Eggcitement building on the farm

By Stephanie Strothmann

My Grandpa Strothmann was a woodworker.

He could look at a piece of furniture made from wood, and weeks later, he could produce an almost exact replica. He didn’t like receiving plans, like measurements, supplies, etc. for building, a fact I found out when I asked him to build a loft bed for me when I was in college. Grandpa always liked to “eyeball” it. I remember my father pulling me aside and saying, “He just needs a photo of what you’re wanting.”

I never did get the loft bed that I had requested, but something must have stuck with woodworking as I have tried and (mostly) succeeded to build quite a few little structures around and on the farm.

My first attempt at building anything worth celebrating was a chicken coop that started my whole farming journey. I had zero idea of what I was doing, and unfortunately, my grandfather had since passed away by that time.

Somehow, I managed to hammer some 2-by-4’s together, install drip trim (thank you YouTube) and even fasten roofing shingles atop the structure. Of course, the color was purple. The coop was a real beast. My guess was that it was well over 350 pounds when finished because when the time came to move it from my original home in Columbus back to Seymour, we used a piano mover to budge it from its original backyard spot.

I’ve been blessed with brawny strength over the years, but this coop absolutely used every ounce of energy any of us had that tried to move it that day.

Needless to say, we finally got the coop moved close enough to a flatbed trailer to load and take it to its final resting spot, but I doubt I will ever move the coop from where it stands today unless it’s going to be demolished.

In between the original Taj ma Coop and what has since materialized in the barn over the past couple of weeks, I built a small lean-to for the ducks and a chicken run to surround one door to a barn that once held hogs.

I’ve learned quite a bit about structures over the years, though I’m still not 100% adept at reading that tape measure. I usually just “eyeball” it. I guess generations of traditions carry through regardless of whether one is aware of it or not.

In a few days, the newest structure, a chicken “hoop coop” house, will emerge from its covering in the big barn and begin to house the newest group of chickens, 28 Cornish Cross birds.

This time, no piano mover will be needed to relocate it.

Until next time…

Stephanie Strothmann owns Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Read her blog at Send comments to [email protected].