Winter is indeed coming on, and we've started preparations.
Last evening, Union Guy built a small wood holder for up near the front patio door, so that we can keep a supply of split wood handy for the woodstove during the winter. We actually burn the fire on cool summer evenings, too: it's wonderful to have it going on a rainy night.
Today, we decided to find something useful to do with the big 'crate' that the windows and doors came packed in. It's nice and sturdy, very well built, and would be quite unpleasant to knock apart. Besides, we must need some kind of building this shape....
As we were discussing our options, we realized that we need a wood shed to store and dry a large quantity of firewood. Solar Neighbour down the way has offered us all the wood we can cut (and the use of his chainsaw to cut it with!) from the deadfall he cleared to put his house up, and we intend to take advantage of the offer. Further pondering led to the idea of creating a cat shelter at one end, since wood sheds are notorious for housing a large population of rodents, and the cats were in need of larger accommodations anyway as they are rapidly getting too large for the small box they hide out in now.
The old cat shelter is the upper wooden box. It's part of some old office furniture, I assume - it's just a cube of brown melamine we found at Habitat for Humanity. We lined the inside with styrofoam insulation and it has served quite well for most of a year. The new shelter is the rectangular box below that. There is a door on the far right (which you can't see), as that faces away from the prevailing winds. The door on this end is removeable for cleaning and access - the cube is filled with straw. It should be nice and warm, it has styrofoam insulation under the floor and will have wood stacked all along one side for additional thermal mass in the winter time.
We still have to figure out what we'll be cladding the structure with, and create some doors for the front ... and then use Solar Neighbour's chainsaw an awful lot in order to fill up the shed with the raw materials for a warm winter.