Grand Chicken Coop Caper

The Chicken Palace

The Chicken Palace

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had planned to only have 4 chickens so I bought a small chicken coop kit to house that sensible number of chickens to be but then apparently chicks are like Pringles – you can’t have just one and our plan for only 4 turned into 14 – don’t judge me!

In order to deal with this complete lack of restraint a larger coop was in order. We decided to reuse what may have been an old dog run that the previous owners had left in the backyard. A nice big 10 x 10 x 6 ft high enclosure with gate – all we had to do was build a coop onto the side of it and we would be off to the races!

Love love my nail gun

Love love my nail gun

After some online research I sketched out the perfect coop for our needs – Eric kept asking for “detailed plans” and I was all like “no need –  we can wing it – this will be fun!” Two trips to the hardware store later we were mostly still on speaking terms and we had just about managed to get a basic frame put together.

This Chicken Palace will be hurricane proof due to Eric’s love of lag bolts – this is what happens when you don’t give your husband detailed plans, measurements and front and side elevations LOL

Basic Frame

Basic Frame

I had the perfect plan in my head of course but building this in the backyard with a fairly uneven surface was a little tricky – but hey – its for chickens if the floor slants a teeny bit I doubt they will mind!

The first weekend we got the thing mostly framed in before the heat was too much and we went inside to the glorious AC. A busy work week followed and we had no time to touch it.

Rafters up

Rafters up

The following weekend we finished framing in walls and then started on the the roof rafters and shingles – of course we ran out of shingles right at the end but between the heat and the damn mosquitos eating me alive we were done.  I had to fly to Phoenix for business for a week so once again we were on hold – the chicks kept getting bigger and we were anxious to get them out of our garage….

Roof Shingles

Roof Shingles

The following weekend we had stormy weather and all we managed to do was get the doors on – the rest of the time we spent painting the master bedroom (the whispering scribbles could no longer be ignored…)

Doors on

Doors on

Finally the weekend of the 4th we put our noses to the grindstone and busted it out – these chickens must vacate the garage. The black sex links are escape artists and I would frequently find them running lose around the garage!

Shingles and nestboxes

Shingles and nestboxes

The heat and humidity are crazy this time of year an naturally everything takes a little longer than you think – frankly we have probably made the Fort Knox of chicken coops due to paranoia that raccoons will eat them LOL  I put up some nice cedar shingles since it is in my backyard and I will be looking at it every day I wanted it to be attractive.

Interior view

Interior view

Finally on Sunday – hot, dirty sweaty, exhausted – we transported the chickens out to their new home and they love it!!! It was fun to watch them explore their new home and find themselves a nice spot for a dustbath  – of course we feed them some grapes as a treat 🙂

Whole new world

Whole new world

Chicken liberty –  garage reclaimed for humanity – husband and wife still speaking – success all round LOL

Time to explore

Time to explore

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Simple Wins

Unsurprisingly, trying to change your life is not as easy as flicking a switch – deciding to simplify is one thing – doing it is altogether another.

Last weekend, tropical storm Debby dumped rain on us incessantly which should have made it the perfect time to start decluttering and getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff just like I planned – but my best intentions hit a roadblock when I tried tackling my shoe collection…..

One of my objects of desire – Shoe Rehab time?

I love shoes! I have way too many of them – they fill most of an entire closet and yet I keep getting more. Different colors, different heights, Seattle shoes, Florida shoes, casual shoes, dressy shoes, serious shoes, fun shoes….. There always seems to be a reason to buy more – these ones are on sale… I am actually saving money… it would be silly not to get them… they go with the new purse or that one dress…I don’t have that color yet ….I do have that color, but not in a wedge….

*Sigh*

I am ruthless when it comes to purging and getting rid of stuff most of the time – I am a firm believer in the idea that if you haven’t looked at something or used it in a year – then you won’t miss it if you get rid of it!  But, I live in a family of pack rats (myself included) and we have accumulated a lot of stuff that I would prefer not to move to another house –  no more moving unopened boxes to take up space in another garage!

I had hoped to lead by example and pare down my obsessive shoe collection. Why then, garbage bag in hand, did I become completely paralyzed when faced with getting rid of shoes that I rarely, if ever wear?

Three or four times over the course of that rainy Saturday, I opened up the closet and stared at the shoes before wandering off to clean out a drawer or some pile of papers on my desk instead. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Strengthening my resolve, I pulled out a pair that I know I have not worn in over a year –  but I ended up trying them on instead of tossing them in the bag…. Hanging my head in shame, I put them back on the shelf, closed the door again and walked away.

My husband kept telling me I didn’t have to get rid of them – I should keep them or box them up in case I wanted to wear them later – but this was not going to help my effort to declutter. What about simplifying my life? Where was my willpower?

It took a couple days of berating myself before I managed to put it in proper perspective.

At the same time, I had been researching new cars  – gearing myself up for this major purchase.  I have driven my current car for 8 or more years and it was definitely time to get a new one. I planned to save the environment and buy a new Nissan Leaf – completely electric – no gas –  totally green. I researched the charging station locations and distances this snazzy new car could travel. Couldn’t wait to download the app for my iphone to monitor and control my new shiny toy – I absolutley deserved this and it was a such a smart decision, right?

Wrong! I took a moment to think about what this purchase would really mean. Did I need it or just want it? How many hours of my life would be spent working to pay for it? Would it increase my quality of life? Granted, my current car is 8 years old – but it has next to no miles on it because I have either worked from home or close to my place of work for many years on purpose.  And, I absolutely love my car – it is a VW Beetle convertible and it makes me happy to drive it – it is reliable and gets me where I need to go – it has a bud vase on the dash that makes me irrationally happy. There is a little silk flower topped pen in it that my son made me years ago that spins when the air is on. On top of that, the car has no giant monthly loan payment – What on earth was I thinking?

Simple pleasure of driving with the top down – Baby you can drive my car and baby I love you….

Yes, I have too many shoes – I really do enjoy my retail therapy – but being mindful of my goals to simplify my life, work less someday and buy a horse property in the near future –  I managed to talk myself out of that unnecessary  $35,000 of new car debt

GO ME!!!! Way to make smarter, more conscious decisions – time to celebrate the small victories and not beat myself up too much about the stumbles along the way.

Besides, I absolutley will tackle and master that shoe closet …. just not today 😉