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Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The last two days proved to be wonderful in terms of getting some much needed time building the coop. As of Friday it was framed, the roof was on and the plywood sheeting up which was a bonus as the wood and floor would remain dry, but it had been pretty slow moving and the chickens aren't waiting to eat and grow until I finish the coop. Seeing as how my semester is now officially over, tuesday was a day that I was able to focus solely on building. I had to pick up a few pots from a local show in Syracuse, but for the remainder of the morning and all afternoon was spent driving nails. It was a really satisfying day to be honest. I forgot to eat until six o'clock, and my plans were pretty fuzzy so I was figuring things out as I went. I finally figured out how to get the nesting boxes to work which are the overhanging structure on the side of the coop. I started to trim things out in order to finish the door and get the window in, and things started to really take shape.

It was really awesome to see it go from roughed out openings and plywood, to actually having a resemblance to the drawings I had done as preliminaries in just one day of work. This evening I went back out to try to figure out the little chicken door that will allow them to leave in the day and return to the coop in the evening. I decided to put the door on the front so that we could see the activity of the chickens from the house, and it also breaks up the solid front wall a bit. I threw the little trap door together while Aurora came out and helped a bit. Her visit was a bit short lived as it had been raining most of the day and everything still was wet. She went back in and I got the little chicken ladder together, screwed it to the coop and called it a day.

The coop is a seven by six foot footprint and is six feet tall at the front of the coop and slants to four feet in the back. There is an added sixteen inches of depth plus the thickness of the wall for the nesting boxes (with a trap door lid for collecting eggs). It seems as this should be enough room for a dozen chickens, and it's funny how through this process I feel the chickens should have a little bit more elbow room. It's hard for me to not do all of the snidley nit-pickey things because that is the stuff I love. My studio mate Matt Shaffer in Grad school was (and still is) a figurative sculptor and he used to call all of the finish work the "Gravy". I loved that term and still use it as well because it is indeed all of the stuff that goes on top to make the meal that much more tasty. I still have a little bit to do like closing in the soffits and putting in some roof ventilation, a bit more trim, and of course paint. My summer project this summer is to paint the house and the barn, so the leftovers will go on the coop. I'm having a bit of trouble finding some portable fencing so I can move the ladies around as they graze. Having a lab and tempting genetics with birds in front of her nose means "free range" needs to be a bit more structured. I really need to get the girls in the coop though, as they are quite large and could use some room to move. Hopefully I can find some fencing relatively quickly and get them into their new home. I give it another day or two...

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