After his mad bout of destruction, the Mr has gone back to work.
And in the process, he has left me to deal with the mess left behind.
So today has been a nice sunny day cleaning up shedloads of junk from years of neglect. Yes I am still talking about the potting shed here – nothing else!
Luckily the weather was warm so it went pretty quickly.
The worst part was trying to rip apart the shelving without damaging myself or the glass windows… Looks like I was only successful in one of those areas though. I’ve fully crushed my sweary-finger between the shelving and reckon my nail won’t last much longer.
But by the end of the day, the ground was clear and I had found a lovely solid path between the two beds.
I can’t wait to get using this place, although I reckon itll be a long time coming!
We literally just finished one job so he starts himself another. Boy really is a glutton for punishment!
At the back of our plot we have a very dilapidated old
greenhouse that we call ‘The Potting Shed’. It’s got brick sides with inbuilt
smoked glass windows and a wooden roof which looked like it had fire damage. There’s
the trunk of a grape vine coming through the wall which some cretin had stolen
before we arrived. It has always been one of ‘those jobs’ which I knew would
never get done. I wanted it to be lovely and warm in there so that I can start
my seedlings off in peace and possibly sit and have a victory brew in peace.
The majority of the glass fell out over Christmas 2018 so it is currently just storage for all of the ‘potentially useful junk’ we have come across in the past year. This mainly consists of old beer kegs and buckets from MrT’s workplace. I’m sure those chefs just use my allotment as a recycling centre at the moment!
So, when MrT announced yesterday that he was at the allotment
but wouldn’t tell me what he was doing, I got scared. This usually means its
something dangerous or involving power-tools and he knows I would shout at him
When I arrived last night and he was waiting for me at the gate, I knew he had done something bad. When he held my hand on the drive up the lane, I knew he had done something really bad. When I arrived at the gate and he had laid a nice set of slabs at the entrance, I knew he had done something he thought I’d cry at.
He had only gone and demolished the whole roof of the Potting
He had bought some new beams and intended on replacing only
the broken or rotten ones, but it turns out that they were all broken or rotten
– at least they are now he’s finished with them anyway.
So, my ‘birthday present’ is new beams for the roof. It will
take him months, but maybe itll be finished by the time that this years’
birthday comes around.
He did say this though – “I took lots of during pictures for your blog!”
Bless his little heart.
I jest, but I am actually pretty excited. I hope it turns out how I would like it to and hope that my husband doesn’t give himself a concussion in the process….
So, this post has been a long time coming. You’ll remember
from the end of last year my worries about the girls current living
arrangements and how I wanted to get them in to a custom-built coop. Unfortunately,
the best laid plans always fall through and it has taken us this long to get
around to finishing off our ladies’ new digs.
I took a day off work and roped in MrT to help build the new
palace. Turns out it took much longer than a day and has actually taken about 3
weeks of weekend and evening work, but that’s by-the-by. We had no strict
plans, no measurements, nothing. I just knew what I wanted and had to try and
relay this on to him. We were planning on using as much of the spare tongue and
groove wood from our new log cabin at home as possible so that it was built
with some thick, well treated wood and would last a long time yet.
We started off by building the base. We simply picked the
shortest lengths of wood, slotted them together and kept going until it got to
the right size. We made sure that the smooth side of the finished wood would be
inside the coop. This lends itself to easy cleaning and also reduces hidey holes
for redmite and other nasties. We then screwed a wooden square to the base for
strength and the floor was done. Simples!
Because the wood is so thick and heavy, we really needed to
put it in to place before we added any more to it. We attached six leg (three either
side) made out of old fence posts cut to size. This will keep the floor off the
ground and reduce hiding places for Ratty and Co. to live and chew through the
floor like they have the shed. We dug six holes in the ground to sink the legs
and when everything is built and settled we will postcrete this in to stop it
sinking. We placed it in the corner of the run so that we still have optimal
space for the girls, and up against the fencing so that I can have the laying
box outside the run without compromising the girls safety.
Next up was to build the rough structure for the walls.
Again, we had no particular measurements so we used the offcuts of the base to
make a rough shape. Initially I had pictured an apex roof, but I soon realised
that was way too much effort, even if MrT thought it would be easy enough to
do. I knew that I would end up finishing this off by myself though so opted for
the easiest option. We just used a longer length for the front elevation, a
shorter one for the back, and an angled piece at the top to hold it all
together and support the roof. It needed to be steep enough for the rain and
snow to run off, but not so steep that it makes the living quarters too shallow
for the girls.
Next up, screw these to the base and put in two equal
lengths of wood across the front and back to make a “wonky box”. Mr T cut and
installed some lovely diagonal ‘bits’ to keep the walls from flopping over in
the wind. We then installed a ‘H’ shaped structure which was the height of a
chicken to create the pop-door. My descriptions are obviously very technical
and in no way made-up.
I wanted to include a nice laying box set-up for the girls
which stuck out of the side of the herras fencing run so that I didn’t have to
go in and disturb them every morning or evening. We made this run the full length
of the house so that the cladding would run smoothly and to provide three nice
big spaces for the girls to lay. 3 of the older ladies no longer lay much and
the new girls are Bantams so take up very little space so 3 laying boxes would
be more than enough for our 10. I planned to make this have a lift up lid for
ease of access but also to keep it as fox-proof as possible. Its hard to
describe the shape of the structure we built so take a look at the photos below
and if you’d like measurements and instructions get in touch and I can send
The next problem was that I wanted a nice people-door and a window
in the new chicken-abode. MrT thought we could build them, I thought we should
use the readymade ones from Cluckingham Palace Mark 1. After many minutes of heated marital
discussion, it was decided that we would do it my way. Obviously.
Mr T went back to work for the rest of the week and left me
with struct instructions to leave it until he we next off, so of course I got
all of his tools back out (sorry love!) and spent my weekend carrying on with
exactly what he told me not to do.
So the nice hot pink door and window frame were installed
and looked beautiful. I took the window home and removed the chicken wire to
install some clear Perspex. They don’t need it for ventilation as they will
have the permanently open pop-door as well as a ventilation hole in the top of
Then it was just a case of cladding up the sides front and
back. Much more difficult than it sounds since we had to try and work through
herras fencing on two sides, with one also covered in brambles and nettles.
Thick trousers and a jumper were required but I still felt like Snow White in
the woods when the brambles grabbed hold of my hair!
This took a lot longer than I though and I needed about size
hands, but eventually I managed it just in time for MrT to be off again. We
went out to the DIY shop in my lunch hour and spent an awful lot of dosh on
some hinges, hooks, hasps and roof panels which just so happened to be the
perfect width. He then spent the afternoon creating a lovely lift up hatch for
the laying box.
Being the hard worker that he is he had to go back for
another full-on week (or perhaps he just pretends to go to work to get out of
chores?) so I carried on regardless. I installed some laying box dividers made
from offcuts of the hatch. I sanded and painted and made it look beautiful in ‘Slate
Grey’. I hinged the door, added a hasp lock so that I can keep them safe and
added a small hook and loop to the door so that I can pin it open should I need
Then, on the windiest day of the year, I decided to put the
roof on… by myself.
Sadly, this is where our lack of measuring and squaring up really
hindered us as it turns of that the whole place isn’t square! I nearly flew
away many times and could hardly lift the heavy wooden sheets, but I managed it
in the end so sat and had a victory brew surveying my building skills.
I then had to put the roofing felt on top, which was even
less fun as when the wind catches that it rips the felt out of your hands along
with the skin on your fingertips. Don’t try this at home kids. But guess what? I
managed it in the end so sat and had another victory brew surveying my building
Late on Monday evening, I went to the pet shop and loaded up
the car with some fresh bedding and went on a mission to move in my girls (and
Jimmy the undercover rooster) in to their new digs.
We blocked up the door to the old house and installed a roosting
bar and a ladder entrance to the pop-door, filled the new place with bedding
and hay, added their food and water dispensers and snuck in to the old coop to
move them in. MrT was on removal from the old roost, and I was on placing on
the new roost. I definitely picked the right job, as MrT soon saw what I meant
about Jimmy looking after his ladies when it gets dark. After a good few nips
to the wrists, MrT soon learned the best way to pick up a rooster is quickly and
All of the girls have now moved in to their new digs and
appear to be loving it! There is less space in there than the old one so they
are much cosier and its really toasty in there. They still have enough space to
spread out and section themselves into their groups, but there’s less area for
Jimmy to have to patrol and they can now huddle up without having the tiptoe
along the bar in the dark.
We went down there again last night and found that only two
of the girls had figured out how to use the ladder. Bloody birds. So, we spent
another evening putting them to bed. The last man standing was Jimmy and he couldn’t
figure it out for the life of him. After almost an hour of trying to corral him
up the ladder, he finally got on to it by accident. It was almost as if you
could see the lightbulb!
Hopefully now that he has worked it out, he will show the other girls tonight,
but it’ll be another trip down there later to make sure the last of the
stragglers know where ‘bed’ is!
Now finally, welcome to The Chick Inn – “Where There Is
Always Room For One More”