Smokey the Magnificent

Failing the Turing Test since 1986


I am building a chicken hutch. With power tools. It is tremendously ensmuggening. If Rambo and Wonder Woman had a baby, that baby would grow up and be me building a chicken hutch.

The best part? It impresses Rowan greatly. When I began she was following me around saying in escalating tones of worry “Um, Mummy? Not to be rude at all, but don’t you think you should wait until Daddy gets home? Are you serious about building a chicken hutch? You’re a twenty-nine-year-old woman! This isn’t going to end well! Won’t Daddy be mad if you wreck his wood? Are you allowed to use his tools?”

For the record, the wood in question was salvaged by me from a building-site dumpster (while wearing circle skirt, no less); and while the tools (a DeWalt multitool on heavy discount) were indeed bought by Daddy, they were bought on my advice because I knew I’d want to cut drywall at some point. Not to mention that Daddy’s experience with hutch-building is as null as my own. So, y’know. There’s legitimate acknowledgment of broad gender differences, and then there’s just being a git, pig.

Three days later, she stares at me in frank admiration while I wield the screwdriver and says “Wow, I didn’t know you had such skills!”

To be clear: I’m not saying her awe is entirely justified by results. At one point she and Miles were helping carry the half-completed hutch into the carport and a vital component fell off… for instance. And the lines have a sort of casual, hand-drawn quality, due to my cutting out hardboard with a tiny hand-held oscillating drywall-cutter instead of, say, a table saw. And the mitring on the A-frame has a certain ventilated, let’s-all-give-each-other-some-personal space aesthetic which doesn’t bode well for longevity. Plus I almost gave myself a C-section in a moment of slippage because I don’t have any clamps.

But still. As far as Rowan is concerned, I am Rosie the Riveter, mallet-twirling lumberjill who don’t need no man. I am now basking in the ill-defined but gratifying expectation that she will grow up changing her own tyres, kung-fuing muggers and pursuing a profitable STEM career. All because of me.

  1. Krissy

    What a good example you set. 😀

  2. Ryan

    And did you guys ever finish your outdoor pizza oven?

  3. Smokering

    It’s on hold. We built most of the base, which looks like a wishing-well and is half-filled with broken bricks, except now a friend of ours wants some of the broken bricks so it’ll be emptied again before we keep going. :p Cob needs dryish weather, so we decided to leave it over winter until the weather’s better; plus we’ll need a build a roof thing over it.

    In the meantime we (and to be clear, I mostly mean ‘I’) have created a small round lawn at one end of the garden, surrounded by cardboard and mulch – which will eventually be a fetching perennial border, but currently has about six tiny plants in it and looks a tad grim.

    Also I’ve been digging out another large round space on the side of a slope, to make a giant flat circle to grow veggies on. A crop circle, one might say. I have grand plans involving a porch swing in an arbor and wattle raised beds, but again, the current look isn’t exactly poetic.

    Ehh, we’ll get there. Or we’ll give up and tacitly decide to fester here forever while the house degenerates around us. Could go either way.