Wednesday, July 30, 2014

plans afoot

I thought I'd share a quick peek at the outside project I've been working on the past few days.

It's a fenced area for our chickens.

That's right... chickens... as in those large birds that Joe hates with a passion.

Joe has hated chicken so much that the only way we could have chickens (and fresh eggs) was to share a tiny flock with our next door neighbor... on her land. This worked great until the neighbors had to move for work... and their house sold in one day... and they can't take the chickens with them.

When she asked if I could take "our" chickens, I told my neighbor I couldn't, and she understood why... Joe's been very clear how he feels about chickens.

And then... wonder of wonders... he suddenly changed his mind and said we could keep a few of them.

No more walking up the hill and climbing through the fence to clean the coop, no more concerns about finding them a new home... our own chickens right here.

It's a genuine 100% miracle.

But there are preparations that have to be made... I can have the coop my neighbor and I fixed up together, but I have to figure out a way to move it down here... and I have no safe fenced area for our little flock.

So, I'm fencing again.

Monday I planned out where I'd put the coop, decided on a size and shape for the chicken yard, and gathered the fence posts I needed. This part ended up being really difficult, since I needed a relatively flat area to hold the coop, ideally inside an existing fence (coyotes and foxes love chickens and can be very bold about stealing them), and close enough to the house to be convenient. It would have been easy to find a spot a few years ago, before I started working on the back yard... but I've landscaped most of the backyard now and finding an area big enough was tough... I finally decided to use a small corner of the backyard.

Yesterday R and I set the wooden posts that will be on either side of the gate, and also placed the T-posts that we're using for the rest of the fence. Luckily, I had a bunch of old T-posts from the old pumpkin patch fence and several decent wood posts a neighbor gave us when he moved away... so I don't have to buy any posts... just a little cement.

Here's a view of the back corner where the chickens will be. The two wooden gate posts are already set (towards the middle of the photo) and you can see some of the thin dark T-posts as well. (It looks like one is leaning... we can straighten that as we attach the wire fencing.)

We set the wood posts in concrete, which is something I haven't done often... but they seem sturdy enough. Since we need to hang a people-sized gate, I needed wood, set in concrete, to be strong enough to hold the gate. The second wood post wasn't necessary, a T-post would have worked... but the wood looks much better.

Here's a view from the other side of the yard...

I still need to reroute that black hose, which is part of our drip sprinkler system for the trees, and get those old rolls of fencing moved. The fenced area is going to be oddly shaped because I'm fencing off my two little blue spruce trees, they will be outside the chicken area... but the big crooked cottonwood gets no special treatment... it will be inside the fence... giving them shade in the summer, and letting the light through in the winter.

Today I hope to get the wire up all the way around, and hopefully start building the gate, and then we can move the coop and the chickens.

We can't wait...

1 comment:

Renee Nefe said...

I bet all this rain hasn't been helpful for you. Glad that you get to keep your chickens.

I see an expanded animal care co-op in your future. ;)