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Coop Update 6 🐓: The Coop Ramp and a Roof on the Run

Just a quick update on our coop and run situation. This happened days ago, but I installed a ramp up to the coop. Now we just open the sliding side door and they can walk down the ramp or, if you are too tiny, fly down from the top ramp platform and skip the ramp entirely (which is pretty damn adorable to watch TBH)!

We also installed chicken wire over the top of the run so they can finally be out in the run all day without us being present. No lie, this is a HUGE quality of life improvement over what we had before. For us and the chickens. They absolutely love being out in the run by themselves!

In some sad news, we lost our first chick. We aren’t even really sure what caused it. We just noticed our little Salt was super quiet (very odd for her) and actively withdrawing from the flock. We brought her inside and Mel held her through the night until she passed. We did all we could and we knew going into this that chances of losing one of these little guys was pretty high.

Still, it was bummer for sure. RIP little Salty. We sure miss your salty ways.

Coop Update 5 🐓: The walls of the run are complete!

We put in some serious time this week getting the walls of the run built, screened in with hardware cloth, and installing the predator apron. A few measurement issues aside, it went surprisingly smooth. Hardware cloth is not the easiest thing to manipulate but Mel did an incredible job finishing that up. I built the door into the coop as well as the mechanism to allow ourselves out of the run after locking it. Honestly, it all came out great and today? After installing the predator apron? We let the chicks out into the run! Needless to say, they had a blast and most certainly didn’t want to go back into the coop. 😄

The last bits left are the ramp down into the run from the coop and meshing in the “roof” of the run. Then, aside from some upgrades I have in mind, we are finally done and our chickens will have a safe environment to live out their chicken days!

Coop Update 4 🐓: It's complete!

Been falling down the last few days on updates for this project but, I am happy to report that the coop itself is complete and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

We learned sooooo much on working on this and there were definitely some moments at the end where we were close to throwing our tools into the next door neighbors’ yards😅. But for every obstacle we encountered, we took a step back, readjusted, and found a way around it.

The biggest concern was making the coop structure itself predator-proof and I believe we accomplished that. No lie though, this thing weighs a TON!

With the chicks getting bigger by the day, the completion of this couldn’t have come at a better time. The plan is to move them out to the new space today and then get cracking on the run. We hope the construction of the run goes smoother. Though in truth, the coop could’ve gone so much worse.

Coop Update 3: Raise the roof! 🐓

I mentioned in my last post that today was the day the roof needed to be added to the coop due to the next five days of rain in the forecast. Well, we got up early and put our all into churning that out. The day was gorgeous weather-wise and even though we definitely ran into some more design issues, we got the roof up and it’s kinda glorious! We were high-fiving ourselves silly when we knocked off for the evening.

It was a long weekend, but it was definitely worth it. Everything else that is left has been built out. We just need to attach it to the coop and it’ll be done! After that, we’ll hit the run which hopefully will have less surprises.

Coop Build Update 2 🐓

We made great headway on the coop yesterday and today. The floor is up and we’ve added the back and side walls, all painted. All that’s left is the egg laying box, the front with its respective doors and, finally, the roof.

We’ll have to push it tomorrow as Durham’s going to get a lot rain in the next 5 days. Fingers crossed that we don’t run into any show-stoppers. We definitely found some design “gotchas” today that were frustrating, but nothing we couldn’t adapt or move past with some creativity.

I’ve been really proud of Mel and I for navigating these waters together without melting down as we have in the past. Our brains work very differently and that difference has naturally caused friction when we work on projects that involve building or construction. But not this project for some reason.

In fact, I think we’ve both learned a little more about each other. Which is really saying something considering how long we’ve been together.

Chicken Coop Update 🐓

Things have been progressing nicely here with our newly feathered children. The chicks are heading into a delightfully awkward phase, with new feathers popping out all over the place replacing the downy fuzz they had as babies. It’s been super fascinating to watch them change from day to day.

baby chicks showing evidence of growth with  new feathers on their wings and tails

That said, with those changes come new skills. They’ve all started flying! Albeit very short distances. 😄 Still, it’s become painfully obvious that they are outgrowing the bins we were placing them in, so building a proper coop became a top priority. In two days, we built out the floor and the frames of the walls. 98% of all of this was done with 2 x 4’s and 4 x 8 plywood. It’s rugged as hell and, not being carpenters, we are pretty damn proud of it’s design. Now that it’s pretty close to being complete we are looking forward to finishing the run, predator-proofing it all, and giving them all the space they need to grow, be happy, and lay eggs!

Pages from Melinda’s drawn design plans for the chicken coop we are currently building a picture of the finished coop floor and framed out walls and roof

Chicken Update! 🐓

Added two new chicks to the flock today! We were apprehensive at first, but the newbies fell nicely into the fold in a matter of minutes, as if they were always part of the group. I wish humans were that accepting and adaptable (sigh).

Currently it’s in the 90’s here in Durham, NC so we took them outside for a change of scenery and they are just freaking out with all the new sights and sounds! Definitely going to add this to the routine whenever possible. Next week we get the last four and then we have a coop to build!

two baby chicken chicks, one black with splotches, one brown with black strips and caramel splotchessix baby chicks in their broodersix baby chicks in their broodersix baby chicks in their brooder

For years we’ve wanted chickens and today we took the plunge! 🐥🐔

We got the first allotment of 4 chicks today! We’ll get another 4 next weekend and another 4 the next. So 12 total with the hope to end up with 10 to 8 hens for egg laying and, eventually, food when it’s time. For any roosters we get, we have connections to find them good homes that don’t have city ordinances restricting them.

We are not even 12 hours in and, so far, we are really smitten with these little guys. Even though I’d read as much, I genuinely didn’t expect these fuzzies to have such personalities! We were nervous at first - they haven’t been alive for more than 48 hours yet - but we got them all to drink and eat! So we are feeling much better about the new stress of keeping them alive.

Here’s to eggs, more joy, and challenges from unexpected places!

Created some tomato cages yesterday evening! 🌱

Despite the cold snap a few days ago, our tomatoes persisted and started flowering this week! To prepare for the oncoming growth, and to satisfy my incessant need to find some use out of the bamboo I’ve been clearing in the back of our property, we built some bamboo tomato cages.

We also finally put a rubberband ball that I’ve been adding to for over a decade to good use. It does look a little janky but they’ll do until Melinda finds some twine keep everything in place.

All told, I think they came out pretty great! 🎋🍅🎋

We built some new raised garden beds and created some new growing areas in the front yard! 🌱

Quarantine has suited us as well as a dire circumstance could - for the most part anyways - providing some much needed inspiration (and, let’s face it, time) to accomplish a lot of stuff around our property that would constantly be back-burnered if the situation were back in the “normal days”.

We’ve gardened in the past and absolutely loved growing our own food. It’s funny how certain life situations can make you lose sight of those precious things that bring you joy. We’ve been grateful for the opportunity to bring gardening back into our life. Wish it didn’t take a pandemic to give us that push but, here we are! 😌

📸 Happy new moon y’all! 🌚🔥

📸 Every neighborhood has that creepy old house… 🏚👻

Took a nice late autumn stroll to see the annual Duke Park luminaries all lit, warm and flickering, lighting our way home. 🕯🏠🌚

📸 Had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of our favorite bands, Sylvan Esso, this past Friday...

They are so damn giving and talented. I’m grateful and proud to call them neighbors (not next door, but Durham’s where they call home)! They sold out two nights in the biggest venue we have and they’ve definitely sold out much, much bigger spaces.

We saw them forever ago open up for one our favorite hip hop artists, Dessa, in Carrboro to a crowd of 40 people tops. To see them rise year after year, higher and higher has been a treat to say the least.

📸 Fortunate to have caught Bon Iver live this week...

It was our third time seeing him over the years and, man, what an amazing show! I really love how Vernon has evolved his sound over the years. There’s an underlying tenderness to his performances that has always resonated with me as genuine. It’s performance, yes, but there’s always this intimacy that he creates - no matter how large the venue/crowd is.

Oh and the light show was super unique and fun to try and figure out in real time. Hadn’t ever seen a band do that before! Elevated double-sided mirrors framed with dynamically colored LED strips. Moving up and down, tilting and undulating during the show’s entirety. Super cool!

Had the pleasure of finally being able to attend the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival this year…

After over a decade of being asked by my brother in law to come out to San Francisco to HSB, we finally made it out. It was definitely a memorable experience! The crowds on Saturday were definitely too much but Friday and Sunday were lovely.

It was a short visit for sure, but we love San Francisco so it was definitely worth it!

📸Just hanging here...

…with my god-given Gollum feet… watching the bats feast in this (finally) cooler weather. Hope y’all are doing your own lovely version of the same!

📸 That church I was talking about a post or two earlier? Well...

📸 On the way home, before the hurricane rains blew in, I noticed a longstanding church I walk by every day was getting torn down 😕.

Took a peek inside and definitely got some #StrangerThings Upside Down vibes in there.

📸 Starting her 44th trip around the sun with 🥧!

So damn grateful you were born sweetheart! Love you so much. #pieforbreakfast #thisis44

📸 Damn Maine!

This evening hour light…. Our departure tomorrow is early, and even though our time here was short, it’s hard not to feel the echoes of something bigger reflecting back on us. No doubt we’ll be doing the same, in kind, on the long drive home.

📸 Just took a solar bag shower outdoors

letting my pasty white farmer-tan skin battle it out with the last few hours of coastal Maine sunlight. It felt almost as glorious as this place we are staying in. It’s been a shameful amount of time since @allthatmel and I have been to the rocky shores of Maine. Really grateful we made the trip. 😌

📸 The light in our home... for better or worse... 🏡❤️

📸 Our piggies combined....

📸 Thoroughly enjoyed this break from the heat (and the 🇪🇨 hammock we got on our 20th).