We’re in the middle of renovating one of the outbuildings on the farm for me to use as an office. My mother inherited this property from her foster parents, who had a dirt-poor and imnmaculately tidy subsistence farm. Her foster mother raised chickens, so there are six or eight little outbuildings which were built in the early part of this century, intended for chicks and hens, still standing.

I had hoped we could save some the original structure of the chicken shed we’re converting, but the wood was so spongy that you could drive a screwdriver straight through it. So we pulled the old frame down and built a new timber frame on the old foundation. My dad does timber frames as a hobby, so he’s masterminding the project. My husband and the boys are providing some of the brute labor. So am I.

One of the original chicken houses is down at the end, behind the new structure.

Yesterday we all got up on the roof; we needed to get the insulation, OSB, and tar paper all down at one time. My twelve-year-old wielded the nail gun, Dad acted as foreman, Peter handed up the materials from the scaffolding, and I stuffed insulation between rafters and held OSB in place.

Dad, happy twelve-year old, me

Work that’s definite, clear-cut, and out in the sun–and that someone else is masterminding. A good break while I wait for Norton’s reaction to the manuscript.

Showing 12 comments
  • Miz Booshay

    Manual labor + family + sunshine= Strong families with rosey cheeks and many new memories!!!

    So happy for you all.


  • Diane


    No matter what it ends up being called, it looks like a perfect place for a raving writer!

    Congrats on finishing the manuscript.

    Are you REALLY coming to Modesto? That is in my neck-o-the-woods!

    Diane (Wheeler, that is)

  • Susan

    Good, Diane, I can take you out for a huge dinner and we can stay up very late talking.


  • Kolbi

    Oh Susan I just can’t tell you how wonderful it is that you’re blogging! WITH pictures!! What a fabulous treat! It takes a lot of time out of your schedule but it’s just so nice to read and see. 🙂

  • Amy

    Well, I personally love the idea of calling it the Chicken Shed Office – as long as you don’t say it too fast.

    That looks like the perfect project for the mid-winter doldrums.

    I’m glad you’re blogging!

    Amy (loves Bud)

  • Mindy

    You really are the woman!! All this and construction too!!! I’m just more than a smidge jealous to think of Diane and Susan staying up late without me!!! How long does it take to walk to Modesto?

    Thanks for blogging, Susan!

  • Colleen

    Hmmm…here on the dairy we’ve got the work that is definite and clear-cut, but what is this strange yellow orb of which you speak?;-) Outdoor work with family always invigorates me. Enjoy!

    Colleen (hoping the 23 days-and-counting of consecutive rain in Western WA will discourage potential newcomers)

  • JFS in IL

    So – you are building your “room of one’s own”! I still like “the chick’s coop” for a name.

  • Jill

    A nail gun?! My oldest son would be in HEAVEN! Looks like fun!

  • Janice in NJ

    Your pics remind me of the good times we had this summer with *my* dad working on our cabin. There were many afternoons when one of my little people was tired and dirty but smiling as he/she sat sandwiched between us as we took a breather. I’ll never forget this summer; I’m looking forward to more days in the sun. Nice pics!

  • Michael Keckler

    This is great fun! I’m especially enjoying all the pictures. I can’t believe how the kids have grown! And you cut your hair short! You look fabulous! Congratulations on finishing the manuscript!

  • Terijo

    Since your Dad likes timber frames as a hobby, I was wondering if he had any plans for a simple chicken coop (10×12 or larger)? I know you are converting yours, but we are researching building one! I really enjoyed the pictures and look forward to reading more!

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