Sunday, November 30, 2014

HenHouse 2.0

I have often viewed my life as a spiral, growing larger with every turn of the year's great wheel.  Even when it appears I am going back, or repeating something I've already done, that really isn't the case.  There are always differences, even if it's simply where I'm at in my life.  Time streams only forward and it is impossible to return to any past moment.

So here I am, building a chicken house once again as part of this winter's preparation for next spring's return to urban homesteading.  The old henhouse, a recycled doghouse on a frame with a nest box, was big enough for 3 hens maximum.  It tended to leak and the nest box would get wet.  Since I have chickens and not ducks... this just wasn't ideal.  An upgrade is definitely in order.

View from the Back.
The new chicken house is made from a few 2x4's left over from the goat shed and free pallets.  It will have two levels - 3 if you count the roost bars- and a nest box that's accessible from outside the house itself via a door in the side.  There should be ample space for at least 6 hens.  It will also be wired for electricity with a light at the top, complete with timer and outlet.  Very high tech....

Other improvements will be putting corrugated roofing under the deck so it won't get wet and muddy in the pen.  Rainwater will be collected by a gutter and can be used for plants or animals.  A board will be added along the bottom edges to stabilize the wire and a thick layer of straw will be put down.  This is called the deep litter method and keeps everything clean and smelling fresh.  The door has already been moved so it opens to the outside to allow for the extra depth of the straw.

I can't help being excited.... should I start saving egg cartons now??

The old henhouse

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quiet Growth

The season has grown old.  Bare trees reach for the pale blue sky with grey twisted fingers, their feet sprinkled with the now dull remnants of their Autumn glory.  The air is cold and sharp with the spicy scent of decaying leaves.  Here and there a tree still glows crimson, all the brighter among her naked kin.  Yet even she will soon join the others in somber winter hue.

It is the waiting season, a time when growth takes place quietly below the surface.  This is true both in nature and my own life. My impatient ego chafes at the stillness and silence.  I want to see progress.  To calm this urge, I find it helpful to look back on the growth the past year has brought to me.  It has the effect of making me thankful for what I have experienced and allows me to see what may be silently sprouting now.

Winter last year brought the life shattering end of an 18 year marriage.  I was grateful for the quiet of that dark season as I fought to heal and regain a sense of myself without the person I'd thought to spend my life with.  Everything came to a halt for a time.  Yet the healing came, and I began searching for who I am alone.  I found her. That girl long fettered by the chains of adulthood broke free full of passion, energy, joy, and love.  I tasted life in all its sweet and bitter flavors, tested myself and those who would share my finite time in this world, and sifted the golden wheat from the glittering, but worthless chaff.  I know who I am, where I want to be, and who is worthy to share my life.

Rather than healing, this winter will again be one of quiet growth.  My plans have just begun to sprout and are pushing pallid roots deep into the soil of my existence.  So I shall be patient and look forward to seeing them spring forth when the light half of the year returns once again