A bit more snow

So much for spring; we got about an inch of snow overnight.

The feral cats are used to it by now:

The bees probably aren’t too thrilled, but have been pretty active recently, working on restoring their supplies, so will probably stay bundled up for now:

The chicken coop:

The white gazebo; the pond is still liquid: it hasn’t been cold enough to freeze:

The brown gazebo and coop:

Building a cat shelter: sliding maintenance door

I’ve decided to slow down work on the new cat house, as I need to spend more time on consulting and Dejal apps, and this isn’t urgent, since the cats already have a heated shelter and raccoon-proof feeder. But I am still keen to get this finished, and am enjoying working on it, so will do at least a few hours on it each weekend.

Yesterday I added wheels to the maintenance door; the whole front of the shelter portion of the structure. As mentioned in my previous post, I was originally going to have it swing open, but decided to make it slide instead, for weight reasons. So I got some little casters to make it slide more easily, and cut notches out of the bottom for them:

Here’s a closer view; you can also see the cat door temporarily in place (to check the fit):

I added a strip of plywood to hide the casters:

I also added a thin board to the back of the deck, to act as a track for the casters (and make the door the right height):

Here’s the door in place, opened:

And closed:

That’s basically it for this time. My next priority is a second beehive stand (for the two new hives we’ll be adding), and a rail for this door to slide on when open. Then probably the facades and trim. I mentioned last time that I was thinking about doing roofing next, but I think it’d be better to do that after the walls are painted. (I was going to do it before the facades due to the flashing at the back of them, but I realized I can build that as another separate piece, so can be lifted off for roofing.)

With my slower pace, I probably won’t finish this project until sometime in May, but that’s fine.

Building a cat shelter: roof & trim

I did some more work on the new cat house over the weekend, building the roof and some of the trim.

Firstly I made framing for the insulated ceiling of the shelter part:

And added three layers of the half-inch insulation foam. Heat rises, so I thought having thicker insulation in the ceiling made sense (and I bought more than I needed, so have plenty spare):

This ceiling was then attached to a half inch plywood panel, that will form the roof (the cutouts are for wires):

Here’s the roof installed, with some trim along the edge. Like the floor, the roof is not attached to the walls yet, so I can move the structure to the final destination in separate pieces; they will be screwed together there:

A view inside the shelter portion, with the ceiling in place:

I added a board above the top of the front wall, which will form the base of the front façade:

And started to add some trim on the corners etc. I also changed my mind on the maintenance door; as you know, the entire front of the shelter portion opens; I was going to have it swing open, hinged on the left, but decided that it’s too heavy for that to work well, so will make it slide to the left instead. It won’t be opened often (probably only a couple of times a year, to add or remove the heated beds, and close or open the vent covers), but I still want it to be fairly easy to open:

I added trim around the awnings; I bought metal drip strip for them, along with the roof, but I haven’t decided if I’ll actually use it on the awnings, since I worry about sharp edges close to the cats. I’ll decide that when I’m ready to do the roofing shingles. If I don’t, the trim will make the edge look nice; if I do, the trim will provide the right height backing for it:

More trim around the side door and corners; you can also see the underside of the roof overhang:

I’ve run out of 1×2 wood, and am ready for some other extra bits, so I’ll make a run to Home Depot later in the week. Next weekend I currently plan to do the roofing (drip strip, paper, and shingles). And perhaps more trim and/or the façades, if I have time.

More snow

Yesterday it snowed pretty much all day, though didn’t start sticking until evening.

Firstly, here are some pictures of the cat shelter from the last couple of days:

Cozy inside:

A nice picture of Portabella emerging from the shelter:

On to today; some interesting light early:

Rory following a cat (or bunny) path:

The pond is frozen again (it did mostly defrost yesterday):

Reverse view from the pond deck:

That interesting light again over the apple trees:

A cat track in the snow:

The cat shelter; the camera was buried again, and the deck steps look more like a ramp:

The fountain garden (looking from the back deck):

I measured about 7″ of new snow, on top of 2″ remaining from the previous snowfall a couple of days ago:

A bunch of icicles off the roof:

Several inches of snow

Yesterday was predicted to have 2 to 5 inches of snow, but nothing much eventuated during the day:

However, in the evening it picked up a bit:

And continued overnight, culminating in almost 8 inches this morning:

The camera that watches the front of the cat shelter was buried:

Another angle; the front of the cat shelter is in the middle of the photo:

The chickens were not impressed:

And once again the chicken run roof netting didn’t fare too well:

We took Rory out for a walk in the snow; she loved it. Here we’re checking on the beehives; her one chance to get so close to them:

The chicken coop:

Frozen pond:

View of the pond arbor, brown gazebo, and trees:

Snow on a tree near the white gazebo:

Our new apple trees might be regretting coming here:

Rory really loved scampering in the snow:

Bird feeders:

The cat shelter again:

Building a cat shelter: walls & platforms

I’ve done a bit more on the new cat house. I previously worked on the walls of the shelter part, and this weekend continued that with the walls of the feeder section, plus the feeder awning and platforms for both sides.

Here’s the back of the feeder front wall, under construction:

In place:

Again, with a bracket for the shelf:

Building the feeder side door:

The side door in place:

Building the feeder awning:

The awning installed (and the shelter door removed):

Making the shelter platform, before cutting out the center part; the cutouts in the corners are for wires from the heating pads:

And the feeder shelf:

The underside of the shelter platform, after cutting out the center and adding edging and bracing:

And in place:

Finally, trying the positioning of the food dispenser, looking through the front window. It’ll sit on a drawer, making it easier to fill, and dispense into a tube that leads to the food dish below:

Stay tuned for more; next weekend I plan to build the roof!


It unexpectedly snowed overnight. Apparently areas above an elevation of 1,000 feet around the Portland region received some snow… and we’re at 1,100 feet.

Only about an inch, and it’s raining now, so it’ll probably be gone later today. But still fun to enjoy it while it lasts.

The feral cats are cozy in their heated shelter:

But the weight of the snow tore down the end of the chicken run roof netting:

So I went out with a staple gun and ladder to fix it:

Snow on the brown gazebo and trees:

Snow on the white gazebo:

The pond deck arbor:

The beehives:

Notice the clearer patch in the center of the roof, from the heat of the bees clustered inside:

Feral cats enjoying the sunshine

It’s been sunny for the past couple of days, after many days of clouds, and the feral cats have been enjoying soaking up the rays.


Enjoying rolling on the relatively warm asphalt driveway:

Hunting bugs in the grass:

Building a cat shelter: walls

Continuing from building the floor, over the last few days I’ve been building the walls of the cat shelter.

Like the floor, the walls are insulated. Here’s the inside of the center wall, between the shelter and feeder parts, before adding the second plywood layer:

Here I’m laying out the components of the back wall: a couple of vents, and a cat door:

The framing and insulation in place. The horizontal board through the middle will help support the platforms:

Three walls assembled:

A slightly different angle, after adding doorstops for the big maintenance door (pretty much the entire front of the shelter). You can also see supports for the platforms, halfway up the walls:

Laying out the maintenance door:

The inside of the maintenance door, with holes for two windows at the top and a cat door at the bottom, and insulation elsewhere. The door has more substantial framing than the walls, to make sure it’s sturdy, and support the awning:

Here’s the door in place. You may notice that I changed the design a bit from my plans; I decided that vertically-oriented windows would work better:

Finally (for now), I built the awning for the shelter side:

Next up, the walls and door for the feeder side. But the pace will slow down; I took a week off to get this started, but will need to get back to paying work next week.