Category Archives: Projects

Vitascope Donation Box

The Liberty Church Arts Fellowship (LCAF) is a fund that pays for a number if artistic entertainment venues each year.  Among them is a professional grade short film.  Last year I was privileged to work on the crew of that film (Special Election) and enjoyed the experience.  Special Election won an Excellence Award at the Faith Based Film Festival in Atlanta Georgia last month.

The annual banquet and auction which is the main fundraiser for the LCAF is coming up and Marie came up with a clever idea for a donation box, themed to the short film project.

We presented it to church Pastor and film Producer today and we was quite taken with it.

Want to know more about the LCAF film project?

Creating A Berry Trellis From Reclaimed Material

We had a right pleasant day today.  Morristown (about 20 miles down the road from us) is flooded, but I have no idea where the rain came from.  It was sunny all day here.  And unseasonably warm: there is a rumor about that we set a record for high temperature in February for our area.  We’ve had a couple of similar days this week, so it seemed a good opportunity to do some work in the garden.  This week my main yard-work task was to erect a set of trellises on which to grow berries.

I have boysenberries, blackberries, black raspberries, and red raspberries established and producing.  I also have blueberries and strawberries but they don’t require trellises.

The trellis for the boysenberries is the separate unit on the left end of the photo. For the two previous years I’d used four tomato cages in a row as the trellis here – that did not work well.  Boysenberries are viciously thorny and having to reach inside a bush that covers both sides of the bulky trellis tended to leave my arm torn and bloody.  And I let the canes get out of hand and they got all twisted up and tangled together.  It’s hard to prune out the old canes when they are like that.

Thornless blackberries are along the long leg of the L and black raspberries on the short leg. Blueberry bushes are in the box on the far side of this grouping.  Red raspberries are in a separate row on the right hand edge of the photo.  They already have a trellis I made from steel fence posts and wire mesh fencing.  It’s ugly but it works.

For this one I used T posts, which I had, and 1 3/8” fence rails, which I had, and some multi-strand wire, which I had, so all I bought was  6 rail end clamps, 6 eye bolts, and a small spool of 17 gauge galvanized steel wire (because I didn’t have enough multi-strand wire to do the whole thing).  Less than $20 cash outlay for this project.  All the rest of the materials were salvaged from past projects – not all of them my own.  I’m such a scrounger.

The fence rails were rusty in spots, so I sanded those and hit them with a coat of silver Rustoleum spray paint (which I had on hand).  That won’t stop rust, but it will slow it down and make it look nicer for a while.

In the past, the blackberries grew on a length of wire mesh fencing hung on three wooden posts.  A wooden beam across these supported PVC hoops, which supported bird netting to form my Berry House.  But two of those posts rotted off, as did the support beam.  So I dismantled that last fall and pruned the berry canes back over the winter.

With construction complete I took a break, then went back out to tie up the berry canes to the wires with hemp twine.  Where I had clumps of canes that would be too dense, I cut out the older ones – probably bore fruit last year anyway and will not bear again.  This is kind of a start-over scenario since I pretty much let it go wild last year.  This year I need to be more diligent in my vine husbandry.

I do not, at this point, have plans to erect a structure for bird netting again.  The PVC was too flimsy (snow on the netting collapsed it, crushing the blueberries.  Who’d a thunk that snow would build up on bird netting!) and I’m not sure I want to go to the trouble of building one out or treated wood.  It did not seem that the birds were attacking my berry house, so it may not be needed.  We’ll see,  for now the trellises will give me the chance to start over and keep things properly pruned for a better yield.

Cochise’s Final Expenses Fund

Cochise BigDog passed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 3rd.  His final days involved  three trips to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital, two of them for surgeries,  a special purchase of expensive clotting agents, a hasty trip to an Emergency Services clinic in Knoxville, where diagnostics, tests, more drugs, and consultation with an emergency service vet and an oncologist were performed.

Dr. Sandra O’Connor paid the emergency services clinic bill so I didn’t have to deal with that on top of  losing our beloved Cochise, for that I am grateful.  When everything is tallied up and posted to our account, I expect the charges for all these services will be … pretty high.  I have opened a Care Credit account as a loan to pay them.

Over the weekend one of the Rescue people we know through Facebook contacted me and asked if she could help us with Cochise’s final expenses, and if so, how?  I honestly had not considered this possibility and wasn’t sure how to go about it.  I made a few on-the-fly suggestions, but none were really good ones. Continue reading Cochise’s Final Expenses Fund

Innovation In Dog Treats

The old saying about necessity being the mother of invention is absolutely true.  In so many instances I have cobbled together something or other specifically to meet a need in the life of my family or friends.  Even my life as a furniture maker was made successful because I could design pieces to meet the specific needs or desires of my clients.  I find that even in making dog treats, I’m looking for ways to innovate.

Being OCD About Dog Treats

dog treats in a bowlFor the past few months I have been helping out our canine rescue group: Steele Away Home, by making healthy dog treats that are sold in Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital.  The purchase price of these treats gets applied to the rescue’s medical bill at Cedarwood.  This is one of several efforts Marie and I do as The Julian Fund, which raises funds specifically for S.A.H.’s veterinary bill. Continue reading Innovation In Dog Treats

New W.I.P.:
Feeding Your Dog

feeding time!Since I’ve started putting a dollop of home made bone broth on top of the dogs kibbles, excitement among our canine companions at feeding time has really ramped up!

This experiment is the first step in hands-on research for a new book on feeding dogs.  It will cover the full spectrum from commercial kibble (what to look for and watch out for) to home-cooked dog food, to raw diets. Continue reading New W.I.P.:
Feeding Your Dog

Play Yard Upgrade 1: Gravel Pathway

play yard upgrade: doggie plankOnce the new fence was in and the entire side yard was enclosed, we began entering and exiting our house via the “back” door (which is really more of a side door) and the back porch I just built. I have steps coming down toward the front to a boardwalk – which is a work in progress – but no steps off the back side. Yet. So I built a quickie “doggie plank” for the dogs (and me) to use in getting from the porch to the pathway I’m about to build.

We travel through “The Chute” between the house and The Great Wall of Edwina and across the back of the house, which is at the base of a slope so it tends to stay wet a long time after a rain. To help keep the muck out of our house I began this upgrade by making a pathway of stepping stones.

Play Yard Upgrade: StonesI gathered these 16″ x 16″ x 2″ stones from various places around our property. Some were being used as weights atop the lumber piles, others were a pathway from the front porch around to the play yard side of the house. That path is no longer needed, so I could re-purpose those stones.

While I was carrying these stones from the play yard side of the house around the front to the back porch, Blondie and Cochise were lounging on the front porch, watching me work… Continue reading Play Yard Upgrade 1: Gravel Pathway

Play Yard Fence Project

Piney Mountain Foster Care is a fancy name that Marie and I have adopted for the efforts we make to help save dogs. All of our funding comes from our own pockets. The shelter or rescue the dog comes from provides needed medications, we buy the pens, dog houses, crates, bedding, dishes, treats, and toys. We also erected fencing to provide a contained space for training and play.

The Current Play Yard

play yardOur current foster play yard is the space that also serves as the driveway to my workshop loading dock and lumber yard. It serves the purpose of giving the foster dogs some space to run and play. A place to work at training that cannot be done in their 10 x 10 pens. We installed Critter Fence along The Ridge to keep them in this space and that serves the purpose – as long as they’re not too determined in finding a way out. It can be thwarted! I amended the original wooden fence and gate across the driveway to give it enough height to keep the leaper/climbers in.

play yardThere is some grass, but it’s mostly gravel and slope. They don’t seem to mind: they’re just happy to get out of their pens and run a bit. A 10×10 covered pen with a dog house is better than they’re used to, but even that gets confining if you have to stay there.

play yardIt does get mucky out here when it rains, so I built a boardwalk to keep all of us out of the muddiest part.

Currently we have two pens. As I sell off the lumber piles, we’d like to add more pens, but that would eat into the play space. So we have a plan… Continue reading Play Yard Fence Project

Side yard

Piney Mountain Canine Foster Care

Marie and I have been providing canine foster care to dogs since June of 2012.  coolaroo line-up, canine foster careWe find it to be a very rewarding experience.  Some posts to this blog promote animal fostering, offer training tips and cover canine health issues.  I will post the stories about our foster dogs, articles about what we’ve learned as foster care providers, and some links to the organizations we work with.

But it doesn’t stop there.  I’ve been busy setting up Facebook pages for each of the foster dogs where I can post short bits of information, pictures and videos about each dog.  Why not just do all this on the web site?  In a word: traffic. Continue reading Piney Mountain Canine Foster Care

Canine Rescue Partners

Side yardPiney Mountain Foster Care is the name we have given to the dog fostering effort we provide. It is not an official “organization” because it has not been incorporated or applied for 501(c)(3) status.

Unfortunately that means any cash gifts given directly to us are not tax deductible. However, the organizations we work with are 501(c)(3) and donations to them are tax deductible.

Our Partners in Canine Rescue

Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue

A foster home based canine rescue established in 2016 and located in Newport, TN. Each of their rescues are cared for by a loving foster family as they help them on their journey to a forever home. In addition to saving as many lives as they possibly can, they also hope to bring awareness to the need to have pets spayed and neutered to stop the cycle of the homeless animals. Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue has been established in part to recognize and honor the work of Jenifer Parry Steele who has worked tirelessly since 2003 to save thousands of animals in Newport and Cocke County.

Web site

Newport Animal Control

The City of Newport opened a small shelter facility in a re-purposed building downtown after the Newport Animal Shelter closed, leaving city and county animal control with no place to house animals picked up.  They have very limited housing for dogs, and Steele Away Home works closely with them to prevent the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable dogs.  We have received many of those dogs here at Piney Mountain.

Web site

The Newport Animal Shelter

This animal shelter in Newport Tennessee was our primary source for the dogs we’ve provided care to from 2012 – 2016.  We worked under the supervision of their medical staff and their adoption coordinator Jen Steele.

This facility was closed in July of 2017 due to local politics.

Dogs in Danger

This is an award winning web site owned and operated by The Buddy Fund Inc. and was founded by two dog lovers. The website was launched in October 2007 with the goal of:

  1. Getting as many of these dogs adopted into loving homes as possible, before their time runs out; and
  2. Raising awareness of the number of dogs being killed in shelters.

The co-founders dedicated their respective skills, The Buddy Fund provided the funding, and the shelters listed the dogs.

Web Site

rolling rescue truckRolling Rescue

Rolling Rescue is a nationwide network of volunteers who transport dogs from areas where they are not wanted and in danger of being destroyed to areas where good pets are in demand.

Web site

3 Hearts 4 Paws Animal Rescue

A New Jersey non profit organization comprised of volunteers who give selflessly and open their hearts and their homes, as a stepping stone to the permanent home every rescue animal dreams of. They are not a shelter: each of their rescues are cared for in the warmth of their foster homes, as they help them on their journey waiting for the place they can call their own. This is a frequent destination for The Shelter’s Rolling Rescue van.

Web site


Companion Animal Rescue & Education is an open admission animal shelter in Jefferson City TN.  We share resources between us and SAH pulls dogs from their facility.

Web Site

Cedarwood Animal Hopsital

Cedarwood is our general veterinary care provider.  Doctor Sanda O’Connor D.V.M. is also a good friend to our rescue (and others) going way beyond the norm to see to the needs of homeless animals in our county.

Web Site

Eleventh Hour Rescue

A volunteer based, non profit, 501c3 organization that literally saves dogs and cats from death row. They rely on the generosity of volunteers to provide loving foster homes for dogs and cats pulled from death row in high-kill shelters. Without you, they couldn’t do what they do, and that is to simply give them a chance. Without you, those animals don’t stand a chance.

Web site

FOWA Rescue

Friends Of Wayne Animals, Inc. is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) rescue organization based in Wayne, NJ. They are dedicated to the welfare, sheltering and placement of homeless animals. They are committed to educating the public about the humane treatment of animals, preventing animal cruelty and overpopulation and promoting animal welfare. This is a frequent destination for The Shelter’s Rolling Rescue van.

Web Site

Fur Friends In Need

A charitable animal rescue, adoption organization servicing Monmouth County, NJ and Staten Island, NY. Their main focus is to find homes for the homeless animals in their care, and to educate the public on the importance of spay/neuter of pets in order to reduce the number of unwanted animals who end up in shelters. F.F.I.N., also believes in trap, neuter and return of feral cats who have a responsible caretaker. They are an organization looking to expand foster care homes in order to care for the many animals in need. All of the animals in their care are spay/neutered and receive love, food, shelter and medical care as needed, until a loving forever home is found.

Web Site

Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary

O.F.S.D.S. is a rescue service dedicated to senior dogs because Senior dogs, especially those with medical problems or disabilities, face a much greater chance of euthanasia at shelters than younger dogs because it is difficult to find adopters for them due to their shorter additional life expectancy and unknown veterinary costs. They house some in their facility/home and Forever Foster some to volunteer foster homes within a 100 mile radius of their facility. We are too far away to provide foster care for them, but we do support them financially and can occasionally help out with transporting dogs to them from a rescue situation.
Web Site

Pawsitively Purrfect Rescue

An all volunteer organization dedicated to helping neglected and abandoned dogs and cats in the Carbon, Schuylkill, Northampton, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Luzerne, and Philadelphia areas of PA. It is their mission to rescue and re-home abandoned and neglected dogs and cats. To provide a loving and caring environment while within their care. To provide a positive adoption experience as well as training and educational resources and to encourage responsible ownership.

Peyton’s Place Animal Rescue

Peyton’s Place Animal Rescue is dedicated to rescuing small domesticated animals that come from a variety of situations, be it a kill shelter, partner rescue group or an individual that can no longer care for their pet. They are committed to ensure animals that come into their group are fully vetted and have clean bills of health before finding them the best possible home.

They are a registered 501(c)(3) non profit.  They do not take salaries: every dollar raised goes to the animals.

Web Site


Founded in 1941, SAVE is an independent non-profit animal shelter dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of homeless companion animals in the greater Princeton NJ area. Through six core programs of Rescue, Shelter, Health and Welfare, Spay/Neuter, Adoption, and Humane Education, SAVE focuses on the rehabilitation and successful placement of treatable and adoptable animals. SAVE endeavors to build, foster, and strengthen the human-animal bond.

Web Site