Dry days have been hard to come by of late, so when Mother Nature deigns to hold off on the wet stuff for a succession of days, it's foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity to tick a few outdoor jobs off the list. Not every job can be a big job, but completing a selection of little jobs in and amongst some general pottering can be just as satisfying.
David's odd jobs tend to involve hammers, nails, a drill and assorted cuts of wood.
First, he built a chicken shelter. Having moved the chicken house away from rattus rattus and having increased the flock from four to eight, there was no longer sufficient space under the house to accommodate all the girls on rainy, sleety, haily, windy days. When free ranging they have access to a myriad of shelters; picnic benches, bushes, vehicles, trailer, wood shed, boiler room (if SOMEONE leaves the door open), but options are limited when they are confined to their run. If you've seen David's pig ark and sheep shed constructions, you'll instantly recognise the inspiration behind the chicken shelter design. David works to a very flexible design, easily scaled up or, in this case, down, depending on your sheltering needs. I'm calling the new chicken shelter the Bunker. Being low to the ground it calls to mind entrances to underground hurricane and air raid shelters.
The Bunker has inspired me to name the last of our new flock yet to be named. Dorothy. Hurricane, twister, over the rainbow, you see where I'm going .....
Back to David's handiwork. Some further rummagings in his wood stocks later, and the rotten boards of the raised veg beds were fixed. More hammering and drilling and the new compost bins rose up from the ground as if by magic. Give him tools and a pile of pallets and he's an odd job genius!
My odd jobs tend to involve paint brushes and procrastination. Whilst David hammered and constructed, all I managed to do was think about getting up a ladder to re-paint the top floor window surround (it was stripped of its expensive face lift by a particularly aggressive, perfectly angled hail storm), decide it was too cold to go that high up, and instead paint the pallets of the de-constructed and re-constructed chessboard ....
Oh yes, and I also painted the outline of some utensils. As you do. Don't ask. Just another crazy idea born of too much time trawling the internet on rainy days.
However, not every job that day was successful. Nest box checking and moving proved surprising tricky for the simplest job on the list.
The robin box just would not budge from its nailed in position too high up the tree. Hammer failed, screwdriver failed. Just one more pull was a pull too far. As I watched David fall backwards off the ladder, hammer still in hand, the world slowed down, giving me sufficient time to register the fact that he was falling, consider the outcome should he hit the ground, wonder if I should intervene to try to break his fall, and ultimately do nothing but watch gravity do what it does. Fortunately, things were moving faster in David's world, and so was his brain. As his feet left the ladder he had the good sense to inject a little impetus and so turn his fall into a leap, landing unsteadily but safely, hammer still in hand. We decided that was sufficient drama for one day and went inside for tea and cake. The robin box remains in its position too high up the tree.
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