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We're Finally Getting Chickens! Part 1: Site Selection

We're Finally Getting Chickens! Part 1: Site Selection

[P.S.] Not my photo. The weather turned gray and wet when I was going to shoot pix of where I’m going to build

I sometimes remind folks, both in “real life” and here in the interwebs, that when I left the cushy, high-paying government job, we had to learn to be penny-pinchers. There are two areas of conversation that cause old friends to guffaw when we’re catching up in casual conversation. They still can’t believe we don’t have chickens, yet; (and the one that probably adds the most stress to my author life, “When are you going to do the Blades of Grass audiobooks?”)

I don’t get how so many folks on Instagram or YouTube have so many cool guns, cars, toys, fancy homes, clothes, night vision, etc. I mean—I understand the concept of living within your means 1000%. I guess I just don’t know how so many people have so much more “means” than I do… I digress, but the point is in there: it takes money (or mad bartering skills) to do things. Period. We’ll never use credit again, other than the fact that we still have a mortgage. And so when folks ask or comment about the things we said years ago we were going to do (nobody ever remembers I disclaim everything—“some day”… I said we would get chickens ‘some day’…) and find out we haven’t yet, it’s a bit embarrassing.

The honest truth is that when I cashed out some of my retirement by leaving early, I took some heavy penalties and taxes. But, now that we’re two years into it, all of that has evened out, and we have some moolah coming back to us. Now, my sinister plan to take the job at the big chain farm store is complete! 😈 Fifteen percent employee discount, here I come!

Actually, I have a fence (half-acre, kind of a “yard” in this hilly, wooded property) to finish elsewhere, too. That was started because of where we originally figured we’d build the coop and run. But in the years of learning since then, we figured out a much flatter spot near the shop we should use. It’s a farther, hillier walk from the house than our first pick, but it gets much better sunlight; also has shade; and is near the power and water by the shop. And in the process of scouting all of this, we discovered our neighbors have a different impression of where one corner of the property is. We and they both agree that our secondary driveway does cross into their property just a bit on its curve (the former property owner had big boats to tow and back up and his neighbor was a relative at the time; 90% of it is on our land. This part of the story is a for-context-only “squirrel” moment. In the six plus years we’ve been here pulling our trailers up that driveway, they’ve never once squawked 🐔 about it.)

But what I did have to do is take a good second look at the spot we’d chosen, as it is very close to the line, no matter who is correct. To be safe, we’re going to trim our planned area down just a bit. But there’s still plenty of room for both a good-sized pen and a large run. I have a good supply of 4” posts over what I need to finish the corners of that other fence I’m working on. We’re borrowing a friend’s tractor and doing a bunch of work for a couple of weeks, so buzzing some post holes for this chicken-run with his auger bit will be a breeze. (This peninsula is full of rocks. The original fence project stalled when I broke the transmission on my cheap, knockoff gas-powered auger. That was 5 years ago 😁.)

We should even have enough posts to use for some of the structure for the coop to save on lumber needs. And, I have enough surplus chain-link fence from an old trade years ago to bury under that area for a “digging varmint” barrier. But I’ll be getting plenty of discounted chicken wire and other supplies in the coming weeks. I'll be sure to get some pics of the whole process and add a few installments to this short series!


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