Coop Building and Greenhouse Cleaning

This morning I walked down early to let Roxy and Trixy out of the nest box. I am hoping that tomorrow the screws for the fox-proof skirt will arrive along with a few other oddments for the Omlet. But until it arrives, I will be popping down at night and in the morning to close and open the best box door respectively. Roxy and Trixy shot out and made a beeline for the food bowl. I opened up the nest box, not expecting anything as it was so early and was greeted by the surprising sight of two eggs! It’s so lovely that Trixy is now happy enough to lay – it shows she has settled in and is healthy.

Opening up the shed, I spent a few minutes putting up the sail sunshade. There was hardly a cloud in the sky and it looked like today was going to be quite warm. I dug out the new tarpaulin, some cable ties and pliers and headed off to Liz and Sarah’s plot. I unwrapped the tarpaulin and looked at it. It was the smallest one I could find (3 x 4m) but still too big. However, after a moment pondering, I realised if I folded it in half, I could make a 2 x 3m double thickness cover for the run roof. Using four cable ties, I fixed both edges together. Now for the tricky bit – getting it onto the roof. In my head the night before, it was simple. Throw the tarpaulin over the roof, adjust and cable tie into place. Standing next to the coop in the cold light of day, my heart sank. There was no way I could do this by myself. Luckily, at that moment, Phil appeared and offered to help. I eagerly accepted and dashed off for the step ladder. Whilst Phil was arranging the tarpaulin on top, I helped tie it down. In a few minutes it was all in place and we both agreed it would provide enough shelter from the rain without blocking out too much sunlight.

The next job was to sort out the wire which would form a fox-proof skirt at the base of the run. Rachel’s wire was in a pile and I spent half an hour playing with the different pieces to work out the best place for each bit. Once I was happy, I attached the wire to the base of the run using more cable ties. It took quite a long time to get it all into place and by the time I had done the front half of each of the sides, half the morning had disappeared. Feeling like I had earned a break, I headed back to the shed for a drink and some shade.

Popping home briefly, I collected some sausages and some homemade bread for lunch at the allotment. There really is nothing better than cooking outside and my stove is worth its weight in gold. Sausage sandwich was demolished in record time, I pondered what to do next. Grabbing the broom, I walked to the greenhouse and began to sweep out all the old bedding. With Roxy and Trixy in the Omlet and Leia and Lilja shortly to move into the new run of Liz and Sarah’s plot, I can finally reclaim the greenhouse. Despite the cover I had over the top of it, the greenhouse was boiling. Two bags filled, I retreated to the shed for another cold drink. On my return, I moved the shelves to find a small mouse nest with two tiny mice. Needing to sweep up the floor, I carefully lifted the nest and put it into a plant pot. Previously, the mice have used it as a nest and I hoped the adult mouse would find them.

After watching Roxy and Trixy dig to Australia, I ambled down to main coop and topped up their food. Watched closely by Aggie, I collected four eggs and slipped Sadie some food on the top of the nest box. Sadly she still isn’t integrating to the flock and I am not sure how much food she is eating. Over in the mini coop, I collected two eggs from Lilja and Leia. They eyed me grumpily and I apologised for the delay to their new home. Feeling suitably guilty, I walked back to the new coop and spent an hour going around the run securing the wire to the frame.

Over by Cliff’s shed, I found Koko and said hello. Soon afterwards, Cliff appeared and we discussed the base for the new run. He has been busy all morning with Will demolishing an ancient shed on Pam’s new half plot. It took quite some getting down! Cliff had found some bricks which could make a good base. He also suggested using breeze blocks which seemed like a good idea. We ambled across to Tracy’s plot and looked at the breeze block base that her run used to be on. Twenty-two blocks dug into the ground – now to source them! Pulling out my phone, I found one chap in Crewe giving away eight blocks and other person in Sandbach with another two. Ten down, twelve more to go!

Back at the greenhouse, I looked at the glass. It desperately needed a good clean and I remembered that I had run out of window cleaner. Rolling my eyes, I got my bag and headed to town for cleaning supplies. Armed with white vinegar and microfiber cloths I arrived back on site. Leaving the bags in the shed, I went back to the new run to half-heartedly dig in the fox-proof skirt. I hadn’t got very far before I gave up. If we were going to put the run on breeze blocks, there wasn’t much point in digging in the wire yet.

Trudging back to the shed, I grabbed the cleaning equipment and made a start. An hour later, the glass was as clean as I could get it and all that was left were the panels in the roof. These would need a step ladder for the inside and some sort of long handled contraption to reach the top outer panels of the roof. But that was a job for another day. Tired, hungry and covered in dust, I headed home.

Tomorrow’s plan is to pick up ten breeze blocks and hopefully put in an order for another dozen so that we can have the base in place ASAP.

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