26 October, 2016

Gimme Shelter

Shelter - We seek shelter from the sun, from the rain, from the wind, from the cold, and from all the ills of the world.  (Cue music here.)  I mentioned a couple of posts back that our latest project was to install an upside-down roof under the sunset balcony to shelter us from the rain blowing in from the west.  It is now complete except for a little caulking to be done where the metal meets the support posts.
Under the Upside-Down Roof.  The screws go up through the zinc into lapboards on the upper side.  It works really well!  A bit of standard roof is seen at the far end for comparison, with the rafter and the lapboards on the underside.
When one project ends, there is always the next.  Next is building the frame for the shade cloth over the sunset balcony to give us shelter from the afternoon sun.  This is directly above the upside-down roof, and is the same odd shape.
Tiger and Pascal measuring for the supports to hold the frame.
This took them only 4 or 5 hours to build.
The Coolaroo shade cloth will go over the top of the frame and will be secured with carabiners and eye hooks so it can be easily taken down in preparation for hurricanes.
Even though this is pressure treated wood, we still use a penetrating oil on it that provides UV protection and helps keep it from drying out too much.  In the photo below, you can see how the frame tucks up just under the eaves.  The center ridge doesn't go all the way to top of the gable.  Instead it is just beneath the vent fan, which is currently covered by a piece of zinc until hurricane season is over at the end of November.
Tiger beginning to apply the Flood brand penetrating oil finish. 
We draped the bolt of Coolaroo shade cloth up over the frame so I could get a good measurement for the length and do a rough cut in place.  The bolt of shade cloth is 12 feet wide and the balcony is only 10 feet wide, so the cloth is plenty big.  I brought the rough cut piece down to the veranda to square it up using a square (as you do), a long level as a straight edge, and a sharpie to mark the line.  The standard sewing aids here in Englishtown.
Squaring the ends.  The 12 ft wide fabric is folded in half to make it more manageable.
The final piece is just over 16 ft long.  I will use a hot-glue gun to hem the ends.  Sort of a soft carpentry or a sturdy sewing project.  The Coolaroo fabric is made from recycled polypropylene (think soda bottles) and is perfect for the harsh conditions on the balcony.  I brought the bolt of Coolaroo down to Belize 4 years ago in a BIG duffle-bag.  The bolt was a cylinder 4 ft long and about 15 inches in diameter.  We have used it for other projects, too, but there is still about a third left.  I'll post photos of the shady balcony once it is complete.

Turns out that we are providing shelter for unwanted visitors - ANTS!  We have a huge invasion in the new cabana.  We put out some poison bait (Combat brand) that we hope they are taking back to their nest.  They lap this stuff up!
Just a hundred or so of the THOUSANDS OF ANTS that are marching across the countertop!  We put the bait in small plastic lid and also soak the paper towel with it too.
Fortunately the ants don't bite and they are just little things.  I think the wet weather has driven them inside.  But too bad, they need to find other shelter.


  1. Fascinating to see the progress Wilma.
    Always something to do; I hope you manage to find some time to relax.

    1. Hi Keith - some days progress more than others! And don't worry about me not taking enough time to relax - I am an expert practitioner of relaxing. ;-)

  2. Everything looks to be taking shape Wilma - and you seem quite matter of fact about those ants!

    1. Little by little, Weaver! The ants make me curse a blue streak when they invade the cabana. I actually hate to have to kill them, but when they get inside I don't hesitate to wield the poison.

  3. You're making so much progress. Our ants are biters and to be avoided. I want to put a roof with solar panels over my deck.


    1. Hi Janie - oooh, I remember my first painful encounter with fire ants in rural south Georgia ages ago. Those are horrid creatures! They sting and they bite; which is not at all fair! We have some ants outside that are as bad. In fact I came close to dying after being stung/bitten 50-60 times soon after we bought this property. I lost all control of my limbs, bowel, bladder, and stomach for about 45 minutes about 12 hours after the attach. I could breath, at least. Dennis was in a panic as I floundered on the floor at 2AM. Fortunately the bodily fluids mostly found their way into toilet, waste basket, etc. before I fell off the toilet. A night to remember, as they say.


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