Friday, December 4, 2020


We lost a lot of work time when the trees fell on the house at the retirement property. Everything had to stop to get that house buttoned up for winter. Once the trees were removed, there were holes in the roof to be patched. The chimney had fallen over onto the roof and damaged the rafters inside. The back of the house needed to be sealed up against the weather. The door had been knocked out of its frame and across the room. There were broken windows.  That house needs to last for at least one more winter. It's full of the hickory cabinets that we bought for the new house. 

That was a lot of work done in the cold and the garage didn't get finished. 

We got a break in the weather. With a dry 40 degree day and no wind in the forecast, we headed up to continue work. 40 degrees sounds cold but when the sun is out and the wind is not blowing, it is the sort of day that lets you set to work, and then slowly start paring down. The hoods come down. The gloves are removed. The coat gets doffed and you work in your sweatshirt that covers your flannel shirt. 

Our major project is to build the doors. Tim read a lot about door building and did them in a very clever way: He installed the big hinges on either side, ran two 2 by 6 planks all away across the opening and then installed the 1 x 12 planks like fence slats, installing one plank and then moving to the other side to install the next. In the end, what you have is a fence with a gap between the boards in the middle. Two quick cuts with the sawsall, and you have two swinging doors. He is much pleased with them. 

Tim is the sort of person who stops to consider a project (see also: 'obsess'. For loooooooong periods of time...) and comes up with 'the plan'. It drives me nuts. I am a person who quickly comes up with 'a plan' (which is not to be confused with 'the plan') and dives right in. But while Tim's plans are well thought out, they are often a lot more complicated than they need to be. We are a good team, because I am the person who is always saying, "Seems to me you're making this a lot harder for yourself than it needs to be." He usually listens, and then says, "That'll work." 

In the end, our projects wind up being a true team project. The finished project is his vision, but a lot of my methods are incorporated in the process. 

We now have the bottom floor of the garage done, which was my main concern. We can now secure the building. The battens still need to be cut to seal up the cracks between the boards on one side, and the loft area needs to be enclosed (we have the windows and have begun closing the western side up.)

Yesterday we worked together. It was the second door, so we knew our routine. While Tim was doing some prep work, I began a project of my own. Get Along, the feral cat has been accessing the basement of the old house through the chimney cleanout door. We welcome his ghostly presence, since he is evidently a good mouser. We keep him fed, and the house protects him from the winter wind. Except now the chimney is removed. 

Using rough cut scraps, I built him a snug little house, I used screws on the front so that it can be removed and cleaned out in the spring. I insulated it with styrofoam and lined it with a corrugated card board box. I roofed it with shingle scraps to make it waterproof and the final touch was a piece of soft fleece which can be nestled into. I made the roof and base extend from the front a few inches so that it can be placed up against a protected corner of the house and our little friend can curl up out of the wind. 

Will he use it? 

Feral cats are unpredictable, just like people are. Our responsibility is to do the kind thing. What happens next is their decision. You've done your part by extending the kindness. 

We had venison last night. Fresh, never frozen, running in the field a couple days ago venison. It was tender and delicious and we said what we always say each year: "I think this is the best venison we've ever had." 


  1. My husband and I always worked together like this and we seemed to know just what needed done. I miss that man so much, Iam happy you made the cat a nice warm house, It will appreciate it come really cold weather. If it does not use it at first give it a few treats inside and it will get used to going in. Happy to see so much getting done before bad weather sets in.

  2. Good teamwork, it is what we often do too, most times

  3. We had 38 years of teamwork doing up houses - I think I learned a lot but wish he was still around for the bits I didn't learn!

  4. I am glad the weather cooperated and you were able to get more work done. I look forward to seeing all of your plans come together and getting a look at the finished product. I also look forward to hearing how your act of kindness works out with the cat.

  5. A very different conversation that the ones in my house regarding any renovation projects.

    40 degrees sounds rather warm over here. ;)

  6. I hope that Get Along gets along well this winter.

  7. I am impressed that you are working on such a major project yourselves. Dave and I balance each other too in our approach to things!


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Tim has a DIY Christmas

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