Chicken time is when you think it will only take you a certain number of hours (days, weeks...) to perform a chicken-related task and, like chicken math, it ends up being a LOT more. Not necessarily because you lose track, but because it just takes longer than you think it will.
THIS is the sum total of today's work. Yep, all day to put up 2 boards to block off under the coop. Of course that was taking into account the following steps:
1. Decide to run to the lumberyard at 8 to buy a couple of 2x6's and have them cut to length - the coop legs are 12 inches long so that's better than trying to notch out a piece of plywood, and pressure treated 2x6's are only about $5 for 8ft.
2. Remember that dimensional lumber isn't REALLY 2 inches by whatever, so I'm going to have a bigger gap underneath than I planned on - going to put wire buried on the bottom anyway, but maybe 2x8's are better? Hey, we have some around here!
3. Dig through the pile of scrap lumber and find a couple of 2x8's already scabbed together - and the right length! Perfect! Only the14.5 inches total height means the bottom corners need to be notched out to fit around the bricks since the coop legs are 12 inches. I can do that!
4. Uh-oh, the miter saw only has a 5.5 inch blade and I need to cut in about 7 inches on each end. Oh well, I can do that with a Sawzall - I need to borrow one anyway to cut a new pop door in the run side of the coop. Call my uncle.
5. Wait for a call back - great, run right up and get it a cordless Sawzall with a metal blade (because there's a half inch gap between the boards and I want to tighten that up, plus it will be easier for me to handle them one at a time by myself because my uncle and husband are busy today. I can handle this!
6. Cut half the nails holding the scab boards on but the blade is too short to reach all of them so have to pry the rest. One board splits. I leave the other in place as a "leg" to support the top board, but pry the bottom board off. Time to test fit.
7. It’s tight, but I measure down from the bottom of the top board on each end to the top of the bricks, and then over, and mark the bottom board accordingly. I change blades in the Sawzall. Figure out how to clamp a 5ft long board onto the garden cart, and start cutting. After 5 inches, the battery runs out.
8. Run up to my uncle’s in the truck (since my pants are filthy from kneeling by the coop I don’t want to take the car), pull into his sloped driveway, put on the parking brake, and the cable snaps. Great, now the brake is on and I can’t release it. Get a charged battery from him, leave the dead one, chase his dog out of the road when it crosses to bark at the mail truck. He grabs the dog and I grab the mail. He can’t see the cable hanging under but I don’t feel any resistance when I put it in gear so I drive the half mile down the hill back to my house and finish the cut.
9. DH is now taking a lunch break so comes to help me fit the bottom board (the top one is still propped up with a spare brick on 1 end and the scab board on the other). He observes that I’ve marked the right hand end too short, I measure and mark it again (it’s hard to tell when neither end will fit, that’s why I cut 1 end first and then brought it over to try). He’s having trouble seeing the line with all the sawdust (and my safety goggles are too small for him), so I have him hold the free end while I notch out the corner.
10. We bring it back, and it’s still really tight, we have to dig out a little in the middle to get the board under. He says the notch I just cut is still not long enough, and the bricks aren’t square so he knocks them into line. H says it needs another ¾” so marks it, we head back over to the garage (where the cart is sitting on level ground) and I take another ¾” off. He declares he has to get back to work, leaving me to finish the job.
11. I secure 1 end of the top board with 1 screw, then the other end with 2 screws after fitting it as tightly to the coop as I can. I knock off the scab board “leg” and try to slide the board under, need to dig out a little, go get a trowel and scrape. Keep at it until I can slide the board to the end. Oops, a big gap at the top and the inside of the notch! I knock the bricks back together and the gap at the top closes up. Dig out some more and hit the other end of the board with a hammer to get it to slide. The ends are lined up with the top board – still a gap! We didn’t need that last ¾”. So I knock the board some more, it’s now sticking past the leg of the coop on the right but I don’t care.
12. Now the left hand end isn’t fitting over the bricks supporting that end of the coop. The boards are tight together, I can’t lift it any more. I didn’t make the long cut straight, the blade wiggled a little. This is the one the battery ran out on. Can it be sanded down? I can’t cut it that close. Forget it, I don’t need this against the leg of the coop, so what if there’s a gap, I’ll screw a 1x4 “cap” on the end and close that up after I get the wire skirt attached and buried so nothing can dig under. Or I’ll wrap the wire around the end and secure it to the side of the coop too. I just need to find (or buy) more wire.
13. It’s 3pm and I’ve been working on this since 8:30 (when I was originally heading to the lumberyard – maybe that would have been a little easier? Nah, since these were the right size, I still would have had to do all the fitting and notching here.). Time to let the chickens out of the coop – I’m surprised we got 2 eggs from the 3 of them today, with all the banging and drilling going on underneath them.
14. Freedom! Or at least better than the coop. They have to check out the new “wall” in their favorite dust bath area. I can hear Gylfie pecking at the wood. I don’t think they like not being able to walk through to the front of the coop. But this should keep a predator from getting into the run – at least using that path. I’m still not sure the run itself is secure, I think I need to buy hardware cloth and put that on in addition to the chicken wire and vinyl coated fencing that are already there, and secure the wire on the door a little better (with washers and screws not just staples). But this is OK for now, when I’m home. I’m still too nervous to leave them in the run when I’m not home.
Tomorrow’s project – cut a new pop door in the coop so they can go in and out of the run by themselves (since I just closed off access to the big cleanout door they’ve been using). It should only take me – let’s see – about 7 hrs? I should probably pick up that other battery before I get started…