I Almost Had A Chicken Coop

The shed in question.

Last weekend was going to be my weekend. You guys, I had spent the days before building it up in my head, telling myself how awesome it was going to be, all the things. This shed is in our back yard. I have secretly loved this shed the whole time we’ve been living here because of its potential. Imagine the street cred I would have on Pinterest I’d have if I fixed this baby up, made it beautiful, and stuck some chickens in there. I wouldn’t go as far as wallpaper and a chandelier because that is silly. (They are just chicken people.) But come on! Imagine with me! This spacious coop, 8 carefully selected hens clucking around like they do, this thing would be the Taj Mahal of chicken coops. I’d probably only have to clean it out once or twice a year.

And the work! Oh man, you guys don’t know how much I was looking forward to the work. The high this weekend was going to be 40*F. I was going to be out there, in that distant winter sunshine, pulling wisteria and poison ivy vines off the shed, rescuing it from the edge of the woods, where if left unchecked, another 3 years would have seen it turned into one of those unrecognizable lumps you often see out of the corner of your eye when driving down a rural highway – just some abandoned building, taken over by the gum trees and trumpet vine. And I was going to save it from that. The cold wind wouldn’t matter because all my hard work would have me working up a sweat under my coat and hat. I could step back from my work at the end of the afternoon and see the progress I made. I could feel that sense of accomplishment of doing something where the work is miserable, but they payoff is a warm meal and a better maintained property. (This is very important to me and something I am constantly working towards; maintaining even the wild areas of my property, reducing invasive plant species, grooming and encouraging the native things, even my in woods I want to keep the underbrush subdued so that if the mood strikes me I can walk around them in the summer and enjoy myself.)

Saturday morning, as I was layering up to go out and get started on my work, I did not notice my husband making slow, purposeful loops in and out of the shed, his thorough mind going over every nook, cranny, and repair. By the time I made it out with enough cockiness to not be bothered by the cold temperature, he had made a decision. The work needed to make the shed livable for the chickens would be just as much as building a brand new coop. It wasn’t worth it. He told me as much the moment I stepped out the back door. It didn’t matter to him how cool this project could have been, the photographic potential it would have offered as we worked on it and saved it. The man doesn’t even know what Pinterest is! And I have tried explaining it to him! He didn’t understand the rare opportunity I had, as a mother with very young children, to work on one project, straight through, for hours, nearly uninterrupted, until it was totally finished. If you are a mother, you know what I am talking about here.

What David does know, however, is the value of effort. Sure, I could have done all the work and it would have been beautiful when finished. But if the monetary cost at the end is the same as a brand new building that offers the same level of protection, we may as well start with a clean slate. The amount of labor I would have to put into just rescuing the shed so he could get in there to work on it would easily exceed the work of having it torn down and building something new. And finally the maintenance of keeping a nearly crumbed shed from being taken over by the three different, very aggressive vines that grow in our woods would outweigh the savings of building something new on a freshly cleared patch where the old shed used to be. So we are going to tear it down. If possible we’ll save what little, usable bits there are like the cinderblock and tin roof, then hire my dad to build us a new coop.

So instead of sweating and fighting poison ivy vines I spent the weekend crocheting Easter dresses for the girls and cleaning up all the broken branches from the ice storm the previous week. The highlight was spending a bit of time with my husband dreaming up some plans for this summer and talking about all the new trees, the fencing, and fun things we’ll be doing dress the place up. Of course I’ll bring you all along as it comes.

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