Good Morning everyone!
For all the nasty work I did the one thing I loved was when I got to tear things apart. There is something about getting in the ole front loader & being able to run it into a building & see it come crashing down.
At one time there had been another trailer with a lean-to porch attached. When the trailer was removed it stayed. Unfortunately when my trailer got put there, they could not line it up to the porch so it sat about 6 feet from the trailer & became a garage dump.
old lean-to porch
In October of last year (2012) I put plastic up over part of the exposed area closest to my trailer, so I could store stuff in there over the winter since I did not have time to tear it down. Because it was in such sad shape, I put plastic up on the ceiling, walls & floor & hoped for the best. As you can see the roof was caving in, so that area I left alone & crossed my fingers the whole mess wouldn't collapse under all the snow.
Since I had brought nearly 20 five gallon buckets of winter feed for the kids I needed to have a place to store it near me so that plus all the garden/yard stuff went in there.
I am happy to say it held over the winter, but did leak quite a lot once the snows melted & the rains came but everything made it.
Macy had to have her one last sit on the porch window before it came down.
Once the snows melted & it no longer looked like gator swamps in the yard, I was able to use the front loader & knock it down. I was sort of disappointed on how easy it came down. I used the front bucket as a giant hammer & all it took was 2 hits to have the whole thing crash into pieces...5 minutes to bring it down & 3 hours to load all the broken wood & haul it over to the wood dump site I had set up near the hay barn on the main farm side
Now came the part where I had to clean out all the junk that had been under the rotted floor boards....so much junk & trash plus lots of beer cans & bottles.
Mother Nature decided that we should have non-stop rain from May through all of June, so this put me behind on getting what I wanted done to the area. But finally the rains stopped & I was able to get to work.
Since the area was now a good 30 feet by 9 feet, I wanted to be able to use it somehow but was afraid because of all the stuff like chemicals I had found. So I had to come up with an idea of how to use the ground & area safely. Since the old barn enclosed stall I had used as a coop proved not to be secure from the raccoons, I decided to build a 6 foot by 8 foot shed that had a window so the kids (chickens) could use it as their new coop. Plus they would only be 6 feet away from me so I could hear them & get to them quickly if needed.
I was able to level the ground & use cement blocks to frame out the area I wanted the shed/coop to be. I was lucky to have a lot of the old 2 inch think boards so I made sure the floor was thick enough to keep any animal from getting in, then used some old rubber roofing on top of that. Its much easier to clean the coop floors if they have tarps or rubber roofing on them. Plus it was one less thing that had to go to the dump. I used 2/3 inch sheet plywood for the roof then used a roll of metal trailer skirting over that for extra protection since the winds seem to blow through here often & are very strong. The coop door was an old door that I cut down & added extra bracing to just give it added strength. Finally after all this was done & a fenced in run set into the ground, I had to add a personal touch. So after a hard day I grabbed my saw & cut out a chicken to grace the front of the coop out of old barn wood that had been painted red & used electrical fence webbing for the wing.
Now the kids had a safe home to sleep in, a nice run & were close to their Momma.
The fenced in run was in the areas not under the old lean-to so I didn't have to worry about the kids getting into any grass that might be tainted. I still had over 20 feet of ground that needed something done to I,t but I couldn't just dig a garden into it not knowing what might be in the soil.....solution?
build a raised bed but cover the damaged soil with heavy black plastic first. The raised bed was about 20 inches high & 19feet by 9 feet, I cut 2inch by 4 inch boards into stakes to drive into the ground to help hold the boards.
It took 4 loads of composted manure, hay & straw to fill the bed with the front loader. After getting it raked in & leveled & trying to get the kids out who were eating all the red worms I felt it needed its own watering system using the rain water I had collected in barrels.
I had come across a bunch of old soaker hoses that had been cut so felt I could come up with something that could use them. I also had lots of used PVC pipes that had been used at one time or another, but were just setting up near the trailer. This gave me the idea of doing a soaker hose setup connected to the PVC pipe that I could pour water into & have it travel to all the holes & then to the plants. I marked on the PVC pipe where I wanted the soaker hoses to go, then drilled out the holes. I cut the hoses about 6 feet long & put one end into the PVC pipe & used fish tank sealant to secure them. The other end of the hose I folded over & used zip ties to keep them folded so the water wouldn't just shot out at the end.
I felt if I laid it on the ground it would waste too much space & be uncomfortable for me to fill so I cut out 2 pieces of lumber to make a stand at each end of the garden for it to set on so it was above the ground. this way I could fill it either with the hose from the trailer or the rain barrels & watch for leaks at the PVC/soaker hose connection.
I still had a bit of space between the garden & the shed/coop I had built that I wanted covered, so I used a scrap piece of rubber roofing & broke up all the old roofing slate I had found in the barn next to me as a path between the two. I saved the good slate but the stuff already broken would have never been used so I liked the idea of reusing it as a path.
As you can see from the picture the raised garden did quite well, I had 5 different herbs, carrots, radishes, spinach & purselane in there. I had to eventually put in 3 foot tall chicken wire because Moonlite, my rooster liked to go in there & just dig up the parsley & step on the baby carrots.
After the Fencing went up in the raised bed, I let my cripple hen Piper go in there & have snacks of the spinach, plus she just loved being in there hiding under the big herbs.
The one nice thing about doing all of this was the experimenting with the watering of the garden in a new way. I will be doing this set up here at home with some of my gardens since I have 2 large rain barrels here that I can use. I do not have any soaker hoses but a few damaged hoses that I can use a icepick to create more holes in & use them. the one thing I will really miss is all the composed manure ,hay & straw that I had at the farm but will not have here. the raised bed I did had no soil in it & all the plants went crazy in it so would love to be able to do something like that again.
I do have some composing straw, hay & chicken manure here that is ready so it will definitely go into the bed I do the herbs, spinach & carrots in this next spring.
Its also the first time I ever build a building from the ground up on my own without help. I am sure some house builder would be displeased that its not truly square but I was quite pleased I was able to do what I did by myself & it be fairly level.
My main goal was to remove a dangerous building, use the area in a safe manner & have a secure home for the kids even if Mother Nature tried to slow me down.
Until next time, have a wonderful chicken day!