Posted in Family, Home

“Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens…” (Part 1)

chicken house
laying out one end of the chicken-house… The scorch-marks are residue from our son Kapena’s ceremonial burning of a sweatshirt from his ex-girlfriend

Well, after tackling the political angle of backyard chickens and mustering our (mostly free) resources, we finally got our start on building the chicken house…  Or, to use the Hawai’ian handle, the Hale Moa (HAH-lay MO-wah).

We got through the framing today, so here’s our chicken-house-building (part one)—mostly in pictures, because I’m saving up most of my words for the 40K-word project I’m supposed to be doing now (and will actually have to get started on in a few minutes)…

So far the only item we have bought for this project is a box of three-and-a-quarter-inch sinker nails ($10.48 for a 5-pound box at Home Depot). All the wood we’re using was found, begged, or bartered—including the fortuitous find of the “house”-shaped pieces of plywood we’re using at the two ends of the chicken-house.

girls with power tools
girl with power tools!

We wanted to use four-by-four posts at the corners, but since our “finds” were all two-by-fours, we nailed two of those together for each corner post.  We measured out our lengths, and then I got to use the laser-sighted mitre saw that was my Mother’s Day gift a few years back (in the days when we did have money)… Hey, does Keoni know me or what?

Also, please notice and admire our nifty makeshift “sawhorse” of several stacked soda-crates (which we got for free from the grocery store) held together with zip-ties.

After measuring, cutting, and nailing our improvised four-by-four posts to each of the ends, we stood them up, propped one of them with a couple leaning boards, and nailed 8-foot two-by-fours along each side.

DIY chicken coop
nailing our measured-and-cut 2x4s to the end-piece
DIY chicken house
setting up the ends before adding the side cross-pieces

Keoni had to leave for work, but I wanted to keep playing (because, um, there were 40,000 words waiting for me inside—never mind that it’s 103 degrees OUTside), so I sanded down one of the cross-boards on the “front” end of the chicken-house, got out the kids’ paints, and labeled the project with a sign: Hale Moa.

chiseled-out cross-piece for the top

We’d talked about a single cross-piece across the top center, so I traced the apex of the house-shaped end, traced that onto both ends of a two-by-four, and chiseled out the shape on each end so it rests neatly on the top.

So here’s our first day’s progress; total cost so far just under $11. And Christian & Elena Grace are due to arrive any minute, so it will be fun to see what they think! I suppose I can’t put off those forty thousand words any longer…

Ta-da, the chicken-coop frame! I guess I could take that “temporary support” off the front now…


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

35 thoughts on ““Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens…” (Part 1)

  1. I love it Granny! Daddy is very resourceful! I earlier was looking at a pic of me as a kiddo swinging on the home made swingset he made us out of tires, chains & telephone poles! Love you Tyler Boys!


    1. Funny you ask that—it seems to be the foremost question on Christian’s mind as well. ;) We’re picking up the chicken wire tomorrow, but then we’re leaving this weekend for ten days of grandparent-visiting… Hopefully before the end of the month, though. :)


        1. Yup! :) Christian specified “teenage chickens” rather than chicks… Guess I’m about to find out what qualifies as “teenager” for a chicken! ;)


  2. Wow, that’s nice! I used to have some chickens back home in Colombia. I wish I could do it here in Canada, too. Oh, well.


  3. Kana,
    This Montrealer is proud to say that he now “knows” a tattooed chicken farmer. Wait ’till I tell my friends… I’ll be the most coveted clown in town.
    Le Clown


    1. Thank you. :) To my surprise, it wasn’t the chicken-house, but the PAINT job that got rave-reviews from Christian…


  4. Wow, congrats, Kana. I’m going to recommend my partner Sara read this, as she wants chickens so badly. This is wonderful news, and I can’t wait to read more. Fun to see you building!


    1. It’s one of those “imagine-meeting-you-here” moments… ;) Well, we’re happily pioneering the chicken-project, though I confess it’s one of those things I hadn’t envisioned myself doing… Until the kiddo piped up with his chicken-wish. Who knew? :)


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