Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chicken coop

This is the chicken coop that I built for the infamous Huxley 6 chickens:
During construction

It is a 4'x8' A frame with the nesting boxes and roost in the top of the triangle. The bottom is open so the chickens can peck around in the grass.

The roof sides are removable for cleaning the coop and the ends also open on hinges to access eggs and the chicken run below.

Entertaining the neighborhood

The runway into the top of the coop can be opened and shut from the outside. It is hard to see, but there is a wire that runs to the bottom that goes through an eye at the top of the coop and then out the side.

Anyway, the most complicated of my woodworking projects - lots of angles and no table saw or miter saw. I am embarrassed to admit but I basically threw a temper tantrum when I started it because it seemed too big of a project to get done and the chickens were getting big and smelly in the garage. So I am publicly apologizing to my wife and children for growling at them while working.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dam to Dam Run

This last Saturday I ran the 20K Dam to Dam race. I have been running again since I discovered I wasn't getting in shape sitting at my desk answering emails and going to meetings. I did a 10K last fall in Huxley when I wasn't really prepared and felt like I was going to die. I kept running through the whole race, but I was 2nd to last to finish and the ambulance followed me the last three miles. The ambulance drivers kept calling out encouraging comments and laughing. I knew deep down they were just waiting for me to finally keel over so they could take me in.

I run most nights after the kids are in bed in the dark along the trail or to the high school track. We also splurged and bought an eliptical excercise machine and I have used it while watching netflix movies in the basement. I also bought cross country skis and went out this winter some along the same trails.

If I had better self control I would go to bed early and get up early to run in the daylight before work. The stars shine bright in Iowa once you get out of town though, except for a distant glow from Des Moines in the South and Ames in the North, like a false dawn. It is quiet on the country roads and when the moon is out it is so bright that I cast a shadow. With a new moon, I find myself jumping over puddles that aren't there and dodging branches from my imagination and usually head home before I hurt myself in the dark. Some nights I stop and look up and try to imagine the prairie is still there in the dark.

I am slow still, but steadily increasing. During the race, I was wet and tired. It started raining as I was running to the starting line and continued till the very end. The last two miles I barely could put one foot after another. The day after the race I hurt so much I slid downstairs on my bum instead of lifting my feet each step. But three days out, I feel ready to go running again.