I'm not sure what to say and perhaps you all know this but I just discovered that chi-chi Williams Sonoma is selling chicken coops and "keeping chickens" supplies and books. Is it over-saturation or are Americans still becoming interested in raising chickens?
The one above is called a Cedar Chicken Coop with Planter and Chicken Run and would look lovely in a suburban setting. It costs $1499. and $150 for shipping.
If you are thinking about getting some chickens, you don't need to go to this kind of expense. Last year I replaced our old falling down worn out chicken coop which came with the house. My chickens lived happily in it for 13 years. They didn't care what it looked like. My friend Kevin built my new "Chicken Palace" out of all the different lumber and plywood I had saved here at our farm from various building projects. My goal was to not spend more than the labor. I think the only supplies I paid for was the new metal roofing and the big beams that were sunk into the ground. I use the "litter on litter" method which means the coop sits on the ground with a dirt floor. I add shavings and leaves once in a while and then I clean it out and use it on my garden. The very nicest thing about the new Chicken Palace is I can stand up in it without being covered with spider webs while collecting eggs.
I sized the coop to enclose this great old egg nesting box I had bought used for $25 over 20 years ago and used in my old chicken coop at our old house. Said nesting unit had been sitting around behind the smallish chicken coop in the weeds for 13 years just waiting to be put into use again. You can buy them new here. But really, a nesting box is not necessary. Wooden crates work fine.
Our friend Terri lives in an old farmhouse in town. She and her partner are always doing home improvement projects. Terri helps us out on the farm during lambing season sometimes. One day she said to me as we were feeding hay "Gee, now I see why I am always finding odd bits around our yard when I'm gardening". Stuff gets put down on a farm and not put away. And then sometimes it rains and it gets covered with mud and muck never to be found again. It drives me nuts looking for things that go "to the farm" and never return. Sometimes The Farmer knows just where he left it and the item (usually a hammer or pliers or some kind of tool) can be rescued. I assume that some of the things that never return are sinking deep into muck and mud.
Right now, we have several pieces of metal roofing sitting in the middle of the field. Aesthetically, it drives me nutty looking at it and shooting my photos around it. This metal came with the place - it had been on an old lean-to for the last people's horses but the lean-to wasn't even here when we arrived. Every time I mention getting rid of said metal roofing, I get the old "I might use it down at the farm for a shed sometime - it's still good." line. I shut up and try to look the other way. It is easier.
When we moved in here, there was a pellet stove in the library room. It broke and we took it out and gave it to a friend who was able to fix it and get a couple years out of it. The stainless liner came out and it sat in the yard for at least 10 years, never moving and me always tripping over it. I put a fence up so I didn't have to look at all the other crap that sits back there with the flu liner - all kinds of metal and plastic buckets, old wood stoves in pieces, trash barrels, scraps of wood for kindling.
A couple years ago, we had a chimney fire and the fire department told us we had better get the chimney lined or not use it anymore. Our chimney is 200 years old and has 3 flues and 3 fireplaces feeding into it. You can only imagine the engineering that went into this thing as they built it up with bricks in the 1700's when there wasn't much for building code. One of the fireplaces has a huge opening and it is the old cooking center for the house. There is even a bread oven that I use for our own "woodfired" pizza (behind the sign in the photo below).
When we put the woodstove in, I remembered the old piece of pipe sitting out in the yard behind the fence. We were able to use the old stainless movable twisty pipe to line the chimney with again. Our friend Scott said it saved us at least $1000 by dropping it down the chimney. Good thing I saved it and didn't take it to the recycling center to get some little bit of money for it.
You never know when you will need something again. What do you save? What do you have sitting around? Or do you toss or recycle things right away?
BOOK PARTY - MAY 5-6
to celebrate the publication of my new book
CRAFTING A PATTERNED HOME.
Our colorful 1751 farmhouse will be open to the public. On view will be many of the projects that are featured in Crafting A Pattern Home along with many other things I have made over the years.
This event will be a celebration of the handmade. I hope the day will inspire you to add some pattern and color to your home.
The event is FREE. Books will be available along with some other things I have made. For more information and directions, see the EVENTBRITE PAGE HERE. Although tickets are not mandatory, it will help me get a count to know what to expect. Hope to see you here in western Massachusetts in May.