Piper’s New House

Before I begin this little story, please forgive my long absence. I shan’t bore you with the messy and gritty details as to why I went off the rails, but I will say that every now and again my career at the museum tends to draw energy into itself. Like a black hole, not even light can escape.

I’m not saying that I’ve been there 24/7, but the times when I was finally home and could’ve written you many posts, something had happened to my brain as well as my will power. I sat in front of the computer and drooled. Devoid of any sense or reason, I typed the same thing over and over and over. “All work and no play makes James a dull boy”

This was then proceeded by a short stint working as the off season manager of the Overlook Hotel and then some other stuff that I can’t seem to recall. I vaguely remember some kind of hedge maze…

Regardless, I am here again. I humbly thank you for you patience. Let us continue our journey shall we?…

During my downtime at the Overlook Hotel, I also engaged in one or two projects. One of which was to design and construct a new coop for Piper to finally get her away from those chicken bullies. I had a finite amount of scrap wood and hardware in the garage and seeing as I had no extra money to spend on the project, I wanted to make said supplies work for a nice little coop design. With such tight parameters, there was only on thing to do; build it all first in a 3D program. Once again, I turned to SketchUp, the best free program in the universe. I used this program to design my larger loft style coop as well.

Firstly, I added all of the scrap pieces into the program to begin to piece them all together. With a little Tetris-like arranging, I was able to maximize my yield and crate a cut list with my meager supplies. No room for error with this carpentry project!

Measure fifteen times, cut once!
Measure fifteen times, cut once!

Full disclosure, I didn’t actually use that old-timey drill seen in the above photo. I just thought it would look nicer than my Panasonic cordless. What a deceitful carpenter I be! Yeah? Get over it.

Here’s the final 3D rendering in a futuristic video form. What wonders we shall see!

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxu_s_yvEpk&w=853&h=480]

Impressive yes? I can’t stress enough how much I love SketchUp. To be able to maximize my yield as well as test all the doors and hinges is priceless. Once all the details were worked out and the design was polished, I began assembling the coop. No small task as every single piece of wood was used, full of holes and painted. So I spent most of my time sanding, refinishing the wood and pulling nails and staples.

It took a lot longer to build than I anticipated but I really got into a zen state from all the sanding and shaping of the reclaimed wood. I haven’t spent this much time on a carpentry project since I was Head Carpenter at the San Diego Museum of Art. It did my soul good to work on this project. Also, it turned out pretty close to my original drawing. Check it out.

Pipers new coop 13A_Composite 1

Pipers new coop 13B_Composite 2

Pipers new coop 13C_Composite 3

Pipers new coop 13D_Composite 4

Not too shabby huh? But what good is all this work if it isn’t properly Piper approved? No good. To answer my own question. So the next stage was to get the little fuzzy fluffball inside to test it out.

All in all, I think she approves. However, I am not too happy with the size restrictions here. I want to get another silkie hen to keep her company and there’s barely enough room for Piper. Perhaps I should have bitten the bullet and purchased some extra lumber. Hind sight is 20/20.

I’ve decided to open up the back panels and add an additional room to the back which will double the width of her coop without causing me to lose any of the hard work I’ve already done. I’ll submit my permits for an add-on with the city post haste. No, no I won’t. Shhh!

I also was planning on giving her a mini run on those planter beds to the right of the coop so she can better peck and scratch for bugs an critters and such. Between those two additions, I’ll feel better about having two bantam breeds in this mini-coop. Until then, I’m keeping her in with the big girls. It shouldn’t be too long of a wait though.

Then I’ll just have to wait for her fluffy feathers to grow back so she can reclaim her past glory. Just look at this little fluffball! Can you tell that I’m in love with this little angel? Now I’ve always loved chickens…on my plate. This is different though, because she loves me back! Raise a glass to our poor tortured heroine for soon she shall have peace and retirement and sweet cooing happiness.

Pipers New Coop 024_Piper Inspection 11

25 Replies to “Piper’s New House”

  1. Hey, who’s that nearly-bald chicken enjoying Piper’s house in the photos? It sure ain’t our fluffy Princess Pipes. :*( Love the comparison pics showing SketchUp –> reality.

    1. She’s very sensitive about that. Shhh. The plus side is I can finally see her eyes. And she does gaze into mine now. Glad you dug the comparison photos. It was fun to make those. I’m giving serious thought about turning my while property into a SketchUp drawing. For posterity and upgrades.

          1. Very true! Harmony is the goal on my “farm”. Next project is getting the crows and the mockingbirds together. Those two battle constantly. Although, I’d always side with the mockingbird, one saved Piper from a cat right in front of a distracted me!

  2. Welcome back. I was wondering if you had been kidnapped by Gypsies. Thanks for sharing your chicken coop ideas. I have a lot of co-workers who will love to hear about it. How’s the dog? How’s the garden holding up this time of year?

    1. There are a few gypsies in the backyard. Setting up weird tents and telling strange stories by firelight. I’m trying to find a natural alternative to the commercial Raid Gypsy Spray, but so far lavender and neem oil only seem to make them dance around with greater fervor.

      Sasha is doing well, she had a little incident with a neighborhood bully who bloodied up her cute little nose a bit the other weekend. Not on my watch mind you and I shan’t name names. But Nury knows who I’m talking about…ahem.

      The garden is finally getting some much needed cool weather and a smattering of rain. Although I just heard that another heat wave is coming this week. Ugh. I’m so fed up with this 95° to 110° weather and drought.

      It also appears that my vegetable garden has some nemadotes floating about which would explain my poor yield this year despite my winter cover crop from last year.

      How boring life would be without its many challenges. I imagine that is, as I’ve never experienced a life like that.

      1. You should market the gypsy spray. I think you have something there.

        Sorry to hear about the dog nose. That is a travesty.

        We are also loving the cool weather. You know it is the end of summer when you are excited about the 90s and not the 100s. Trees are just barely starting to change color. We are totally out of water everywhere. Folsom lake is a puddle. They are pumping water out over the damn because it is below the overflow area. I don’t know what we will do if we don’t get a good rain and snow pack this winter.

        I had to google nemadotes. That’s a new word for me. They sound terrible. I visualize them as worms with helmets and axes and sharp teeth. Destroy them. You must overcome their threat.

        Glad to have your musings back in the mix again.

        Happy Fall.

        1. Uncle Jimmy James’ magic organic gypsy spray. I like it!

          I have a good feeling on water levels this winter. Perhaps more than we want to get! That’s okay by me, I’ve been dying to see my dry river beds in action.

          Yes, nematodes are sneaky bastards to be sure! By the time you realize you have them, it’s already too late. Apart from some impermanent solarizing techniques, predatory nematodes are the only way to go.

          1. What makes you think we will get more rain this winter? Everyone seem to say that. And they say El Nino but then they say well maybe only for SoCal. I figure Noah could float on by and it still won’t be enough to Fill Folsom Lake back up in one winter. But, then again it is always feast or famine in this fine state. Drought, flood, fire, hail, dare I say Earthquake?

          2. My grandfather always used to say he could tell by the number of pine cones on the trees. If there were a lot of cones going in to winter he would say that mother nature knew and would produce extra to take care of the animals through a long winter. Do you have some similar tale?

          3. Growing up in Buffalo people just always assumed the following winter prediction…

            It will be very cold and very snow heavy. Every year. For the rest of your life. Until you are dead.

            That’s all we needed.

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