Our Wolf Den

Honey, I Have an Idea!


Painting the Back Fence

It took us a week before we tackled painting the fence. Bright and early Saturday morning Wolfy and I awoke and headed out into the yard. Armed with 10 gallons of Cabot Solid Stain in Cape Cod Gray and our beloved paint sprayer we started our project.

We were apprehensive; anyone who has paint fencing can tell you it takes a long, long time. Fortunately the paint sprayer allowed us to paint the inside of the fence in 2 ½ hour. I will admit I called and bragged to my parents about my fence painting speed.

The process I have found that works the best for us is a quick coat going side to side.

Once that is dry (which didn’t take long, this wood was thirsty) a heaver coat going up and down only concentrating on one or two boards depending on the width of our sprayer.

It took 8 gallons but the fence was done.

It turns out however that the paint I had originally painted the upper part of the fence with was not the same color as the Cabot stain. The original paint was a brighter bluer gray…

While the Cabot Cape Cod Gray is more of a brown tone.

I like it, I probably wouldn’t have picked it out but it looks good. I like how in the distance it is a softer color, it is not a hard color that drawls your eye the way it would have been if we had went with white, or even the way it was before painted.

We still have to paint the outside of the fence, but I’m going to leave that project for another day, along with taking out the white posts that mark the old yard.

front deck paint Privacy Panels on the Pergola perfect pergola lights back deck painted garage fron deck door knocker outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding


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Fencing in the Backyard

After almost 4 years of living at the Den we decided it was finally time to fence in the whole back yard. It was the reason we bought the house, but up until now only about 1/3 of the yard was fenced in.

The Friday before a three day weekend found Wolfy driving around to two different home improvement stores to gather our supplies.   I didn’t quite understand what we had gotten ourselves into until I saw the trailer loaded down with 26 6X8 fence panels. Then I actually put together all the numbers that had been in my head… 200 linier feet of fencing, oh crap.

I’m not going to go in depth on how to install a fence. I’ll share an overview of what we did but if you don’t have a clue please do more research! Take this as anecdotal evidence that if the Wolves can do it, so can you.

Step One: Cut a hole in the box Figure out where you fence is going to go.

To do this we put stakes into the ground (that’s a lie, we used garden tools i.e. shovels in place of stakes) and connect with string to indicate the perimeter. I followed that up by using marking paint on the grass so we could remove the string and get it out of the way.

Note: We did not put the fence on the edge of our property. We met with a fencing company two years ago to get this quoted (scary!) and were advised to keep the fence away from the property line so that you can still mow on the outside of your fence. You never know when your neighbors might move and the new neighbor could be a real jerks. Ah, town living.

Step Two: Take down the old fence. Pretty self-explanatory, we needed the old fence out of the way to put in the new one.

Step three: Install the first panel. A multiple step step.

This panel needed to be attached to the wood fence we had installed a few weekends ago. It was also on a hill. First we needed to dig out the hill enough to install the fence in the ground. This area is highly dog sensitive by bury the fence we are giving ourselves added security that if Makanda decides to dig she isn’t going anywhere.

Once the area was dug out so it would be fairly level with the existing fence we started digging the holes for the post. Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family, Errr… we never did manage to name it but this is our very own auger. We purchased it from Home Depot for around $250 which I think was a great investment.

You may wonder why we bought one. To save time and energy. If you have ever had to dig a hole with a manual post hole digger you know that gets old real fast. So why didn’t we rent one? This one is smaller than the ones we were planning to rent. Wolfman was able to operate this on his own. We were able to use it Saturday and Sunday without worrying about having to get it back to the rental place. And most importantly, this isn’t our forever home. We will move at some point. And that place will need a fence, or a deck, or a pergola, or trees planted – all of which this auger will come in handy for.   Buying the auger was about twice the fee to rent one, so if we ever need it in the future it will be paid off.

Public service announcement: If you plan to dig more than 12 holes, please get ahold of an auger. Rent it, buy it, but trust me the time and effort it saves will be worth it.

Okay back to hole digging.

Once the holes were dug we added a 4X4X8 to each hole. The fence panel went up and was installed slightly differently than any other. The first post was about a foot inside the panel. The end of the panel butted up next to the already installed fence so it would look seamless. The panel was screwed in there using 3 inch deck screws and to the first post we installed. The second post was held level and lined up so the panel would be on half of the 4×4 (a second panel will attach to the other half) and screwed in. The panel was held in a level position and a bag of dry concrete was added to each hole.

This is called dry setting. It allows more wiggle room while working on a project while still keeping the posts level. When the project is done you can come back and water the holes or like us just wait until the first rain. After adding the concrete to the hole I filled the hole the rest of the way with dirt and we moved on.

Step 4: Just keep digging

Really that’s it. Measure you next panel (don’t believe the advertised measurements, even ¼ inch can mess you up) and mark that distance from the end of the current panel. Dig your hole. Attach a panel. Dry set the holes. Move on.

The two sides we did were 75 feet long and the back was 45 feet. Wolfy and I managed to call in a favor to our good buddy Gaston and he came over to help. We started Saturday morning at 7 am and called it a day at 8:30pm. Sunday morning started at 7:30 am and went to 12:30 pm. Three people worked 18.5 hours to accomplish that. The motto which kept me going was “This is saving me at least $5000”. Sweat Equity.

Installing a fence is hard hard work, I would recommend having three people if you are working with panels more than 4 foot tall. If Wolfman and I had to install these ourselves without our friends help it would have taken a lot longer. We ended up with a system of the two men holding the panels up and level while I screwed them in place.


Other Outside Projects

front deck paint Privacy Panels on the Pergola perfect pergola lights back deck painted garage fron deck door knocker outdoor wedding slider-seating-makeover seemless siding


Custom Door Knocker

I wanted something unique to add to the front door as a door knocker.  We got rid of the wires that went to the old doorbell that no longer worked and needed something else. Having visitors (or pizza guys) pounding on the front door (which a lot of the time we couldn’t hear) just was not working for us anymore.  We bought a plain oil rubbed bronze door knocker at Home Depot to fill the need.  You can view it here:


It was nice but it didn’t speak to me.  So I went to my good friend Etsy and started a search.  I wanted some unique, something vintage or custom.  Something that let you know you were knocking on the door of the Wolves’ lair.

I found:


Custom door knocker

Ironically it was the same door knocker I had originally purchased at Home Depot but now I was able to get it customized!

It was pretty simple to install.  All that was needed was two holes drilled into the door.  Remember to drill from the inside out!  That way the sharp edges the drill makes with exiting the steal (or wood) will be hidden under the door knocker itself.

We did end up keeping the plain one originally purchased, that way when we sell the house we can take the personalized one with us and leave a one that goes with the exterior finishes.



slider seating makeover before and after

Not the kind you eat the kind you sit on.  When my parents redesigned their gazebo they had an extra set of sliders that they no longer needed.  Never to turn down furniture, especially when said furniture is comfortable and something we desperately needed, I told them to bring it over.  The sliders have been around for several years.  When they were first purchased they were spray painted green.  After years of sitting outside in the weather, the paint was peeling.  Nothing a couple of cans of new paint can’t fix.

 slider seating makeover (1)

The first thing we did was move the sliders off the deck and onto a tarp (ours happened to be an old table cloth).

 slider seating makeover (6)

The peeling paint needs to be removed. To do this I used a wire brush attachment in my battery operated drill.  You do not need to get down to bare wood just hit all the places the paint is peeling so the new paint can stick.

Next up was to remove all of the wood.  One slat was broken on ours.  Luckily we were able to replace it with a 1X2.  Keep all the hardware safe.  I put ours in a shoe box.

 slider seating makeover (12) slider seating makeover (13) slider seating makeover (14)

Lay the wood out on a tarp.

 slider seating makeover (16)

Then the fun part.  Start spraying.  I used Rust-Oleum in oil rubbed bronze for the frame and red for the wood. Remember lots of light thin coats.  I went through three cans on the frame and five for all the wood – it was very thirsty wood.

 slider seating makeover (18)

Of course Murphy’s Law went into place and it started raining in the middle of the project.  I had to move the wood slats onto a 2×4 to get them out of the water that had pooled on the tarp.

 slider seating makeover (19)

In order to get the hardware paint in the oil rubbed bronze color I applied several light coats of spray paint to them in the shoe box giving it a shake in between each coat.  Some of the nuts did stick to the box but I was able to pull them off.  Because they were going on the underneath I wasn’t too concerned about those.  What I really wanted was for the tops of the screws to be painted the same color as the frame.

After the paint had dried we started to reassemble the slider.  Wolfy helped out and screwed the slats in place for me while I grilled hamburgers.  It did not even cross my mind during the tear down process but the seats are a slightly different size so it was necessary to make sure the correct slats went to the correct seat or else they would not line up.

That’s it!  In an afternoon (or two if it keeps raining on you) we were able to transform our hand-me-down slider into something more our style.  I think the oil rubbed bronze frame really gives it a high end look.  With some pillows from Kohl’s, we are ready to enjoy.

 slider seating makeover (34)

Supplies Used:

3 cans of Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze

5 cans of Rust-Oleum Gloss Apple Red

Part of a can of Rust-Oleum Lacquer White

(if you can’t tell I really like to use Rust-Oleum brand spray paint)

(I partied here.)

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Momma Bird


After we changed out our front door we took the old door frame and leaned it against the garage.  We were surprised to find one of our doves making a nest up there.  She is a good mommy and we were able to capture a photo of her and two of her babies.  What an odd place to make a home but she seems comfortable – when the babies aren’t squirming around at least.




I Dream of Green

I wanted to address the new siding as you can see it in the header.


September 2012 we refinanced the house with the intent to get new seamless steal siding.  The siding itself wasn’t really necessary.  What was defiantly needed was new soffits and wood trim around all doors and windows.  Those were all replaced and wrapped with aluminum as well to make the house externally look brand new.   It took almost 6 months to get the contractors to finish but when they were done we were left with an awesome green house!

For the record I love sage green homes.  I think they are so picturesque.  I also love red doors so one of the first things we did after getting our siding was to replace our old door and paint the new door red.