Sunday, 20 May 2012

Chicken Coop Building

The last few weeks we have been saving and preparing for a mammoth task, building our chicken coop. Luckily we have some awesome friends, who kindly accepted my invitation to a working bee.  The weather could not have been more beautiful, perfect blue skies, not blistering hot and not windy, wonderful working conditions.

Saturday morning B and I left home bright and early full of excitement, we headed into a nearby town to find the perfect door for our coop.  We had thought to buy an old security screen door which would be easy and perfect for our needs.  We walked around the building scrap yard full of windows, doors, bathtubs and lots of interesting building goods, we found a perfectly adequate old security door and were about to walk out with it...then the next thing I saw was a solid, curly wrought iron door.  I had to have it, it is far to pretty for a coop, yet I knew it was perfect. We paid for it, threw it in the back of the wagon, headed for our next destination the hardware.

We bought some steel in 3.25metre lengths, managed only just to wedge it into our much beleaguered wagon. Carefully we made our home unloaded the car, returned to the hardware and bought 6 more pine sleepers as I had recently changed our plans and doubled the size of the coop.

Not long after our friends started arriving and the real work began.  The boys measured out an area 5 metres squared and 2 metres in height, marked everything out and picked up shovels.  Using a pick they hacked at the compacted clay soil digging a trench  to  bury the 200mm wide sleepers, in an attepmt to fox/snake proof the area.  Back breaking work, they kindly sweated while using a postholer to dig holes for the uprights, and move then moved the sleepers into place.  The girls helped me to clean up my pretty door with some emery paper and a steel wire brush.  A lot smiles, sweat, beers and hours later progress was made, the light started to fade and we started to wane.

We walked away from it all into the house feeling weary but satisfied, I thanked a couple of friends who went home, filthy and sweaty.  The rest of us showered, then opened up our reward! Tasmanian cheese from Bruny Island that I ordered up the week before. While we enjoyed our much deserved cheese and wine the temperature dropped rapidly outside, so it was decided we should make use of our recently completed bonfire pit.

B quickly welded together a frame for bbq grills, we lit a hot fire, got lots of coals going and threw some plum marinated chicken wings on to cook.  Into the coals we put some wet rosemary to smoke the wings as they cook.  It was amazing, certainly something we will be doing again! We will experiment with many different meats over the open flame.

Many hours flew by while we were having fun and laughing around the flames and warmth. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and in the wee hours of the morning our aching bodies need to rest a few hours before the morning broke with more toil in store for us.

Morning drifted in queitly with a thick fog, as it was only 7 degrees outside, we lazed in the warmth inside for a while before venturing out into the world to acquire breakfast and caffeine.  Well fueled the boys commenced welding, and us girls started painting my door.  I am thrilled with the progress we have made, and although the coop is yet to be completed we made enormous progress in only a short space of time, due to the many hands of friends.  It is beginning to look awesome, a few more hours work to put the wire mesh on and finish painting the door. ( we didn't have any black paint for the rest of it)  Soon we will have some very spoilt chooks and ducks to keep the quail company.

After everyone had gone home, we toured around the garden as is our habit, to check on progress and look for bugs.  Things are growing, and we love the joy of growing our own food.  Currently we have broadbeans, peas, tomatos, carrots, parsnip, strawberries, and lots of herbs growing.  There is always a lot of work to be done, for us there is an unending list of projects, weeding, watering, planting and designing to do.  It is a labour of love.




Cherry Tomato