Sunday, May 15, 2011


We accomplished two big things today.

1. We finished our last Financial Peace University class and are official graduates. I can't believe it's been over three months since we began. Time flies when you're saving money and slaying debt!
I wish I could report that we've paid off thousands but truth be told, we haven't. We've paid off the low hanging fruit debt and are charging ahead (sans plastic, that is). According to the debt snowball calculator, at our current pace we will be debt free (except for the house) in 2013! Credit cards, student loans, car loans, everything!

2. The coop is done and in place! It was a long and arduous process made easier by a new friend, Van. He was one of the unlucky lumber guys I requested a coop package price from. He gave me a number but then also offered to help me build it. The best part? He's building a house not far from us and had enough leftover material to build the coop for free! I just had to purchase windows ($2 ea. at the recycling center), tar paper ($5 from Habitat for Humanity), shingles ($22 from HD), and hardware including hinges, latches, hook and eyes (approx $40).

Van even took me under his wing and taught me how to frame, insulate, frame, etc. I see these things laid out in plans at work and watch other people turn them into reality, but I'd never done this stuff myself. We spent about 20 hours over a couple of weeks putting it together. The last step was transporting it and turned out to be the most complicated part of the whole deal. You see, the coop probably weighs close to 500 pounds. No joke. It's made of 2x6 redwood, insulated, finished inside with tongue and groove paneling, has an A-frame roof, shingles, Certainteed shingles, and trim. (The only things it's missing are A/C and indoor plumbing!)

There was no way we could just lift it onto a trailer and bring it home. In fact, it's too big to fit through the opening of our gate so we had to take apart the fence. I'm getting ahead of myself...

Transporting the Coop: A step-by-step breakdown

Problem: Find someone who owns a vehicle with a hitch. Solution: Scotty, our painter friend.

Problem: Find a trailer. Solution 1: Borrow a trailer from a friend-of-a-friend down the street. Arrive to find the trailer has a flat tire and is blocked by a Jeep. Solution 2: Scotty has a friend with a trailer, but it's full of aspen logs. We have to unload the trailer before it can be used. And it was raining.

Problem: Find a Bobcat/skid steer/forklift to hoist the coop off the trailer and into place. Solution: Diamond Rental had a forklift but it was no ordinary forklift. This baby was street legal and could lift 5,000 pounds 16 feet into the air. Lucky for us, Scotty was also a qualified forklift operator.

Problem: Getting the coop into the backyard with such a gargantuan machine. Solution: Very kind (and very strong) neighbors saw our plight and came to our rescue. It took 7 people to carry it 25 feet. With 2 breaks.

Tonight is their first night in the new digs. I'm hoping we built it well and that they'll survive.

In the end, these $3 chicks turned into a bigger fiasco than we could have imagined. I can't tell you whether or not it has been worth it. I'll let you know how I feel when the first egg is laid.

I promise to post photos later. It's been an exhausting weekend and I'm ready to crash!

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