Getting ready for the barn raising

Ian's digging a trench so we can run electricity to our new chicken coop
Ian’s digging a trench so we can run electricity to our new chicken coop

As of March, we won’t be able to use the barn where most of our laying flock lives, so we’re planning on building a huge new hoop house that can hold almost 800 laying hens. We’ll be working on it this weekend. (Please think of coming down for a barn raising!)

In the meantime, this week is full of preparation — starting with the delivery of our hoop house four hours before we had expected it.

On Thursday, my friend Molly came over for our weekly work trade. (Every week we tackle a project either at her house or mine.) Molly arrived at my house a minutes before I did and called me on the cell phone to say she was parking across the street because a semi truck was filling up our driveway. The delivery of our hoop house materials had arrived about four hours before we were expecting it.

The timing couldn’t be better though. The driver waited for about 5 minutes and then the two of us showed up to unload. My friend Molly is the kind of person you would hope might help you unload a semi full of materials. She’s cheerful and laid back, and she’s naturally very strong. It’s one of the gifts she brings to the world. Molly is the only person I know who has played professional women’s football, and she lopes along gracefully with loads that make me stagger.

We unloaded all the rods, boxes and the tarp for the hoop by the side of the driveway then moved on to the 10 huge boxes of egg cartons that had also been delivered that morning while I was out. If Molly hadn’t been there, I don’t know what I would have done.

Then, on Saturday, Ian rented a trencher — a “Dingo”, my 4-year-old wants everyone to know. It was an impressive thing. It had what looked like a 4-foot chainsaw that dug into the dirt, making a trench for the electric wires that runs from our garage over to the barn. My 11-year old, who wants to be an engineer, was deeply impressed by all the hydraulics on the machine. He also could picture it being used in a battle because the earth-cutting blade could be held high up as the heavy machine chugged along at a good pace, looking menacing.

Ian, thank goodness, did not have anything menacing in mind. He dug the trench peacefully, then he and our friend John tried to cover up the resulting mounds of dirt beside the trench because our hens were having way too much fun scratching that newly turned dirt. They could flatten those mounds in no time, and we need that dirt to refill the trench.

With the trench dug, we moved all of those rods and boxes that Molly and I had unloaded. They’re at the building site now, and we are expecting that this week someone will come to dig another trench for water lines and run water up to the new barn.

Then, if all goes as hoped, we’ll be putting together a hoop house next weekend. It’s also the weekend of our Holiday Market at Bachman’s. Again, if anyone wants to be part of a real, modern barn-raising, send me an e-mail: auntieanniesfields@gmail.com

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