After only eighteen months, “Poultry Alcatraz” is finally complete. Not complete as in properly finished, but sufficiently secure for a complete relocation of our six mad chickens to their new home of “much squawking”.
It may not look like over a years’ work, and of course it isn’t. Because we had to wait until the diggers moved out, the pond was drained, that area was laboriously cleared of mutant vegetation before even the ground could be dug up by a team of two with many other calls on their time. Two of them generally hanging around asking for food/money/toys/the other sister to be buried in a trench.
But, after a harsh lesson in rural animal husbandry, we took extra care this time with six foot of tightly meshed fence bolted firmly to stout posts. Below ground another twelve inches* are dug in against fox attack.
All we’re missing is a roof and some motion sensing machine guns. Even this evening, I was shifting large logs in the proximity of the pen to prevent a possible roof assault. I did wonder if Fox’s now come equipped with grappling irons and wire cutters, or we were in thrall to an Olympic gymnast hiding a chicken rustling habit.
But better safe than, well, dead. And while the construction methods are somewhat rustic, all done by eye and then by hammer, the end result is chicken heaven right now. As we’ve left all the spiky vegetation that’s about head high and adding a few inches per day. Well it was but within a week, the greedy buggers will have reduced it to shrubbery swarf, so turning the entire area into first a dust bath and then a mud pile.
While recording this rather satisfying, if structually second rate, building of all our own work, I ran around in the summer rain shooting random garden scenes. A quick browse shows a pretty impressive transition from pea shingle to mostly garden via phases of four foot trenches, ten ton hardcore lorries, a week with a mini digger and six months from a man who came for a week to finish a single dry stone wall.
It makes me realise how much we’ve done, but also how much is left to do. And that’s before maintaining what we have. Next person who says “oh I wish I had a lovely big garden like this” shall be presented with a spade and a bucket and told to put their trowel where their mouth is.
Tomorrow I have to spend 18 hours travelling to and attending a “Developing your edge” course. Something I’ve only previously considered when sharpening disemboweling weapons. Apparently even for the lightly tinged self conscious individual, this is a very long day of gruesome toe-curling embarrassment.
I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to it. I may be able, however, to explain exactly how much I enjoyed it on my return. Could be quite a short post I feel.
* I measured it and everything. Couldn’t help thinking “12 inches is always a bit more than you think”