Winterizing: the old dog houses

Today, I finally was able to get working on the old dog houses, getting them ready for winter! 🙂

The first thing on the list was to take off the tarp I’d put over them temporarily, and take down the rope I’d used to hold it up.

Since I was there anyway, I decided to do something about the fallen tree beside them. It’s too big to add to the chipping pile, so I just cut it into three and pulled the top of it out of the trees it had fallen on.

In the process, I noticed something.

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I have the best friends!

My husband had some packages to pick up in today’s mail, so I made a quick trip in to pick them up.

I was expecting 2, maybe 3, boxes.

There was 5! LOL The clerk helped me carry them to my van. 😀

When I got home, I was surprised to find my name on one of them.

A dear friend had sent me a surprise!

No more trying to keep the cats’ water from freezing with a light bulb! 😀

Of course, I had to set it up right away.

The cats were quick to show their appreciation.

It took Doom Guy a minute to realize there was water in the new bowl. The warm water I had put out this morning was already starting to freeze!

My husband had actually ordered one, too – in fact, it might be in one of the other boxes I picked up! So we’ll have two. 🙂

I have the best friends!

The Re-Farmer

Winterizing: wood for the fire pit

I had some daylight left, so I decided to see how far I could get on another thing on my to-do list before winter.

Some clean up of the pile of larger wood, by the fire pit.

We may not have been able to use the fire pit over the summer, due to fire bans and unsafe conditions, but we should be able to use it in the winter. 🙂

Among the dead trees I cut down, leaving tall stumps until I can come back with a chain saw, there are three spruce stumps that form a triangle.

I decided to take advantage of that.

My reciprocating saw got quite a workout today! I was able to cut to fire pit size, and move the enter pile of larger wood, and even get some larger pieces in the “kindling” pile!

The disturbed area by the tree with the tire around its base is where the pile was.

The tall stumps worked well to keep the stacked wood in place. We can also use them when we put a tarp over the wood. We can even nail it in place, so the wind won’t blow it away.

Yeah, we plan to get cheap tarps. Actually, there is at least one I saw in the barn that we can dig out and see if it is still usable.

Another job I can mark off the to-do list! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Winterizing progress: moving the trailer

We got a slightly warmer day today – a whole 8C – that I took advantage of to work outside. I was able to rake up some grass clippings in front of the barn – the grass there gets so dense, it’s hard for the mower to handle, and if the clippings get left behind, I find they make it even harder – and add it to the old kitchen garden.

Since I was out there, anyhow, I decided to see if I could move the trailer frame into the barn for the winter.

How to get it there was the question.

The trailer is too wide to go through the side door of the barn, that accesses the old hay yard. To get to the back door, it needed to be pulled through the remains of an old corral.

There were only two possible places I could get it through, on the north side of the old corral.

You see that big, collapsed fence post in the picture on the left? I figured I could just move that aside, and I could roll it over the rails – including what appears to be metal balcony or stair rails (I am finding these absolutely everywhere!). When I tried to pick it up, however, everything started to lift with it. It’s all still attached to the post!

On the edge of the photo, you can see a fence post that is still standing. The photo on the right is the other side of the post.

There is a “floating” fence rail, and the ground is incredibly rutted. Plus, there are a bunch of big rocks.

Neither opening was very good, but the one closer to the barn was slightly better – if I could get around that big post.

Once I got through there, it would be smooth sailing. I had an open space on the opposite side of the old corral.

After that, it was just a matter of getting it into the barn.

For some strange reason, I forgot that there were double doors in the back of the barn. I don’t remember ever, in my entire life, seeing both sides open before.

The cats were very interested in me clearing space for the trailer, and making sure there was no glass or nails on the floor.

The next thing was, how to pull it. There is a security chain at the hitch end, but it is short. Since its got only 2 wheels, if I lifted the front too high, the back hit the ground. If I didn’t lift it that high, however, I found myself hunched over, and at risk of injuring my back.

Into the barn I went and looked around. I found a couple of lengths of chain, one of which had a hook on it.

It was perfect!

The trailer also just made it through the space, with a bit of shifting around.

That tire by the fence post that’s still standing is actually in a deep rut.

It was awkward, but it worked!

The cats really like this thing.

It’s in!

It can now safely stay here, out of the elements, until we are in a position to put some plywood on it as a base.

Who knows. We might even *gasp* put some walls on it, too! 😀

Another thing off the to-do list for before winter!

Oh, and while I was clearing the space it would go in, I found something for the “strange things we find” list.

I’d found a couple at the start, and by the time I dragged the trailer in, I disturbed things enough that 3 more were uncovered.

Yeah. Those are .22 shell casings.

No, we don’t have a .22 My dad’s guns are among the things that went away when the place was empty, though I’m 99.9% sure I know who has them.

My guess is, someone was shooting through the open top of the split door, then just didn’t pick up after themselves. What they would be shooting at from here with just a .22, I have no idea.

Well, now that we’re here to take care of the place, we don’t have to worry about anyone doing stuff like that anymore.

The Re-Farmer

More winterizing

We got one more area done for the winter today.

The old basement window.

We take advantage of the shelter over this window as a place to put the outside cat food containers, out of the rain. It isn’t much shelter, but it at least keeps their food mostly dry.

One of my plans for this summer was to dig up the dirt under the overhang and line it with bricks.

I noticed, however, there was thick plastic at the window, so I took advantage of having a daughter to hold the “roof” up and dug out the dirt to see just how far the plastic extended.

It turns out, there is no need to brick the area.

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Clean up: no more pile of stuff!

We were able to use all the chimney inserts that were piled behind the house, and even the last chimney block, while winterizing around the house. That meant I could finally clean up that area once and for all!

This area has taken me two years to clean up.

Here is what it was like when I first started working on it, back in May of last year.

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Winterizing – and a blast from the past

Today, things warmed up and got rather pleasant out there, so I took advantage of it to do the annual winterization around the house.

The situation was quite different, last year!

I was amused to look back at old posts and find we put the insulation around the house exactly a year ago today!

Just in time for the weather to turn. Raining ice pellets? I’d forgotten about that!

By the end of the day, we had tree damage and the power had gone out, and I was going around knocking ice off what I could reach, to prevent more damage.

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Prepping the old dog houses

Yesterday, after picking the crab apples, I had time to start working on the old dog houses, as part of our winterization plans for them. We were getting severe thunderstorm alerts and, looking at the weather radar, it looked like these ones were not going to miss us, so we rushed to get a bunch of things done outside. The girls put the sheets of metal roofing back on the old garden shed that had blown off from the last storm, but there was no way to nail them in place, so they strapped them down, instead. Then they helped me move aside the dog houses, so I could work on the space under them.

The main issue was that the ground is not level, resulting in one of the dog houses tending to rock back and forth.

This was part of why that was happening.

Nothing like a big ol’ tree root to mess things up!

To try and level it, I first used a garden fork to dig things up and loosen the soil. After that, I used a garden rake to try and level the area as much as I could.

Which the kittens absolutely loved.

I then put the sheets of Styrofoam insulation back, but lay them out differently this time, after noting some issues from how we had it before.

I happened to have a sheet of dollar store tarp in the garage, so I used it to basically hold the 4 sheets of insulation together – and I hope it will serve to protect it a bit from the cats, who like to use the foam to sharpen their claws! LOL

Then I snagged a daughter to help me move the dog houses back again.

The kittens love it!

I have a couple more sheets of insulation that I plan to slide under the dog houses, so the kittens aren’t going to be able to play under there for much longer. 😀 Later, when we get a straw bale to cover our septic tank, I plan to add start around the dog houses. We are also looking at ways to use the sheets of black tarp that I cleared from the old wood pile to further shelter and winterize these for the cats.

Not long after this was done, we did get hit with a pretty wild thunderstorm. We promptly lost our internet, and even the power flickered off and on several times, though we never lost it completely. I later saw photos taken in town, where there was some flooding in the streets.

Looking at the long range forecasts, we might get storms throughout tomorrow and into early the next morning, before things clear up. We’ve had enough rain that I might actually have to mow the lawn one more time before putting the mower away for the winter!

The Re-Farmer