This is what the backside of the coop has looked like since late winter.
I’d thrown some netting up there when I decided to start free-ranging the chickens, and I wanted them to get used to being outside and coming and going through their chicken door before I let them totally loose. It worked, but since then this deer-netting and t-post pen has been used only to help capture the chickens to put them in the coop. Because the deer netting is plastic, I couldn’t weed-whack around it without destroying the netting, so the grass had grown up and through and sealed the net to the ground. Throw in a few tractor implements that I couldn’t move because the tractor was at my dad’s farm, and I had a real redneck mess and an eyesore that bothered me every time I looked at it.
But on Friday the tractor came back, so I could finally move the forks and buckets and get to work cleaning up this mess. I removed the t-posts and then started pulling up the netting. It was so grown in that I had to use my scissors to cut the grass away from the bottom edge of the net. Not really a fun job. But I got it all up and then mowed the area.
I couldn’t get my weed wacker started, so I had to cut the grass along the coop with scissors too. All this grass made for a nice tractor-bucket full of greens to juice the compost pile.
Then I had a clean slate to start setting up the dog kennel that’s leaning against the garage in the pictures above. I played around with a few configurations. Unfortunately I had two 10′ panels, and two panels that were only about 3.5′ wide. So a nice square pen wasn’t an option. Although the configuration I came up with bothers my sense of aesthetic order, the panels were free so I worked with what I had.
This was another one of the infinite jobs around here that would have taken two people about 20 minutes to do. But working alone I was at it for more than an hour, having to use shims and all sorts of other tricks to maneuver the panels upright and level so I could screw them together. And I totally torqued the tip of my thumb, trapping it between two panels while lifting them in to place.
But, injuries and annoyance aside, I got the pen up. I am living with it to see how I like it for a while, and if I decide it will stay I plan to dig some wire around the bottom so that I can have the chickens confined in there without worrying that they will be attacked. It’s not the most exciting or beautiful upgrade, but it’s an improvement that cost nothing but a few hour’s work and all sense of feeling in my left thumb.