Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm trying to shake the chill from the rain and cold with a hot roast beef sandwich.It's working, but somehow I imagine that girl scout cookies from the freezer will also have that warming effect.What can I say, I love food.

Before the rain started this morning, I managed to complete the prototype for a chicken tractor (moveable chicken pen). I worked on a bunch during my internship, and I really liked their design, but we needed to modify it to work here. First, they were a little materials intensive, and we couldn't afford to build them in the same way. Second, they were heavy. Fine for me to work, but Kim would have trouble pushing them across the field. I also needed to change the door location so that heavy watering buckets wouldn't need to be lifted up and over the top of the tractor down into the unit.Lastly, I was constantly having to either weight them down, or wrap them in plastic due to the weather. I wanted to modify the concept so that the chickens were more weather-proof and I could easily use stakes to keep them stable in high winds. The result, is pretty good. Made of PVC pipe, self tapping screws, pipe strap and a tarp-they are about half the weight of the similar model and cost us less than $45 dollars. I thought I had it done yesterday, but I did a rain test with the garden hose and ended up taking it apart and adding another bridge in the back to keep the tarp from crushing in on the chickens. We will see how it works in practice, I'm sure more modifications will be needed. Here are a couple pics!

I took down a bunch of old windows from the barn to build a cold frame this afternoon, but the weather isn't cooperating. Hopefully it will clear up after some lunch and I can get it together. I'd like to start some seedlings before the day is done.

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