People talk a lot about “crazy cat ladies” and I can only assume that none of those people has ever seen a woman who lives alone on a farm with a dozen chickens before. Especially when six of them are getting pretty close to being actual full-sized chickens and still live in a spare bedroom in the house. Keeping the chicken shit out of my daily life has become damn near impossible…
Yep. I was pooped on during the taking of this picture.
The chickens in my spare room are six of the top eleven reasons the most important project on my list right now is finishing the outdoor run for the chicken coop. The other five reasons can most often be found doing things like this…
I feel compelled– when I see this through the window in front of my desk– to stop what I’m doing, walk out on to the front porch, and yell things like, “Nuggets! Do you want to end up as chicken pancakes?!” and “Chickens! Why are you crossing the road?”
My neighbors don’t think I’m crazy at all.
So the chicken run is at the top of my project list, but not just because the Nuggets are calling my sanity into question on a daily basis. The run will also double the size of the coop (necessary, since I’m doubling the size of my flock) and provide some much needed daytime protection from predators.
Here’s where it’s going to go.
I set two of the posts as a part of the epic fence-installation that happened at the end of last year, and last week the ground finally thawed enough for me to dig the holes for the rest of the posts.
The Nuggets helped, of course..
And when they weren’t helping me, they were helping my grandmother who came up to the farm to sort out some of my garden issues.
We decided to seed grass in one of the front beds and chickens assumed this was because we wanted to provide them with an all-you-can-eat seed buffet.
We put up a makeshift fence to keep the gorging to a minimum, and I suspect I’ve got another 2 days before the Nugs realize they can fly over it. One of the more charming personality traits of my chickens is that they often forget they possess wings.
Meanwhile, back at the barn, I spent a lot of time frowning at the number of sizable rocks that were located directly in the path of my post-hole digger.
This thing? The large, dangerous-looking spike thing? I don’t know what the technical term for it is. Lifesaver? Miracle-worker? Crusher of any and all rocks that stand in the way of my post-hole digging? Whatever it’s called, I bought it last year when I was putting in the pasture fence, and that may be one of the best outdoor tool purchases I’ve ever made.
There is so much less swearing this way. I use it to loosen the soil and dig out any massive rocks, which makes scooping everything out with my post-hole digger significantly easier.
In fact, I was just starting to make good progress with this thing when I heard my mom start shouting from the other end of my property, “OH MY GOD, COME HERE!”
That’s the kind of thing you never want to hear shouted on a farm. My heart launched into my throat, I took off at a dead run for the house, and when I came around the corner of the back yard, I saw this…
Apparently my mom and grandma decided to take a break from gardening to shoot a few arrows when this happened…
That was her fifth arrow. That’s closer to the target than any of us have gotten. Also, nobody was bleeding, broken, or otherwise incapacitated, so when the adrenaline finally left my system I was able to fully appreciate this shot. My grandmother is also a badass.
Since I had quite enough excitement at this point in the weekend, I took a break from coop-building until after I could pick up some supplies at Lowe’s after work Monday.
Yes, the back of my car currently contains 100 pounds of concrete mix, a miter saw, finish nailer, 20ga shotgun, and some Coach rainboots. You can say a lot of shit about me, but not that I travel unprepared.
Here’s the progress I’ve made so far…
Even if that picture wasn’t blurry as all hell, it still wouldn’t look like much, but it will in another weekend or two. Getting started is half the battle.
The other half of the battle, by the way, is not balancing the level on top of the post you’re trying to set with concrete, or else you will probably end up bleeding from the nose.