Chicken Coops, Little Free Libraries, and Doing Whatever I Want

Because Itchy and Scratchy are getting older and developing their own personal lives outside the home, I’ve found myself with a surplus of free time.

Any conflict I might have felt over taking away time from them is quickly disappearing because they pretty much have the best childhoods ever.

This last weekend was a huge milestone in their independence. They both had a sleepover at their camp so I was kid free from 8am on Thursday until 5pm on Friday. I got them home and showered and dropped them off for a sleepover an hour later and didn’t see them until 2pm Saturday. Then Scratchy had a sleepover Saturday night and didn’t get home until 3pm on Sunday. It was nuts.

I had all this free time to undertake some big projects that benefitted from my undivided attention.

Even though Itchy was home Saturday night, he was completely pooped from all his sleepovers and looked like this.

Napping with Blue

Napping with Blue

Remember my adorable Coop Du Jour?

This little darlin'

This little darlin’

I enjoy having my Silkies and people walking by LOVE it. But I get tired of climbing into the big coop and catching the little girls and then having to catch them in the little coop to put them away at night in their predator proof coop. So I got a new one.

Raccoon proof and more spacious for permanent living

Raccoon proof and more spacious for permanent living.

Nice, no? Not nice enough. I decided it needed some interior decor to make it perfect.

I have a great name for the new coop but I’m waiting on a sign.

I’ve always been interested in the Little Free Library movement. It’s where homeowners erect small lending boxes on their property and stock them with books for people to enjoy.

Given our location and Loony’s access to cheap books, why not?

So I got a kit.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.05.17 PMDespite my hashtag plea for help, no topless studs/hotties showed up to help me.

At least the Norwegian Nanny was with me in spirit. I can always count on her.

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 1.08.30 PM

Shé wasn’t available because SHE JUST HAD A BABY which is unfortunate because I love her boobies so much but she’s all, “They’re for the baby!”


That baby is so dang cute. I asked Shé if I could have her and she said no.

That baby is so dang cute. I asked Shé if I could have her and she said no. BUT I WANT HER!!!

Nikki is good with tools and her gazongas are yowza yowza but she, too, is deep in the K-hole these days. So I had to do it myself.

You know what? It was a total blast. I worked in the shade of the porch getting caught up on my Fresh Air podcasts and had a great time.


Perfect for someone with no experience with woodworking

It helped that the kit I got from Turducken’s was about as good as any kit could get. The pieces were obsessively labeled and the instructions were very clear.

It was fun. Like, actually fun.

I even painted it myself and was proud to have done it without help.

Loony came home and set the post and helped me mount it.

We’ve gotten nothing but goo-goo-ga-ga responses to our chicken coop / library nook. People love it, especially moms with little kids. I enjoy talking to new people and seeing the unexpected delight in their faces because let’s face it, chickens are awesome.


Except for this chicken.

I have had such shitty luck with chicks. Out of the five chicks I got, three died and at least one is a motherfucking rooster.

Loony and I were on the porch the other morning and we heard the unmistakable crowing. We ran over and sure enough, my prettiest chicken, Radish, is a fucking rooster.

To the farm he goes.

One very nice passerby thanked me for my constant work towards making our home into a “magical place for strangers to interact with.”

If we lived within an HOA, absolutely none of my ideas would have been approved.

Not the paint, not the coop, not the library, not the art, not the murals, not the animals, nothing.

Boulder has always been loved for its funkiness and individual spirit. Now that it’s become a playground for the rich, I fear that the weirdness will go away because honestly, if you have millions of dollars to spend on a designer and architects and builders and landscapers, would you be funky? Probably not.

You’d be perfect and beautiful and magazine ready but you wouldn’t be weird. Creativity is the child of necessity.

I have to keep doing my part.

Not Stephanie? But she's so cute!

Stephanie is my little helper

It made me thing about how I came about my aesthetic.


Lauren. Daughter of my surrogate mother Marcia and once like a sister to me.

I haven’t seen her in years but she taught me everything I know about refusing to be mundane. I remember her little farmette in Eugene, Oregon. I once came out for a week to mix a thousand pounds of cement with only a shovel and a wheelbarrow so we could line her boring sidewalk with lovely orange slate tiles.

She had a chicken coop with the prettiest blue door and a vintage brass pull on it. It was an early lesson in how just because something is utilitarian, it doesn’t have to be ordinary. I carry her eye for excess, delight and ornament with me. Hence the chandelier in the chicken coop.

All self-respecting chicken coops demand chandeliers

All self-respecting chicken coops demand chandeliers

There are lots of people out there who have fancy coops, just google adorable chicken coops and you will see tons of examples of people who take delight in the mundane. But Lauren gave me this gift.

Loony is very much the same way and I thought of him when I noticed that That Fucking Cat had shredded yet another roll of toilet paper.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

I was actually relieved to see her shred it because that roll had been sitting intact on the guest bed for a few days and I was starting to worry that she was losing her joie de vivre.

But then she noticed it and over the course of a few days destroyed it more and more. When Loony finally noticed and mentioned it to me, I said that yes, I knew the she was shredding it but I decided to leave it there for her because she was having so much fun.

He gave me his disapproving Loony look but I maintain that I get it from him. That’s the kind of thing he would do, like setting pencils on the edge of the desk over and over again so Frank the Cat could enjoy knocking them down. It’s an easy-goingness that I love.

And then there is this:

IMG_6781Yep, those are cats walking on the table when we eat.

Loony’s ex-wife* is really allergic to cats (which is probably why they never worked out) practically went into anaphylactic shock with all our animals around, despite me cleaning like a motherfucker to get ready for her visit.

I wonder why the cleaning didn't help?

I wonder why the cleaning didn’t help?

*She’s not really his ex-wife.

Penny, my hairdresser, stayed with us the last time she was in town and looked a little surprised when Mr. Bates sat down next to her breakfast but admitted that it made petting him very convenient and only had a one anxiety dream about hair in her food.


Penny cut the boys’ hair while she was here. It was so fun listening to them chat, just like I chat with her when she does my hair. I hope she stays with us again.

If you must know, animal hair is my secret ingredient.

You start with five pounds of cat meat ...

You start with five pounds of cat meat …

I love my life. I love the chaos, the randomness. I love it that Loony is willing to go along with just about any hare brained idea I have.

When I told him I was getting a new coop and a library he was all, “Why would you want to do that?” but in the end he was out there painting and setting posts with me without a single gripe.

He really is the best.

I love it that I don’t care so much what anyone thinks anymore. I tried for years to not call attention to myself (hard to believe, I know) and certainly not for being different. That all changed about five years ago and I find that the truer I am to myself, the happier I am.

It’s a cliché but it rings true for me. I’m great at being me and I don’t care quite so much anymore what anyone thinks although it doesn’t hurt that I’ve gotten tons of positive reinforcement the further down my personal path I go.

My neighbor dropped off some books at the library and cuddled the birds a bit. She told me how much she loved what I’ve done and it’s only a matter of time before there is a big article about it in the paper.

“Oh god. Anything but that,” I said. “No matter how positive the article is, someone who is resentful because they can’t have a chicken coop/library at their house will report me to the city. I just know it.”

So there will be no word of it anywhere. You’ll just have to stop by.

I’ll leave you with this lovely image, a little bird that Scratchy painted for me. It’s perhaps my most favorite piece of art ever.

So cute I could just die

So cute I could just die

Have a beautiful day.

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  1. Pingback: Welcoming the Fall | Vivienne's Process of Elimination

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