Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Homestead: The New Coop

The New CoopThe sound of the furnace startles me a little every time it fires up.  It sounds like a car pulling in the driveway or something like that, and I am still not quite used to the sound and commotion.  Not that it’s not welcome.  We’ve got about six inches of snow on the ground, not terrible, but it did seem kind of sudden.

Last week it was warm and nice out, and even though we know it’s inevitable, the snow just sort of seemed to come out of nowhere.  After moving an old set of tires into the garage and digging out and picking up a few other things that were out in the yard, I feel like our outside stuff is all set.  Except for the huge new chicken coop that is sitting in the middle of the driveway.  Audrey’s not all that happy about the current location of our new coop, and with the temperatures dropping, it would be nice to move the girls into the new coop.

While moving twice and having to rent a house have not lent themselves to accomplishing much in the way of homesteading activity, we have managed to move more in that direction.  We started by expanding our flock of chickens by adding three new hens and I built them a new coop.  The old coop served surprisingly well for the amount I spent on it (which was the cost of a box of screws).  Midget and Whitey unfortunately got frostbite on their combs but they’re none the worse for wear.

But now, we’ve got a small house for them to live in this winter, but it’s in the wrong place and we want to move it before we move the girls in.  That may not happen to be honest.  This coop is big and will be very, very hard to move.  Not the smartest thing to do when renting a house, but the girls will be warmer and more secure than they ever have been.

We want to add to the flock in the spring, so I built the coop big enough for twelve chickens to live comfortably.  There’s six nesting boxes, twenty-four square feet of floor space, a five foot high ceiling, a four foot perch and two foot swing made from an old ax handle.  Fully insulated and painted and trimmed, this coop is actually nicer than my cabin, and will hold the heat better.  And instead of heating big rocks on the woodstove to run out to the coop, I can now just plug in a heat lamp.  It’s not a bad trade, given the circumstances.

But until spring, we’re sort of spinning our wheels.  Other than taking care of the chickens, I have plans to make some lip balm and another batch of soap, and start ordering seeds for the garden we’ll plant next year.  I would be making lip balm today, but a couple of the ingredients that I ordered are stuck in Buffalo.  I have a feeling I won’t see them any time soon.

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Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.





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