Sunday, August 16, 2020

Chick Life

We're building a new chicken coop.

(These are not words I ever imagined I'd type, but here we are.)

We already have two coops, one a fully built thing that we simply had delivered to our door one day, about a thousand years ago. The other, a prefab kit we assembled in an afternoon. Together, the accommodations were entirely adequate for our little flock, or so I thought.

Turns out, I was mistaken.

The new coop is neither kit nor's an avian palace in progress.

I've lost count of the pressure-treated 4x4s we're using, not to mention the plywood and hardie board and cedar and deck screws. We've deployed a circular saw, a jig saw, a chop saw (borrowed), a power drill, and an electric screwdriver. For her five-year work anniversary gift, my wife selected a reciprocating saw that arrived a couple days ago. So far we haven't found a reason to bust that out, but its moment will come. 

The coop's main door and window are recovered materials from Ballard Reuse, a "salvaged building materials super store." Also to be installed is a new, solar-powered automatic door opener from a company in the UK. If this seems to you an extravagant geegaw that will never work in the real world, you are not alone. But I'm saying nothing over here, and I suggest you do the same.

The project is moving along, not at a glacial pace, but not quickly, either. I actually have some construction experience, from long-ago summers as an apprentice carpenter. I remember some of those trade-tricks, but have had to relearn many more.

My wife's architectural plan, while simple and ingenious, still leaves some things to the imagination. This leads to the occasional do-over and re-imagining. Don't get me wrong, her plan is not something I could've come up with, ever. I have nothing but admiration for its audacity and originality. Do I enjoy doing things over again? I do not. Could I have done better? Nope.

The fact is, we work well together. So far, we have been patient with the process and the progress. We celebrate our little successes, and don't dwell on the little failures. And, importantly, we haven't lopped off any fingers or toes. Yet.

It's good that we started this project in the summer, and important that we finish it before the rains come. I'm not confident our patience would survive first contact with cold, wet weekend work. 

Prediction: we'll finish before then.

In the meantime, the hens are enjoying our company in their realm out back. To their credit, they've never once complained or even hinted that their current accommodations are anything but delightful.

They may be the smart ones in our collective flock.

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