Five Green Acres Mary Jo + Andrew Borchardt fivegreenacres@gmail.com Poynette, WI
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Chicken Greenhouse Verdict: Late

Chicken Greenhouse Verdict: Late
April 6, 2010 Mary Jo

There is a strange chorus of cheeping coming from our downstairs bathroom, as well as an eerie red glow peeking out from under the door.

Our 80-odd chicks arrived yesterday.  And for lack of a better (finished) home, they currently take up residence in our previously-unused extra bathtub.

Just like last time, our first go at chick-raising two years ago, the call from the Post Office came at 6am, ripping me out of my slumber and filling me with an ice-cold panic.  Crap.  They’re here.  I had been hoping that they’d come in toward the end, in the middle, or even the second day of their expected week of arrival.  Nope.  Monday at 6am, just like last time.  Just like last time, we weren’t exactly ready for them.  Though, all things considered, we were light years ahead of that first debacle.  We’ve had no casualties at all yet, though statistically I think 1-3% is reasonable to expect.

Andrew had already planned on taking the day off to work on the chicken greenhouse.  We’d already played both ‘get out of jail free’ cards and bought two weekends without kids by shipping them off to each set of grandparents for the past two weekends.  And while they were gone, we worked like parents recently set free from their kids, which is to say like a starving person set in front of a banquet.  We worked steady and we worked hard.  We forged a set of wagon tracks between our house and the lumber yard, after realizing that we couldn’t just raid the fall-down barn for scrap wood.  Salvaged wood is great because it’s free, but not so great if it’s completely warped or half rotten or heavier than a son-of-a-gun, which antique barn wood tends to be.  It’s also not so neatly organized by size or cut, as in the lumber yard, adding lots more processing time to the process.  So we compromised, pulling some more usable timbers from the wreckage and buying the rest.

So the first thing you do, as a blogger-turned carpenter, is photograph the Get Down To Business get-up.  Please pay extra attention to those steel toe work boots.  I paid a whole two bucks for them while thrifting up north and thought my mom was going to die when she saw me triumphantly hoist them up onto the counter, enveloping the corner of the store in a cloud of used-boots dust.  Hee hee.   So the boots fit like a glove, er, so to speak, and are just perfect.  Except for when I’m not wearing them and drop a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood on my toe.

And this is where we left off, after abandoning the project yesterday to an impending storm and that pesky, nagging Life, both menacing on the horizon.  Had I not been the panic-stricken, we’re-running-out-of-time Debbie Downer, had I not been so busy with the hammer, nails, and saw, I would have captured more of the process in photos.  But the only time it occurred to me, with much regret, was at the moment on Easter afternoon that we paraded the last wall from the garage down to the site of the chicken house.  I very seriously mean “parade” in the most literal sense possible.  Andrew drove the van, pulling the trailer, upon which was propped the 12′ by 9′ framed-in wall.  I walked behind, mostly for show, and waved at the empty house and chickens as we passed by, elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist.  I don’t know that we would have won any design awards, but it was a parade float for sure.

Already it’s withstood overnight thunderstorms and is still standing – hooray!  Now we’re left to sneak in working time wherever possible, chipping away at it whenever we can.  The sense of urgency is real, is persistently cheeping.  Those chicks aren’t getting any smaller.

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