Sunday, August 10, 2008

Coop Dreams

I don't like using the circular saw. There, I said it. I hate the noise, the blade, the vibration, the fact that I can never exactly tell where the blade is going to slice into the wood, and that it's clearly meant for right-handed use. And cuts are so final. Drill a hole wrong-- oh well, patch it back up and drill somewhere else. Saw something wrong and you're screwed. Maybe it will be different when we have a proper setup with sawhorses and everything but nyeh. Icky. I love the power drill, the circular sander, even the table saw. But the circular saw is evil and I can't do any more work on my chicken coop until Don gets home to make these cuts for me. Everything takes so much longer than anticipated.

The plan for the chicken apparatus is like this: two movable, attachable structures, one of them a secure house raised about 18" off the ground, the other a pen. It will look something like this, except slightly bigger and with the two parts coming apart for easier moving. The idea is that the house and pen can be moved very frequently, so that the chickens get fresh ground all the time. That way they've got fresh grass, new bugs, and they're separated from the previous day's chicken poop. This method is much healthier for the birdies than being kept in a static run; it approximates free-ranging but is safer and more convenient, especially in an urban setting like ours. It's much better for the land itself, too, because the birds can be very destructive if kept in one place too long: they will eventually eat all the plants, scratch the dirt into a dusty powder, and poison it with too much of their very high-nitrogen droppings. With the movable coop, I can control the effect the chickens have on the land, getting all of the benefits chickens bestow-- their manure, that mini-rototiller-like clawing and scratching, and insect eating-- and then move them before the balance tilts the other way. Since we have a (very) small bit of land-- only 1/8th of an acre-- and I have a LOT of plans for how I want to use it, being able to both keep the chickies contained and move them wherever I need to is critical.

I'm basically killing time this weekend by working on the coop, which could be put off a few more weeks, when I really REALLY want to be working on the gardens. But that has to wait because: Survey--then fence-- THEN start garden. The survey is next week. Do you know what those cost? Yeah, I didn't either. Holy cow, it's more than eight hundred dollars just to find out where your property edges are.

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