Progress on the old kitchen garden bed and water bowl shelter

To continue working on the low raised bed in the old kitchen garden, I couldn’t use the mini chainsaw any more – the batteries just don’t last long enough for a job like this.

It was time to break out the electric chain saw. It’s very handy. The only problem is that I was moving around so much to reach the corners, the extension cord was in the way.

It still made the job much easier and faster. There was one log that was so bumpy, I spent more time trying to smooth it out than all the rest of the work put together!

You can see in the background that the kittens had been playing in the soil on the tarp, spreading it out quite a bit!

The whole thing wasn’t very stable, though. Something needed to be done to stabilize it, so it wouldn’t fall apart when the soil was added.

I decided to sacrifice some of the plastic coated metal stakes that I’d used to hold hoops supporting netting over the spinach bed.

I used an auger bit to drill holes into each corner of the bed, then hammered in a length. A couple had to have excess length broken off, but I think the other two actually went all the way through and into the ground below.

This made the whole thing quite sturdy. Now I could start filling.

On top of the wood chips I’d added earlier, I added some of the contents of our compost pile. Vegetation, apple pieces from straining the apple cider vinegar, coffee grounds, and even a few eggshells went in.

Next was a layer of dry grass clippings. One of the logs at the end had a fair bit of space under it, so I stuffed it with some grass clippings, too. Then it all got a thorough soaking before the soil was returned.

Once the bed was full, soil was added around three side of it, to fill in the gaps left from digging out a larger hole than the bed itself.

Which, of course, a kitten promptly tried to use as a litter box!

Finally, some grass clippings were added to mulch the top, and it got another thorough watering. I was also able to clear off the stepping stones at each end.

This bed is now done, and ready for planting next year.

My next job will be to try and weed along the whole side of this garden, before we start figuring out the low wall we want to edge it with (my daughter wants to use rocks – we have lots of those!) and top it up with some of the leftover sifted soil. The next bed I want to work on, though, is the L shaped bed that goes around the double lilac. Even if it only gets a supporting wall on the inside of the L shape, that will help. Trying to work about that lilac bush is a pain, and there are so things trying to grow into the space from there. We’d already tried to remove so many roots over the past couple of years, but it’s just getting worse! As with this bed, the L shaped bed will be only 2 feet wide, except possibly the tip of the short part of the L shape, where it can be accessed from three sides and is already wider than the rest of the bed.

Little by little, this garden will eventually have all walled, low to middle height raised beds. I was wanting to make this our kitchen garden, with things like herbs and salad vegetables that get used the most often over the summer, in here. My younger daughter wants to make it into a flower garden. Considering most herbs have lovely flowers, I’m sure we can come up with a compromise. 😊

Speaking of my younger daughter, when I was done working here, I helped my daughter out with her project.

By stealing kittens.

You’ll notice one of them has yellow paws. My daughter was painting the water bowl shelter, and that kitten would NOT leave her alone! The only way to keep him out of the paint was to put him on her shoulders – which means her skin and the tank top she was wearing got paint, too!

The first coat is done. The underside won’t need another coat, except for the legs. She was able to crawl inside and paint there, too. Carefully, as the roof is resting on bricks to hold it off the ground, and it’s not particularly strong. I think she even got the floor done, as well as the underside of the roof. After the legs and walls get a couple of coats, we’ll flip it right side up again to do the roof and whatever else can be reached at that point.

I’m surprised more kittens didn’t end up with paint all over them. They really, really love playing in this thing! Once it’s done and set up with the water bowls, they’ll have three roofs they play on. 😁

When I picked the colour, I tried to get a yellow as close as I could to the colour used on the kibble house. I couldn’t remember where we’d bought the original paint from, so I figured it was a different brand’s colour and would be slightly different. My daughter remembered that we bought it at Canadian Tire, too. It turns out I really did pick the exact same colour! We used up an entire gallon on the kibble house, but the water shelter is smaller, so we should have enough left over to do the tree stump bench out by the main garden area, too.

It feels good to have visible, tangible progress done! A lot of the fall clean up work doesn’t look like a lot got accomplished, because things get taken away, rather than added.

Little by little, it’s getting done!

The Re-Farmer

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

Morning progress, and a critter visitor

So, yesterday ended up being quite a bit of a write off for me.

After I finished posting yesterday, I was going to sterilize some jars and make pickles. I was falling asleep at the computer, however, so I decided to take a short nap, first.

I woke up more than 3 hours later, wasting most of my day.

I did get some work done outside, while it was still light enough. This included raking up the nicely dried grass clippings from a few days ago. I was able to finish mulching the popcorn, and start mulching on either side of the sweet corn. The mulch is as much for next year, as it is to help the plants growing now. I was able to give the berry bushes a thorough watering, as well as the nearby trellises, but not much more than that. By the time I went inside, not only was I still frustrated by how far behind I am getting, but was getting a headache and actually felt ready to go back to bed!

So my daughters, sweethearts that they are, headed out at first light to do a few things before heading to bed for the day. Among other things, the Korean Pine got a deep watering. They also got a first coat of paint on the bed frame that my brother left for us when we moved in here.

It was actually built by one of my nephews. It came in very handy as a platform for hardening off our seedlings. I kept it covered with a tarp, but it’s been outside ever since, and I don’t want it to get water damaged. After it’s been painted, it’s going to go back into the basement, where it will be used as a platform for litter boxes, so if the basement ever does get wet like it did this spring again, the cats won’t be stuck using litter boxes in the middle of a damp concrete floor! We’ll put something under the legs to raise it off the floor slightly, to protect the legs from damp beyond what the paint will do.

One of my daughters sent me a picture of something they found when they first came out of the sun room.

Our province has 4 types of snakes.

This isn’t any of them.

Normally, the only snakes we ever see are garter snakes. There are two types that live here, but we tend to see only the red sided garter snake. The other two types look completely different, and I’ve never seen them before. As a child, however, I have seen a brown snake like this, a couple of times. Once, it got into the house and my poor mother flipped right out. They were both very tiny and slender. This one looks absolutely beefy in comparison. It kind of looks like the Red Bellied snake native to another province, except there’s no sign of a red belly that can be seen in the picture.

We like snakes. They eat slugs and other garden pests, so we try to protect them as much as possible. I’ve seen all of 2 garter snakes this year, and they were crossing the road both times. I suspect our horrible did a number of their population. In September, they start going back to their dens for the winter, so I hope we will see more of them.

I harvested from the garden yesterday, but today I grabbed some of the ripest tomatoes.

The under ripe ones we picked before are fully ripe now. There isn’t enough of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes to make yet, though. They will be cooked down to about a quarter of their volume, and with what we have so far, I’d end up with maybe 2 or 3 of my little half-pint jars full.

So I went over all the Cup of Moldova tomatoes we have so far, and put the good ones in the freezer. I’ll keep adding more to the bin they’re in until it’s almost full, and then I’ll have enough to work on making tomato paste and canning it.

It seems like we were growing SO many tomatoes this year, and yet I’m realizing that we actually aren’t growing that much at all! At least not for what we want to use them for. Mind you, the chocolate cherry tomatoes aren’t even ready yet, and the yellow pear tomatoes are still just starting to ripen, but when it comes to canning and preserving enough to supply us until the next harvest, we could easily double how many we plant.

Next year, we’ll be shooting for an even bigger garden! 😄 The good thing is, we do have the luxury of space, even if we do have to do massive reclamation to use it.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Scrap wood bench is done! Or… maybe not

This morning, I moved the painted scrap wood bench back to it’s spot under the white lilacs.

For all that the salvaged wood had damage to it, this is a VERY solid bench.

And heavy. Much heavier than it looks. I don’t know what kind of wood they are, but the true-to-size 2×4 board I used for the legs, plus the seat board, are dense and have a lot of weight to them. With care, this thing should last many years.

Once I set it in place and sat down on it, I gave the seat a good look. I think it could use one more coat of paint. There are cracks and old nail holes that I’d filled with paint, but once the paint dried, they’re not quite filled anymore. Especially that big crack you can see on the left. When I give the stairs a second coat of paint, I’ll go ahead and add another coat to the bench seat, too. There’s no reason not to.

This is an ideal spot for a bench. Nice and shady, but also open and airy. There have been many times since we’ve moved here, where I’ve been working in the heat of the day and wished for a nice cool place to sit for just a few minutes. We do have a few places to sit down, but they are all in full sun.

Over time, I hope to have seats and benches scattered all over the place. Nice little spots where one can take a break and enjoy a bit of shade on a hot day. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Stepping up

This morning, before giving the scrap wood bench a final coat of paint, I spent some time scrubbing the stairs in front of the storage house.

This is how they’ve been looking since before we moved here.

I just used water and a scrub brush on it. I discovered the surface, once wet, became green and slimy. It felt like an algae. Very strange.

After I finished painting the bench, I spent a few hours mowing the lawn. I focused on the areas I didn’t get to, the last time I was able to mow. I started with the outer yard, including the outside of the driveway gate, where I was finally able to mow the spaces I normally keep clear. The last – and until today, only! – time I mowed the driveway, I was only able to make a few passes on the sides, and that was it. Unfortunately, we’ve got lots of poplars spreading into the space, like crab grass. We can’t let those take hold. I’d love to find a way to kill off those roots, but as long as the mature poplars are nearby, they will keep sending them out.

Once that was done, I took a lunch break. The girls raked up the grass clippings for me – there was so much of it! – and hauled it to the garden. I’ll use it to continue mulching the squash patch, tomorrow.

Before I got back to mowing, I checked on the stairs.

They were fully dry and ready for painting.

I discovered how incredibly spoiled I was while working on the bench. It was resting on the saw horses, at the perfect height for painting.

Painting the stairs, however, was remarkably hard on the back!!!

First coat is done, though!

Wow, that’s bright.

Now we just have to hope the cats stay off of it until it’s dry!

I’m glad I had the paint to do these, though. The stairs were already starting to show signs of moisture damage and cracking.

I’m trying to remember how old these stairs are. To me, these are the “new” stairs. I know when the previous stairs were replaced, because one of the steps broke under me while I was stepping down on them. The bottom stairs were completely engulfed in weeds and likely had been like that for years. That bottom step was quite rotten, which was hidden by the weeds.

My goodness. That was the year we got our first minivan and made a road trip to the farm for Thanksgiving. It was the last time I saw my late brother before he died, which puts it at 2009.

These stairs are 12 or 13 years old. I’m not sure if they got replaced that fall, or the following spring.

I guess I can’t call them “new” stairs anymore! 😂

They have held up to neglect quite well!

Tomorrow, I’ll add another coat, and move the bench to its spot under the white lilacs.

I’ll also need to finish mowing the garden area. Yesterday, I’d scythes parts of it, which made it mow-able. With no more standing water at one end of the spruce grove, I finally got the space between the spruces and the crab apple trees mowed. I was really happy when mowing around the branch pile in particular. There is a thick, dense layer of moss growing under the grass. Just beautiful! I would happily have moss instead of grass for a lawn. With so much water this spring, the moss has actually spread, and I love it!

I worked my way from the outside, in, as the ground is less rough, and that way I could mow around the trellises early on, before fighting with the middle area.

For all that I know how rough the old garden area is from the last time it was plowed, it always surprises me when I actually try mowing in there. Just brutal. I finally got it to where there’s just a section of old garden area near where the squash and corn patch is before I finally just stopped for the night. I was too exhausted to fight with the uneven terrain.

I want to get the rest of the mowing done tomorrow (Sunday), though, as it is expected to be a relatively cool day. After that, we’re supposed to heat up again. However, I also have to do some preparation tomorrow. Monday is the court date for our vandal’s vexatious litigation against me; his retaliation for my filing a restraining order against him. It’s been more than a year, but with all the lockdowns, this is actually the first time a judge will finally see it.

I am expecting two possible results. One: the judge will see how ridiculous the whole thing is and throw it out. Our vandal has no case. Or two: the judge will want more time to go over the claims and set another trial date.

The things that I’m most unhappy with, however, is that my brother will not be there. He, as owner of the property, was supposed to be my witness. His job, however, has sent him to the States for a cyber security training course. Cyber security is a big part of his current job, and he really didn’t have any choice.

Which give another possible reason for the judge to set another trial date; my witness can’t attend.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, during the conference call “court” dates we have before, I heard our vandal saying he’d have as many as 5 witnesses. Witnesses to what, I don’t know. But it’s going to be me, alone, with him and his posse.


Ah, well. It will be what it is. I just pray we have a sane judge.

The Re-Farmer

Scrap wood bench progress

After giving the leg ends a second coat, and filling in any spots that looked like they got missed, this morning, I finally flipped the bench to pain the top this evening.

Once it was right side up, I could also see spots on the legs and cross pieces that got missed, simply because it was more difficult to see and reach while upside down. I also took the time to make sure paint got well into any holes or cracks in the wood, so no water can come in contact with unprotected wood.

I thought it might need three coats of paint on the top, but now I think one more coat on the top, and it’ll be done. The paint filled things in better than I expected. I don’t know what this seat board was salvaged from, but it’s got saw cut markings on it, nail holes, and even several small nails and some kind of heavy duty staple stuck in it that I couldn’t get out without damaging the wood. Nothing the paint can’t smooth over.

For something thrown together in an afternoon, using scraps dug out of the barn, I’m really happy with how this bench has turned out.

The Re-Farmer

Scrap wood bench painting started

Thanks to the girls moving the bench I made under the tent, this morning’s rain did not delay painting! It was nice and dry, and ready to work on.

I placed a couple of bricks under the bench to give me some space to do the edges at the saw horses. I picked up a really cheap brush set for this job, because I knew I’d be pretty rough with it, getting into the tight spaces, as well as working with such rough wood.

The bottoms of the legs will get a second coat, just for extra protection from contact with the ground, before the seat gets painted. The seat will get at least two coats, maybe three, depending on how well I was able to rasp and sand off the rough spots.

I am really happy with that colour. The final result never quite matches what the colour swatches look like, if only because of how much more surface area there is. Once this is done, there will be enough paint left over to do a few other things. There is the tree stump bench we made last year, though I think I will wait for the flowers around it to die back, first. The stairs to the storage house needs to be painted, too. I’d love to do the laundry platform, but that would likely need a gallon of paint, all on its own. Plus, the kittens like to play on it, and it would be rather hard to keep them off while the paint dries! 😁 I might do the hand rail in front of the sun room, though. If I can figure out a good way to pull the rose bush away from it. The thorns on that thing are brutal! 😄

The Re-Farmer

Sign progress

This morning, I finally started on the lettering for the new sign I’m making, to replace the one that was stolen.

My brother had mentioned what I was doing while visiting my mother and winterizing her new air conditioner (and he even found the right size screws to replace the ones that were missing from the seat of her walker). Yesterday, she called and asked me about the sign my brother said I had ordered. Of course, my brother told her I was making it, but somehow, she decided as was… paying someone else to make it? I’m not sure. I’d even told her I planned to make one, when I told her the one with my dad’s name on it had disappeared, but I guess she forgot. As we spoke, I mentioned that I wasn’t in a hurry to finish it, since I wasn’t sure what I would do to put it up. I don’t want to dig post holes, and the fence posts are all falling down, but we do need something permanent that can’t be stolen. I also mentioned that we would probably need to put a camera on it, too, and we don’t have a spare right now.

Well, I found myself chatting with my SIL later on, and it turns out my brother wants to come out here with his post pounder and put in a couple of fence posts before the ground freezes! He even offered to pick up a couple of 7′ fence posts, and the sign could be screwed on later.

At which point, this morning I decided I may as well get the lettering finished. I used painter’s tape to divide the sign into sections, then a pencil to draw in the letters and numbers as a guide, then added the first, base layer of the blue paint.

I removed the identifying features, but here is how it looked, with and without flash.

There was a bit too much light in the room, but you can still see the sparkle from the reflective paint in the photo where flash was used.

I picked up a set of really cheap craft brushes to use for this. After this first layer of paint is dry, I’ll do a second coat with the same size paint brush I used for the first coat, and then will use smaller brushes to tidy up the edges, the serifs, and maybe add a few decorative flourishes to the uppercase letters. Once that’s done, I’ll be able to see if it needs a third coat.

I’m debating whether or not to outline in a contrasting colour. I have paint markers in silver and gold that can leave fine lines, and should be able to withstand being outside. That might be too much, though. I just hope the letters will be easy to read from the road. I find myself thinking they may be too small, but then I remember that the old sign’s letters were much smaller, and it could be read from the road, so this should be fine.

I think it will look really nice, once it’s installed!

The Re-Farmer

Bee rescue, and new sign started

Yesterday, looking at the weather radar, I had expected that we would catch the edge of a weather system that was being pushed up from the southeast. Which is what usually happens.

Instead, the system ended up going right over us, and we had heavy rain all day and most of the night. We are expected to continue to get rain today and tomorrow, and remain cool until the day after.

I didn’t think the bee on the sunflower would survive that long.

We have a mini greenhouse in the sun room, so I lay the cover of a seed starter kit upside down on the top shelf, and had a sieve ready to use as a cover, then went to cut the sunflower off and bring the bee over. It had actually moved a bit since I last looked at it, which was encouraging. We had set up a light fixture on the top of the mini greenhouse with a full spectrum, incandescent light bulb in it, to keep our seedlings warm. The sun room wasn’t much warmer than outside, so I turned the light on to add a bit of warmth, making sure the fixture was tilted away, so it was more indirect.

The bee is hidden by the petals on the sunflower, in the above picture.

If the bee were sluggish and staying on the sunflower only because of the temperature, I expected to see it become active fairly soon. If that wasn’t the reason it was still on the sunflower, I expected to find a dead bee.

Since it’s too wet to work on outside projects, I set up in the old kitchen to start an inside project. Since the sign with my late father’s name on it got disappeared from the corner of the property, I decided we needed a new one, as it had been a landmark we could use to give directions to our place. Yesterday, I went rifling through the barn and found a scrap of half inch plywood that was in decent shape, brought it over and gave it a cleaning. Today, it was dry and ready for painting.

We still had some white paint from when we fixed the door into the sun room and repainted the frame as well, and there is enough to do at least two coats.

It’s just a bit bigger than the top of our freezer! 🙂

The first coat is done, and tomorrow I will give it a second coat. I will also look for wood that I can attach to the back to make posts that can be driven into the ground. The sign that disappeared had been attached to the corner post of the fence, but all those old fence posts along there are falling and need to be replaced, so I want to mount the sign independently from the fence.

After the paint is dry, but before the lettering is painted on, I plan to give the whole thing a spray with some reflective paint I picked up a while back. This way, the background should highlight the lettering when hit by headlights as people turn the corner towards our driveway.

We’ve been talking about coming up with a name for the farm, just for fun. It has always been really important to my parents that the farm stay in the family name, which is why it went to my older brother, who has sons and now grandsons, to carry on the name. So out of respect for my late father, I have decided to simply use our family name on the sign, however I will also include our driveway marker number, with the municipal road name, which is also our family name, and an arrow towards our driveway. The road sign with our family name on it that disappeared when the stop sign it was mounted on was broken, never got replaced, so having that road name on the sign will be helpful for our neighbours, too. Which means I will have two lines of lettering, plus an arrow, on this sign when it’s done.

I think we might also need to set up another camera on it, just in case. I have no proof that our vandal stole the old sign, but if we put up a new one, with our family name on it, I suspect it will infuriate him, and our restraining order against him is still going through the court system.

After I finished with the first coat of paint, I checked on the bee, and was happy to find it crawling actively around the sunflower. I’m very glad we had it covered!

We tucked the entire sunflower into a plant pot (our houseplants are still outside), where it would be more protected, both from the weather and from curious kitties. Happily, it immediately began crawling around even more. Hopefully, it will be able to make its way back to its hive, wherever that may be. Most local bees are more solitary, and have hives underground, so there is no way to know where it came from. At least now it has a chance, and we need all the pollinators we can get!

As much as I appreciate the rain we are having, I’m looking forward to when it clears so I can get back to work outside. I got a transaction notification from my bank, showing that Veseys has charged us for the garlic we ordered. That means they will be shipped soon. Possibly even today or tomorrow. I’ll get an email notification when they do. They will need to be planted soon after they arrive. That means we are running out of time to prepare a bed for the garlic. If the weather prevents me from finishing the high raised bed we are working on, then I will top up the low raised beds we made where the garlic was planted last year. With the new dimensions, we might even be able to plant all three varieties in one bed. It’s typically advised to rotate alliums into different beds every year, but in building the low raised beds, the soil has been amended a lot, and they will be topped up with fresh soil, so it should be just fine. We shall see what we have time for.

Meanwhile, we’ve got a couple of days to work on indoor projects, instead. Like the bread baking I can hear my daughter working on as I write this! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Clean up: our “second bathroom”, done for now!

Well, we’ve done as much as we can with the outhouse for now, and I think it’s turned our rather well!

The first order of business was to paint the shelf boards.

The longer one was the one that got painted on one side, and the edges, yesterday. I decided to paint the remaining section of the board, too, for a future shelf after we get more shelf brackets. After a cleaning and a sanding of the rougher edges, it gone one side and the edges painted, too.

Leaving those to dry, I put up the shelf brackets, living them up with the top of one of the boards.

That screw in the top corner was a real pain in the butt to do. There’s almost no space for the screwdriver! I also put the screws to attach the board part way, so that when I came back later, I’d only need to bring the screwdriver.

I noticed one of the girls had moved the mermaid toy into the middle shelf (I’d put it on the bottom). Remembering that there were some fake flowers in the garage, I went digging around and found some small ones to put beside her. 😀

After giving the shelf boards a couple of hours to dry, I came back later to put up the longer shelf board.

We wanted the shelf to be pretty high up, but when I tried to put it in place, I found it was narrower than where I’d checked the fit, before! Not by much, though, and I was able to jam it in and screw it in place.

That done, it was time to paint. Since there was so little paint left, the first thing that got done was the other side of the second shelf board, then the inside of the door. The back wall was done as high as the shelf, and the wide walls on either side of the seat box were done.

There was just enough paint left to do the wall joists in the middle, and the final dregs were used to paint the inside edges at the bottom boards under the joists. I’d painted the tops, but not the inside edges before. One of the boards only had half an edge along most of its length; a chunk seemed to be missing! LOL

Then I cleaned off the paint brush on the toilet lid again. 😀

After washing up the paint supplies (including the empty can; I figure we can reuse it for something), I took a couple of decorated terracotta plant pots we’d found when we first cleaned out the sun room and put them on the new shelf.

Gosh, that looks so much better!!

The girls are already talking about getting another gallon of paint to add another coat in the future. Other than adding the battery operated light inside, whatever we figure out for the floor, and eventually replacing the toilet seat, it’s basically done on the inside. Oh, and the latch for the inside.

While waiting for the painted shelves to dry, I took a closer look at the outside.

This is one of the hinges that needs to be replaced.

Why does it have four different screws???

The other one has three different screws.

I also took the metal thing that had been in front of the door, to cover the hole that was getting bigger, over the wire mesh at the back. I didn’t even bother to level it or anything. That can wait for when we actually paint the outside.

I also looked at the roof, thinking ahead to when we fix it up. There’s quite a lot of rotted edges on there. :-/ One of the things I wanted to do in repairing it was making an overhand above the doorway. We definitely want to have it overhang the roof trusses, too. After they have been reinforced because of the rotten edges!

It would be good if we can get that done before winter, but we shall see. After the roof is done, we’ll work on painting the outside. The front of the outhouse is white, but the other three sides are a pink. It may have started out as a red, but there’s so little left, it’s rather hard to tell. You can see some of it in the above photo.

The girls want to keep the pink. 😀

By the time we’re done, this thing is going to be downright adorable. Plus, it will last longer, until we build the outdoor bathroom we have planned.

The Re-Farmer