The New Chicken Yard

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Today is the 3rd anniversary of the blog!  It’s amazing to think of how far we’ve come since this journey began, but I’m glad you’re here to share it.  To celebrate I’m sharing a big project that the hubs recently did, the new chicken yard!  Although their coop was pretty big we spoil our critters and wanted them to have lots of room to spread their wings and do their little chicky thing.  Plus happy chicks = constant egg production so we’re all about keeping these ladies happy.

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To get things started the hubs rented this mini excavator to dig a trench around the perimeter of the space.  Although I’m practicing no-spend April he isn’t and since it was his idea and project it doesn’t impact my no-spend goal.  He did have costs for the equipment rental, posts and concrete but the main panels were freebies from Craigslist last fall and we had a gate building kit left over from installing the yard fence so he did save where he could.

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The dogs were pretty interested in this new contraption and wanted to hop on for a ride.  When they realized that wasn’t going to happen they decided to hop into the side by side which was parked nearby with supplies in the back.  Apparently Stoli thought he was going to drive Tequila and his expression when I told him he couldn’t reach the pedals was priceless!

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Here’s how things looked once the trenches were dug.  Like with any project it always looks worse before it looks better.  The chickens were pretty interested in what was going on and watched from inside the coop run, hoping we’d let them out to investigate.

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Next came installing the posts and panels.  The hubs cut a groove in the sides of each post so the panels would nest in the groove for added stability.  I felt bad that I wasn’t able to help much with the install due to photography sessions but I will say he did an amazing job for putting this together almost 100% on his own.

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Above is what things looked like when I left for sessions and below is what I saw when I got home that evening!  All of the posts and panels were installed and concreted in which makes the entire thing SUPER sturdy and predator proof.

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A few days later I helped install this thin bird netting over the top so that eagles and owls can’t attack from above.

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And here’s the finished project with the gate installed.  I’ve started lining both sides of the yard with cinderblocks, which I’ll plant with simple flowers to make things pretty and attract flying insects the chicks might enjoy catching.  It will also help keep the digs a foot back from the fence when they come to visit, which I’m sure the chicks appreciate.

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Now that they have more space I moved their outdoor roost and dirt bath tub from the run out into the yard. The hubs also plans to build a new storage area for the chicken supplies to replace the plastic one we currently have and I’m planning a few aesthetic improvements such as a coop sign, pavers next to the coop door and planting a rose bush to help keep the area smelling pretty too.

I don’t think the chicks will notice most of those things but I’ll appreciate them. They are just happy to have more freedom and room to run around but they are still creatures of habit and all gather back in the hen house each evening to roost, which makes this momma happy. 🙂

Pampered Pooches

I have long been planning to get rid of the large doughnut dog beds we have and replace them with something more “visually appealing” and washable (a huge obstacle for my allergies).  I considered a bean bag style bed since both of our dogs love to snuggle into the corners of the doughnut, but the ones I found online were pretty pricey and I couldn’t find a bean bag the right size in a decent price range locally.  And as I’ve mentioned before I don’t sew, so making my own was out of the question.

Then I stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest and was sold.  I showed it to the hubs, who also liked it and whipped up a ‘trial’ run version to see if our dogs would even use it before we went whole hog and replaced all their beds.  That was about 4 months ago.  We’ve been so busy with work and all the other new house projects that we haven’t finished the idea.  But that hasn’t stopped us from putting it to use in the meantime.  At first I just put the doughnut bed inside the frame, which was built about the same size to make the transition easier.

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Soon after we moved into the new house I spotted some dog bed pads with removable, washable covers on sale at Fred Meyers so I snagged three.  Body pillows were also on a BOGO FREE sale, so I got two of those to act as the back part of the bed.  Although the body pillow fit snugly enough across the back to stay upright the pad was about 2 inches shorter than the width of the frame.  The hubs claimed that was an easy fix, as he’d just take the frame apart and cut it down to size.  That was about two months ago and it hasn’t happened yet.  Like I said, we’ve been a tad bit busy.

I added some extra outdoor pillows I had stashed away.  I’ve found the mildew and stain resistance of outdoor fabrics work best for us since there is always drool, hair or dirt waiting to find our furniture.  And when it does I can just pop it in the washer.  Although the dogs loved the extra pillows and would often ‘arrange’ them to rest their head on, the pattern on them didn’t really work for me – which is why I’d stashed them away to begin with.  Luckily, I snagged some cute chevron fabric on a super sale at Joanns and knew it would look perfect on the dog bed.  Only 1 problem.  I don’t sew.

But then a light bulb went off  over my head and I decided to offer a trade in an online crafting group I had just joined.  You sew me some pillow covers and I’ll make you something from my Etsy shop.  I didn’t have any bites for a couple of days, but then out of the blue someone messaged me and said they could do it.  I made arrangements to meet her and bring the materials to show her what I wanted.  In exchange she wanted a family name platter, so I got all the details I needed to fulfill my end of the bargain.  About a week later we made arrangements to meet again and trade.  Here’s the result!

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I didn’t take a before pic, but I can promise you they look SOOOO much better than they did before!  We still have to resize the frame, get it painted and finish up the extra foam we plan to put under the dog bed pad, but for now the kiddos seem to appreciate having their pillows back.

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Oh yeah, they’re pampered alright.  Especially when you realize that most of the time they still sleep on the couch with their heads rested on the throw pillows there! But that’s how things roll in this doggie-friendly house!