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


Blogger Patti said...

I have to agree whole heartedly...That shed redo is better than all the roses or jewels!!!!!!! Your honey DOES love you!!! I feel for your foot problem OUCH! I'll pray for a speedy healing!! ~Blessings~

7:42 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Hi Emily,
So good to see you blogging again! Your shed looks better than our house! You puncture your foot, I do the palm of my hand. Learned my lesson never to cut centers out of frozen tomatoes again!

8:44 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I'm starting to believe that my husband can do anything! He jokingly refers himself as Superman especially after an extra-productive day at work, but really, he did such an awesome job. I'm happy, the birds are happy! Thanks so much for your prayers. I'm doing a lot better than I was a week ago. Feels good to walk and drive again!

Oh no, your poor hand. I hope it was at least the one you don't use as often. I'll be praying for you! Now about that shed: I've found it to be a nice hideaway. For me, that is! :) Of course I run the risk of being mobbed by a gang of guineas if they suspect I'm carrying some treats, but honestly, on a rainy day it's quite the peaceful little retreat. Hm, secluding myself with a flock of poultry....I could be losing it!

8:27 AM  
Blogger Marci said...

Great post Emily!!! I love your chicken coop and can't agree more about romance!!

I am sorry that you punctured your foot. You even had shoes on. That usually happens when someone runs around barefoot here.

Glad you are back up and running. How many children do you have at home with you? It is so quiet here by myself, that sitting with the chickens sounds like a good idea. =)

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your chicken coop looks excellent. Your husband and you did a great job. The chickens should really enjoy that. Can't wait to see the pictures of the chickens. Have a great week.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

When Dwayne and I got married....fourteen years ago today in fact....I already had two sons, one of whom is eighteen and lives at home. My 28yo lives on his own but not too far away. The Lord blessed us with a daughter six years ago...our "Terrorist Baby"...who keeps us on our toes!

Thank you for the compliments...I will pass them on to my husband! The birds do seem to like their new dwelling. You can almost set your watch by the time they go in each night.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Emily!

Great to hear from you again and thank-you for your kind words in my blog comments.

I was wondering why it took so long to get your poultry out of your porch---that musta gotten pretty stinky. But now I understand how much work you and your husband had to go thru to rebuild the shed.

Looks awesome! Compliments to the master builder!

May the Lord light up your path with his Love!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Herrick Kimball said...

What a delightful story, Emily (except for stepping on the nail). Congrat on the new chicken house. Your husband has done a great job of salvaging it. Methinks you need to have a bonfire with all the scrap wood.

Best wishes

5:01 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

It was a blessed relief to get those birds off the porch, I'll tell you. Yes, it was getting a bit stale out there!:) Funny, they were a little confused the first night as to why they couldn't get back in since we had shut the door. I had to lead them to the coop and remind them that this was now home. Dwayne did an awesome job. We just have to build some nest boxes now but they can wait a bit since they're not ready to lay just yet.

Thank you! I think we are going to have a bonfire with most of the wood. Some of the roofing material will have to be trucked to the dump in the next town over since they don't accept it here, however. Yet another weekend project!

3:57 PM  
Anonymous ksmilkmaid said...

looks great Emily!!

3:35 PM  
Blogger HomesteadHerbs said...

What a husband! He sure does good work! Will he come to Texas to build? :-)

I'm so sorry about your foot. How painful and frustrating. I will pray it heals quickly.

5:21 PM  
Blogger JM said...

The coop looks great! The decayed parts looked familiar - have you been in our barn?? Sorry about the foot!


9:09 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

I think it is time for an update Emily!!! =) Hope your back is still doing well.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

I'm a couple of months behind in my blog visits, so only just read of your injury. Hope you're current on your tetanus shots. The coop is beautiful! I, too, appreciate fixing and making efforts a lot more than traditional glitz.

8:04 AM  

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