I’m still working on my shed, with the light at the end of the tunnel now in sight. I have the roof frame complete, and I’ll soon begin laying down sheets of plywood for the roof itself. I’ve borrowed some scaffolding to make the work much easier, and I’ve found it can be quite complicated to get the second level scaffolding in place without help.
I’ve left a small landing on the roof that I’ll make flat, and cover with rubber roofing. There will be a small trap door which will open up from the story below, and this should give me a nice perch for browsing the night sky with a telescope. Eventually, I’d like to place a very small room with a dome on this landing, but I really need to keep in mind that this whole project started as a chicken coop, and that’s my primary objective. I’ll leave the landing as compatible to the extra plans as possible without adding additional construction until the rest of the building is complete. I’ve also constructed the landing in such a way as to allow it to be seamlessly covered over in case it’s later deemed necessary.
So here is the view from the top of the roof looking down through the second story. It wasn’t quite so dark outside, but the camera flash seems to increase the photo’s contrast so much that only the foreground object find their way to the photo.
I guess I should really begin researching basic telescope construction techniques with camera mounts so I can share some of the photos I hope to take.
I got a surprise picture message on my cell phone yesterday. When I opened up the message I found one of my many helpers holding a baby chick, with text that read “Got a deal on 30 baby chicks, their in your greenhouse !” Sure enought, when I got home the greenhouse had a box full of cute baby chicks.
So now I really need to finish up my chicken coop before the Greenhouse starts warming up. The tempurature in this hot house can peak over 100 degrees on bright sunny days, with a fan pushing out the warm air. Since I’m still worried about frost, I haven’t yet installed the peak fan to push out the heat, so were talking about a potential chicken roast If I don’t get things together !
My mother stopped by the other day to see how the greenhouse was fairing, and when she took a look at my chicken coop project she explained all the reasons why I would have to move it. The chief reason was it’s location under a power line, which didn’t bother me much, but might be a problem if the power company needs to do work on the line. I finally agreed the the shed would need to be moved, and I began picking my Brother-In-Law’s brain about how to move it. His idea was simple, cut down two trees, place the trees under the supports, attach the building to the trees and then drag the shed through the mud like a sled. The whole process was pretty amazing to watch, as we jacked the building down off it’s blocks and dragged it across the yard with a truck. Once we had the building far enough away from the line, we jacked it back up, placed it back on blocks, and started construction again.
I didn’t really want to move this shed in the beginning, but once I climbed up onto the rafters that will hold the second story floor, I knew this was were the shed was meant to be. Above you can see the hay baler still sitting in my front yard, with my row of pruned fruit trees flanking it. The main road is about 1/4 mile as the crow flies from where I was standing.
In front of the shed I hope to make a tomato only garden, with only 40-50 plants maximum. This will allow me to invest the proper amount of time caring for the plants, and watching out for the first sign of blight.
On Saturday, we set out to purchase some exterior sheeting. I was actually looking for a material I’ve always known as “Texture-211”. Instead we found a very similar covering material that was $10 a sheet cheaper and it was already painted with a base coat. I’ll take cheaper, easier and better any day !
The sheeting went up quick enough, and we finished it up just before dark. The next step in the process will be to cut out and hang the windows, then place some more 2 x 6 floor rafters, and continue pushing skyward.
After all of the construction on Saturday, I decided to take it easy on Sunday. While catching a break between rain drops, I planted some Asparagus roots along my back walkway. They are said to produce good yields for 15 to 20 years, so hopefully this one little task will pay off year after year.
Finally, I’ve began taking photos from a tri-pod that I’ve set up in the greenhouse. Here’s the first photo of many that I’d like to string together into a little animation. If I take one photo a day, it should make a very cool short clip showing the plants growth at an accelerated pace.
I finally found the time to plot out my chicken coop design. I’d like to have a second story for storage, but I might not have that much room available. When I originally decided on the placement of the coop, I accidentally choose a location underneath a power line. I’ve measured the height of the cable, and I have at least 16 feet of clearance below the cable, but I’m still a bit concerned. I may need to revise my plan for safety’s sake.
The lower floor will be constructed with standard 2 x 4 construction, with 2 x 6 rafters as the base of the second story floor. I’ll then build the roof in a Cambrel style, with 5 feet 6 inches of clearance. This will allow me to walk nearly upright, without placing the roof too close to the power line above.
To really maximize space, I’m considering a “spiral-ish” staircase that will only use up a 4 x 4 foot area. A ladder would be unsafe for my nieces, and a full blown staircase would use far too much space to be useful.
As for seedlings, I’m still planting tomatoes, mostly San Marzano and Amish Paste.
Since the last photo of the chicken coop, I’ve started nailing down 2 x 3’s for a sub floor. Above you can see the first four rows, along with a nice covering of snow. The beams below the 2 x 3’s still needed to be cut off in this photo.
If you look closely, you might spot my cat “boots”…
The sub-floor is now complete, and I’ve moved on to nailing down rough cut boards for the floor. Since this building is far enough away from the house for power tools to be a real hassle, I’ve been using a chain saw to cut boards. I’ve found it’s not an exact science, and you need at least a 1/4 inch room for error when cutting wood this way. It’s working well enough for now, although I think I’ll purchase a long extension cord for future use.
I’ve also been careful to place the boards about 1/8 of an inch apart to allow a bit of air up through the floor for ventilation. I’m hoping to finish up the floor in the evenings after work, and maybe this weekend I can start framing out the walls. I’d like to have the entire project complete by the end of the month, in time for incubating some colorful eggs.
In the fall of last year, I decided that my chicken coop was too small. I gave all of my chickens to my sister Sandy while I tore down the old coop, and started construction of a bigger model. I’ve been pondering how many chickens to keep, since they are more or less pets rather then food at this point, and I keep them “just in case”.
I’ve often found myself worried about the future, and what it might hold. Since I’ve heard so much about the Great Depression from my father, I’ve made it a point to always be prepared in case something similar were to happen today. This is actually why I became a gardener. I wanted to grow my own food while I was hearing some of the doom and gloom predictions about the Mortgage Mess, and generally un-desirable economic conditions.
While I’ve stopped worrying so much, and I tend to ignore the news as much as possible, I’d still like to keep a few chickens for eggs, and for those odd days when I start worrying again. I’m sure the world will be fine, but it’s nice to have an insurance policy just in case, and who doesn’t like Free Eggs ?
I found some more Landscape Timbers in a pile in George’s yard, and I’ll be using them for the floor of the structure just like I’ve learned from the Greenhouse. This foundation will sit above the ground to eliminate work digging out a level spot. I’ve settled on constructing a 12 x 16 foot building, far larger then I need.
In the photo above, I’m about half way through the leveling process. Since taking the photo, I’ve nailed down the second layer of boards. Next, I’ll build a 2×4 floor on top of the timbers, and continue construction with 16 inch centered 2 x 4s.
I’ve received several truck loads of recycled wood, which I hope to use rather then purchasing new boards. I’m hoping that I can complete the majority of this project with recycled materials to save money, and also to prevent additional logging demand. Each of the boards has at least a few nails in them, which will need to be removed, or bent over. This will create some additional work, but ultimately, it may save a small pine forest.
I have enough 2 x 4s to build the majority of the walls, and I may even have enough 2 x 6 boards for roof rafters. I’ll need to purchase some nails, and perhaps a few boards, but for the most part this will be a recycled building. Now If I can complete the rest of the structure without smashing my fingers again, I’ll be very happy.
After planting some store purchased garlic a few weeks ago, I had some reservations about whether it would actually grow. The price was far cheaper then those cloves listed in seed catalogs, so I thought it was worth a try. I’m as delighted to see it grow as I was this spring when the first onion stalks arose out of the ground. It’s one thing to know the seeds will grow, and quite another to Actually See it Happen. There was a problem though…
Before releasing these scratching fiends, I placed protective wire around all of the plants in the garden which I hoped to harvest later. I didn’t think that about the garlic which I planted next to my walkway. The chickens have learned that I come up the walkway before feeding them at night, and they have been waiting for me the last few days. When I spotted one of them digging in my garlic bed, I knew I had more work ahead of me.
I found some old wire, and covered the four tires that make up my garlic beds. I then placed some stakes in the ground to hold the wire in place. This should keep them away from the bulb of the plant, but I will need a new plan once the stalks grow taller then the wire.