Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tortie Tuesday--The Big Secret Revealed...

Tempe says...hold on to your whiskers!'s finally happened. After saving every spare dime for the past two years and after almost 25 years of wishing and wanting it--I now have a deck off my back room!

If you ask the cats, of course it is phase one of their 'catio'.

Blank Slate

Earlier this summer, I sketched and planned and stewed about having a deck--at first I thought I could build it myself, but quickly became in over my head, just in the planning stages. So I contacted a Mennonite that someone had recommended and he came by, looked it over, measured and called me later in the week with an estimate--for labor and materials. It was within what I had saved so I was ready to go forward. However he couldn't begin work until September!

In the end, I waited fairly patiently and in about mid September the deck project was commenced. If it were me doing it it would have taken weeks and weeks --so I was a little surprised about how quickly the man and his son created the deck for me. It took them exactly one and half days to build a lovely 10 x 12 covered deck!

The first day I came home from work to this----the floor in and the roof rafters on. The next day they put in the cross pieces and ties for the roof, and added the roofing (a light filtering white). I was amazed. I hardly ever hire out for anyone to do anything so I guess my experience is small with how quickly people can accomplish such projects! :-)

The collies were quite amazed too, and did a little happy dance to test it out.

The kitties were not amazed and were considerably stressed out and exhausted from hiding in small spaces all day--next to sworn enemies at that. (from left is Meshach, Gabe, Noah & Sage)

So everything went so wonderfully well, and I had enough in the saved fund to buy a patio door... I had to do some scraping to come up with the labor to install it..but we were on a roll and couldn't stop without a door. Here Minty (and Sage in the window) test the new deck and you can see the new door under the blue tarp, waiting for the guys to come back.

The dismantling and removing of the windows was quite loud and not so easy. Once they got them out it was (much to all our dismay) easy to see that it wouldn't have been as big a deal, if we'd known the 'key' to removing them. (It seems they are actually two windows, and the center metal piece once removed would allow them to be easily dismantled.) Still and all they got them out in two pieces with only the center strip being damaged. Once the windows were out, then they had to remove the monstrously heavy cement sills, dismantle brick and cement blocks and bring it down to the deck level.

This photo shows the old windows removed, the new door tacked in place, with a temporary board across the top (to keep the cats in)--you can also see the open area that goes into the dropped ceiling. This was the first day of operation door installation! They had left for the day to go and pick up supplies to finish installing the door, sills and inside steps. We were able to re-purpose quite a bit of the free shelving wood I got from work a year or so ago--it was used for sills and inside trim.

Here the kitties check it out after the guys left.

Another view of it before sills and steps (and door knobs!) were added.

Sage wasn't handling it very well, and lay with teddy bear and eyes squinched most of the night.

And here we have the finished product! Stairs installed--we could only have a half stair since the dryer blocked it from going all the way across. You can also see the new sills, around the door and over the top, with an unexpected and nice bonus of a shelf over the door! I will need to do some finish work--staining and painting to make it all match. I installed the locks myself, since when picking out the door I got a little overwhelmed and couldn't decide on locks. So upshot was they were boughten after my construction guys left or they would have installed them.

And here it is from the outside. They finished off the gap over the door with vinyl siding (insulated on the inside) and I think it looks pretty nice! In one of those odd coincidences my Adirondack chair was also made by James, the Mennonite builder of the deck! When he came to figure an estimate for the job, he walked into the yard and said 'you have one of my chairs!' in a tone much like a mother seeing one of her long lost children. I was pretty sure from that point that he would be doing the deck! It just seemed to providential and I knew he did nice work from the chair.

And here Sage relaxes in his chair enjoying the view...

I love it too. It's a lovely place to sit and read or just relax. Haven't gotten to do allot of that, but still, over my vacation I made good use of it.

I'm working on enclosing the deck with wire. It's a lightweight green wire that should blend in nicely with the scenery. Once that is done, the kitties can sit out there with me.

The final phase of Operation Catio, will be to construct a large pen alongside the house (see photo one) from the deck to nearly the front of the house. It will extend to just to the outside of the sidewalk. It will be enclosed wire and the cats will have access to it via the house windows (I'll install a couple of kitty doors). The deck will be included in their new outdoor area. It will be a happy thing for us all I believe. Eventually the pen will have lots of shelves and places to play and hide.

Oh. But this will take longer since I'll be doing this work myself...and we know that I'm not going to get 'er all done in two days!

Exciting stuff all the same.


Michelle said...

Congratulations on a lovely addition! I hope the kitties recover from the construction trauma quickly....

Nancy K. said...

Your patio is beautiful! I LOVE the doors!! I think you must have the most spoiled cats in the whole-wide-world!


Speaking of beautiful...
The pups look so grown up!

phylliso said...

I could live out there on that deck,it looks so peaceful there.I love those doors.Yes,it must have been a Godsend that you got the same builder as the one who made the chair,it looks comfy too.
The pups are really growing fast,they look so happy.phyllis

Sharrie said...

Our cat named Minty Fresh got called Junior Mint and eventually just Junior. Interesting to see your dog named Minty. Our name came from a character in a book. Love the new addition to the "cats" house. They are indeed luckier than ours are. Junior would love your plans since he tends to "slip" out the door when the dogs come in or go out.

Tina T-P said...

New Patio is Wonderful and the doors - much easier to get through than climbing out the window all the time - ha ha - You will all enjoy it I'm sure! T.

Vicki Lane said...

How nice! I know you and your gang will enjoy it.

Lana at said...

Such an important space to enjoy! Our outdoor spaces are usually our most favorite! It looks great!

So, we all showing up for BBQ at your house next week?

Lana :-)

Louise said...

I think you're going to enjoy it so much. And, so will the cats. Now, you can dream all Winter of the peace and joy of sitting on your new patio come Summer.