Is that a monkey on your back? Oh, wait, it’s a chicken.

Going into week 3 of HutchConstruct was fraught with flock drama and terror from above. Late in week two there was an ‘incident’ that involved some sort of predator-type visiting wildlife (AtH suspects a bobcat, seeing as he watched one trip-trot up the driveway at dusk headed in the direction of District 9 later that week) and a panic attack aboard the mothership. Needless to say, the ladies absolutely refused to spend another night in the ‘shed of death’ and made a huge statement by attempting to roost anywhere but tent city; the flowering cherry tree in front of the house, Art’s Jeep, the bed of the truck, the front porch (ohhh, the cats LOVED that one), miscellaneous shrubbery in front of the house. You name it, they were tryin’ it on for size, but they were most definitely not slumming it another night. And so began their temporary housing in the barn, much to the barn catz dismay (and Art’s protest and eventual disgusted resignation).

Pooping on 'goddam everything' as Art puts it.

My sister's cat, Chaco. Staying here while she traipses around the east coast.

Chaco will be VERY VERY HAPPY when the ladies move out of the barn. They bully him incessantly. They bully all of the cats, but Chaco more than the rest it seems. He really would like his stairs to the loft back (the hens have been roosting on them in the evenings)

At least they don't poop where they lay their eggs, hay is expensive!

Egg laying has been centered in the Hay Stall for the past 3 weeks. Oh, and under the debris pile (from the old hutch), and in some open cabinets, and in Jack’s wall mounted grain bucket, and probably many other places I haven’t found yet.

Despite horrible weather Memorial Day weekend and into the first week of June, the roof had to get finished. Rain and generally cold and nasty weather persisted almost every day up to Memorial Day, and the minute Art and Fraley got a break, the final runs of shingles were put up, and it was rain proof.

A man and his roof....his very finished roof (okay, except for trimming the shingles and putting on the gable-ends) If it rains, we're GOOD, and it will rain, oh yes, it will rain.

See, I told you it would rain, again and again and again. Good thing we have a fully shingled roof now! I can work on my stuff inside and stay dry.

My dry, if not cozy, indoor hutch workshop. My project is perches, window ledges and nesting boxes while Art gets the door built so we can get the ladies out of the barn and into their new digs.

The bookshelves were slated for destruction seeing as they’ve been sitting out in the barn for about 4 years. First Art wanted to give them to his brother Greg, but it was too tall. Then it just smelled too much like horse barn to sell or give away. BUT…and here’s the thing…the chickens don’t care! I got to use all my power tools together for this, cutting cross shelves, re-enforcing the whole thing, nailing and screwing, scroll sawing, everything! Cool.

I give you my most genius contribution to date on this project (besides the whole project, I designed it, they built it)….re-purposed bookshelves. I burned so many brain cells trying to decide on how to build out the nesting boxes. Pacing through the barn (thinking extra hard) I passed by a 6foot tall oak-veneered bookshelf that’s been sitting in the barn for about 4 years. And a lightbulb went on over my little head, and not one of those ‘save the earth green-works!’ compact fluorescents. Oak is a little fancy, but what else are we going to do with that damn thing? Too stinky to give away, and I felt bad about having to destroy it. So? Fancy nesting boxes (in excess, I know, I know)

Art argued with me about the sizing of the nesting boxes. I insisted smaller is better, he wanted Master Suites. I won, and the ladies love them.

These are 12-14 inches wide, 11 inches tall and 10 inches deep, and yet they insist on 2 hens per box (their first night in the hutch, I think they’re a little confused)

Half the ladies figured out the perches in the dark, the other half crammed themselves into the nesting boxes for the night.

And…drum-roll please……

Ladies and Gentlemen; I give you…..The Door. It slides on rails. It’s heavy duty, it opens AND closes. And Art the Husband is just tickled that it all came together so well. He is an amazing man, my husband. He can build doors and roofs and irrigation and electricity, and computers and software and all sorts of stuff we mere mortals take for granted. Like the TV wiring, and the DVR hookup, and the XBox. And bonus: he mows and/or vacuums stuff obsessively! I am indeed, a lucky lucky girl. Did I mention he also cleans horse stalls??? A very lucky girl.

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