Thank goodness we had the forethought to pre-build the four main walls in Los Angeles and pack them into a borrowed truck before the three-hour drive south.
My parents had leveled out a space in the backyard, but we still had to carve away more soil, and pack it down again until it was level.
In the soft grass, we nailed half-inch hardware cloth to the underside of the wooden frame to protect against any below-ground chicken attacks.
Then replaced the frame (nailed side down) back onto the dirt.
Putting the four pre-made walls up and securing them together was quick work and made us feel like we’d accomplished a lot.
But that feeling was fleeting as we began to frame the roof… which we had only really conceptualized.
We’d pre-cut the beams in L.A., but putting them all together was SLOW work as neither of us had ever built anything of this scale before.
Once the rafters were up, hope was restored that we might actually complete the coop in our allotted timeframe (one weekend).
We used a snap-line on one of the final wall panels and made a few more cuts before screwing in the giant piece of plywood.
With the third solid wall in place, we cut away a section from the adjacent wall, and inserted a window my mom had been hanging onto for easy nest-viewing.
Surprisingly, my body didn’t break into a thousand tiny shards! After a hot shower, warm dinner with the family and a good night’s sleep, we were ready for day two of building!
While my hard-working husband nailed the plywood sheets over the roof rafters, I started cutting and nailing down panels of hardware cloth to fully enclose the coop.
We still needed to think out the interior nesting box of the coop, and build out little egg-laying cubbies, but agreed (foolishly and incorrectly) that there would be time for that later.
Cutting the panels of tin, screwing them down, and trying several solutions to cap the metal roof took FAR longer than we’d expected.
The day was nearly done before we knew it. No extra breaks were taken. Lunch was barely eaten…
My dad got into the mix to help wrap the hardware cloth around the tallest walls of the coop when it started to dawn on everyone that we would not complete the mission at hand.
As far as “quality time with my family” went, my mom, dad and sister were around all weekend, but I didn’t get to enjoy their company nearly enough since the Mr. and I were either hammering away at something, or wracking our collective brain to overcome some new construction hurdle. It was really nice to just be near them though.
Sunday afternoon came far too quickly. If we had had one more day, we could have created the inner nesting box, and framed a door. But suddenly it was 7pm, all of our battery-powered tools had lost their charges, screws, nails and hardware cloth were used up with no left-overs, and we knew we were licked.