progress on the coop and a simple replacement fix

The future chicken coop

Chicken coop

The future chicken coop is progressing. I installed the windows and door with the help of a friend. Just outside of Atlanta there is a large employee owned window manufacturer and they custom manufacture windows which are occasionally returned because of wrong specs, finish, customer couldn’t pay etc. Nothing actually wrong with the windows. These returned windows are stored separately and are advertised on Craig’s list. I bought 6 of these windows (dimensions 4 ft by 4 ft) for about $50 to $60 each, and now I am putting them to use.

Incidentally, the coop building will be used for more than just the chickens. I intend this year to propagate cuttings of various fruit trees and berries and a ledge along the south facing windows will be a good spot for the cuttings, once they have rooted. I read in a permaculture book that CO2 from the chickens will also help plants stored in this area. However, no vegetables for concern of contamination – they will be grown under cover or in the greenhouse.

I found the exterior door for the coop at the local thrift store for $8. It really didn’t make sense buying an exterior door for >$100 from one of the big box DIY stores.

Click to see details of the finished coop.


A simple fix
I have a Sears industrial circular saw purchased in the 80’s which has provided excellent service. Recently it would fail to start and I overcame this by turning the saw blade a few inches. Eventually it wouldn’t start at all and I figured it was time to replace the brushes. This usually is the problem when a motor won’t start initially but then starts after you slightly turn the part driven by the motor (or at least in my experience this has been the case). I downloaded the parts diagram, found the part #, found the cheapest supplier (you have to combine part price with shipping cost since the latter can vary greatly) and ordered the part. Except, a few days later the supplier fessed up they didn’t have the part and credited me (they shouldn’t have charged me until they had shipped, but I got the credit). So I paid more, got the part, opened up the saw and replaced the brushes – the whole procedure took less than 10 minutes. There are two brushes and when I removed the first it looked fine and I had real misgivings about my diagnosis. However, as you can see from the photo the second brush was completely worn. And – the saw now works fine and just in time, since I needed it to cut the 4 ft by 8 ft sheathing.

my trusty circular saw
shows brush in holder pressing on commutator
there are 2 brushes, the first looks ok
however, the 2nd brush is completely worn down




















I am seeing more and more mushrooms in the woods following the recent rains. The young mushrooms are rounded at the top and then, when they release their spores they open up and become flat at the top.

a young mushroom
an older mushroom which has released its spores









I am becoming increasing interested in permaculture. A few years ago I read the book by Bill Mollison but, though I understood the concepts, they did not resonate with me. Last year I read The One Straw Revolution by Fukuoka and I just finished the permaculture book by Sepp Holzer and am working my way through Gaia’s Garden by Hemenway, which is excellently written. Since I acquired the property I have been doing more than just organic gardening – my contour ditches, my allowing natural growth to overtake the mown areas, my working in the woods – these various projects are neatly encompassed by the permaculture approach. Next step is for me to go on a PDC (permaculture design course). Below is a photo showing fall colors in the opening I cleared in the woods (the “edge” in permaculture):

sourwood fall colors and opening in woods

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