Friday, May 03, 2013

How Far We've Come

I cannot believe I am posting this graphic image. Again! But if you don't know how far we've come, you can scarcely imagine the gratitude and joy I am feeling as I see our chicken run and coop come to life.

It was three years ago when my makeshift farm was at its height of pathetic. We were new to our Bird House, unpacking, making fixes, settling in. Geoff was in crunch mode, robotics was in full swing, life! The daily stuff takes time. The big projects take time, and the big dreams? The big dreams take time, too. And sometimes dreams really do come true, but maybe it happens gradually...

My picnic table converted to a coop, and under a sun tattered shelter had to go! The wind took most of it, and about a year later we put up what we affectionately call the shark cage. Sturdy. Practical. Ugly. Sturdy, but not safe. We've had some hard hits from the wild kingdom.

Now, there are goats in the shark cage, and the chickens are living in a raised vegetable bed capped with our old picnic table-turned-chicken-coop... I tell ya, I take the prize for make-do ingenuity!

The set up we have now works. It's not ideal, because the chicas have little space, except when we let them free-range. But we lost Puff to a hawk, and thee ladies make a poop deck of our porch... so, yeah, it's not great. I'll tell you what's great... a secure enclosure, with room for goats, chickens and rabbits, with water on hand, and walk-in accessibility. An interior fence to keep goats out of chicken land... gradually, before my very eyes, my dream is coming true!

Actually, things don't seem so gradual any more. We're really picking up steam! The one inch by half inch hardware cloth is going on. Geoff + Compressor + Pneumatic Stapler = IronMan Awesome!

I white washed the inside of what will be le coop. Our cedar playhouse mania (one for chickens, one for goats, and finally, one for our children) has been like a mad Monopoly shopping spree, but trust me: economically, these are a, mild climate, farmer's blessing. They are affordable, sturdy, ample, and loaded with charm. Look again at the first photo and agree, we are long over due for something loaded with charm!

I'll be thankful for the glossy paint when it comes time to scrub and hose the chicken blogs off everything. Next come roosts, and some curtains, CAT 5 wiring, and maybe a mini-fridge? Too much?

This is where fancy photo software would come in handy... so I could write in things like "fence here," "roof here," "satellite dish there." It will be goats on the left, and chickens on the right, with a picket fence between. Chickens can pass through goat land, but goats have to show a passport at the border. The two PVC pipes in the foreground are waiting for the automatic refilling waterers. This means I get to sweat copper! Very exciting. (Does that sound facetious? I really am excited.) Geoff is buying metal so he can make custom roof ties... this guy. (Excuse me while I close my eyes and smile blissfully, in love.)

Hmmmm... this one is harder to explain. At a local nursery, I saw an awesome aviary, with this massive tree inside. The tree had died, but they secured it, and use the dried tree for the birds... it's basically just really cool, and I wanted to give our run something of that aesthetic. So. I stalked the tree trimmers, until I found a tree that was being removed, and I asked the trimmers could I please have a ginourmous limb for my goats and chickens? And I even drew a stick figure me standing with a tree limb, a chicken, and a goat. Guess what? It worked, and the next day they dropped off four hunks of a pine tree in our driveway! Now two of those "trees" are planted in concrete and giving the chicken run a little visual interest. (Not going to show you what inspired me, because the comparison might be embarrassing. Not for the nursery, for me... but hey! I like our piney forest.)

Is this post too long? I'm rambling, maybe. I might have taken two ibuprofen to ease my inexplicable pain, and it might be that it relaxes my muscles, and my brains. Hence the rambling.

This view! The dream coming true! I am very excited, and thankful, and excited. And thankful.

Soon the chicas and the goats, the bunnies, too, will be living in harmony, in safety, and out of our house. And we'll have some sweet conveniences, and peace of mind. And then... then we can get back to other serious matters, like finishing the Sugar-crab, our giant, walking, robotic crustacean!


Rachy said...

Wow!!! What a transformation and so beautiful. Congrats! xx

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you.
That's sweet praise, considering your charming henhouse.
I've Pinned at least two pictures from your blog. Your girls today
look hilarious and adorable!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Everyone should go see Rachy's silly girls...

Rachy said...

Thank you Natalie, you are too kind. The girls are hilarious though aren't they! :D x

The time and effort you have put into your farm has reaped wonderful rewards. It truly is a lovely place and your girls & goats are very lucky indeed! x

judy in ky said...

I love it all, seeing how far you've come and seeing your dreams coming true. I remember every step of the way, and I am truly impressed with what you are accomplishing. Good job!

Miriam said...

It's all just beautiful - visually and emotionally! And I loved seeing your gardens in the "dream coming true" photo.

We lost a hen to a raccoon on the weekend and are rethinking our defense system. Trust you and your family to find such a playful and beautiful approach to security!

PamKittyMorning said...

I love how this turned out. Seriously so darling. I'm imagining it in my own backyard just a tad bigger for a studio!

ArtyZen said...

What a wonderful journey you've taken us on here - I salute your vision, hard work and wonderful creation. You are inspiration indeed - that final garden photograph is enough to make me weep and I haven't done anything to deserve it! Hope that pain disappears very soon then you can dance around with all that joy you must be feeling.

warren said...

Picture 10...Guess what...CHICKEN BUTT!

nikkipolani said...

Progress is about contrast from where we were to where we are. I'm glad to see such beauty and order and function coming together. The View is stunning indeed.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

You truly have seen every step of the way, Judy.
And you've been so encouraging and supportive, too.
Thank you!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, I am so sorry. The raccoons are too darn clever, and relentless.
Yes, all the predators have kept us on our toes about security and defenses.

That section of our yard was planted by the previous owner... it's a xeriscape
garden... low water usage. It's lovely, a bit rambling, too. A path winds through there
and the hens find all sorts of goodness to enjoy under and around all the growth.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Yes! I had to take a vow!
_The cottages are for the pets!
And I will not commandeer these
darling homes for any of my whimsical
notions, except as a chicken coop/
goat pen!_

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Annie.
I am really gaining a sweet perspective
seeing the garden through everyone else's
eyes... it gets a bit overgrown in that part of
the yard, and sometimes I only notice the plants
I never would have planted in the first place...
but it is a beautiful spot. Thank you for sharing
in our happiness. Let's dance!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Warren, you had me at "CHICKEN!"

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you.
Function! The beauty is a blessing, but I am so giddy about
gaining function!!