Huge, because that is the size of my muscles from all the hard work I did over the last two days.
This weekend was a re-org of the chicken run, so that we could fence off the path and get into the shed occasionally. I want to reclaim the vegetable bed so that I can plant in it and lay an irrigation system to the bed as well. I still have enough bits left over from the main veggie patch project (which is working exceptionally well I may say). The garden on that side has never grown so fast! Sure the rain helped, but the drip irrigation every few days from the tank and twice weekly from the mains as per our water restrictions have done wonders for the growth rate. I think it will survive any scorcher we get this year.
Anyway, back to the chicken run. I started by removing these three posts.
Today, after a one hour session to the gym to build up the core muscles for the day ahead, I got stuck back into it at around 1030. Now that we had all the posts where they were required, I started with the wire. I chose to use 13 mm chicken wire up to a height of 1.8 metres. It seemed about right, and I know now from experience that they cannot fly that high. Kim was still tired so she went back to bed for another hour, so I slogged it out in the blazing sun by myself. Fencing is quite painful when there is only one of you, so I took it slow and steady. After two hours of banging my thumb and pricking myself with the wire, this is what I achieved. Wire all the way up, double span, and dug down about 5 cm with about 5 cm pointing toward the path so that the dogs, or heaven forbid, a fox tries to get in. I pegged all bottom sections down with long tent pegs and will bury it all when I get the chance.
Here is a better shot of this part;
Do you like my sewing job? I joined the two spans together with the wire that came wrapped around the bundle of chick wire. It was just enough, but took me about 45 minutes to finish and my fingers were covered in zinc from the wire by the time I had finished. The sweat was pouring off of my brow from under my wide-brimmed hat by this time as the sun was at its zenith. I finished this part at about 1330, and took a lunch break. It took me a while to scrub the zinc off of my fingers, but I didn’t want to ingest it with my sandwich.
When I dug the trench for the bottom of the wire, there was another worm feast for the hens, and one of them, Esther, was so close to the spade, that I nearly chopped her head off three times. We nearly had roast chicken for dinner. Here is a pic of some of the cheeky chickens. Esther is the white one standing bottom right on the old lumps of concrete.
After lunch, I was getting real hot. I had to figure out a quick way of letting the hens through to their favourite dust bath area behind the shed. They have made it their weekend playground and quickly round-up any insects and weeds, which works out as a win-win for all of us. Here is what I came up with as an interim solution until Kim suggested a gate that swings outward and blocks off the path. Now why didn’t I think of that. Maybe she will be a master jedi sooner than I think!
It is a bit like a trap door that has battens down the side of each post as a guide. You can also see their behind the shed playground in this shot as well. Here it is with the door in it.
It seems to keep them in and they are getting used to all the new wire. With the last bit of chicken wire in place above the trap door and the left side of it, I called it a day at about 1500, as I didn’t want to over heat. One dose of heat stroke is enough for this summer, thank-you very much.
Time for a beer and a movie to relax for the rest of the day. Mind you, after the movie, I still spent another hour at 1800 watering all the pot plants and fertilising the fruit orchard out the front yard. I must have ants in my pants, and find it hard to sit still until after sunset. Why waste all that wonderful sunlight when you only get long days for half the year? Pippa and Poppy sure don’t!