Friday, December 5, 2014

better late...

I had plans to spruce up the coop this summer.  Install insulation so we could use the heat light less often.  Shingle the roof.  Cover the larger fenced area with a netting of some sort to better protect them from our frequent hawk and raccoon attacks.  And if nothing else, I needed to do my fall cleanout of their bedding, add the old bedding to the compost pile and give them a fresh  area for the winter months when they will spend so much time in their smaller space.

It never happened.  

And so, this week I found myself in my parka and mittens and boots trying to figure out what to do with frozen icy snow on the ground, compost bins full with half of the bedding, and...did I mention it was very cold?

I had this lovely compost already underway.  

In the end, I sprinkled it over the garden.  Atop the snow.  And around the plants that never quite got harvested.  I think this is how my fancy garden books recommend you supplement your soil, right?

Now we just need to wait for another snow storm to sandwich said stinky compost and make it look a little more attractive out there.

Then, coop cleaned, I got to insulating.  I had some insulation that a friend had given us, extra from another job.  I spent the afternoon cutting it and placing it.

I headed out the next morning to figure out how to sandwich it and cover it with some kind of moisture resistant surface and found that during the night, it had all caved in, crumbled and disintegrated and was not impossible to get to stay upright long enough for one person to work with it.  

And so, the minivan and I took a trip to the hardware store.  I was looking for some roofing supplies and something to help me hold up the insulation.  

I roamed the aisles for a good long time.  Pondering.  It is amazing how time consuming it can be to be in a place of such vastness and have no idea what you are looking for.

In the end, I decided on this.  This stiff insulation board which I am sure has a name but was chosen by me because unlike the stuff I had used the day before, it came with turgor. 

And was kind of cool to take pictures of.  We call this selfie with a penguin and green camera, reflected in foil.

It was just after taking this picture that an employee approached me and asked if I needed any help.  I told him I was pondering.  He told me this was the best place he had found to do his own pondering.  And then moved on.

As I wheeled my very difficult to maneuver cart toward the front of the store, I threw in an X-acto knife to cut the foam board, thinking about the terrifying basement at home, in which I would need to dig around to find an old one.  $2.57 seemed like a bargain in saved time and terror.  

Turns out, I needed that knife in the parking lot.  

Beskirted and frozen, I tried and tried to make those carefully measured boards, the ones I was sure would fit, slide into my car.  But they would not.  I had a good number of people stop and offer advice.  And others just stopped to watch and be amused.  I hope I made their days a little brighter.

I thought, no matter.  I will cut them to fit.  Aren't I smart to have purchased an X-acto knife?  And I dug into my bag and pulled out the new knife.  Oh dear.  It needed a screw driver to open it to get the blade out.  I used my house key.  Trying to stay good natured and all independent woman in a hardware situation.  I opened the knife.  The screw went flying.  I pulled out a blade and went at the foam without the knife handle because despite crawling around on the ground, I could not find the screw.  How bad can that be?  Well, lesson learned.  X-acto knife blades are sharp on just about every side.

But now my foam fit.  Even if it did have some red smears on it.

I drove home.  Got some bandaids.  Wrestled the foam down the bank to the coop.  

Apologized to the annoyed chickens.

And climbed inside the coop.  The coop is about 6 feet wide, 4 feet deep, and 4 feet tall, elevated off the ground by about 3 feet.  I don't have a picture of me in there, but you can imagine.  Also, while you are at it, imagine me lying on my back on the ground in the coming dark a while later, hammering foam to the bottom to better insulate the floor of it.  

Birds in top hats and fancy feathers.

I never got to the roof.  But I will.  I think the ladies are happy with what I have done so far.

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