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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Coop Build Day 2

Day 2: 1 week later..slow and steady wins the race…or that is what I tell myself!

talked to K* during the week..I was thinking of keeping the coop small as a first attempt..but he convinced me that 8ft is  a good height for the coop and then I would not have to cut as much and I would have more room to move around..so the weekend rolls around and I head out to work on the coop…and I start to assemble the frames for the walls..Once again I have never framed in a whole wall and kept it level, square and plumb…and I don’t think I have yet..not a huge success but its better then nothing..and I also hear that chickens don’t know much about architecture..they still consider Frank Lloyd Cluck to be a genius..GROAN..

anyay, I got the back wall built and we stand it up it up and secured it. then attached some 2×4’s to the ground to hold everything ‘flush’..yeah right. the first time I walked away and looked back it looked like I was doing a leaning tower of Pisa impression..but I fixed that all up and secured it again. The second wall was the front wall and it was a little more complicated due to the fact that it had a window…the window that we chose was from our original building and was bigger than I wanted..but the price was right at $0. We had to go through the whole pile of old windows from the camp as well as windows from my brothers place..and any other windows we might have picked up over the previous 2 years..about 30 windows in all. So, I built the frame on the ground again and made a space for the window…witout too much difficultly…then we put it in place and secured it…time flys when you take 1/2 hour looking at wood trying to imagine what you should be doing..lessons learned..measuring pays for itself. The next time I frame a wall I will measure even more than I did..being off by 1/4 inch seems like a small deal until you have to go back and do something else to compensate for the wrong measurement.

before flower bed.....more soon!!

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Posted by on April 28, 2010 in Construction

 

A Murder of Crows

...holy crows...Houston I think we have a crow problem..ovah here..Mista Cottah.

..know what a murder of crows is? its what a group of crows is called…a murder. Not sure why.

The story of my interest in crows started with them being intelligent animals:

After I saw this..I started thinking it would be cool to try to get crows to want to come around my place..what would be the harm in that?..and maybe I could train them too..later. If they associated me with food they would want to come around more..and what harm could come of that..so in the Feb and March I started:

  •  phaze 1…encouragement ( over a month ): whenever I saw a crow in the yeard I would throw out a piece of bread or some dog food..since it was Feb the dog food would often times get stuck in the snow..I was never able to get the bread or food too far way from the house..but if I stayed away from the windows the crow would eventually get it before Jango. The crows would never stay where they were when I went outside..always retreating to a nearby tree..
  • phaze 2: observation: phaze 1 started to work..where I would only occasionally see a crow before they became more common place..and would show up as 1 or 2 instead of only 1. One would usually sit in a tree while the other foraged..seeing a crow became a daily thing
  • phaze 3: feeding: I set up a high feeder for the crows…but the crows never went for food in these feeders. Feeders is a loose word..I should say a tinfoil pie plate with dog food in it.
  • Phase 4: accidental feeding: I had a bag of birdseed that got wet. Instead of throwing it out I put it on the driveway. Within a day or 2 seeing crows became constant.
  • Phaze 5: oops: phaze 4 really worked. I was seeing crows all the time..and that is when bad things started happening. Garbage bags were ripped open, trash littered around and the crows were always here..it was to the point where in the past the crows would fly away and sit in a tree they would now fly into a tree and crow non-stop at me until I went back inside. I am not an animal..I am a human being! It was like I was infringing upon them now.
  • Phaze 6: full on retreat. got up out of bed and started the fire at the end of March..the crows were at my place all the time during the day. I could see in thier flight patters that they would fly from afar and follow my driveway..so when I was leaving or coming I would invariably see crows coming or going. Anyway, I start the fire and open the curtains to a bring and beautiful day..and I looked out the window and sitting in a tree opposite my house is 20-40 crows. I was a little shocked actually..I know that when a crow dies other crows sometimes congregate to mourn thier fallen comrade..but these were clearly here for the feed I had been leaving out. I was growing tired of crow-proofing my stuff so I put a stop to it..no more feeding the crows.
  • Phaze 7: infrequency: the crows were around alot the following week..but I think they are smart enough to realize that a good thing went bad. And now that its been a month I only see crows every 2-3 days..

..creepy..a little.

 

I guess its a good thing that I decided to end our friendship this way..my grandmother hated crows and early in the spring she would always shoot one and hang it from the trees so that other crows would know not to mess with her garden..and she claimed it always worked..and I believe it. crows are too smart..I really only wanted to have 1 crow come around and for me to train him to fly around a bank like ‘Its a WOnderful Life’..oh well..maybe for Christmas!

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2010 in Construction, Pests, Wildlife

 

Chicken Dreams – to build a coop

Dreams are turning to reality! A* and I have wanted to have chickens for a while..neither of us have ever done it and we have no clue but we have never let things like facts or knowledge stop us..so a couple of weeks ago we bought materials for beginning construction on a chicken coop for around 4-5 chickens…today was the day the weather improved enough to begin construction..

Materials:

  • 8 – 2×6’s
  • 20 -2×4’s
  • 3 thoughts of eggs
  • 2 1/2 nails ( a whack )
  • wood preserver
  • 1 vision of chickens
  • 2 sheets of osb
  • 6 patio stones
  • bad mood
  • surly attitude
  • beer

OK, so I know in the next little while I am going to be building a chicken coop..I have some ideas as to what I want for a floor size..I am going 4×8..so that will give me almost 32 feet of room..minus the walls interior. The land that we own is QUITE hilly, rocky and sloped so the very frist thing I need to to is to place down some patio stones..but even before that I need a level area to put them on..so out comes the good old shovel and pick..then back-filling with some rough gravel..this is so I have something consistant..not that the coop will not shift with the frost. After the patio stones are in place I assemble the ‘joists’ from some 2×10’s that I treated with preservative. Getting the thing level was an exercise and a half..I understood what I had done wrong after I started..I had never done this part of construction before so there was much to learn…but I eventually got it ‘level’..with a slight slant towards the door so that water would run-off when it was cleaned. After the joists were on and level I put on the plywood flooring…that was it for day 1.

Lessons Learned:

  • making the ground level takes time..like 2 hours..and its hard work
  • I am an idiot
  • how to square a structure: measure from corner to corner..if its the same it is level.
  • sealing softwood from mositure and mold – bought some wood preserver from the hardware store..applied liberally too all boards and cuts that will be on the outside of the structure in the form of support..
  • I am still an idiot

Outstanding questions:

  • will the chickens like the color I choose?
  • how do I do a roof?
  • how much more wood will I need?
  • am I qualified to do this job?
  • would drinking beer fater help improve the project or my mood more?

the 'level' floor of the new coop..the area in front was our compost pile..we added some rocks to note for a future flower bed.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2010 in Animals, Construction, Fowl, todo

 

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