Another storm is upon us today, and I stare at the rain coming down in sheets and wondering how the digging is going to go. Oh, the rainy season said goodbye, and now it is having its revenge.
Inasmuch as I have a back yard, there is a strip of space between the rear of my house and a rock wall that drops down into a creek. This strip of land is too narrow to grow much on, the soil too poor for most vegetables anyway, and the proximity to the rock wall--which should probably be replaced, really, as old as it is--makes it too precarious for much digging. This excludes most crops that do fine without much sunlight, and there isn't full sunlight back there at most times of the day. Aliums will do fine, and we've already poured some concrete ledges to support planters for them. The rest of the space begged for some sort of productive use, so last year we decided to set up a chicken coop, and get some chickens this coming spring.
We finally got everything together to make a detailed plan--the dimensions are contingent on maximising the amount of space for the birds to run around, while still giving us room to walk around it, and a minimum of cutting. Lumber beams are sold in three-metre lengths, and chicken wire 910cm across at the roll. There we have the width and length. Done.
Height can be adjusted as we go. We will need a corrugated roof sloping toward the creek to get rid of the snow in winter. For now, we only need to dig a hole so that the ground is level for the foundation, and we've started that already. The next step is laying a border of cinder blocks with chicken wire underneath it to keep the weasels out, then piling dirt back on it so that weeds and grasses can grow. Thence we can build the structure from the ground up.
The only thing is that there aren't so many days between the mosquito swarm of summer and the brutal cold of winter, in which to get this project finished. We can't lose any time.
So my better half and I are going to spend the better part of tomorrow digging in the mud, whatever rain might fall on us. Exciting, isn't it?