Chook-shed progress

Y’know how they say ‘measure twice, cut once’ well we now say ‘measure more than three times, AND get someone who isn’t hung-over to check your workings, before concreting once’ – because a concreted-in post is hard to move, and if you don't get it right you don't have much wiggle room. 

The high vis gear was just for show.
Despite small challenges such as these Michael and I worked hard and over two (part)days, we got the chicken coop floor installed on our steeply sloping, poorly terraced site. The shed itself is a kids kit cubby house that we are re-purposing. I then spent Sunday painting the trim and giving the inside a coat of this rather unpleasant cack yellow that I got very cheap at Bunnings. It’s just to protect the cheap pine from chickens, not for looks. The outside is a storm grey with white trim, and a green colourbond roof.
Installed floor, from above. The hole is chicken-access to what will be the secure run underneath.

The next steps are to cut pop doors for the chickens and egg collection in the walls of the cubby. There will be two chook doors and a person door – the two chook doors will be on different sides, so we have the option of making movable day runs, using chicken wire and star pickets. This should allow us more flexibility to do things like to rest the run area, maybe grow hen-fodder or even attach a broody box if we ever get that far (shhhh! don't tell my husband of my expansionist plans!). The person door will now need steps or a ladder - we ended up raising the hen house higher than planned.

After the pop-holes have been made we will touch up the paintwork then install the walls and roof. We are going to use weldmesh to screen the bottom part so that the chooks will have a fox proof area underneath the coop itself, for dust-baths as well as food and water. We are planning on raising the roof , gable and all,10cm or so, and putting mesh around the gap for ventilation. I can't really imagine a chook getting too cold in a Sydney winter, but I remember cubbies being pretty stuffy when I was a kid, and apparently stuffy is BAD for chooks. There is also a window that we will cover with weldmesh, a hole in the floor for the chickens to go downstairs and the plan is to cut a hole in the person-door to allow for ventilation. If we work out that it's not enough we will add more vents.
Installed floor, showing the sloping site.

The logistics of putting it all together will be more daunting than I expected too - I was thinking I could do it myself, with a bit of help from the lovely husband, but since it's all a bit higher than planned it's going to be more difficult.

I think I might end up having that barn raising that I've been joking about after all!


The New/Old House

I’m at work. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be blogging at work, but I’m doing ‘creative’ work and for me that requires a certain amount of effing about and procrastination. At least writing something here is better than repeatedly clicking refresh on my email and favourite forums. So, if I wasn’t sitting here what would I be doing? Well, the things that have been taking up my time recently, apart from hanging out doing school holiday things with my kids, have all been centred around our garden and house.

We moved in about six months ago, and we are still unpacking and organising. Although the house is a lot bigger, there are fewer closets and places to store ‘stuff’ combine that with the fact that family members have given us piles of ‘stuff’ that they either think we should have (I’m looking at you, ugly barstools!) or things they want us to store for them (Yes, I know I’ve left boxes at my parents for years and now they are finally exacting revenge – we have their car and a whole pile of their belongings while they are off travelling).

The other thing about our ‘new’ house is that it’s old and a bit rundown. It was given a quick coat of paint, the cheapest possible kitchen and cheap carpet when it was put on the market. This is a good thing – the new bits mean that it is totally liveable for us but it also meant that it was a bit more affordable (at least the owners didn’t have a fancy remodel that they needed to recoup costs on), we aren’t too precious about our kids staining the carpet or scuffing the walls (ahem, toilet training!) and when the time comes and we have plans and money (hah!) we won’t feel bad about ripping things out and replacing them.

Our first steps in making this place just the way we want it is just to live in it. We are seeing what works and what doesn’t in each season of the year. So far we know we need to do something about the outside covered area which is roasting in summer and freezing in winter (it’s also ugly!). We would like a bit more street appeal (the last reno was probably in the late 60s or early 70s and is…. Unsympathetic) and I feel that we need an architect to help us with flow and using space better. I want a roomful of built-in bookshelves as well, but that’s not necessary in the short term.

Since we don’t want to do much to the house, considering we might have to un-do it reasonably soon, when we have more of a plan, we have been concentrating on the garden. I am desperate for chooks and veggies and we are starting that process now: we have a potato tower, a few beans, heaps of herbs, some of the over-abundant weedy vegetation that was smothering the yard cleared and a site for the chook house. We are composting and I’ve been collecting fallen leaves from the deciduous trees on the street for mulch. The chook house and raised veggie beds are next on the list, with the lovely Michael, my brother and chook-shed-engineer supremo, helping me out (it helps that he’s skint and I feed him. It’s a cheap and truly wonderful birthday present as well!).

I'm going to include a few more house and garden type posts here, just so when we have a lovely, flourishing garden and a pretty, organised house I can look back and remember. I'm having a great time withPinterest too, pinning mostly ideas for home and garden, as well as some kid stuff. So follow along, or better yet, send me things that you think I'd like!

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