Tuesday, January 11, 2011

SHOOP da COOP's new clothes and other fairly stupid tales.

Since I've been talking and thinking about getting chickens, I'm gonna need a place to put them. Now, it would sure be helpful to have a structure already built for that. One that isn't this:

The original Chicken Coop
The original chicken coop that is currently on the property has a number of problems preventing me from wanting to use it as it has been used in the past: 1) The yard around it is not big enough for the style of chicken keeping I want to do. 2) The inside is disgusting, and would require an exorbitant amount of sanitation. 3) The location of the current coop is not ideal for chickens, namely, letting them forage properly (Which helps save on feed costs) and doesn't give them adequate shade (Which can be helpful in the hot summers for keeping the chickens cool, since they don't really have the biological ability to sweat unlike us lucky creatures). 4) It looks like it could fall down at any second.

THEREFORE let it be known that I propose to use a different structure that is on the farm. It is currently just sitting next to the defunct chicken coop, with a decayed roof and boards inside of it to separate it into two halves for something (I don't know what). Check it out:

Old and Busted

See that metal thing? That's a sweet cylinder that would be just perfect for the chickens. It has one of those holes on each side, which can serve as perfect doors. Everything is just perfect.

Except the Roof. I mean look at that thing, it is in disarray. I'm gonna have to rip it all out, then move the cylinder over to where I want the coop (After I've built a floor for it), then put a roof on. I have an Idea, though, which could be really sweet if I can pull it off: A Reciprocal  Roof (Or frame, whatever). I've been reading up on it mostly Here. It looks pretty sweet. Also, very sturdy, and we have plenty of old round fence posts that should be strong enough for this structure. I could be overstepping my bounds here, and trying to do too much at once, but If I'm not, this would sure be one of the coolest things I've done out here so far. It would also require only a minimum of extra materials that are not already on the farm. Mostly fastening straps.

So that is my dream for the chicken coop. That's the future, but let me dwell on the past for a little bit here.

I installed my first set of shelves in the barn! And I've started organizing all my junk, that I've been sorting into piles, onto the shelves! Have some pictorial evidence:

Old and Busted
New Hotness
Now, I know it doesn't seem like much. Trust me, there is a ton of organization that has been going on with this change. If you notice, behind the shelving unit on the left side of the "New Hotness" picture, there is wallboard. Behind the wallboard, you'll not see that Dad and I installed insulation between the studs. We're hoping to eventually have insulation all around the barn walls to keep out drafts. The reason for this is simple: When we didn't have it, I was noticing little drifts of snow coming in through the cracks in the walls. I'd rather not replace the exterior walls, I'll put up interior walls and insulate against the cold, harsh wind that infiltrates every hole and crack. Aht.

Cleaned and cleared wall
Somewhat Organized Stuff

More Somewhat Organized Stuff

Even More Somewhat organized Stuff
 There it is. A Bunch of stuff piled together. This is what I've been working on! For almost a month (Here and there, between other projects when I have nothing better to do). Dad commented on the fact that he's been at this for years. He says it is interesting when you show people a picture of nothing (See above, first picture of the last set) and tell them "Look what I did!" as if nothing being there is a huge accomplishment. Turns out, the Emperor was wearing invisible clothes of the finest quality after all, and its all you peasants who really couldn't see the craftsmanship because of your untrained eye! It is all a matter of perspective. Filthy Commoners...

Finished Product, with usable, sorted junk lining the shelves
I think the coolest part about these shelves is that we used entirely re-purposed lumber. The surface of the shelves themselves were cut to fit from the old pieces of shelf that was being used before I took them down. The 2x4s were found in a different part of the barn. The only thing that was bought new were some joist hangers to make it solid and not pieced in like the old shelves.  Even the screws we used were leftovers from the roofing job done in September over the garage.

Now I only have a small section left to sort and some more shelves to put up in its place, which currently looks like this (Which is very much what the section I just got done shelving looked like):


If you have ever wanted to see the grossness that is my nose after working in the dusty shop (And I know you haaaave!), click the following link. I am not posting this picture openly, but you can view it if you wish. It is gross, and a large closeup of my nasty nose. You have been warned. Don't blame me if you click on this link. The dirty buildup is simply from dust particles in the air in the barn. This is why things need to get cleaned up. I dream of a day when i can go out to the barn and breathe freely the clean, unsoiled air around me. Until that day comes, this happens to me every time I go to the barn to clean. Gross. I salute you if you actually clicked on it. If you did, you have now become intimate with my nose, I don't know whether to applaud or console you.

That is what I have ahead of me. In addition to my chicken coop building, and barn cleanup, I am taking an online class through the University of Idaho on Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching Practices. I've linked this blog from my first assignment (Kind of a "getting to know you" type post). Hello Classmates! Thanks for reading this (Sorry about the nose thing)! This class will go until the beginning of April. It looks like it is going to be a great resource and guide to get my priorities in order for the farm, have a little better idea of what I have ahead of me, and also connect me to some other great local people who are interested in production of farm goods in the same vein as me. Dad's taking the class with me, so we should have some good discussion about our specific farm and what it is going to take to get it to the place we want it to be.

As I'm writing this, I'm looking down the barrel of a few things happening: First of all, a good friend I grew up with in Everett is going to be visiting me this weekend. He lives in Boise now, and is taking the long MLK Jr Day Weekend to come over (Weather permitting, fingers crossed!) and help out with a few chores. This marks the SECOND time he's been out here to help on the farm. Just sayin', the rest of you are slacking off. Needless to say, We'll have plenty of fun projects to keep us busy.

Secondly, through persistent nagging of a certain friend, and the subsequent gathering of many other friends for birthday festivities in Seattle, I'll be going over there for a week during this long cold stretch of winter. Cost was was a prohibitive element until I actually looked and saw that Alaska Airlines has very reasonable rates from Boise to Seattle. Less than $140 including taxes! Howbouthat? Anyway, after this little visit, it'll be crunch time, since I plan on having chickens a little more than a month from when I get back. Like Groucho Marx says, Time flies like an arrow, Fruit flies like a banana. Goodnight Everybody!


-Jon E


  1. Are you coming for Bri-Bri's birthday?

  2. I am not coming for Brian's birthday.... I'm actually coming for some highschool friends' birthdays. I'll just miss Brian, he says, before he heads out of town. :-(

  3. I clicked, oh how I clicked! Rachel blames me not you though

  4. Jon, I love reading about how the farm is coming together and apologize for not being there to help (particularly since at some point if not already you have probably had to get through things we left there for storage). I love your chicken coop idea as well as the others. I see very much the progress as I remember being warned to stay out of the barn pretty much on pain of death. Good luck with your continued efforts. I will look forward to seeing the changes and maybe even coming out to help if the Marines ever give me time off and pay at the same time.:)

  5. i wish i was there to help you organize. i do love some good old fashioned O-rganizing. i did click on the nose link but it didn't bug me that much!

    see you SO SOON
    love, B