My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Fencing and Chicken Coops

Spent yesterday looking online for prefab chicken coops or even kits to put together ourselves. Wow! Expensive! Found some great websites that gave links but either they were in the UK or just too expensive, even without calculating in shipping. Then I talked with the neighbor in the back and she said she'd looked too, and they just ended up building one. Still expensive to gather the supplies.

We can build a big "box" but I don't know how to cut a hole in for nesting boxes, or some other design items I want.

Craigslist was next. Found several that interested me, and still kinda expensive. One was 4x4 with a 3x4 "run" (we will increase it's size as needed... 3 pix to the right). After Hubby got home from work and attached the trailer to his car, we drove off to take a look. Nice people ... stopped with the chickens because they didn't lock them up one night and a fox got them all. Will try again sometime but meanwhile, we got their chicken coop. The roof slides down to access the nesting boxes but I'm gonna have Hubby cut holes so I can get the eggs without sliding the roof. And we'll increase the size of the run.

Still need a second one because I want to keep our two breeds of chickens separate. We have a little time tho. They haven't even been born yet!

Now comes fencing. We still can't find the buried rebar posts that mark our boundary lines so I found a copy of the plat map that we got in January. Hubby's gonna print it out at work, along with a copy of the google map. I'm gonna super-impose the plat map onto the google and hopefully this will give us an idea. Yep, we're going to guess, erring on our side and hoping the map we got during closing is correct.

Called Home Depot installation department and they're going to come out and give an estimate. Wish they would have called me back today to set up the appointment. But we need a load of top soil first in our "dog run". Gonna have to call it something else. We've decided to keep the chickens and goats in a third of it, and in the other third, have our veggie garden and a relaxing area... with a swing (kinda like a porch swing), bar-b-que, picnic table, and a little grass to tickle our toes. Keeping the basic veggies in this already-fenced-in area will reduce how much we will be spending on fencing.

What kind of fence for the perimeter? Strong enough to withstand our severe gale-like winds, tall enough to help deter (notice I didn't say stop) deer from coming in, posts every 5 feet, and with heavy chicken wire to keep our critters in and others out. Two gates.

I called Home Depot because they do free consultations, including the measuring of the property. Ah ha! We'll know exactly how much we need! Anyway, the fence company will call me within 1-2 days to set up an appointment. No matter what they quote me, I'll get another 2 quotes elsewhere and choose the best one. I'd like to get Hubby to install our fence and gates, but with so much going on (still haven't done our taxes or built the goat pen or unpacked the kitchen or finished the Kid's room or ... argh!), I'm concerned that we won't get the fence up before the chickens and goats come home.

= = = =

I think we have enough to do this year so I think we'll wait until next year before growing pasture for our critters. We'll have two separate "3-sisters" cornfields, an amaranth area, herb garden and large veggie garden in addition to getting all of our perennials in place (berries, rhubarb, asparagus, nut and fruit trees, etc.). Hope Hubby's ok with this. We have so much soil-amending to do that I'm hoping a year of goat and chicken poop will help us for next year.

= = = =

Yeah, we're rearranging our plans for this little 2 acre plot. Better to change our minds now instead of after we've planted or built. Hopefully we've have time for the Kid and I to go out and measure so I can come back in and start planning with accurate square footage.

Oh, and really need to get those seeds started!!


Trashdigger said...

keep looking under Craigslist Farm Garden, free, and general.. Alot of stuff can be found there for the dirt, compost, manure, etc.. Even building materials.

Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

We were blessed when we bought the house. There was an existing dog run, and doggie door into the shed. I decided to build the coop inside the shed. We covered the run, and I built a pop-door to the doggie door entrance. I do have to rebuild the pop door, as we've come across some issues, but overall everything is working well. We expand this spring too, as we're getting more birds. I used pallets to build the coop, so my OOP costs were basically 2X4's, chicken wire & hardware.

Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

PS, I tore the pallets apart to use the wood. Hammer & a pry tool :D

Anonymous said...

If you make friends with a treasure hunter (somebody with a metal detector), he could probably locate your rebar property markers for you.

Vikki and the Kid said...

Thanks for the reminder, Trash. Will check today on craigslist for fill dirt.

Michaela, good idea. After we get those free pallets on Saturday, will see what we can do. Will still need to get chicken wire.

Anon: we used a metal detector and still couldn't find the rebar. Thinking someone removed them, or just moved them... not know what they were. Found a plat map and will superimpose that on the google map and that will help.

Thanks... Vikki

Diane said...

The surveyor's pins can be hard to find even with a metal detector. They're usually pretty close to the street but not in the ditch.

You should be able to get free manure from your neighbors for the dog run. I would wait a season to plant and just keep adding layers of material and worms until you have great soil. Suburbia has tons of grass clippings free for the taking.

I gave up on our soil and went with this guy's method:

Vikki and the Kid said...

Diane: this weekend (or next) we'll be asking neighbors if they have any manure to exchange for quail eggs, or fresh baked bread. Meanwhile, I checked out your link and it looks like it's basically an advertisement for earthboxes. Must be "sponsored" by earthbox manufacturer. While that's all well and good, the main reason we bought 2 acres was so we could plant it! Vikki