We have gotten in a freakishly nice weather spell... Freakishly as in steady 50's peaking out into almost 60's for a week straight. Overnight lows getting hard frosts.. Wha? Hello March? Nope. A couple times past this time of year yielded pics of the house snow spattered and drifted in!
Weather broke in nice on Thursday... So I raked out and did spring cleaning on the kennel bed and the raised beds, that sort of thing. Got the kid out to clean up the yard of blown around stuff and tree debris, that sort of thing.
Yesterday my sister and I started making the dog kennel into a walk in cold frame/green house. It cost about 25-30 bucks in materials, and we used a lot of recycled materials that really helped bring down the cost!
Total footprint of the "house" is 12x15- each section is around 4 foot wide and 15 foot long. Two 4x15 sections are enclosed together as the "house", and one 4x15 section roofed but not walled in. This is because originally it's a three run dog kennel- two sections are walled in, but one section does not have an outside wall. On the 12 foot wide ends, on one side there is nothing, on the other the open side has no door, but the two enclosed runs have doors.
Purchased materials list:
2- 10x25 foot 3mil rolls of clear roll plastic, 4 bucks each
2- 10x12 white tarps, 4 bucks each. I picked these up to use for some wall use on the outdoor kitchen too- once the plastic is down mid summer, they will get used again for this.
a couple packages of staples- smaller ones for the clear plastic and the smaller gun, big ones for the heavy bailing twine and the heavy gun. 10 bucks for a couple brand new packs, and still tons leftover for other projects.
That's all the bought stuff really. Everything else was pretty much free.
A crapton of heavy duty blue plastic bailing twine. I got it last fall while working at Watervliet. They get in huge pallets of straw bales that are all baled together with this twine. It just gets cut off as cubes are broken open to sell off bales, and thrown away unless anyone asks for some. No one asked and I brought home a large box before they were thrown away.
A lot of misc boards- these are the ones I keep reusing as "outdoor wood" from a heap that was on the property when we bought it.
A couple segments of TV antenna tower- those were a whole tower before us too, and when Dave cut it down I had him do it in a few six foot-ish or so segments to use for various things. Seemed useful at the time.
A set of single waterbed rails- again free. Picked up a couple free waterbed frames last summer. The pedestals are now additional drawers under our bed. Boards are used all over inside. And a set of rails for scrap now pin the base on two sides of the house perfectly now. The pleather really stands up remarkably well to the elements.
One vertical blind- I happened to have one that was on the windows when we bought the place. When it broke and came down it went into "plant tag" material.
A special recycle from the Black Dragon... three milk crates full of paving bricks and the sitting rail. Currently, the paving bricks are pinning down the plastic on the veranda in a neat two brick high wall, with the sitting rail acting as a light use table and the crates as low stools. As summer goes along and it's time for the bricks current usefulness ends.. that area will be nice to sit in and start some etching work on them for some folks.
So Friday.. the weather was nigh and good. Started out by raking out the end cap of the kennel bed. It needed it, and it was nice to get the break early to do it. Felt good to be out in the sun. Started out by grabbing one of the empty black party buckets and carefully pulled out the outer edge of dead marigolds- chock full of seed heads and worth setting aside. Then a nice rake out of the bed and some pulling up of weeds. Including that darn stubborn grape that keeps wanting to spring up. Other stuff too.
Saturday. Woke up early and sis busted out early with raking out and cleaning up of the front yard beds while I was still having coffee- perfect. By the time I was ready to go and do it, we got to it. First we spread out the white tarps for the roof. Used the grommets and some blue bailing twine to tie it down, making sure to overlap the two pieces well.
The clotheslines have been in place for a while and used well. Over the top we laid yard wood along the same lines, then laid the antennia sections to hold everything secure from the other way.
We made sure to tug up the corners and overlap them nice too. The Southwest corner gets the heaviest wind action, and the northeast corner the most wind drift off, so we made sure to lap down the south and west faces of the roof tarp. Put up the roof, then ran into a problem with putting up the walls...
A brilliant thought in the early point in the project on the behalf of my sister... Using tack strips- yay science. We didn't have strip wood to use, and ran out of staples during some of the preliminary tack up- that problem with putting up the walls I mentioned... and we went into town. Got staples, but partway through sis had the notion for tack strip- a vinyl blind strip would be ideal and cheap and she figured we might have one of those around... . Well hell, had a dead blind at home, no problem.
Got home with fresh staples, and went to town with putting up the walls. It really does help for this to be a two man team, makes it much faster and smoother to just tack all the way around.
By the time we really got done with tweaking the roof, getting staples, and really setting in the walls and doing some general cleanup... the day was kind of done. There were finishing details to think about and clean up, and by then those details could be finished tomorrow. And we hit the point with some of our strapping down we needed to use the heavy duty staple action.. and darn it, found out we were out of those staples too.. Just have dinner time, lol.
So Sunday morning... well got about finishing up. Sis came down when I was winding up with morning coffee. Ran into town and got the heavy staples and a few sweetrolls. And busted out when we got home. She stapled in the blue binding, and I set out with the sealing in of the foundations and general clean up. We met in the middle after our own stuff and really finished the thing. Good lord I love working with sis- we make a great team that does not need a lot of fussing or crap to get the job done. I'm always grateful for my family, but times like this make me think I wouldn't know what I would ever do without them here.
March update.... the roof turned out to not be good. Overcapped it before a storm with sheet plastic, and nope, just nope. Yesterday before it really started snowing we overcapped the whole damn thing with an extra large white tarp.
Good news is that the greenhouse is working and full of happy plants that were pulled from the outside box and from in the solarium... And that frees up those spaces for other wonderful goodies that will be getting started soon!!
Like inside the two racks I have set up in the kitchen are full... The tray of asparagus seedlings are just about ready for their first transplanting, and the bins of lettuce are ready to start being munched on thankfully- those darn things been taking forever, lol. I've already started the earliest of the peppers, scented hots for the most part and of course a round of cherry bombs. I'm itching to start the next rounds of seeds in the next few days. Stuff is starting to pop up in the solarium too... including the beer garden radish top leftover from last falls pickling and I threw it into a bucket of water... now it's grown through the winter and about ready to bloom. How crazy is that?