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Day 4 On Coop Project: A Woman's Adventure

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by KSue, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. KSue

    KSue In the Brooder

    Jun 24, 2010
    Old Fort
    First, a little background info:

    So, my hubby and I, along with one of our four sons, 3 horses, 2 dogs and 2 cats live on a seven acre mini farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I was raised a city girl, but have always loved the country life. No surprise then, along with our other animals, I wanted to add a small flock of chickens. I mentioned it to hubby a couple of times over the last few months and each time it was met with little acknowledgment....a sure sign of his lack of enthusiasm in the idea. Finally, hubby's blessing or no, I decided it was time to start working on a coop. I announced it over supper to my family one day last week. My husband cut his eyes at me. Our youngest son, gleefully exclaimed, "We're getting chickens?!" Then the words from my husband I was dreading...."NO.....SHE'S getting chickens!" At that moment, I knew I was completely, totally, and utterly alone in this project.

    We have a perfect 3 sided shed that would convert nicely into a coop and run. It has been used for years for scrap lumber storage from the previous owners. All I need to do is clean it out and use the lumber for the coop. Easy enough. I have been going over BYC's website and have a really good idea of what I want. I have all the materials I need, how hard can it be?...........Shut up, I hear you men out there snickering!

    Ok....so 4 days ago I start emptying the shed.....I have 3 piles: 1. trash 2. scraps I don't need/want/give away 3. The keepers, real nice lumber pile

    DAY ONE.....Hubby is at work...Late afternoon I create piles and start emptying the shed. Results yield seven antique doors with the old skeleton key door knobs, 4 nice unfinished pine table or desk tops (size 3x5), one pile of keeper lumber, and a F250 truck bed of scrap lumber. Oh yeah, and one antique pellet pistol that scared the snot out of me 'cause it was so realistic looking.

    DAY TWO....Hubby comes home and starts work on one of his projects without a so much as a glance in the direction of MY shed/coop. I get some housework done then I clean out more lumber in MY shed/coop. I am having to slow down because of the amount of dust from mice nests, termites, and the spiders......OMG the spiders! Most of the wood is still in really good shape. Only a small amount had insect damage and went into the trash pile. There was some really nice furniture grade lumber and cabinet tops in there. I finish the day with a total of 2/3 of the shed cleaned out.

    DAY THREE.....Hubby goes out to work on his project again then mows the yard. Off I go to my shed/coop. I finish cleaning everything out then rake all the leaves that had strayed in there over the years. Hubby comes out to see my progress and offers some pointers for a floor. Grrrrrrr. Guess he was serious about this being my project. He knows I'm no carpenter. Everytime I try to hammer a nail it bends, let alone try to use an electric saw.....Take a breath.......It's ok...I'm tough, I am not going to give in...I can do this. All total I have about 3 truckloads of scrap/give away lumber and a really NICE stack of keeper lumber. The scrap piles go on Freecycle.com and Craigslist for pick up. Hubby did cook supper though and that was nice.....Chicken and steak fajitas, yum!

    TODAY, DAY FOUR.....Hubby is at work. There was a lean-to on the back side of the shed. I decide to clean it out and knock the lean to down. While cleaning I found 18 antique windows, in tact, stacked one on top of the other. I remove them carefully and set them aside. In my cleaning I disturbed 2 mouse nests...One of the mice was a HUGE field mouse. I swear as he ran away, he paused and looked over his shoulder at me as if to say "I could whip you if I wanted to"...Go ahead buddy, right now I'm Superwoman...give it your best shot..... All that finished, it was time to get started building MY coop. I go around to the front and mentally visualize how I want everything. I take out my tape measure and start measuring. I know I need a frame so I can put my floor down. Trick is to make it level since the shed had a dirt floor and was built on a slant. Ok, I need sturdy lumber, a level, hammer, nails, and saw. I head off to hubby's tool shed, the MAN CAVE....(enter dramatic music). As I stand there, I am overwhelmed at all the tools and JUNK in there. (OK, I know guys, it's not junk really, but to us women it truly is.......). Other than the basic hand tools, it really hits me hard that I have NO CLUE what I'm doing. [​IMG] What the__(insert words here)__have I gotten myself into? Next, taking a deep breath, I did what any self respecting wife would do in this situation....I went inside the house and make a phone call.

    A few hours later, my newly hired carpenter shows up to evaluate the situation. We got the frame done for the floor and he will be back out tomorrow to get working on the rest of the coop. Everything should be done in a day or so and I get my new flock of Buff Orpington hens this weekend! Yay!!! [​IMG] See pics below for all the lumber that came out of the shed (shed measures 15 long x 7 wide x 6.5 tall on the coop side).

    The shed before:

    The wood piles:

    All cleaned out:

    More pictures and posts to follow as we progress with the coop. Hope I posted this in the correct forum. If not, I apologize in advance!
  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member 8 Years

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    Good for you!! [​IMG] I hope you and your carpenter can get it done!! Can't wait to see the pics!!! [​IMG]

    I tell you what after reading your story it would be a cold day in Hades before I ever helped him do anything!! WOW you don't even sound made and I would be so PO'ed at him he would never hear the end of it!! [​IMG]

    Good Luck!!

  3. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    You go girl!!! Way to tackle a project with confidence, take it as far as you are able, and then bring in reinforcements when appropriate! You can be proud of yourself. You may want to consider carefully whether you want to share any of those beautiful eggs you will be getting, with your husband. Just sayin'. . .
  4. HennyJenny

    HennyJenny Songster

    Dec 26, 2009
    Bennington, NE
    I did this -from scratch - with exactly the same amount of help and I am telling you - You can do this! It will be all yours and you will own it and be proud. It will feel so good when you are done and you will have learned so much about building and about yourself! In the end - your husband and your son will be proud of you and you will have shown your son very important things about being a woman and being self taught and self sufficient.

    All that said I have just a couple of pieces of advice:

    1. Find some free online shed plans. They are invaluable for one reason - they show you how to frame and level floors and walls and roofs and how to connect the same. They are not always easy to understand but the pictures alone are valuable.

    2. Google is your friend. You want to know how to use a circular saw? Chop saw? Drill? Mitre saw? Framing square? T-square? There are thousands of sets of instructions for the use of each one. You will clearly understand at least one of them well enough to do what you want to do. Go ahead type in any weird question you can think of - some way your answer will pop up,

    3. When you just can't think through one more thing and you are feeling frustrated and have started to curse and throw things - get on BYC post to the coop forum and yell for help (be prepared to post a picture of your problem) there are many many people with invaluable carpentry experience who will not make fun of you (god bless them) but they will offer you another several solutions to the problem you are trying to figure out. No one - not even the guys - said go get your husband - They said. "You can do this?"

    Everytime I look at my coop - I am grateful for the help I got on here. My coop isn't perfect and when I build the next one in the spring it's going to be a little different but I learned so much by doing it myself. When I see something now that isn't quite right - I think "I know how to do that better now."

    You go girl! This is a cool adventure. Congratulations!

  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member 8 Years

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Ksue- you struck it rich - how did all that come out of the shed? THat took an awful lot of work dragging it out and sorting it all. Have you any plans for the windows? Maybe you could make some big bucks selling them, and it would pay for the carpenter. Your husband probably expects a fight to be coming. I would fool him and be sweet as pie and not make any mention of him not helping you. I would gush over how great everything is going and " the carpenter says this and the carpenter says that." So your husband can feel jealous that he is out of the loop and you are making great progress without him.

    Alot of men don't have any carpentry skills.They have other things they do well so do women. I used to date a carpenter and he wasn't very good at all- he only had a job because his father hired him.

    Can't wait to see pictures of the coop and your new girls in it.
  6. chknmama

    chknmama In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2010
    Your story reminds me of my favorite literary chicken Henny Penny. Henny Penny toiled away to plant, tend, and harvest her wheat; none of the other animals would help her. Finally it was time to bake the bread and of course now the animals smelled the bread and wanted some too. But they had not helped Henny and really didn't deserve any. [​IMG]

    Perhaps when you get them the chickens will grow on your hubby. They are such delightful creatures [​IMG]

    Maybe he can do coop cleaning duty for awhile to earn his eggs! [​IMG]
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Songster

    I thought it was the Little Red Hen that did it herself. and Henny Penny thought the sky was falling?

    I know a couple of carpenters and framers that claim to be my friends but no one showed up to help me fix my OLD shed, much less work on the coop and run. My ex-husband had good carpentry skills if he could be got moving. But it was me that insulated the attic, built the bookshelves, stripped and restored the antiques. I let him help me work on a dresser once. He took out a gouge that can never be replaced on my most valuable piece. By the time I divorced I had gotten pretty good with HIS fancy tools. So I bought my own.

    But without my 9 year old granddaughter I never would have gotten the tin roof on the end of the run that served as temporary housing this spring while the rest was built. And without my 24 year old helper I'd never have gotten the 2x4 fencing up, it was just too heavy to manipulate alone. Pay for help when you need it, and those antique windows could be worth enough to cover the help. Beautiful lumber treasure in that shed. You go girl!
  8. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    KSue- what a great start! And look at all the goodies you have to work with. [​IMG]
    Where in WNC are you? I am just west of Asheville-
  9. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    We are almost neighbors!!! I'm in Spruce Pine, Mitchell County. I'll be back from a short vacation on the 14th and would love to come help you if needed. My DH had shoulder surgery early March and our coop had to be renovated and the run built. He couldn't help me but he did "direct" the entire operation. I'm pretty handy with a cordless drill.[​IMG]
  10. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Songster

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    darn, I'd kill for 1/2 that lumber and any of those windows or doors. You could make several nice coops with what you have on hand.

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