There's this place in a small town on the way to Mount Rainier called The Pioneer Farm Museum. When I was a kid museum volunteers visited my grade school and gave demonstrations of farm life in the late 1800s. I think I may have even visited once.
While I'm sure that museum staff and volunteers work hard to portray life as it really was, I think that they fail when it comes to conveying just how hard pioneering really was. Even with today's modern conveniences, pioneering is hard, dirty, and dangerous work.
Take, for example, our new chicken coop. The finished product looks pretty good. We used modern tools, building supplies, and methods. We took hot showers after our "shifts". We ordered pizza one night because we were exhausted. That didn't change the fact that working conditions still sucked: rain, wind, and temps in the 40s and 50s. It sucked.
The new coop sits on concrete blocks and can be dismantled, if we ever decide to, or converted into a shed.
It took us 4 days to remove the old coop, prepare the site, collect the materials, and build the new one. The completion deadline was non-negotiable. That sucked.
On Monday evening after work I was moving some 2x4s off the front porch where they'd been stored overnight. My boots were muddy. There were cords on the stairs. My balance was unsteady because of the long boards. I stepped on an electrical cord in slippery shoes and I fell down the stairs, sitting down hard and twisting my back while the boards fell on me. That really sucked.
I am sporting some nasty bruises, including one in a weird spot on my underarm, and sore muscles from my fall. I'm very lucky that I didn't seriously injure myself.
But hey, at least the chickens have a new home, right? (roll eyes) Here it is. I desperately glad it's done.
Here's the temporary nesting box. Today we got 5 eggs in it. I'm eager for them to figure out the new nesting box but we're going to have to be patient. The new coop has enough space to store the feed, which is kept in the garbage can.
This will be the new nesting box once the girls figure out where it is. Gene's going to cut out the side and install a perch so that they can access the box easily.
Have you figured out what the nesting box is yet?
It's an old entertainment center, like one you'd find in a hotel. With all the flat panel TVs now, these go for a song at the local Habitat ReStore. We pulled out the drawers so that the chicken feeder can be kept at ground level, and then we used the drawer backwards in the TV section for the nesting boxes. We'll eventually mount 2 drawers in the top so that there are 2 mondo-sized nesting boxes. This is important because the 9 chickens all seem to lay at the same time and nesting box space is at a premium.
Just don't ask how much this cost. Gene figured last night that the girls owe us 200 dozen eggs.
And no. We will not be getting more chickens.