I made this.

chook run

Look what I built!

Not the henhouse – all I did there was rescue it from kerbside and put in nest boxes and a roost – but the whole rest of the run – I did that!

I persuaded the Skeptic we needed chickens. (That alone took 23 years.)

I found the best location and measured the footprint, tucking it under the bushes for shade. I figured out the construction, bought the door and the mesh and star-pickets on Gumtree.

I rummaged through the timber stash, found roughly matching beams, pulled nails, sawed rotten ends, painted them, nailed them in place.

I wore the bruise when one of those beams fell on my head.

I went to the hardware store for clouts and mending plates which I cut and bent and I screwed those beamy suckers so they will never will drop on anyone else’s head. Ever.

I salvaged the shadecloth from the old patio covering, cut it to the right size, tied it to the mesh, patched where it didn’t fit, and scratched my fingers to bits attaching mesh to star pickets with fencing wire.

I spent far more time up the ladder than I’d previously wanted to.

I kept the entire budget under $150!

Yes, I took help when it was offered, because when your sweetheart wants to get his drill out, you let him, and when your eleven year old decides to hoik his skinny butt and a 3.5kg sledgehammer to the top of the ladder to pound in 7’ star pickets, you definitely let him, heart in your mouth the entire time. And when your nine year old wants to sit up there learning to hammer, at glacial speed and with much anxiety, you smile, hold her foot (this apparently helps) and pass the nails.

Dodgy as

And, sure, it’s made of four different kinds of mesh, held together by fencing wire, lock-ties, cast-off weed-trimmer cable, and in some places just by twisting the daggy ends of one bit of mesh into another. Yep, the roof’s really held up in places by branches wired to the star pickets. And okay, to get the door to open right, we hung it upside down, which is doing the kids’ heads in because you have to lift, rather than press, the handle.

But I built it, and that represents something far bigger than a home for the chickens we don’t yet have. It means I set myself a goal. I planned all the steps, I remembered them, and I actually bloody finished something. On time. Which in itself is pretty awesome, because I haven’t been able to do that for about ten years.

Even better, it means I’m learning again, which is beyond awesome, because I haven’t wanted to do that for about ten years. I’m not saying I didn’t learn anything for ten years, I just didn’t want to accept the lessons life was foisting upon me. But I’ve finally twigged that, actually, where I am is perfect for learning, and I’m ready for it now, scratches, splinters, swears and all.

You got here just in time. It’s gonna be wild.