I got the wall for Kennel 2 (Blades room) done this morning. It’s not as pristine as my first wall, but the issues are probably not anything visitors will notice. I notice because I’m a self-flagellating perfectionist. But I know that, so I’ll move on anyway. But first I need a rest, some Ibuprophen, and a meal to rebuild my energy reserves.
After lunch I moved my work station and tools out of K2, swept the floor in there, and set up my work table and tools in K1.
I had to rearrange my stack of blocks because (dummy me) the next wall goes right through that stack. I remember thinking that I’d use enough blocks to shorten the stack enough to not impede the wall. But I didn’t bother to count them. I should have counted. Not even close.
The pass-through door in K2 remains blocked with crate board and a couple of propane cylinders because I don’t want Blade roaming around in here- or slipping out and running off while I have the roll-up door open. Once I have a door across the front of that area, he will be allowed, if he chooses, to enter and utilize his inner sanctum. I doubt he’ll make much use of it. He prefers to be out on the front lines of the outer run to see as much as possible.
Once K2 was all squared away I laid in the first row of block for the kennel 1 north wall, making sure it is square and level. I’ll let that set up good and hard to form a solid foundation for building the rest of the wall.
I’ve almost got my “mud slinging” technique down. Almost. The trick seems to be in getting the consistency of the mortar just right: wet enough it will cling to the trowel a little, but not so wet it sloughs off of the block after I scrape it onto the edge. It needs to be the consistency of cake frosting. Very gritty, dark gray cake frosting. And there is a trick to moving the mortar from mortar bin to block without making it fall off on the floor or fly down the holes in the center of the blocks. This is my first attempt at block laying and I’m working with knowledge I learned from watching YouTube videos. I may be slow, but the end result seems to be good. I’m happy with that.
If I don’t get this last wall done before it turns cold I can move Blade into K1 (Josie’s room) and Josie into K2. I’ll go get a 5′ welded wire kennel panel out of Tim’s barn tomorrow (where I have stashed a bunch of them that were donated to us). I can use that as a temporary interior door to K2 until I get the chain link frame installed and sheathed with mesh. I’ll go into chain link mode once the blocks are laid and I can clear all those tools out of the way. It’s getting tight in here! Need to sell the rest of this lumber.
I have found the vertically sliding doors I need to close off the small doorway between inside and outside runs. They’re expensive: right at $200.00 each for the Standard version, over $300 for the insulated doors (I’ll skip those). But they’re good quality: made by Kennel Clad for professional kennels and shelters and should last a long time.
There is another brand: Ecco(something) that makes doors for zoos, and are heavy duty enough to stand up to lions, and tigers, and bears (oh my!). They come fully assembled using roller bearing tracks. But they run in the $600 price range! Although Blade thinks he’s a lion, we don’t need anything THAT heavy-duty.
There are cheaper ones, too. Other brands can be had for as little as $60.00 per door. But these are light plastic panels in sheet metal rails and do not come with hardware and cables. My time working in a shelter proves to me that plastic doors get chewed up post haste and need to be replaced often. The Kennel Clad doors are plate aluminum with aluminum frames, stainless steel fasteners, that ride in extruded aluminum rails that are heavy duty to resist dogs trying to bash through the door. They will also stand up to frequent cleanings with disinfectants without rusting.
I need to get Board of Director approval to spend the money on them, but I want to get them ordered ASAP because heating a building with holes in the side is … problematic.
But for the moment, I’m building block walls. I’ll focus on that until our Board meeting.