Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preparing the chicken palace

Gordon spent most of the weekend working on the chicken coop he's building. We're putting it in the lower part of the barn, where the previous owner used to keep meat chickens. Because we're getting laying hens, we need to build a better coop that will keep them going through the harsh winters.

I walked down Friday to see that Gordon had knocked out a wall! Not that the wall was much more than some nice barnboard and some ugly plywood-type stuff...

Here you can see the old nesting boxes (or whatever they are called... I guess I should know, eh?) for hens of days gone by.

The former owners put a lot of work into fixing up this barn, which is about 150 years old. The floor of the coop is concrete, as is part of one wall.

Tristan, Gordon's able and slightly-damp helper!

And Sophie guards the rubble from Gordon's destruction!

Gordon went to the Habitat for Humanity store and got himself a very sturdy door for the coop entry (inside the barn):

Yes, apparently it's a relic from a nearby police station...

And it's always good to have a no-smoking sign in your barn! We wondered if the door was from some holding cell, given the big number two over the window.

On another note, here's a not-particularly-well Photoshopped-together picture of my veggie garden, awaiting clean-up and planting.

And on a happy note, I saw the proofs this weekend for the kids' book I have spent (on and off) the past 3-1/2 years illustrating! (It didn't take me that long to do the work, but there was a lot of down time that did not involve me.) The book designer is fantastic and it is very exciting to think that this thing will soon be in print. Katie of the Sonoran is a children's book about a western diamondback rattlesnake named Katie, written by my friend Kate Jackson. It's bilingual (English-Spanish) and is being published by the Sonoran Desert Museum Press. I assure you that the instant it's on Amazon, there will be a big fat blog posting all about it!!! I need lots of sales to finance my coming honeybee empire (the bees arrive at the end of May.)

Check out Kate's book for adults, Mean and Lowly Things: Snakes, Science and Survival in the Congo. It's all about her first Congo expedition, which is QUITE the story!


  1. Wow! good for you on the book. I'll be sure to buy it for Nethmi. I've seen some pics of the book in your earlier blog posts I think and they looked soooo good.

  2. Congrats on the book! I'm so excited for you - please keep us posted!!!
    Also can't wait for your hens! How do you think the kitties and doggies will react to their new family members?

  3. Anonymous7:44 pm

    COOOOOO---OOOOLLLLLL!!!!! that is A LOT the man has put into that already .. with his little helpers of course ... love S waaayyyyy out there guarding. ;) hahahhah

    LOVE that door!!!!! i don't think there is a better one for your chickens.

    and you're garden's ready to go. I see the snow has finally gone (unbelievable). pretty soon those trees will have little leaves.

    and again CONGRATS on the book ... I will definitely be buying it from my fav place AMAZON. love them. (just ordered another "pre-code hollywood" collection ... and Capra's Lost Horizon...com'on mail service).

    can't wait to read about the chicken and honeybee empires. such exciting things.

  4. Anonymous7:50 pm

    ok either i meant "you're ready to start planting in your garden" or "your garden is ready to be planted" .... the real intention will forever be lost in the ether of spent words.


  5. Surani, hopefully Nethmi isn't creeped out by snakes and other things that crawl in the desert! But there are pretty things too, like moths and flowers and birds.

    Shelley, I was told that our dogs used to HERD chickens at their previous home. They lived on a hobby farm with a whole bunch of animals, including chickens. That said, I'll be keeping a close eye on things!

    The kitties don't get to free-range outside, so they shouldn't be threatening the hens too much. (Famous last words.) The cats do have an outdoor enclosure and it's possible the hens might come up to visit.

    And Dr. Sloth, I didn't even notice your "you're", and I got your drift! I just discovered the one of my fellow alto section members (in choir) keeps bees, and she is ready to offer advice. She's also hooking me up with some avid 85-year-old beekeeper who loves to talk bees!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!