Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tree removal

In preparing for the building of the shop we needed to remove a tree, stump and all. This is where the use of a bobcat REALLY COMES IN HANDY!! I think it would have taken us a month to chop down and remove the root system if we could have done this at all! It took our neighbor about 10 minutes to do what you see here... AMAZING!!!
We did have to chain saw the trunk and limbs, which took half a day and the rest we burned. End of the way turned out to be hollow, one less tree to have fall down!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Starting the Chicken Coop

The most time consuming aspect of building is the plans and site prep. We wanted the chicken coop to be situated east/west as so make the most of the sun's warmth in the winter and no sun coming in to the coop in the summer. We had to plan the building to be safe from any possible trees falling down on it.

The coop is going to be a pole barn structure, so we started with the corner posts to determine the length and width of 18 feet X 12 feet. This will allow enough room for about 24 chickens and a storage room for the grain.

Once the poles were in, we established the level of the roof line from the grade using a level to make sure it was all straight. We cut the poles at the top after we did this, it is so much easier than figuring this out before hand. As you can see we have a slope, a change of about a foot in grade. This is good because the rain will drain easily away from the coop. We plan on putting gutters and a tank for rain water collection.

Next the doors and windows are framed out, this is all predetermined from sketching the plans on paper. It is always easier to change things on paper than move lumber around, plus you can imagine the finished project and think of how things need to change in order to make the building more practical.

We used old air conditioning vents for the sides, hardware cloth and an old medal frame operable window in the front.
Next the rafters go on, the widest part of the lumber vertical to the ground. This is where the strength of the board is. We then trimmed out the roof to add strength and a place to attach the chicken wire for the yard.
The metal roofing sheets go on next . this is where you also have to plan ahead. There needs to be an overhang of the roof by about 1/2 to 1 inch so it protects the wood underneath.

The baby chicks will be here soon so we really have to get moving........

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pouring the mud floor and concrete porch of the closet

Getting back to the closet, Finally!!
Of course the pictures are backwards and the text does not always go where I intent it to go!!!
That said........ The first step in creating a porch is to form the area that will hold the concrete until it is hard. We decided to do the porch first so we had a hard, level area to transport the mud mixture into the building for that floor. Because concrete is soooo heavy the forms holding it have to be well supported and level. We used 2X6s the length and width of the porch and nailed them together piling dirt up around them for extra support. We sloped the slab away from the building so the water would run off the porch. The leveling was done by putting a 2X4 across the form boards with a level on top. The mixing & pouring took the two of us 1 day.

Next was the mud floor. We had previously poured a cement perimiter. There is a yard close to us where we got the clay. The mix is 30%Clay, 70% sand with a binder mixed in, we used Elmer's glue, about 2 gallons per cubic yard. For walls , straw is a good binder and it has an interesting texture. We did not want the straw pieces to deal with in the floor, so we chose the glue.
The mixture is the constancy of a thick milkshake, the thicker it is , the faster it will dry.
We poured it in sections so we could level it easily from board to edge. The photo of the floor completed with the cracks was taken a week after the pour. We will later fill these in as you will see.