Monday, July 13, 2015

Stone Soup Construction

I've been working on a small building project...

in order to make a home for some of these...

I didn't want to invest a ton into this project since I am not sure how it is going to work out.  I want some guinea hens to help out with the tick problem, but I'm a bit worried about whether they will survive here.  Since my schedule is so goofy, I can't be around in the evening to lock them up.  I am providing food, water and shelter, but they are going to have to fend for themselves for the most part.

I am hoping that the donkeys will help protect them from predators while the guineas help protect the herd from ticks.  I figure that if the worst happens though and the guineas get eaten or take off into the wilderness (which they do sometimes), this could turn into a greenhouse.

This is what I call stone-soup construction.  Aside from the wire, the entire thing is made out of scrap lumber and leftovers.  I added skids on the corners to make it portable.

Much to their delight, the equines got to help out.  I took down a couple of small beech trees that were growing in a bad spot to use as roosts and I enlisted the herd's help in cleaning them up for me.  Beech leaves are the ultimate in delightfully delicious delectables. 

Within a couple of hours they had the trees polished clean without even a speck of bark left on them. 

The ever helpful donkey.  They make excellent carpenters.

Finally time to see if it really will move without disintegrating...

Success.  I had intended to move it farther up the hill, but the mud is so deep I was afraid of getting bogged down. 

If all goes well and the guineas work out, I will probably cover this in greenhouse plastic to make it a more permanent structure.  For now, it just has to provide containment and enough shelter to keep them happy for about a week.  After that, I hope to let them out to free range, once they know that this is home now. 

It it Sunday afternoon as I write this and we are planning on moving the guineas tonight after dark.  That should be interesting.


  1. Exciting; I hope the experiment will be an all-out success!
    Looks like the windbreaker-snowdrift-blocker trees you planted along the driveway are growing very well. Hope this is true for all the trees you planted (and were worried about for a while).

  2. from what I understand, guinea hens are not the smartest of creatures. But hopefully their survival instincts are good.

  3. Wonderful! Another ingenious project unfolding! Hope you have great success.

  4. Your guinea tractor/greenhouse turned out quite nice. I definitely like the door. The little 'buggers' should be very happy in their new home.

  5. I know that Beverly at Bee Haven has Guinea Hens too and her hens roost in the trees at night. I imaginee for safety. Will you come to Boston and build me a little flower studio in my back yard? And a new shed (or at least repair the one that's falling down)? And while your'e at it, I could use a moderately sized greenhouse for starting seeds in the spring. Just let me know when you can come! :)

  6. What a great simple idea! The donkey Carpenters peeled the rail so perfectly!

  7. Guineas worked out very well with my horses and cattle. After they got used to each other...and later when I had chickens that ranged in the woods, everyone seemed quite content.

  8. That looks like something I would do! Except move it. Once the guineas get older you won't have to worry. They roost high and will always return home even if you drive them down the road and drop them off at the neighbors.

  9. I love your shelter! Well done! I can't wait to hear the "catching guineas" part of the story.

  10. I've seen guineas roosting high in trees. That ought to protect them from a lot of nocturnal predators. Good luck with 'em.

  11. i love it - it's a fab shelter. it reminds me of when, as kids, we hauled stuff to the orchard or a pasture to improvise a tent or shelter to camp out on sultry days and nights in july or august. this is 50 years or so ago ... (i can't believe i've graduated to telling "back in the old days" stories. aiyeee.). wonder why the mosquitoes didn't drive us back inside then? unlike THIS YEAR, with all the rain. you can't be outside any time of day now. we're on our second day in a row without rain or a shower - that's probably a record since may, or maybe even since easter. eager to hear how the guineas take to their new home. --suz in ohio