Catio Construction Continues

We were up bright and early this morning, as we always are. It would be more accurate to say that we were out the door bright and early. We ran across a couple of snafus with the building materials for the catio, and so had to take back a piece and also collect a piece that we'd paid for, but not received. It's all a long story, so I won't go into it. Now we're home again, and catio construction continues. (Awesome alliteration.)

Backing up to yesterday morning, Mike got to work re-reading the plans.

In his other job, Construction Man is an engineer, and engineers have to be very precise in their work. He's doing a fantastic job on the catio. I keep thinking he'd make a good quilter because all of his ends are flush and the seams all match up. We've thought some more about what to do about this downspout issue. One idea is to take down that section of gutter and remake it with the downspout in a different place. Another is to simply cut a hole in the existing gutter, relocate the downspout, and then patch the old hole. (Mike assures me that this is possible.) Our third idea is what we're going with at least temporarily. We think the water will drain right onto the waterproof roof. The roof is mounted at an angle, and so we think the water will just run off the end of the roof without causing any problems. That remains to be seen.

While Mike was futzing about being all careful and everything, I took a little walk around to see what was going on in the garden. Another sunflower has opened. They look so pretty with the lavender as their backdrop.

Also, I spied a ripe cherry. I restrained myself long enough to take a picture, then instantly picked it and popped it into my mouth. Mmm, mmm, mmm. So sweet and tasty. Then, I found some more and promptly ate those too. Then, I found a few more and gave them to Mike. I do have my priorities.

There are at least three zucchinis on my plant now. You can see the one at the top right in the middle. It's actually large enough that I could harvest it. And there are a couple of smaller ones. I have two zucchini plants, but the other one has been a little slower than this one.

I gave a pollination assist to the tomatoes, and then looked for tomatoes. There are quite a few...all green so far.

Then, we started raising the rafters. (I've always wanted to say that.)

In the image below, see that board at the top running the full length of the catio? That's the piece that's been holding up the works. Together, we ripped a 2 x 4 x 14 piece of lumber into two pieces to use as that 2x2 that supports the cross beams.

The other half was used as the fascia board to cover the cut off ends of the rafters.

While he was doing that, I busied myself eating raspberries off the vine. There's hard work to be done here at the Three Cats Ranch, let me tell you.

At that point, we were ready to start putting the roof pieces on. They sit on these tracks, and this is where we ran into a problem because he'd paid for five, and only received four. Each set requires two pieces, and he was given three pairs and two half pairs. The two half pairs could make a whole, but we still needed one more.

The roofing material is the sort of stuff used in greenhouses, but also in other kinds of building construction. It is like corrugated cardboard in the sense that it has these little tubes for their insulation properties. In a greenhouse, Mike explained, these actually come about seven layers deep to allow light in, but keep cold out....like the honeycomb window shades.

Each of the five panels was covered with a non-static covering, which left Mike with a huge static charge on his body as he removed the plastic coverings. Each end of the panel has to be taped to keep moisture out. On the high side, the tape is waterproof. On the low side, it is porous so that any moisture that does get trapped inside can evaporate. 

It took him most of the afternoon to prepare the panels to be mounted on the roof. As it turns out, one was defective, and so we took that back this morning.

We're really hoping to get it finished today, and here's where it stands right now. 

So I made myself available to help all day long, but I had plenty of time to take care of my own little tasks. For one thing, I pulled all the little dried lavender blossoms from their dried stems. I needed my fingers to do this. Since I've never tried doing it before, I sort of expected the flowers to fall off the stems by themselves, and I even gave the paper bag in which they were enclosed a couple of good raps on the countertop. Whatever. It was simple enough to run my fingers over the stems and the flowers fell right off.

They were so strong of fragrance it made the whole house smell like lavender...a bonus. And from just that little handful of lavender stems, I filled up my little lavender tin with dried blossoms. These can be used for making tea, which we do, but we use the tea to make a simple syrup for Bees Knees cocktails. Yum.

Toward the end of the day, I took some trash out to the trash can and found myself face to face with these two young bucks. I'm thinking they must be brothers to be hanging out together like this.

Most of my morning was spent in the kitchen. We had a nice supply of fresh dill in our most recent CSA share, and I absolutely love fresh dill. What else could I do but make my favorite dill potato salad? It's a recipe from Cook's Country which, sadly, requires a membership to access. I can't post the recipe, but if you have a membership to the website, you can find it right here. And if you really, really, really want the recipe, email me, and I'll be happy to send it to you. There's more than one way to skin a, um, squirrel. (We don't skin cats around here, but squirrels are okay.) 

We had that dill potato salad with our dinner of hamburgers last night. The hamburgers were dressed up in sweet onions and lettuce from our CSA share, as well as some other stuff purchased at the grocery store. The best hamburgers are the homemade kind, don't you agree?

Oh yes, and those sweet onions came with their tops. I've been using those in place of scallions, and I used them in the potato salad.

Also yesterday, I used my two turnips in this roasted turnip ghanoush. If you like baba ghanoush, you might like this. Mike liked it. It has 1/3 cup of a date puree in it, and I thought it was ghastly sweet. I tried doctoring it up with more garlic and some cayenne, but I'm afraid I can't recommend it even though I've given you a link to the recipe. The pita chips were good though. They're super easy to make. Here's the recipe that I use, and the accompanying bean dip is super good too.

Smitty had the run of the place yesterday while we were out working on the catio. Sadie so dearly wants to come out, but we're not letting her out until the catio is built. Smitty went inside every now and then to sit with her and watch the goings on. He's actually very sweet to his kitty companions once he gives up on defending his territory.

He really wants her to come outside too. I think this is a great friendship in the making.

My friend Lisa has her quilt now. She picked it up from the post office yesterday afternoon.

And that means I can share the quilt label with you now.

In yesterday's mail, I received the last of the leaf blocks that I won in the Block Lotto. One of the things I love most about blogging is being in touch with people world wide. Isn't it a fabulous world we live in? These blocks came all the way from Israel.

That means I have 48 blocks now, and I have a plan for them. It'll be several months before I put it into action, however.

For now, my presence is requested as the Construction Man Assistant Woman, and so I'd better get going. The door is built. 

All that remains is to hang the door and put on the roof, and the catio will be open for kitty business.

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quilting Babcia said...

Yay for Construction Man and his Able Helper! I'll bet Sadie is a happy lady tonight!

WoolenSails said...

That is going to be a great space for the kitties, wish I had the area to do one but we are up high. You really have a great space for gardening and those raspberries look delicious.


Dana Gaffney said...

It's good you're taste testing the fruit before sharing, those cherries could have been bitter. :) I'm so looking forward to seeing the kitties in the catio.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Hey, you have to feed the help - so help yourself. Hmm fresh cherries! Love that photo of Sadie and Smitty 'nosing' thru the screen.

Teresa in Music City said...

How wonderful the catio is going to be! And I just adore seeing Smitty growing so fond of Sadie. Great friendships make the world go round I always say. I believe the common saying uses the word "love", but I don't believe you can have true love without true friendship first.

I've always enjoyed your photos, and I have to say the one of the sunflower with the lavender backdrop is simply stunning!

Kate said...

Looks like an eventful weekend. Beautiful pictures of the cherries and the sunflower.