A New Life for the 'Ol Chicken Coop

Max and I managed to get the shed to this state by July 1st before I had to temporarily abandon any further work on it, as jewelry manufacturing beckoned for my attention. Being so busy the last three weeks, I guess I didn't realize how Max and his friends were looking forward to using the reclaimed chicken coop when it's finally ready for them to use as their new, soon-to-be camp. Yesterday, Saturday July 19th, the village put on its annual yard sale, and the boys scrounged for anything they could possibly use. Max says they found a few odd gems including a small, poker table, so they can sit around it and tell tall tales to each other as they play. Anyway, here are a few pics of what we've done with an old, salvaged window, and salvaged door. The shingles are eastern white cedar - the same as on the house and work garage. In a couple of years they'll turn an appealing silvery color, and will be good for seventy-five to a hundred years or so.


Fixing the ol' Chicken Coop

This 12' foot x 10' shed was originally built by the previous owner of the land, and later used as a chicken coop complete with suspended concrete floor ( Max and I have since pried up, and removed). Since purchasing the land in '98, the chicken coop has remained as it was when we first came here. It had a half-broken-off door covering what it could of the doorway, but otherwise as you can see it in the pic above, save for the few bright, new boards, was left relatively open to the weather as we had many other projects to get to first. The shed had been at the bottom of the hill before we had it carried up (cabled to an excavator bucket), and sat first in another location for a couple of years, and then when we were doing more work later on, moved to its current setting in a south facing, sheltered area across from the greenhouse and veggie garden. Around the corner is a small, extended forest that we are still making walking trails through. I'm also in there with the thinning saw from time to time, to help the trees in overly dense thickets achieve size, and maintain health. We previously prepared a pit-run gravel foundation for the shed, along with 2' x 2' foot patio squares, and concrete blocks on top. Unfortunately, being open to the weather allowed the shed to develop a case of the 'rots' from the roof truss ends where soggy insulation stuffed up in the eaves retained moisture over the years, to the old, recycled barn beams used for its foundation. Here, you can see where I added new truss ends to repair where they sit on the top plate of the walls. This had to be done on both sides of the shed. This was done after Max and I had already put new shingles on the roof. Nice, old, substantial, recycled barn beams make for a solid foundation! I learned from experimenting many years ago working on other projects, nothing comes in handier than a hydraulic car jack when lifting heavy objects close to the ground. With a car jack I've moved complete decks that have shifted or even sunk from frost heaves, and been able to level them up again. I've also used it when I was beefing up a wood shed. A great tool to have! A few cedar shingles make great shims for leveling things up too! As you can see, extensive rot removal had to be done to plan on using the shed again, even to the point of placing temporary braces in place to hold the roof up while the bottom of the walls were cut off, and replacement of loss of structural strength of the perimeter sill beam, floor joists, bottom wall plates, and then the wall studs themselves, before the braces could be removed. A strip of new plywood finally going back on after the repairs have been completed. Tabitha one of our dogs, ensuring no mice show up on the scene. (There's no mice around here, not much anyway, but she saw one once, and her imagination now works overtime - funny dog). Gabby, a new 9 - 10 month old, female dog happy to come and live with us. She's adorable, and still very much a puppy. A partial view of Gwen's veggie garden. (Pic taken in early June? I think) Another view looking eastwards across the top of the hill.