power tools!

To finish it off, I need to add chicken wire to the ends, plus add a support across the top – because you just know that a cat will try to climb or jump on it! I’m still debating whether I want to add a third hoop in the middle. For such a small frame I normally wouldn’t bother, but with the cats… it might just be worth it.

I had to stop because it finally started to rain too much to stay out in it. I had already brought the transplants back into the sun room.

What I’ve done here is basically a miniature version of what I want to build for the box beds the carrots and spinach are planted in, so in a way, this is a test run. Doing the ends is going to be a finicky, to work around the curves. Chicken wire is nice and flexible, at least.

So for now, the shallots are still not really protected, since the cats can just walk right through the open ends, but with the weather the way it is right now, I think they’re more likely to be hiding out in various warm shelters. This is the coldest it’s been outside since they were kicked out of the sun room, so we could use it as a greenhouse.

I don’t know how long this cover will last, but I used the least damaged wood and made sure to reinforce the frame at the corners. Given the small size, it has a pretty good chance of lasting a few years, I think.

The one last thing I’ll need to figure out is the best way to secure it to the frame. I don’t need to latch it or anything like that. I just need to make sure it doesn’t get pushed off. I had considered making the frame sized to fit inside the logs, but with their uneven surfaces and dimensions, I decided against that. Plus, having contact with the soil will make the wood rot faster, and it’s old and weathered enough as it is. I might take advantage of those corner braces and make “legs” that extend down the outside of the bed, so that if something does push against it, it won’t move more than a little bit.

But that can wait until later. For now, it really needs those ends closed off!

The Re-Farmer


2 thoughts on “Cold progress

  1. When you are curing the onions on the screens, are you just lying the screens flat on a table? I was thinking to do the same, but then wondered if that would allow enough circulation. But then, can’t really set the screen up with blocks underneath or something, b/c the onions would be too heavy and rip the screen, no? Pulling ours out now, setting them on a huge piece of horse panel, but it takes up so much room, thought screens would be more compact and easier to move around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had boards under the frames to lift them higher. These are metal mesh screens and very durable. I have no idea what they were salvaged from.

      You’re pulling onions now? Really? We still have 3 varieties waiting to be planted!!

      Liked by 1 person

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