Funny how your garden and homestead projects mirror your personality. Over the years I’ve noticed that I’m very slow at planning. Rehashing details is the only way I’m able to finally get things right. Not just rehashing, RE-HASHING. It’s not thoroughness so much as the inability to see problems at first glance. My wife’s great at that, and I’m very lucky to have her, for many reasons.
It’s pretty exciting to have committed to the thought that we’re getting chickens again. I’m trying to picture the small logistical details. And time and again a detail pops up that I’d overlooked, some of them potentially nasty.
One of them: the door to our little outhouse/coop opens inward. That means that I’d be pushing shavings every time the door’s opened. No prob. Just take it off, reset the hinges, move the trim if necessary, and make it open outward. Then a couple of days ago, I’m inside the coop and realize that it isn’t that simple because of the way the door’s constructed.
I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t deface the building or do anything that would make it goofy. The door is cool and old, and needs to be used. But there’s some structural woodwork running across its inner face that would prevent it from being placed on the other side of the jam.
This is where the wife comes in. She looks at it and says ‘Just build up a frame on the inside of the door’. Dang. She’s right. Perfect.
Inside the coop it’s a pretty small space, not really modifiable without wrecking the facade of the building. So no outside-hanging nest boxes. And it’s made more challenging by the fact that the ‘seats’ are built on a low concrete wall that dissects the floor. I almost ditched the whole idea because there was no way that I could see to give even a few birds enough floor space when nests and roosts and feeders were crowded in.
But given enough space, my own brain sometimes works. Use what you have, dummy. I realized that the ‘seat’ would make a perfect base for mounting the nest boxes, with a poop board above them and a roost above that. Then the girls can pretty much have the rest of the floor for partying.
This isn’t complaining, I promise. The old outhouse has great potential…a concrete floor and base, impervious to mice and raccoons and chicken plops. Ventilation (duh, it’s an outhouse), windows and coolness. It’s shaded by a huge cottonwood tree and not far from the house.
In my heart I wish I’d been born a building contractor. That’s pretty far from the case. But I surely do love the chase.