Friday, May 30, 2014

Separating Feral Cats Inside the House

I know that title sounds odd. One thinks of feral cats as being outside cats, too wild to be inside. However, we do have 3 feral cats living here now in the house with us. One I've had for over ten years now. She was a tiny motherless kitten that mewed for about 24 hours before I had to, of course, give in and bring her inside and feed and bathe her. She was not grateful for being rescued. She hissed and spat and hid behind the furniture, un-pet-able, un-cuddle-able, for actually years.



Now she (Lil Girly) has progressed to accepting petting from me, still from nobody else. She's just feral.



Late last Spring, about this time, two kittens showed up here, in the Yadkin Yard, hungry, thirsty, open to attack from dogs and other larger cats. One of the kittens was clearly the mother of the other. Yet both were small and skinny.




After struggling with this for several days, and saving them from one dog, they came inside to the downstairs only and had a trip to the vet. After getting their shots and deworming medicine, they both were neutered. The mama kitten was about 6 months old, the vet said, and actually pregnant with her second litter when he spayed her. She had an infection and was too young to be having back-to-back litters like this. The vet said we saved her life.


So they learned to use the litter box and to watch the birds from inside the window.


But MamaCat had a kitten with her and so she and Lil Girly fought. When I say fought, I mean running through the house, over and under things, oblivious to what was in the path. This had to stop. So Lil Girly took up residence in the craft room and the sunroom, while the two kittens had the rest of the upstairs and sometimes the downstairs also. There was a problem with this separation, however. Without open air flow, those two back rooms were cold in the winter and hot in the summer. As this spring heated up, we searched for a solution. Enter Latch'n'Vent Interior Door Prop.


You unscrew the brass plate on the door frame and replace it with the Latch'nVent by screwing that in its place. Then you close the door onto the end of the 2", 3", or 4" (we used 2" to be safe) vent arm. Voila, end of problem. Now the air circulates, we're comfortable, they're comfortable, all is well. What a difference. It's made by Symphatics in Oklahoma and is about $15. And no, we weren't compensated for this commercial, haha!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Library

Instead of boxes and boxes of books (OK and boxes and boxes), there is now a library!!  I follow the DIY sites and had settled last year on the Billy bookcases from IKEA. Three of the 30-1/2" width ones, including their height extension units, would take up the space from side to side and up to the ceiling of what the realtor had called the master bedroom sitting room.  It was a room between the hallway from the kitchen and the master bedroom.  We couldn't figure quite what to do with a "sitting room".  The previous owners had used it as a dressing area, sort of.

                                   

We didn't need that.  All the bedroom furniture fit into the bedroom.   So a dressing area, no.  Another area to sit in, not particularly.  But a place to put all these books and recycle the boxes?  Now that's a room I could understand and appreciate and be grateful for.  So I measured and measured and figured out exactly what to order from IKEA. After the bookcases came and we put them together, then there would be more parts to go get from Yadkin Lumber Company for the base molding, toe molding, and crown molding, probably even some more little pieces from them in order to make the bookcases look like they are built-in and have always been there.  There are plenty of DIY sites with step-by-step directions on how to do this.  The most helpful, I think, is Centsational Girls's, but there are lots of others for specific installations.  Hers matched what we wanted to do. Here's hers:

                                 billy built in bookcase wall after
                                              © 2009-2013 Centsational Girl, all rights reserved. 

Except that we wanted to go all the way to the ceiling, a very possible task since the ceiling is 8 feet and the Billy bookcases plus height extension units are less than 3" from the ceiling, so with the crown molding, it'd be perfect.  Ok, so I had my list of what to order from IKEA, filled out their shopping list, then shopping cart, then got ready for the payment part, and whoa PROBLEM.  Stopped me right in my tracks.  The shipping to Yadkin was $249.00.

The closest IKEA store is in Charlotte NC, but I looked up the dimensions of the packages (they tell you right on their website, isn't that nice?) and  first of all, they wouldn't fit in our vehicles, and second of all, we just flat weren't going to be able to lift up those packages, each 87 pounds (they tell you that too), onto a shopping cart, from the cart to the car, and from the car to the house and on back to the "sitting room".  Both of us have serious back issues.  So that's where the whole process stayed for several months -- stalled.  Friends offered to go with me to the Charlotte store and help, but nothing seemed to actually pan out for various reasons.  The boxes remained on the floor.

Then the FreeCycle program started things off.  If you haven't explored your local FreeCycle program, you really should.  It's wonderful.  A bunch of people trying to keep things out of the landfills.  So they offer things through the FreeCycle network to other people who are also offering their things.  Somehow it all works out.  I have been on both the offering and receiving end of FreeCycle and have had really good experiences with the people. The website is freecycle.org and then you look for the group closest to you.

But back to the bookcases.  Someone was moving within a couple of days and had to clear out their house. So they were offering several items on FreeCycle as long as you picked them up right away.  One of their postings was for two white bookcases.  Bingo!  So my sister said she'd help me pick them up.  They were down at the other end of her street.  The offering people had left the bookcases on their front porch.  So we got them into the truck, tied them down, and got them back to my house.  Even though "we" was mostly her, she still needed me and so boy was I sore the next day!  But I digress....

They were both in great shape. One was perfect for the area off the kitchen. The other one turned out to be an IKEA Billy bookcase!  How serendipitous!  Exactly what I had been wanting.  Since it was already all put together, all we had to do was to anchor it to the wall.


And order the height extension unit to bring it up to the ceiling -- IKEA delivered that for only $11.00.  Here it is after putting it together (very easy to do):


Well this was even more of a confirmation that my original plan for 3 Billys was the thing to do for the sitting room.  And for the boxes of books.  So God bless two friends of mine for making this happen!  They came and got me and we went to the Charlotte IKEA store.  IKEA has on their website the row and bin# of the items in the self-serve section (which these are) at their store as well as a layout map of the inside.  This is just tremendously helpful, saves so much time, no wandering around.  We were all very impressed with IKEA that day.

My friends loaded up the remaining two Billys and height extension units and when they rang it all up, I still had $ on my gift card!  So yes, this was meant to be.  Back home with it all, they hauled the packages into the sitting-room-about-to-be-library.  They intended to stay and put it all together, but we were all pretty beat by then, and I felt like I had already taken up way too much of their day, and that we could take it from here.  I thought I could actually work on putting them together here and there.  Farmer Lynn thought he could put them together maybe the next day.  Well, I'll bet you can guess how that all came out.  So here's the three heightened bookcases put together and each anchored to the wall.


Here's a little more progress on the unpacking. You may be able to see the little folded index cards I had to put on the shelves while I was putting the books away.  Those are to help me organize the books into categories (Poetry, Science Fiction, Art, Bibles, Famous People, ...) so I could quickly find the right section.


And here are the loaded-up bookcases:


Two little accessories finished it up. While at IKEA, we had also gotten this little BEKVÄM step stool to be able to reach the top shelves.  It turned out to be a remarkably sturdy step stool as well as a just-big-enough-just-small-enough side table!  And then the other day at Salem Creek, a local store here, I bought this little white wooden lamp with a white burlap shade. The whole thing is the perfect size to fit in between the bookcase shelves!  I may go back and get another one of these.



















All of those book boxes are empty, broken down, and about half already to the recycle station.  My sister came and helped me get the books all into the bookcases.  It was amazing that all of those books went into the bookcases and there are no more boxes and no more empty shelves.  It came out perfectly. The "sitting room" that we didn't know what to do with became the library that is useful and helpful and looks very nice. I'm very happy with this project.




There are still a few finishing steps.  In order to make the bookcases look built-in like Centsational Girl's does, we still need a trip to the lumber store to get a 94-1/2" strip of "classic baseboard" to go across the bottom front. There is no baseboard in the rest of the room but the bottom fronts need to have painted white baseboard to look better and also to get ready for the quarter-round toe/shoe moulding. The room does have stained toe/shoe moulding as well as simple white crown moulding, so those two types will have to come around both sides and across the front.  Roughly 116" of each but will get more because of the mitered corners.  I'll post that part when we get back to it.  We have a few have-to-be-done projects first in order to get the Yadkin Yard and house ready for winter.  I think the mouldings will be pretty simple actually but that remains to be seen.  For now, I'm OK basking in my new library!  Yay!  Thank you to everybody who helped.