Thursday, April 30, 2009

Coop Pics.. the big build, 2009!

So here are some pics of the big build so far... not complete, but we're getting close now.

This is a nest box I built from leftover scraps..

Ah! The basic frame. Started off with 5-6 chickens in mind, so I wanted like 4-5 square feet of lawn for them to have access to. So, with a max of 6 chickes, they've got a hair over 5 sq each. Perfect for an 8x4 footprint for a coop. It's like throwing down a piece of plywood on your lawn.. that's the size of 'er.

Here's the basic frame, with a floor and the pitch of the roofline I was working out at the time. It's a 6" slope from the front to the back.

Here's the thing with three walls up, as seen from the back side. The whole box is like, 4 foot by 3.5 foot square on the floor, and 3 to 3.5 inches tall, depending on the slope of the roof. I think.

And here's all four walls! You can just see the hinges for the side access door on the right hand side of the box here..

This is the big side access/clean out door that's on one side of the box. Only purpose is to allow me total access into the box for cleaning and whatnot that makes it necessary for me to get my whole self inside there. A small access door right behind where the nest box will be situated (yet to be determined..) will be cut in later on..

..this is a shot of the fancy sliding coop door thingy I build, with hopes of one day also installing an automatic door opener for this box. I've seen plans for a powered window blind motor contraption hooked up to a day timer that would work..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

And now this!

And back, by popular demand, this blog!

Couple things to touch on this time.. mostly, the reason for the lack of posting (Ahem!) is the continued struggle with the chicken coop build. Not so much a struggle, really.. it's going along rather well, just a bit slower than I had expected.. I'm really trying to think 13 steps ahead of these chickens, see? You know, what they're gonna need, and how building this thing in certain way, and how adding some features here and there now will make my life easier down the road.

Here's a pic of the thing so far:

So, you can see it's like a big plywood box on skids, sorta. The idea is to be able to drag it around from spot to spot on your lawn so the chickens don't tear up one spot only till it's bare.. you let 'em goof around in one spot for a few days, then when it's mostly still intact, you drag the sled/chicken tractor to another spot so they have some new bugs to chew on. While they're in the coop, of course.. if I let them out to free range forage, then they go where they want. And get eaten by whatever can catch them, unfortunately. Don't worry.. I have a sniper nest set up in the upstairs bathroom already, for just such predators. ;-)

I'll post the rest of the build in different blog posts, cause the pics are gonna be too crazy to get all in the right order right here in this one. The editor for this Blogger site isn't the best really..

The other things I wanted to mention is about double edge "safety razors", like this one here:

I have two weeks worth of shaving review for this thing now, since that's how long I've been using it. I'll mention that I started out with a regular two blade standard razor like everyone else.. then moved to an electric when I went into the Academy.. for ease of use, time savings, etc., and then got all adventurous and grabbed a straight razor and worked with that for a long time. I liked the straight razor, and still do, but it requires a lot of equipment (some expensive..) to keep cutting well.. i.e. a good leather and cloth strop, and a couple of very fine grit (read: expensive) water stones and a boatload of skill to learn, to keep them sharp. The shave is nice enough with a straight razor, but it takes practice and, unfortunately, time. More time than I want to spend when I'm in a hurry to get to work, really. You could hurt yourself if you're not careful.. It really makes you feel like a hero, though, when you can say you know how to shave with a straight razor! The thing is killer with the cool-factor. I ended up switching back to my two edge Atra after a while, and keeping some of my roots with the old school by still using a badger hair shaving brush, cake soap, and a legit shaving mug with the funny knob handle thingy to keep stuff in check.

Getting back to the double edge thing, I read about these somewhere along the line and, while buying replacement blades for my Atra in CVS, noticed how much cheaper the double edge blades were, and that got me thinking about economy and shaving and coolness again.. so, I started the hunt for a double edge handle, and thins is what I ended up with. Found in a junk shop in Morris, this is an American made (yes!) Gillette standard gold plated model. Now, having used it for a time now, I can honestly say that this device is the cats' ass. I have never been so impressed, except for maybe the vacuum pot or the Aeropress for coffee making, in a product, ever. Period. It's seriously the best shave I've ever had. You know how you use a multi-blade thing like, and the little beard hairs all just seem to get jammed up in the works and the shave suffer as a result? A straight edge doesn't ever have that problem, cause there's nowhere for the hairs to jam up. Apparently, there's also nowhere for them to jam up on a double edge, either.. you can shave your whole face, then someone else's face, and maybe someone else's after that, and you'd never have a problem with it. Except for some sort of interpersonal cross-contamination or something.. anyway, I've been using just one side of the blade so far, and there's just no degradation in the shave. No pulling, no irritation, no nothing. In fact, I thought I had the blade screwed in there wrong or the wrong blades or something, because I ran it over my face and I felt *nothing* at all.. figured I just missed the blade or whatever.. but it had shaved, and I just didn't feel a thing. And I'm using some shitty CVS brand blades right now! They're a couple bucks cheaper than the Gillette two blade units I normal get for a ten pack for my old multi-blade razor.. and there's a lot less packaging involved. I think they were $5 and change for ten, with no shopping around. I am totally a convert right now. My straight will get little use and my old Atra will get NONE. This thing is awesome. Oh, and it cost me $5 at that junk shop. :) Not bad for a thing manufactured in the USA back in 1934.