We dragged the box away from the wall and set it on its front so that Lisa could paint the back and the lower parts of the sides. (It's difficult to paint at the bottom because you get into the dirt.) Here's what it looked like as the painting was nearly done.
The original plywood cover didn't have enough support and sagged and cracked, so we bought a new one, which Lisa then painted before attaching it to the existing hinges.
Here travelswithkuma examines the nearly-completed project. (Bears are not allowed anywhere near Lisa's painting projects while she's at work, and must stay inside and listen to the radio instead.) Lisa attached a 2x4 across the front of the plywood top of the box to act as a sort of overhead truss to support the sheet and reduce its tendency to sag in the middle. She also attached two more diagonal pieces running back-to-front. (The ends of these new beams are visible as the lighter, newer wood under the ends of the box lid.) This gives the lid more purchase and support when it's closed.
At the time we took this photo, we had not yet set the box in its final position, nor had we leveled it. The lid, when opened, fouled the electrical box, so we had to move it to the left, but not too far to the left or else we'd run into the gas meter. We also leveled it more or less even side to side and tilted slightly forward, with the box sitting on two wood beams that we set in shallow trenches to act similarly to how railroad ties support rails.
Lisa planned on finishing off the painting of the inside of the box this week, weather permitting. The couple of days of rain we had last week prevented her from getting the work all done while I was there, but having me there to help shift sheets of plywood and move the box back and forth was helpful, which was why she prioritized painting the parts requiring it be moved around.
The wood box is one more element that makes Fernley House look more lived in. Considering that it sat vacant for over a year, we want to do everything we can to re-establish the house's reputation as an inhabited building.