Saturday, August 21, 2010

In one fortuitous moment...

....the a-frame chicken tractor, went *crack*! It didn't crumple due to faulty construction, it actually stopped a tree from falling on the house. This picture was taken the day after.

24 hours later

Unfortunately, there were two innocent guinea-pigs inside the a-frame at the time. With all the leaves obscuring the view and heavy branches resting above the door, we couldn't get to them to see if they were okay. Our daughter panicked as mum ran for the bush saw, so dad could cut them free.

Dad was not too popular at that stage, feeling terrible himself - but everyone was racing to save the guinea pigs! Eventually we got the branches off the door - the guinea-pigs were scared, but safe, thankfully. My heart is still racing just thinking about it.


But the a-frame isn't in such good shape. This was my first major construction project with wood, and while it pains me to see it taken out by a tree, geez it held itself up well. Not only that, it protected the guinea pigs and the house. What a wonderful little project which has achieved so much!

The wood used to build it was mostly recycled from pallets, it housed our first chickens, grew-out chicks we hatched in the incubator (several batches) and helped fertilise our very first veggie patch.

Freshly on the job 2008

It was beginning to be used as a day-pen for the guinea-pigs until this fortuitous day. Several times I watched them feed, and I thought they needed something a little lower. I said to myself, what a pity I cannot remodel it - I mean, after all that effort it took to build it, I wasn't going to start tearing it down for guinea pigs.

Well, I guess the tree did that for me, LOL. Dave is now in the process of cutting the tree into posts. By the way, this is a baby tree, and in the picture below, he's already removed two-thirds of it. Being a "baby" tree we thought it was safe to remove on our own. In hindsight, we should've practiced on one further away from the house.

Needless to say, it had to fall up a hill to barely miss the house...

At the time, Dave thought he had it under control - I suggested if he kept cutting it on that side, it would fall towards the house. Had either of us known (truly how it would land) I'm sure we would've stopped the process. But the truth is, if you want to learn new things you have to experiment. Take all the precautions you can, research the theory in books and then just jump into it. That's how my a-frame was built - how it was taken out too, LOL.

Where we went wrong: we used the technique of a tree felled with a chainsaw, but we were using an axe! You cannot make the kinds of precision cuts with a chainsaw, with an axe. You learn in hindsight, LOL. Yes, we felt quite stupid on that score - it was an obvious difference.

All I can say is, no lives were lost - I can remodel the a-frame and we learned something new.

In one fortuitous moment...

....I wonder what shape you will take next?


  1. I'm glad to hear that the guinea pigs survived and that no humans were hurt in the process. Felling trees scares me but you are correct, you have to take the plunge at some point. Can't wait to see the remodel:)Great job on the original too.

  2. Thanks, I was quite enamoured with it too, LOL, but like you, the best outcome was that no-one got hurt.

    I remember hearing about someone going down a well with nothing but a spanner to fix a windmill - I thought that was pretty idiotic at the time. How dangerous was that?

    And yet the longer I live out here and the more we cannot employ "technicians" for everything we need help with, you start pushing the boundaries of normal.

    It's liberating AND it's scary. But that's the way we have learned as a species for centuries. It's only a recent development that you need a technician who specialises in a field, that was once an every day task for most people.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing. :)

  3. A conversation my husband who is a mason and master carpenter had recently comes to mind when you talk about how things were done for centuries. Although they are top notch tradesmen, they couldn't understand why more people didn't just pick up a book, read about the project they wanted to have done then do it themselves. That would be bad for business of course but they were of the mind that anything is doable, even up to a master level if the desire to learn is there. What is missing they said, is the desire.


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