Spring has sprung as you can see by this rainbow in our saltchuck. It’s time to get working on more projects. First is the smoke house–Martina comes from Bavaria and many of the Germans here in Petersburg have encouraged her to start smoking meat…..and I want to smoke fish.

So I build a smoke house for that purpose–this is a big one to hang meat from the ceiling and place filets on removable racks. The success of a smoker is: 1.) lots of ventilation, 2.) all wood construction and 3.) carefully following marinating recipes. We’ll keep you posted on our results….

Then it’s on to the guesthouse outhouse:

Don’t laugh–you may be sitting here someday. It’s all recycled from other boats–including the Katahdin’s pilot house doors–another room with a view and fairly good library. Next step is to sand and paint. This is where a straight flush beats a full house….

So it’s on to the next project: Always wanted to build a bat house. The internet is the place to start so I redesign the basics: 1.) use untreated wood, preferably cedar, 2.) allow landing areas, 3.) add ventilation, 4.) score the interior shelves for climbing, 5.) allow a ‘crawl-over’ at the top where the temps are warmer, 6.) seal totally (bats don’t like drafty/wet roosts, 7.) tar paper the outsides to heat the house, and 8.) place on at least a 10′ pole SW/SE facing–morning sun/afternoon shade is best.

OK, here is the basic structure–note the scored interior baffles to allow bats to climb up. They are all staggered and open at the top where it is warmest.

Here is a view of the top before it is enclosed. Note the top (at left) has a screen attached to the underside so bats can hang there. The baffles at the top clear the ceiling by at least 3/4″ so bats can crawl over between baffles.

And here’s the bottom. The landing area has screen door material stapled to a 4″ panel so the bats can land, then crawl up into the warm house. The baffles can be seen here. I made the first (back) baffle 1″ instead of 3/4″ on the advice of one internet site.

And here’s the finished bat house. I’ve stapled tar paper on the upper (roosting) half, added vents on the bottom 1/3 (about 5″ to 10″ above the bottom opening). What got me started on this project–Martina and I were boating up Petersburg Creek last week and bats were flying around like cliff swallows catching insects in broad daylight.

Bats do not interfere with birds or their pollination efforts–in fact they actually pollinate some flowers. They are the only mammals that fly! They can eat a gazillion insects and are generally (no, absolutely) beneficial to the environment. Bats fly and hunt at night and return in the early morning to bat houses like this–if they can find one…..Visit this site for more information. Here’s the final installation…..holy cow, Batman….

OK–more projects await: Last summer, we completed our greenhouse, then carried water all summer (it was a very warm, sunny summer) into the greenhouse, let it warm, then poured it carefully under the tomatoes. This summer, we’re going to catch all the water off the roof and recycle it into the greenhouse with this system:

We’ll attach soaker hoses inside the greenhouse. I’ve added a valve to direct water to the rain barrel–a source close to the garden beds instead of running hoses from the well house and energy is conserved!

Well, that’s it for now. While Martina is visiting relatives in Germany, I’ve started all the plants inside–as you can see here looking through the front window where the sun streams in. Best lighting for not only plants but also for the keyboard. On the music rack is Brahm’s Intermezzo in A major–a piece I started years ago and am now determined to complete. And this is the view directly behind me while I practice:

Stay tuned…..

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