Tag: St. Louis


 Home Cheep Home

In the middle of our other spring project, the timing was right to get our new pets, but that started the six-week clock for building them a place to live. Because, trust me, you do not want these critters living in your basement permanently. Noah helped me start the framing, and after a full weekend of work, we had the beginnings of a coop. After that, the weather stopped cooperating for a while, so it took a couple of weeks to get back to it. In the meantime, I stumbled across a ridge vent at Lowe’s on clearance for $2 that seems to work pretty good on top. I guess we’ll have to wait for summer to find out if it does a good job of keeping things cool inside.
My design was roughly based on the Catawba Coops design, with some modifications to increase the interior space. It’s also a foot wider at the base. Beware of these design changes, however! You will wind up with a portable coop that isn’t really all that portable — I think ours weighs about 150 pounds. I also got inspiration from the many designs available on Backyard Chickens. Ours combines features from several different ones.
After another full weekend, we were almost done with construction. One exterior wall and the roof got a coat of primer and two coats of exterior paint, while all of the other exposed wood got a couple of thin coats of Thompson’s Water Seal. I also sealed the edges of all the boards with silicone caulk. We ended up taking the fancy waterer back and just ordering some poultry nipples on Amazon and making our own from a couple of plastic juice bottles.
Now for some lessons learned. If you go with a design that involves a ramp, make sure it is no steeper than 45 degrees, and you will want rungs attached to the ramp every three inches, or your pullets will find it difficult to climb. My initial plan involved a removable wall made from a single sheet of half-inch plywood. After the first rain, however, this board warped pretty badly, so I ended up scrapping that and replacing it with hinged panels (patent pending) and some foam weatherstripping to keep the rain out. These have performed flawlessly so far. The most expensive material by far is the wire mesh (which is actually half-inch hardware cloth), but as we have learned from reading up on the subject, chicken wire only keeps chickens in, it doesn’t keep predators out. Another indispensable design item is the “poop tray” which is essentially a litter box filled with Sweet PDZ that completely eliminates the odor and makes collecting the droppings for your compost quick and painless.
We are lucky to have the OK Hatchery nearby for our chicks, feed, and other supplies, and as they have told us, “you chicken people are taking over the world!” Now we are just looking forward to gathering eggs! Stay tuned for pictures of our first omelets!

 Cavalia

Cavalia horse showWe were fortunate enough to get a chance to see the Cavalia show while it was here in St. Louis. Created by one of the founding members of Cirque du Soleil, this show is an incredible mix of dance, acrobatics and horsemanship. It is visually stunning, and the athleticism displayed by the riders, acrobats, and the horses is awe inspiring. If you love horses, you should definitely see this show.

 The Music of John Williams

Noah at Powell HallNoah’s first visit to see the St. Louis Symphony was, appropriately, to hear the music of John Williams, complete with characters from Star Wars in the lobby of Powell Hall. We’ve been talking about the instruments of the symphony in his music class, but he really enjoyed seeing them in real life. And I enjoyed watching his reaction.

I also enjoyed hearing some of my favorite John Williams pieces, like the themes from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park, as well as Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace which they recreated perfectly with help from the St. Louis Symphony Choir — it’s enough to give you goosebumps.

 Staycation Day 6

Although many people are unaware of it, St. Louis County boasts a world-class wolf sanctuary. Originally founded by Marlin Perkins, the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka houses several species of endangered wolves and foxes from around the world. We spent the final day of our staycation on a tour of the facility. I guess we had pretty good luck because we saw quite a few wolves and some of them were active despite the heat. I’m including a short video below of our wolf-watching adventure. We followed it up with a fantastic seafood lunch at Gulf Shores in Creve Coeur.

 The Midwest Peace Process

Frequent readers of this blog know that I do not shy away from political topics. Quite the contrary, I am something of a political junkie. But when the traditional sources for a junkie to get his fix (newspapers, cable TV, etc.) now have to be avoided like a contaminated needle, what is a junkie to do? Become a dealer of course!

Myself and a couple of fellow addicts have grown tired of what passes for political discourse in this country. We’re tired of being told that there are only two sides to each issue. So we’ve started our own podcast to provide our own perspective on the issues, while still helping others get their fix. We’re calling it The Midwest Peace Process, and between the three of us, we offer a unique mix of opinions from the left, right, and beyond. So, if you’re tired of the TV pundits shouting at each other (and at you), why not take the opportunity to give us a listen? We promise we won’t shout. Be sure to like us on Facebook too!

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