Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Scissor Truss Eggmobile, Part II...and a Short Break

You've probably noticed that my posts have been spread a little thin these days (or maybe that's just my modus operandi?), so I wanted to let you know that while I have several ideas for posts swimming in my head (garden update, plumbing DIY, home and upholstery name a few), I'm going to leave you with a few photos of our Scissor Truss Eggmobile and take a week or two off from blogging.  As you probably know, springtime is a busy time for homesteads, and when you throw in some extra activities we've taken on, life can start to unravel. 

And if you have young children, you'll know that interruptions like breaking off curtain rods or just needing time with Mom can make focusing on writing a little bit difficult.

So please forgive the hiatus, and know that I will be back just as soon as we complete a few projects and get back into a manageable routine!

As usual, feel free to post comments and/or questions!

We have yet to enclose the ends, put up roost bars, hang the nest boxes, and install the bolts so we can actually haul this thing.  We're planning on tackling this Thursday evening.  Think we can get it all done???

A sense of scale.
Well, maybe I'll sneak back on here with some photos of the completed project...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Let Them Eat Toast

I need catharsis right now.  Or maybe just some sympathy.

I made this recipe for spiced pumpkin muffins with a streusel topping.  I highly recommend it, as it's been a pleasant part of my venture into soaking flour (you can read more about my dilemma here).  And it usually works great, like this:

Yesterday's nice, plump muffin.
Today, they looked like this:

I found walnuts at the bottoms of the muffins.  I think they got streuseled.

A few of them made it to the cooling rack, but we may be eating toast for breakfast.
I did do a couple things differently.  I was out of butter last night, so I soaked the flour only in kefir, not in the kefir/butter/honey combo.  But I've done that before and haven't had problems.  I also melted the butter shortly before adding it into the batter, so maybe I should have let it cool.  Not sure, but I do wish we had pigs!

I will, of course, try this recipe again since it's worked so well before and I like to compete against myself.  And I'd welcome any troubleshooting ideas!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Scissor Truss Eggmobile, Part I

After much blood, sweat, and trigonometry, we are ALMOST done with our modified version of the Polyface scissor truss eggmobile (i.e., portable hen house).  Click here to see a video of Joel Salatin's version.  Ours is a bit smaller and also enclosed, since we don't have a kick-butt farm dog to ward off predators at night.  Here are some photos of the project, followed by some after-the-fact concerns, per usual.

The base with one of the trusses.  This baby will (hopefully) move on skids.

Four little trusses, all in a row.  It's roughly 12' long by 8' wide.

Side bracing.  The key to structural integrity is to triangulate everything.  Again and again.

Chicken wire on the floor of the hen house will allow droppings to fall through.  We built a ramp down the middle, which you can see in the next photo.

Rafters and bracing.

We actually got it under roof last night, but it was too dark to take photos, so I'll include those in a later post.  But now for my concerns:

1. Our version is narrower and taller than Polyface's, which makes me worry about how and if it will turn.  Although most of the weight is at the bottom, I wish I'd made it shorter.  I designed it at this angle so we could fit the nest boxes in...though in the end, we could have used something else for nest boxes.  It's about 7' from ramp to peak.
2. I've heard that predators can tear through chicken wire, so I'm a little apprehensive about using it on the floors and to enclose the ends.  I know, I know, I'm contradicting myself.  The good news is that we haven't had any predator problems yet.
3. This was not the cheapest thing in the world to build, and it's really too big for our one little flock.  We're hoping to marry our current layers with our new chicks when they get big enough, but what if it they turn into the poultry version of the Montagues and the Capulets?

The good news is that it will shed snow well, we can use it for hay storage in the winter when the chickens are in the hoop house, and that I'm linking up with the Homestead Barn Hop! 

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