Posts Tagged 'dyi'

Aggroculture

I’m getting more and more into (the theory and dream) of homesteading and off the grid living.  And the more I read and follow blogs, it almost seems as though this is the beginning of an underground movements of this decades “F the man.”  The pepole I’m running in to are tattooed, pierced, rockabilly, punk rock….chicken farmers.  It’s like the way to fight societies rules, now-a-day, is to raise your own food, produce your own power, and work your own land.  Maybe it’s a coincidence.  Maybe the people I grew up with, and got tattooed with, are now old enough, and in a financial position, to do so.  But personally, i think I’m on to something here.  There seems to be a throw back to late 1800’s early 1900’s independence.

And on that note, I helped my friend Joel build a chicken coop.  Oh..not just some rinky dink little back yard cage.  I’m talking a full on, walk in, chicken chook condo.

Joel picked up a half dozen chicks back in February.  They’ve been living in a dog kennel in his work room in the back yard.  Joel started coming up with plans and designs.  Finally the day came.  He made a run to Home Depot, and called me to come over.

The plan.

When I arrived, Joel was busy staining the wood, and sealing it.

We started by framing out the sides.  3/4 of it will be covered with chicken wire, and 1/4 will be the plywood sleeping area.

After the sides were assembled, we stapled the chicken wire over the open areas.

Joel framed out the door and the 4th wall after I left.  I returned the next day and we put up the 4 walls.  Once the walls were up, we screwed on the plywood for the sleeping area.

One of the side walls is 6 inches higher than the other, to allow for drainage.  One of the first ideas we tossed around was a green roof.  Maybe an herb garden.  Or some kind of vine that the chooks could actually eat.  But due to the size, he decided to stick with something more traditional.

The roof has beam going in each direction for support.

Then, the inside of the residence was finished.  A couple of roosts on one side.

And the egg box on the other.

The area under the coop got a nice layer of bedding.

The outside of the coop looks even better than the inside.

The egg box. Accessible from the outside.

The people door.

And finally…the finished product:

I think it looks amazing.  I can’t have chickens where I’m at right now, so I’m living, partially at least, through Joel.  I think any chook would be lucky to live in this 12′ x 6′ x 7′ luxury condo.

And beyond the independence of raising his own chickens, and getting is own eggs, I got to share int he experience of building your own building.  And that carries it’s own satisfaction with it.

Having a blast!

For more on homesteading and off the grid living check out some of my favorite blogs:

Neo Homesteading.
The Alaskan Life
Living Off Grid

I’ll touch more on the topic in the future.

Herbs down, veggies to go.

Container Garden, part 2 of 2.

Little toes and little plants.

After an unusual high amount of rain, and some changes in my work schedule, I finally found time to finish my 2nd container garden.  The herbs are doing well in the trough.  Now, to move on to growing veggies.

I spent some time walking the halls of Lowes, and they had this nifty little plastic, snap in to place, pre formulated raised garden.  For $40.  For a 46″ square, by 8 inch container.  Really?  I am by no means a carpenter, but I figure I can make something bigger, and better for cheaper.  The back of the prefab showed how you could make clever designs if you bought additional sets.  If I wanted something 9 inches tall and 8 feet long, I needed to spend $160 on their crappy sets.  That wasn’t happening.

I wandered down to the lumber section and found some “premium white wood boards.”  I picked up 4 8’x9″x1″ planks, and a 2″x2″x8′.  I also grabbed a gallon of water seal, and some brushes.  The nice thing about Lowes and The Depot is that they’ll cut any board you buy twice for free.  Seeing as how I wanted a 4×8, I had them cut 2 of the boards right down the middle.  That save me a lot of measuring and cutting time later.

I started by water sealing all the wood.  Then, on to building.

My design was pretty simple.  Cut the 2×2 into foot long sections, use them as the corners, and screw the boards on to them.

Outside corner.

inside corner.

I made the posts a little taller than the boards for a few reasons.  1st, I can staple a net over the top of the whole garden if birds become an issue.  I can lash trellis material to them if I need to.  It made it look a little more decorative.  I can add a “2nd story” to it if I want to add some height for visual effect, or for deep rooted plants.  And, most importantly, you can’t tell if one is a 1/4 inch longer than the other, cause they aren’t next to each other.

I put another board in the middle of the container to add some structural support, and to allow me to tend to one half of the garden at a time or to segregate aggressive growers (like mint).

New garden. You can see the trough herb garden in the back.

I shoveled the rock back from the yard, and loosened the soil up a bit.  I dropped the new container in to place and tried to get it as level as possible.

I dropped a trellis in, for cucumbers and beans, and filled half the container with garden soil and composted mulch.  Near equal parts.  I didn’t want to go back to buy more soil, which is why I split the garden in half to begin with.  I’ll get to the other half in the coming weeks.

I bought this little prefab trellis.  but I’m starting to think about lashing bailing wire between the two brown posts that support the covered patio.  That way, i wouldn’t be limited by height.  I’ll get back to that.

Trellis

I got some fill dirt, and mixed it in with the soil.  Again, about equal parts dirt, soil, and mulch.  That was my magic recipe in the last garden, and I can’t argue wit the results.  X-man helped me mix it all together.

Kids are good at anything that involves dirt.

Then we started planting.  X-man but in some corn and carrot seeds.

Hopefully we'll reep what we sow.

X-Man catches me planting.

Zucchini, Crook Neck Squash, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Poblanos, Cucumbers, and String Beans.

Future dinner.

And now, we wait.

I’ll get to the other half here pretty soon.  I’d like to do some leafy greens, but I think I missed my season.  I might go for strawberries, or maybe some easy flowers for the kids to enjoy.

This was not a complex design, nor was it a complex project.  I wasn’t looking for an architectural award.  I was looking for an economic way to grow veggies to feed my family.  Total bill from Lowe’s was under $50, with the seal and brushes.  All I needed at home was a circular saw, a drill, and a handful of screws that I already had.  I think this container will last a long time.  I’ll update any modifications I make to it.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 364 other followers