Monday, August 21, 2006

Extreme Makeover, Agrarian Style!

The following pictures show the transformation of a shed attached to the back of our barn into the Taj Mahal of chicken coops. Dwayne worked so hard for several weeks on his days off each weekend, sometimes with his father's help, and now the chickens and guineas have a warm, dry, cozy place to roost each night. He calls it My Thousand Dollar Chicken Coop. I remarked to my sister-in-law who was visiting one day (as Dwayne stood on the roof hammering boards in the 90 degree heat), "See how much my husband loves me?" Some ladies prefer diamonds, red roses by the armful, a night on the town.......not me. I'll tell you what brings a romantic throb to my heart, and that is seeing my husband wrestling 2x4's and pounding nails, bringing us one step closer to living out our agrarian vision.

Anna-Rose cannot resist a ladder! This is the back of the shed. The roof had been leaking for a long, long time, rotting the timbers underneath the shingles. Although the shed is divided into two sections and only the left side was water-damaged, Dwayne decided to replace the entire roof rather than having to do the other side later if it developed problems as well.

Dwayne used a special saw to cut out several rafters. They were soft and falling apart.

There were several areas of mildew from the moisture buildup.

This window looks out onto the side towards the house.

This is a smaller back window. Dwayne completely reframed it. There are two other windows on the other side of the shed. Hopefully, that will be for goats next year!

This is the wall that is built up against the barn. It has a small window on hinges that looks into the barn so we can peek in on the birds. Of course the guineas attempted to fly through it and learned after many a bruised noggin that it can't be done!

This is the wall that separates the two sections of the shed. It has a nice access door.


A view of the new roofing boards from the interior, new rafters, and plywood covered walls. There is an insulation space between the inner and outer boards.

Here is the new window, looking onto the side, hinged, and covered with hardware cloth inside. We use the board to hold it open and adjust according to the weather conditions.

Another view of the ceiling.

Here's Dwayne putting the finishing touches on the door that divides the guineas' holding area from the chickens' side. He put up poultry wire across the entire length and height of the coop to separate them until the guineas have completed their six weeks' confinement. They are already roosting in the rafters. Apparently, guineas like to be up high. Of course they choose to sit near the door which makes it a precarious procedure when entering or exiting their pen!

In my next post I'll share some picture of the birds enjoying their new home. The chickens have been getting into a lot of trouble lately. Very naughty. Their hormones must be kicking in because they've become somewhat rebellious. The guineas are anxious to get out and explore but they still have three more weeks to go. They keep trying to follow me out the door.

We decided against renting a dumpster, so one side effect of all this barn renovation is the piles of old lumber, some boards hidden by tall grass, with nails still embedded. I know because my foot discovered one last weekend while I was doing yard cleanup. I'm sure an echo of the scream I exhaled is still drifting through the atmosphere somewhere over the White Mountains although Anna insists all I did was gasp. I do remember dropping on the ground in agony before sprinting (how did I do that?) to the house. God was merciful and the nail did not go all the way through my foot, although my brand new sneakers now have a lurid red stain inside. And, thankfully, I didn't throw my back out again while performing all those calesthenics! I'm just now within the past couple of days able to walk normally in lieu of hobbling like Tiny Tim without a crutch so life should be easier from here on out........right?

Until next time..........keep on trusting and praising the Lord no matter what burden you are carrying. There are times when discouragement comes on a daily basis but the Lord is there preparing the way and equipping us for the journey. All is according to plan, for our benefit and to His glory. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18