Tour de backyard

Things are finally greening up, and our chicks are rounding out. Here’s some photos taken during a brief moment between rainshowers.

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View from the deck

 

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Rhonda, guest blog writer
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Curiosity
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Deck, featuring our newly painted privacy/shade; cue Jaeda.
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Happydog
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deck and le spa
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coop backside: painting in progress, also still need to build on the roost boxes

Cooptastic

The coop is up! Chicks spent their first night outside in their new pad, seemed to like the change in scenery and extra space.

Also, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day! This goes out to my mama especially, but also warm thoughts and memories for those who’s Mother’s aren’t just a phone call away. Love you!

 

chicken coop backyard
chicken coop backyard

Here chicky-chicky

So the workbench, while crafty, was just a precursor to this next project. The end-product here will be an outdoor chicken coop, but I decided to break this project into parts. For Phase 1, I built just the internal structure. This will serve as our pullet’s home, a brooder box in the garage, for the first few months while they grow.

When it’s time, I will finish this coop by adding:

– a roof

– foam insulation and siding to the exterior

– cut a door on one end and add nesting boxes to one side

– put the whole thing up on sturdy 4×4 stilts

– add on a screen/chickenwire run so they can roam outdoors

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Oh, and despite her typical solemn gaze, Jaeda’s tail is wagging enthusiastically above – ready to call the brooder her own, haha!

Three Extra Feet

Demoing a pair of 36in peg stilts, custom made by the good folks over at http://www.thespinsterz.com/

It’s been 10 years since I’ve stilt-walked, so the first few steps were treacherous as I clung to my zombiecusher, a pair of kneepads the only thing between me and the distant pavement. My internal gyroscope was working good this morning, and I was gallivanting about the parking lot in no-time:

Standy Desk : revisited

So it’s been a month and a half since Standy Desk was born. I reckon that it’s time for an update.

I’m personally happy to say, that I use it every day, (yep, that’s right, I’m rhymin’ now too). I stuck with it the first week, which was tough on the feet and legs. After that, it was smooth sailing and I strut my stuff a good 6+ hours a day for work now.

I take a few breaks: for lunch, meeting and calls…where I can sit down at my laptop. I also have a small table next to the desk where I can move my main monitor…if I wanna ‘chill like a vill’.

As a whole, I’m writing about Standy Desk to encourage it to others. I’m not necessarily preaching…it’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s worth a shot. There’s literally billions of people who stand for 8+ hours a day. Hell, there’s probably that many who are moving nonstop for well over that amount of time. For a nerdy web developer like me, it’s the least of physical exertions that I could muster.

So, for a fun little carpentry and personal challenge, it’s proved very successful. I recommend it and if you stick through the first week or so, it’ll may just add a couple years to your life 😉

 

 

StandyDesk:Accomplished

So it’s stained (and aired out) and setup in my office now (okay, not completely aired out, bleh).

I put a good four or so hours on it yesterday, and it’s perfect! The height is spot-on, and I just have a folded towel that I stand on for now, basically a pad to keep my feet from getting sore. Woke up this AM with tight calves, so there’s muscles being worked, that’s for sure.

A few monitor cords are a bit short to reach the floor (hence the propped up PC and surge protector), but the setup is otherwise exactly how I imagined it.

StandyDesk

So several months ago…actually it was July4th…I was celebrating the holiday at a friends house and her husband works from home (much like I now do). I was given a quick tour of the house and stopped at office, noticing the strange setup he had. It was a 4-legged desk, sitting up ontop of cinder blocks.

“Oh, that’s my desk” Chris said.

“It’s…uhh, tall,” I replied. The monitor was at eye-level for me, over 6′ from the ground.

“Yep, I stand.”

“Like all day?” I asked.

“Oh yeah. Well, I’ll sit in the chair if I’m on a call or reviewing paperwork,” he replied, gestured over to an armchair in the corner of the room.

 

So fastforward to October, and I myself am working from home, sitting at my desk for eight hours a day. Often it’s even longer, as I spend a good bit of my free time on the Internets, emailing, blogging, writing, playing MineCraft…and well, some days I basically go from my bed to my computer, to the bed. It’s sad really. I have a decent office chair, one of those executive-types, but even the nicest, most ergonomic chair on the market isn’t ideal for ones health and posture. In the last few weeks I’ve been considering Chris’s standing desk idea harder.

 

There are many benefits to standing, including:

1. Weight Loss, muscle tone, exercise: Computer work is so sedentary! Just standing works muscles and burns tons of calories.

2. Helps back and spine: Standing promotes good posture. It helps wrists and other assorted body parts too. It is ideal to have monitors at eye level (where head is straight, not up or down) and arms are at 90 degree angle at elbow

3. Increases focus: no drooping, sagging, lazing; body is at attention; helps blood flow and breathing; motivates to be productive (less likely to surf web, watch dumb youtube videos, etc, since standing time is more valuable and requires effort)

4. Achieves genuine tiredness: Standing promotes better quality sleep due to actual body exhaustion. Most people have trouble sleeping when their body hasn’t done anything all day.

5. A standing desk looks cool, frees up floor space, is easier to keep clean, and I feel will generally become one of those “I was doing it before it was cool” sort of trends. More and more medical stuff comes out every year that ties sedentary office sitting to all sorts of health problems.

6. Famouse standers include:Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. I’d believe that I’d like to count myself among these folk :p

 

Of course, there are also some downsides to a standing desk. Really just one actually…and it’s that my feet will fucking hurt! But alas, I’m a tough guy. I’ve worked as a line cook, I can handle long shifts standing. Okay, well maybe it’ll suck for the first few days, haha. I might need to invest in a little square of foam or carpet too. I plan to use a chair for conference calls or have my laptop on a lower surface incase I need to sit down every couple hours.

 

There are a lot of resources out there, and lots of people promoting standing desks:

http://artofmanliness.com/2011/07/05/become-a-stand-up-guy-the-history-benefits-and-use-of-standing-desks/

http://smarterware.org/7102/how-and-why-i-switched-to-a-standing-desk

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/10/how-standing-desk-changed-my-life.php

http://blogs.hbr.org/your-health-at-work/2010/08/the-many-benefits-of-standing.html

 

 

So where were we? Ahh yes! I was considering the switch myself.My first interest was an actual standing desk, but they are unavailable at retail stores, and pricy online. Most are drawing tables, adjustable, or are meant for commercial/industrial use and way too expensive. The solution? Make my own!

 

First, I sketched out the design on paper. Next I measured my eyeball height, which will be center on the middle of my monitors. Last, I measured the height of my fingers at the ‘proper’ height near my hips where the keyboard/mouse should go. Then, off to Home Depot. I spent $30 on lumber, brackets and screws. I later went back and spent $20 for stain, sandpaper, paintbrush, etc.Total expenditure was $50.

 

Next, I put together the frame. It consists of 2x4s and a 1×12 for the tabletops, connecting them with screws and metal L brackets. Then I used some 1×2 boards to reinforce and prevent wobbling on the left/right and front/back axis. I gave it a really good sanding, then applied a stain/polyurethane product.

The last step is another coating of stain, then it’s good to go! I’ll post a blog update (with pictures) when I have it setup in my office. Then I’ll have a follow-up update next week covering my woefully aching feet and legs 🙂