Rockety Coop ready to roll

coop rocket ready for final layer

I’ve been keeping going back in the barn lately, in amongst all the doings with getting ready for the Farm Tour. With the excuse of having people walking though the barn and not breaking their legs, I figured that I needed to fill the thermal battery as it sits in the doorway connecting the new coop with the rest of the barn. This is, after all, the whole point of where it is sitting. Yesterday before breakfast, it just seemed like the thing to do. It’s funny how hunger comes and goes and the sketchy shaky feeling passes, eventually. coop thermal battery

The pipe in the battery comes out and back with a clean out just after the bend. I don’t think I’ll put the final layer on top of the box until everything gets a whole lot drier. The mix I used to fill the box was 50% unscreened bank sand and 50% unscreened yellow clay. They were both on the moist side from the recent rains so I didn’t add any water. It was only dry mixed and then tamped in around the pipe as the box was filled. Just after the returned pipe rises from the ground, another clean out is added. This will allow a place to get the draft started if their is a problem. coop door stop & chimney

Once the box was filled and tamped, there was still a bit of material left over, so I used it to fill in around the firebox on the other side of the barrel. In order to keep the unmortared bricks from collapsing while I tamed the soil in around them, I simply filled the opening with bricks and a few slivers of wood as a brace. rocket no can filled

It’s pretty neat that there was just exactly enough material to get the box to where it is. In the first image, there is a galvanized can with a lid sitting over the firebox. This will be secured into the floor with it’s bottom removed in order to control the air flow. I don’t have anything like that on the rocket in the Seedhouse and I know that without it the mass will continue to draft and cool. Pretty much defeats the purpose. This way, the lid can be used to either slow or stop the flow completely. The mix that I will use around the large, riser barrel and the smaller can won’t have any lime in it. This way I can get back into it if I need to without it being any harder than it needs to be. This looks to me like a potential drawback to adding the lime into any of the floor, but especially around the stove. Going back into the hardened lime could mean hammer and chisel, instead of just a hose. I’ve got to burry these things far enough into the ground that they can withstand having a goat  (or 3) jump up onto them. I don’t intend to have goats jumping on them. Not at all. But they already do. Viann does anyway. Ann prefers the work deck.

This is all prototype. Every bit of it. Worst case scenario, I can knock the entire rocket riser apart and dig up the firebox and reuse the bricks. It won’t make the barn colder and the chance of it burning down the barn are extremely low already. coop unflat floor

With the floor in this condition, and not having a big new batch of chickens ready to move in, the floor can sit for a while. Or lay. Or whatever a floor does. The walls won’t be doable till fall, or a till the Phrag dies and dries out. Which ever comes first. This will give me a chance to put up the next boxes and such. Perches, exclusion/brooder cages, roof. There is a lot to do before there are chickens sleeping in there at night. There is no door and one of the walls is mostly the remains of a rubber drop tank. It would be nice to have this place livable for birds by winter. This will allow me to clear the main barn for the goats when they won’t want to go out anymore. It might cut down on how often they have chickens standing on them. And pooping on them. Maybe a little.

coop latest hen and chicks

Winter is very much in the air. I know that Montana is Montana, but come on, it’s not even September yet and they are closing roads due to snow?  The front that broke the long ugly heat thing that happened earlier this month smelled of winter. Geese are on the move. Only 1 flock of about 20, not headed south, exactly, but they were moving together. My broodiest hen refuses eggs now. They know that time is short. Fall is coming. As it always does.

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