turning a trampoline into a chicken run

Confession: my once-given status of "crazy chicken lady" has been significantly reduced to "woman that once bought chickens and eventually left it to her husband to be the one who remembers to feed and water them" (clearly that's a conceptual reduction and not one of title, yeesh).

But let's not talk about that.

I built a run for the chickens over a year ago out of some pretty crude materials. I've been amazed it's lasted as long as it has and how sufficient is has been, but two nights ago we had insanely strong winds whipping about our spot on the map. When Ava and I went out yesterday to play in the back yard I discovered that the run had completely collapsed on one side, likely from those strong winds and just being past its prime. Moreover, there was a gaping open space at the top of it so that if the unclaimed treasures pooled their collective brain power they could possibly figure out that one good hop straight up would be their path to freedom and danger. I realized all of this at about 1:45 yesterday afternoon. I'm headed out of town for the weekend today, but I knew the chickens couldn't stay exposed and vulnerable until Monday - and I couldn't leave my husband and kids with the potential of having to chase errant chickens around the back yard - so a quick plan had to be devised.

Here's what we did. The kids had a trampoline that the previous homeowners generously left. We got a lot of mileage out of it, but it has really seen its last day, at least by way of safety measures. I got the idea that if I took the mat off, I could move the frame over to the chicken coop, cover the entire area in chicken wire, and the girls would have a new, sturdier, very weather-proof, bigger run.

Here's how Anthony decided to finish off the destruction of the trampoline mat . . .

This is what had happened to the existing run. It looks like a pile of trash.
"Hey, what the flock is going on here?" - chickens
The only materials I needed to purchase for this project was two new rolls of metal chicken wire. On this previous run I used a combination of metal and plastic wire. What I learned from the experience was that within a year the plastic wire becomes completely brittle and just tears apart if you look at it cross-wise. So again, I purchased only the metal fencing and one spool of cuttable wire so that I could affix all of it together and knit up any gaps. All total it cost me $50.00 and three to four hours of time spread out over yesterday afternoon, evening, and this morning.

Here's the finished product.

I may have been demoted from crazy chicken lady, having lost a little fervor. But this work was so cathartic and a reminder of how much I love being outside, working with my hands...and those silly birds.


backyard happy

It's beginning to feel like Spring here. We've sprung forward which means mornings are darker making it harder to get going, but afternoons stretch out in sunshine and playtime potential.

I'm happy. So are these three.


letters to my kids - 3rd edition

My boy,
We’re home together since you’ve been sick. I’m sorry you have felt bad this week, buddy. It’s tough to miss school and church and places we like to be with people we love to be with. But I like to sit here beside you – just you and me – comfy on the couch under our favorite blankets, watching Lord of the Rings. You always notice things I haven’t ever noticed (remember this morning when you found the stone trolls from The Hobbit while we were watching Fellowship of the Ring? I have never noticed them there, but you did). You talk me through what’s happening and ask really interesting questions. Sometimes when you talk, I sort of feel like I can see your brain working like a machine or growing like the strong roots of a tree. It’s amazing.

You know something I like about you? You have a heart for the epic. That word means big adventure, seeing life in a big way. You like to hear about, read about, watch, play, and live epic adventures. And because of you, my little big man, my heart for the epic grows bigger, too. Every day has adventure, doesn’t it, if we look for it.

But even in the adventure that is your story, some times there are going to be sick days or tired days or bored days. You might be too sleepy or your body may feel too weak. Some times you just might not want to go adventuring, you might not be in the mood. Yep, even for the most adventurous, there are just days like this. Today is one of those days and because of it we sort of have to watch or talk or dream about epic things a little more than we can go out and do them. Today, I’m glad to be beside you; to have a chance to be slow and still and quiet. We climb under warmest and favorite blankets, rest our bodies and minds and our epic hearts. 

I’m sorry you’ve been sick, my boy. Relax and get well. The days after this one will have plenty of epic things in them. Tomorrow we will adventure. Today we rest.