Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Peacock Palace

by Pa Rock
Man with a Hammer

For the past month or so I have been involved in the creation of a new home for my two nearly-adult peacocks and six nearly-adult peahens.  What we are building is actually a very large coop that will be completely enclosed in chicken wire and will butt up against an ancient barn.  The peacocks will stay in the barn during inclement weather and at night, and will emerge into the large, airy outdoor cage on nice days.    The coop, or cage, is about 30-feet in length, 15-feet wide, and 10-feet or so tall.  It is - or very soon will be - completely predator proof (hopefully!).

My son Nick dug the holes and planted fifteen very large posts in the ground that serve as basic support for the new structure, but then Nick was called out of town for a couple of weeks - leaving me to complete all of the necessary framing around the posts - much of it ladder-work.

My work tools consisted of a yardstick, an old hammer that I found, a trusty electric saw that has needed a new blade for over twenty years, and the ladder - "Old Wobble."

For awhile it felt as though the project would never end.  Every time I thought I had nailed on the last two-by-four, I would see something else that begged to be added - or changed.  It seemed like each day I had to make yet another trip to the lumber yard for something.  (Of course now the whole sales staff knows me by name - and Rosie, too!)  It got so out-of-hand that I began to fear that the county assessor would drop by and declare my creation to be a house - and then tax me for it!

Finally, this past Monday, I nailed up the final eight boards and called it finished.  Well, not finished exactly, I still had to wrap the whole thing in chicken wire and convince the peacocks to call it home.  As luck would have it, Nick returned to the area the same day, and he and a friend have begun the process of putting up the wire.  So far it is looking very nice, and if things go well today, the Peacock Palace could be ready for occupancy tomorrow.

I probably ought to get someone to film the peacock removal and resettlement.  It could be quite a YouTube moment!

My friends, Rusty Pails and Heck Frye, drove over from Sprung Hinge one day last week to watch me work.  As I was swinging from the rafters trying to drive nails in over my head, they were plopped down in their lawn chairs drinking root beer  and offering an endless stream of advice.   Rusty pointed out that the big cage would be an ideal setting for a daycare center.  He reasoned the kids could play in the coop to their hearts' content with just a minimum of eyes-on supervision, and then climb into the barn and take their naps on the straw.

Heck then came up with the notion of a selling peanuts and popcorn in case tourists began showing up and wanted to feed the kids through the chicken wire.

There's a reason those guys never reproduced.

Hopefully the peacocks prove to be smarter!

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