“Dude, this is one of those trucks that’s so torn up it’s almost cool.”
My buddy Andre was right. And man, was it ever torn up it. Sun-worn and rusty, squishy, bald tires, cracked windshield…it hurt just to look at this thing. There was a dusty film covering the insides and cobwebs hung everywhere a cobweb could hang. Everything looked broken. Air vents, radio…everything. This ride was in bad shape; a victim of an abusive 15 years. So it was a gamble to weave this so called truck through our backyard pine forest with its sandy, pine needle covered floors. But despite its shortcomings and rather than getting bogged down in the soft earth, it proudly motored along, serving its temporary driver as faithfully as ever.
Prior to moving the playhouse, my friend, Andre and I had already made some necessary modifications to the coop. First we enlarged the framing of the back window to accommodate the nesting box. Then we repaired and installed the front door, replaced the top railing of the porch with a pine branch perch, and tacked up 1/4″ hardware cloth over both windows and other large openings. With the first set of renovations in place we hitched it up to our new four-wheeled friend and spent an hour and a half lugging the coop behind the truck, threading it between the house and garage and maneuvering it around numerous bushes and trees until it landed at its final destination, tucked among the tall pines in front of the house. The decision to move it was based on wanting to keep the chickens out front closer to the garage and shed where there is easy access to food storage and electricity. It’s more in the open now and can be easily observed from inside the family room. Collecting eggs and delivering food and water is far more convenient in its new location. Previously, it was deeper in the woods out back and difficult to see from inside. The kids simply wouldn’t venture back there on their own – dense woods can be creepy for kids, ya know?
With the coop in it’s new home I transitioned into my role as amateur carpenter and began work on the nesting box. Admittedly, it took me a while to piece things together. Mostly because I’m a “careful” carpenter. Some might interpret that as slow as they observe me sizing things up multiple times and mumbling softly to myself as I work through the geometrics of the build. But in most cases it works out in the end and since I’m all about the journey, spending a few days on something that should only take a few hours is alright with me. Especially when it goes as smoothly as it did. No mistakes. No redos. No cursing at the saw, the wood or the screws. Just one with the build. All zen-like. And once the box was built it fit nice and snug inside the recently enlarged rear window. A few screws later everything was in place and rock steady. And man, the thing works like a charm. The kids retrieve the eggs without having to go inside the poop laden coop and I can clean the boxes while standing outside. Funny how pulling off this relatively simple build left me feeling so good.
So I was just about there. It was almost a real and true chicken coop. But with only two minor tasks remaining – upgrading the roof and adding a chicken door – we couldn’t wait any longer. It was close enough. And besides, the chicks wouldn’t be old enough to use the coop for at least a couple months. So we ventured off to our local chicken shop and got to pickin’ our chicks.
And just between you and me, I’ve got a soft spot for those fluffy little things…