Friday, November 5, 2010

Enclosing our rear porch, just in time before the snow hits

We have been attempting to cover and enclose our front and back porches for several years. We had the front porch enclosed a few years ago and part of the back porch done. We just added 3 more sections of enclosure to the back porch, getting it nearly enclosed before winter. Excuse the messiness as all the furniture is piled into corners right now while we are working on it..and blankets on things to keep cat hair off of them ..yes the cats love the warm dry furnished area.

this area is just outside our rear sliding door (which you can see to the left). In front of me in this photo we put plexigalass outside of the railing, framing it in with treated 2x4's. eventually we'll get this painted. In the summer I hang lace curtains here to block the sun when it is too bright in the west.
The area to the right is two doors that we salvaged. One was a 15 pane glass door that we laid on its side and braced with 2x4's between two of our posts, eventually the 2x4's will be painted and caulked..above the 15 pane glass door is a full glass storm door that was hung sideways by the hinges from a 2x4' attached to the ceiling..this can be traded out for a screen if we want to in summer. These will look better eventually when the framework is painted and finished off. You make do.
This next picture I'm standing in our dinette looking out the back slider door area (opened) at the doors you see on their sides above. They are a bit rough looking but you can see how much wind and snow will be blocked by these doors (become windows). We have a nice view through the clear view storm door on the top of our back yard, there is a bird feeder just to the left of the photo out in the back yard that is always a draw to wildlife.

Here you can see some more of the back porch, it is shaped like a backwards L, this is where the leg of the L goes North, there is a shed built up on the back porch to the right in this photo, you can't see it here, and then the back wall of the porch is glassed in with a salvaged picture window and scraps of plexiglass left over from the front porch enclosure. To the left the side wall is made up of two slavaged sliding door panels framed in with 2x4's. the hanging hooks are where we had lace curtains hung in the summer to block excess sunshine. We had to pile the furniture  back into this area while we worked on cutting the plexiglass and frame lumber and installing it so it was out of our way, eventually I'll rearrange the furniture and clean it up so we can use it on nice days.
You can also see that right in front of me when I took this photo above, is an open unfinished area. Eventually there will be a cat door framed in on one side of this opening with a plexiglass scrap framed in above it to narrow this opening up some (it is 4' now)..and then we will build some kind of door to fit into this space to give us access to the steps and back yard here. In the photo to the right you can see where we have a bunch of furniture piled out of our way while we worked on the porch enclosure. you can see the shed wall on the right and the salvaged picture window on the far end. Outside there is a deck walk 4' wide along the left side and on the far end. On the far end we have built a small roofed area to put our propane generator under so we can use it if there is a power outage, and the walkway gives us access to it. we also will put our compost tumbler out on the porch as well...for winter compost storage. I'll take pictures later when we get the furniture rearranged again and the decorations back up and the porch usable..still have that door and cat door/plexi panel area to finish up to have the porch totally enclosed.

This photo is looking to the east toward Joel's house. There is a working salvaged sliding glass door here with a screen that will close for ventilation in the summertime. You can see the shed that is built up on the deck to the left and our house wall to the right. This is where we place our bbq in the summertime. The place you see the chimney there is our shed that houses our outdoor wood boiler and you can see the roof of our greenhouse which is 4' down grade on level ground over the buried pex from the wood boiler (to give it in ground heat). The hammock has a blanket on it now to keep cat hair under control, but it can be folded up out of the way..still have our sawhorses handy as we are still cutting lumber and plexi to finish up the last opening and cat door/plexi panel area and then the entire porch will be enclosed and we can set the furniture back to normal, we do use it in the winter when it is nice although it doesn't get a lot of sun,just early morning and late evening as it is on the North side of our house off the kitchen/dinette.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now that the leaves are off the trees

This is the best time of year for trail planning. Now that the leaves are off the trees and the views are opened up, you can see better through the woods to establish trails and destinations.

In my woods I had a few trees fall onto my trails, blocking them. They are too dangerous to cut right now as they are hung up on other trees or tree parts, so I will allow them to dry out and possibly fall loose from wind storms over the winter.

However, because these partial falls have blocked 2 of my trails and have inhibited safe passage on another, I have spent some time this week clearing new trails around the falls to provide safe access to the trails.

My  one main trail on the East side of the woods is blocked with a jacknifed tree that has fallen top first down onto my trail. Therefore, walking back toward my house on that trail I notice that the animals were going around that fall and creating a "run" that would bring me out to my clearing by the pond.

There were lots of branches down on the run and some logs that needed to be moved, however, with very little effort and a couple hours of time, I was able to pick up and move aside the fallen branches and logs and clear a trail that in a round about way gave me new access to my trails around my partially fallen tree. This new trail also offers some new views and new areas access, mostly through an alder swamp. The  new trail goes off to the East from my main trail that is blocked, all the way to the ditch that separates my woodsy area from a field we are allowing to revert to woods. I was able to clear a trail all the way to a road on the other side of the ditch, but will need to build a bridge over the ditch in that area for human crossing (deer don't mind jumping). Then I turned back around the direction I had come and realized that there was an opportunity for a trail to go off to the Southwest that would come out into our clearing just nort of the north bank of our pond. I worked that trail clearing it well to the clearing, pushing a lot of dead branches and wood out of my way. This will also give access to the deer from the run to our pond for their water needs.

So now there is a round about way to get to the field (once a bridge is put in) and to my main trail until I can get the falls cut down.

There is another fall that is hung up in trees OVER my trail back by the apple tree north of the horse barn, that will have to wait until spring to be cleared, as it is a large heavy tree and could fall and cause an injury, so that trail will remain closed until spring.

I had started a new trail from there to the east through the woods to a clearing in a swampy area in the center of our woods, but that won't be accessible either until that fall comes down, or I'll have to make another access trail to it. We'll see if an Indian summer gives me time to work on that later this fall...or not...a lot of work done this year on the trails so I'm satisfied and looking forward to spring so i can transplant a lot of my plants along my trails in the woods.

Also I put a lot of cuttings along the trails and threw berries and seeds out into the woods, so it will be interesting to see what cuttings take and what plants grow from seed and berries, in the spring.