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.


Sandy said...

John, I really enjoyed this whole post. Seeing what you are doing to the barn and the work involved, Gwen's garden, the view from the yard, all really nice to see.

John Ackerson said...

Hi Sandy,

It's a foggy, but warm morning here as I write this. Everything outside is dripping wet from the fog that has engulfed us overnight.

Gwen and I sat out in the fire pit area last evening (without fire) talking, and enjoying how the shapes of shrubs and trees were illuminated by the soft light filtering up from the village below, and through the fog.

I'll post more updated pics of the ol' chicken coop in the next few days.

Sandy said...

Sounds like a great evening. I'll be looking forward to more pics.

Sharon said...

Hey John,
Gwen had sent me a few pictures of the shed a while back but I'm really glad to get to see it in more detail. I'm kind of awed at your carpentry skills (as well, of course, as your artistic ones!). How incredibly cool to be able to take that little building and mould it into a desirable space.
Keep us posted as things progress!!!

John Ackerson said...

Thanks Sharon! Will do! The shed's come a way's since these pics were taken.

Gwen and I have been making jewelry the last few days, and today we were blanketed in thick fog until 'round 7:00 p.m. when the sun came out.

Later, the clouds over the bay to the southeast reflected pink from the setting sun, and everything appeared so magical!

Sandy said...

I imagine it did look magical!!

I covet your property, ha!

lew said...

will there be chickens?

John Ackerson said...

Hi lew!
That's a good question lew. That was actually the original idea - to have chickens again, but somewhere along the way, that idea got temporarily shelved, since Max our 14 year old boy could also use a camp to share with his friends before they get any older.

Maybe we'll have chickens again sometime later...