SOP: Seat Of (the) Pants Creating

An update on our newest family members, Thelma, Belle, and Babe:  they are laying more than enough eggs for our human family of two, and giving us some good entertainment as well.

They are also destroying the tomato plants and succulents in the greenhouse, opting to lay their eggs among the plants instead of in their cushy, specially built nest.  We, my husband, Dave, and I realized immediately that something had to be done right away to give these chiclets their own place, so Dave began sketching out rough plans for a new hen house.

We had some building supplies on  hand, but did have to spend over $50.00 for a few 2X4s and some chicken wire.  (Hmmmm, since we also invested in a fancy watering jug and feeder, plus a 50 lb, bag of laying mash, at $2.50 per dozen, these chickens are going to have to lay a LOT of eggs to pay for their house)

But the cost efficiency of having chickens isn't the point I want to make here.

Allowing the creative juices to guide us after making only rough plans, and allowing the project to unfold as we make adjustments according to new ideas and available supplies is something my husband and I both do all the time.  And, the results are usually surprisingly good; maybe not exactly what we initially envisioned, but oftentimes better.

I have long called this method Seat of (the) Pants, or SOP sewing, SOP writing, SOP cooking, etc.  The idea is to just start! I have found nothing gets created until I start, so after a little planning, and maybe some research, I often just play with fabric to spark my imagination, write a few lines to see what follows, or start dragging out likely ingredients for the dish I want to make, then let my imagination, tempered by common sense, take over.

Dave built the hen house one board at a time, SOP, and while not quite done yet, (he got rained out yesterday) it is looking great.  It will have both open air spaces and a sheltered area for cold winter days; places to roost, and nests in which Thelma, Belle, and Babe can lay their precious eggs.

The hinged roof opens up for easy coop cleaning and egg gathering, and a smart little walkway gives the hens easy access to their new elevated home. The space  under the house will provide shade in the summer.

Dave's research for this project was looking at a several commercially built chicken coops at our local feed store.  Since they ranged in cost from $150.00 to $300.00, and he could make one better built and larger than any of those for much, much less, they were also his inspiration. 

SOP; Seat of (the) Pants is a way to use what you have to make or build what you want or need, and have fun doing it.  Surprise yourself - give it a try.....
Three more girls joined our family today!

Joining me, my husband, and our two four legged sweeties, Shotzie, a darling little Yorkie and Zetta, a very pushy, but sweet cat, are Thelma, Belle, and Babe.

We were told by their previous caregivers (you don't "own" free spirits such as Thelma, Bell, and Babe) that each one has a very distinctive personality,  Thelma is the Queen, tall, lovely and proud; Belle is the social butterfly who loves attention, and her almost twin Babe, the shy girl, prefers to stay in the background and be left alone.

We were also told that, in addition to becoming devoted pets, our new girls would gift us with more than enough eggs for the two of us, and some for the neighbors as well.

After promising these these pets would NEVER become chicken dinner, their owners gave them some last hugs,and carefully handed them off to us, along with various chicken supplies, and some all-important chicken raising advice.

I had not had chickens since childhood, and my husband hadn't had any for many years, so while overjoyed with our friends generous gift, we were a bit nervous.

Our new feathered family members came home in a banana box in the back of our van, sleeping all the way. 
 We clucked like fools making what we hoped were reassuring chicken sounds as we wound around the mountainous corners on the way home.  They seemingly moved not a muscle & slept through the entire one hour tirp.

Once home my husband and I got busy making a proper, if temporary, home for the girls.  With food, water, and a place to scratch, we enclosed them in the greenhouse for the night.

Thelma, Belle, and Babe calmly took to their new environment just as though it had been their home all along. Thelma, in all her white and gold splendor immediately strutted around as if she owned the greenhouse. Belle, true to her nature, spread her lovely black and white wings and wanted to be petted right away, while Babe, also dark and lovely, settled herself in in a corner where she could see, but not be touched.

Come dusk, we crept out to put the girls to bed in their new home.  My Chickens book, which I bought nearly a year ago, hoping to one day have a use for the information therein, advised that one should show a chicken in a new environment where to roost for the first few nights, lifting them to a roosting place if necessary.  We found Thelma and Babe were happily roosting on a low shelf.  Only Belle needed to be shown a roosting place.

After replenishing food and water, we shut the greenhouse securely, and left our sleepy chicks alone for the night. 

Our new family additions promise to be a joy and a delight.

And, breakfast promises to be more nutritious - no more store bought eggs!