I have always been a huge fan of Halloween. I mean what's not to like? You get to dress up as a beautiful princess or a vampire and be something you're not for one night of the year and they give you candy. Seriously, who doesn't like candy? It's a time to face our nameless fears and conquer them through the simple act of becoming that super hero you so admire. An act of childhood innocence that allowed a small child to be a big scarey monster and not be afraid of anything in a big world.
When my son was just starting in Jr.High School, I asked him and one of his friends if they would like to have a Halloween party that year. Teen boys, hmmmmm, the resounding yes got us started. They had to come up with the ideas and with help and the finacial backing from me, the party was a huge success. It continued through the years until some of them went off to college. During the summer the guys worked nearly everday making a road through the woods on our land. By the time it was done we had a 1/2 mile of trail with open areas where scenes with animated figures and sometimes, buildings were set up.
Graduation came and life's paths changed. The grand productions for Halloween were exchanged for turning themselves into men.
What did I get out of this? I knew where my son and his friends were 90% of the time and what they were doing. After working all day moving huge rocks and everything else involved with cutting a road through the woods, there wasn't much energy left to go out and get into trouble. Yeah, Halloween even works for the fears of a mother. Now what do I do with all of these buildings?????
In 2011, my sister, who had been out of work for a couple of years, due to an injury, and pretty much destitute, made the comment she'd like to have some chickens. Really? Why? They have to be one of the most stupid animals on the face of the earth. She said she liked them and she could have eggs if she did. This was in March and a couple of weeks later it was 'Chick Days' at Tractor Supply. Well, I bought her 6 chicks and the same for myself. I thought this would be something we could do together. I bought the food and all of the other things we needed and so it began. We both ended up with a dozen birds each and I learned that year that chickens aren't stupid, they just dont care what you think. They have their own agendas and that's that. Lol, yes my words went down a little hard but the smiles these birds brought made it a lot easier to swallow them.
In 2012, I went out and got a whole bunch more birds. Ducks and geese and BB turkeys and Heritage turkeys and more chickens and......Yup, chicken math struck hard here. I knew I had to come up with a plan for housing these birds fast! Especially since my birthday present this year was an addition onto the chicken house we built last year. Oh boy! I'm gonna be in so much trouble..... Wait! You have a mausoleum [full size] just sitting there in the 'cemetary'. Hmmm, with a bit of work it would make a wonderful duck house!
So it began. After seeing the western themed chicken coop on the cover of a chicken magazine.....well..... I'm not that country. Wonderful idea but I have a love of Halloween and so many things that relate, I have to use those. My ducks and geese are living in their mausoleum right now and the additon on the back will become Wings Coffin Shoppe, "Take a gander at what we have to offer". The next building will be for storage and then the building for the peafowl and heritage turkeys and finaly the 'boys club' for my extra roos. Not sure what these other buildings will become yet, but they will be a lot of fun to design and put together.
Here are a couple of pictures of the mausoleum when it was used in our Halloween productions.
Here it is a duck house. The wood in front of the building is to try and keep the ducks and geese from eating the styrofoam that the building is faced with. No clue what the fascination with the styrofoam is, but the act like it's a gingerbread house.
Long shot of the buildings going up. Don't mind the mess, more interested in getting the buildings up than the clean up right now. Side walls, rafters and roof for the turkey/pea house left to do and one more building to put together after that. For now, lol.
The way things are going, any pretty work will have to wait for next year. Still have to do the outside runs and re-do the duck yard.
Winter in Maine....well it can bring everything pretty much to a stand still. I haven't been able to do any serious building at all since the first part of December. C'mon Spring!! Although that brings it's own problems. In Maine, you have 5 seasons. You have Summer, Fall, Winter, Mud Season and Spring. Well...if you count Black Fly Season, we really have 6. We had a tease a week or so ago and I was so hoping that we had turned the corner. Not happening, lol. Our highs today were 33 degrees and the ground is still covered with snow except for where the paths were blown. <sigh> I would really love to get out there and get the new additions planned and buildings at least started. Patience is something I am forever short on.
Taking care of so many buildings and different kinds of birds has brought it's own issues. Running a garden hose from your kitchen sink to the outside doesn't really work well when the temps before wind chill are in the minus range. It's been a real trip, lol. I now have barrels set up in the chicken house, which only has to be filled once a week, and 2 barrels in the duck/goose house that need filling every 2 days. As soon as the weather finally breaks, I will be setting up 3 barrels in the duck house, as right now, there is no place to build the shelf needed to support the weight of the water filled barrels.
A lot learned this winter. A lot of plans to be implemented during the 'good weather'. An addition is needed on the duck house. This will have true nesting boxes that mimic the ones we've built for the geese. It will also have a pen for extra males until something else can be done to keep the females safe from over attentive drakes. More water storage as well as I have found I need 35 gallons for daily up keep and spot cleaning. And finally a brooder built over the nesting boxes. Thank-you FBC!
Here are a couple of pictures of the nesting boxes we have for the geese. The upper area will be the brooder if it ever stays dry enough for us to set up power tools outside. The damp spots on the wall are where there will be windows cut out, again, when the weather breaks long enough for us to finish. They are already framed and cut on the outside but the weather hasn't been kind enough to finish the job. The ducks will have something similar in their new room off of here. Scaled more to them but basically the same.
We at least got the turkeys and peas into their building before snow fly, but as you can see, they're roughing it for now. The roost for the peas is heated with christmas lights. This is another project that needs refining and waiting for good weather. As soon as we are able, their outside pens will be put up and aviaries built. We are considering moving the heritage turkeys to seperate housing built for them and their needs. More along the lines of pallet housing, fully insulated and different ones for the Bourbon Reds and 2 more for the Bronze pair and for the Bronze male. We have talked about supplying him with a couple of Broad Brested and/or Whites for mating as he is so much larger than the other male Bronze. Dreams and thoughts for now....can't do a thing until the weather breaks.