The chickens

Our chickens each have a different personality. I would never have thought this before I started keeping chickens. You become attached to them just like you would any other pet – assuming of course, that you are an animal lover.
I have a chicken we call Precious (like the Hobbit ring) that is white and black. She is very gentle and is bullied by the other chickens. We recently had a chicken murder by the raccoons and the first thing David asked was – “It wasn’t Precious…” Thank goodness it was not.
The other chickens are barred rocks, all black with white spots. They are quiet and very docile for the most part. Brown eggs begin around eight or nine months old.
We totally spoil our chickens. Their treats consist of watermelon and tiny marshmallows. You would not believe the power marshmallows have over chickens. They will perform amazing leaps and vocalizations for a marshmallow.
For anyone out there vacillating on the chicken ownership question…you must try it. It is very rewarding and highly entertaining!

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JUST WINCH ME UP!

In our tiny house design, access to the sleeping loft is requiring some thought. 

Just in case you don’t know – as you age, your knees don’t quite operate as smoothly and your balance isn’t stellar.  We also have pets that insist on sleeping near us.

There are several excellent tiny house stair designs online with built in storage, but most of them are in a larger/longer base trailer.  For our 16 ft. trailer, David is drafting some designs that will fit the space, be safe for the mobility-impaired (that’s us), and include storage. 

My fantasy idea would be an electric pulley device – Just winch me up to the loft please!

THE FRANKEN-TRAILER

The base of the Coyote Cabin is a double-axle trailer.  We bartered with a family member for an 8 x 16 foot trailer he was no longer using.  One rainy Saturday morning we drove the 40 or so miles to tow it home. 

The trailer had a few quirks – the tires had seen better days and one tire was beginning to shed the outer layer.  Originally, the trailer bed was made of wood.  Now it resembled a hard compost-like substance as a result of dry-rot.  A previous disaster caused a bend in the tongue of the trailer.  If you wanted it to be in the correct lane when driving, you had to drive the truck on the right shoulder of the road.

We pulled the trailer out of its hiding place in the weeds, put some air in the tires and started home.  No fear!  There was a trail of rotten wood behind us for the first 10 miles or so.  David expected at least one tire to blow and sling rubber, but everything went well until the final 2 miles.  The tire that was shedding its skin finally gave up.  From that point on, riding in the truck was similar to an unmaintained carnival ride, or when you tried to teach your friend how to drive a stick shift.  Lurching home the final mile at a crawl, we were ready for a cold “beverage” and a comfortable recliner. 

The foundation of the Coyote Cabin was home!

THE YELLOW PERIL

Shamus O’Brien McCauley is our yellow cat.  He’s a “two-handed” cat – meaning you can’t pick him up with one hand due to his size. 

Shamus was a tiny stray given to us by David’s little sister many years ago.  From infancy he was mischievous and surly.  I took him to the vet for neutering, and when I picked him up, there was a huge orange sticker that said “I BITE” on the top.  When we had a dog door, he would bring not-quite-dead critters into the house for a bit of fun.  You could tell what type of bird he brought in by the feathers scattered throughout the house. 

That’s when Shamus was nicknamed “The Yellow Peril.”

He’s not quite as quick as he used to be, but he’s still got that surly attitude and he still bites! He doesn’t shy from a rumble with a stray cat who ventures into his domain, but he is terrified of the chickens.  Chicken bullying is rampant at our house, but that’s another story…

THE SPARK

One of the most enlightening adventures in my life was a backpacking trip into McKittrick Canyon for four days. There was no water, electricity, toilet, or first aid station. My 40 lb. backpack carried all the necessities needed to survive in the wild, including:

  • Tent
  • Food
  • Water and purification tablets
  • Clothing
  • Lantern
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • And, or course, makeup and beauty products (Yes, I know…)

 

Other than a midnight raid by ringtail cats (that I was convinced were escape convicts with murderous intent), it was the most wonderful experience.  This found knowledge that I could survive on my own in the wilderness was empowering.

This was the spark of my self sufficiency journey.

Years past and I became one of the materialistic millions, working 8 to 5 to buy things I didn’t need.  Then I found a few excellent blogs that inspired me to rethink my world.

  • The Minimalists
  • Zen Habits
  • Rowdy Kittens and Dee Williams

I began sharing the tiny house ideas with my husband, (who can design and build anything), and he was on board with the idea.

As so we begin our journey.  The tiny house, called Coyote Cabin, is progressing and it’s going to be an awesome adventure!

THE COYOTE

COYOTE AND WAGON

We live near a nature center, and it seems that all the “escapees” come to our back area – a clearing surrounded by woods.  We have had wild hogs dig up our yard, deer eat our garden and red tailed hawks eye our cat and chickens.  During a full moon, it sounds like a hundred coyotes howling as if they were practicing for Bass Hall.

During a cool spell, we kept seeing what we thought was a coyote crossing the back yard the same time every afternoon.  One day I decided to take a picture with my phone.  I moved closer and closer, and the coyote never moved.  I thought it must have rabies or some other malady to let me approach so near.  Every day for several weeks, the coyote would catch some rays in the clearing.  Very calm, very beautiful, very powerful.

We are building our tiny house near the coyote’s favorite spot, so we called it the Coyote Cabin.