Step 1: Go on Pinterest
Wow, look at that! Look at all those really cool Do-It-Yourself projects! You mean all you have to do is take an old desk/ pallet/ bookcase/ toilet paper roll/ etc and add a few nails and pieces of scrap wood, and you can renovate it into a beautiful new chicken coop?
Wow, that looks easy! You can do that, too!
Huh? What’s that? What kind of design do you want your chicken coop to have you’re done?
Eh, you’ll figure it out later, when you get to that point.
Step 2: Find something old, left behind by the old house owner.
This is going to be the raddest chicken coop ever.
Step 3: Slowly and carefully move chicken-coop-in-the-making to the construction area.
Step 4: After several minutes of straining, realize it’s too heavy to lift on your own, and that you will have to wait for the husband to come home and help you move it.
Step 5: Sulk for a few minutes about the fact that you were born a female, and that instead of having broad shoulders and big biceps that can lift heavy things, you have wide hips, a big butt, and the ability to experience “morning” sickness. Yes, Mother Nature. That’s just SO much better.
Step 6: Get angry. Decide to move it anyways. Carefully maneuver desk-coop-thingie end-over-end down a rocky slope into the backyard. Arrive at the bottom without a single mishap. Cheer inwardly. Perhaps cheer outwardly, too.
Step 7: Heave desk-coop-thingie over the four foot chain link fence (the gate is too far away to reach) through sheer will power, making
grunting and straining very feminine and sexy noises.
Step 8: Watch in horror as the last teensy tip of the desk catches on the top of the fence, wrenches sideways out of your grasp, and falls the last two feet, breaking in several places.
Step 9: Teach your three-year-old and one-year-old several new and very passionate vocabulary words that are not Sesame Street approved.
Step 10: Get to work.
Take lots of photos of your progress, so you can do a blog post later on about how totally awesome and capable you are.
Pop Quiz: What’s more difficult than trying to build something with no plans, no previous carpentry experience, no real materials, and no actual mechanical abilities?
Answer: Trying to do all of the above with children.
Nails and hammers and saws really aren’t a good mix with toddlers and preschoolers. The DragonMonkey and Squid are hard enough to keep alive on a normal basis. Trying to chase after them while simultaneously “building” a chicken coop nearly drove me crazy.
Still, I wanted chickens, and to get chickens I needed a coop, so there was no turning back.
I nailed. I stapled. I sawed. I screwed things in.
I looked at my “chicken coop” and sighed.
I unscrewed things. I unnailed things. I plucked out staples, and started all over again, when things weren’t working well.
After three days (yes, three), this is what I had:
At that point I did what every mature, modern, and independent woman does:
I threw in the towel and called Santa.
Santa, otherwise known as my stepdad (he really does have a thriving career as a real-bearded Santa), is to wood what J.R.R. Tolkien is to fantasy writing.
The original plan was that I would be the one building it, and he would teach me.
It worked like that at first – he explained, I understood and nodded, and together we worked on it, while my mom made it possible by watching the boys.
It was a nice theory, but as things grew more complex, it turned into him saying a bunch of words, me nodding like I understood, and then blindly following his instructions.
I really don’t see professional carpentry in my immediate future.
Three building sessions later, I had this:
Pretty awesome, huh?
Even better, we build the thing entirely out of old pallets and wood that the previous owner left behind. The only money we spent was on some extra screws and a couple of 2 x 4s we used to brace the roof.
When it’s time for the chickens to go to sleep, the ramp comes off, and the door comes down, and it locks up safe and secure.
When it comes time to clean it out, the whole front opens up, making the process nice and easy.
She’s only been here a day and she’s already letting me pet her. Sweet.
The other two chickens are called “Golden Sex Link” – which, honestly, sounds like the punchline to some kind of really dirty innuendo to me.
“Hey baby, how about you, me, and a little Golden Sex Link, hmmmm?”
Her name is Martha Stewart.
The other two haven’t really named themselves yet (does anyone have any suggestions?) The DragonMonkey is suggesting “Mommy” for the other Golden Sex Link (snicker), but I think I’m going to feel a little awkward standing in my backyard saying, “Heeeeere, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” for the whole world to hear.