Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pallet Projects

I have a source of unlimited free pallets, but it wasn't until recently I decided to put them to use. Up until last week or so I just hauled them to the new retreat to be torn up for everything from firewood to building supplies to fencing. However the trip costs me a tank of gas there and back, and I've been feeling cheap lately. The last trailer load just sat in the grass by our drive, looking bad and annoying the neighbors.

Thankfully the daytime temps have begun to drop, thereby encouraging me to emerge from the blasting a/c and get some work done. Of course it wouldn't be me if I didn't start four projects at once and then quit halfway through, so naturally I plotted out four different projects for my pallet bonanza.

Chicken Coop Deck
Last winter we got a lot of snow, which resulted in the path from the back door to the coop turning into a muddy, slushy mess. Since our winter is predicted to be a bad one this go-round, I'm building a deck to run along the side of the coop, allowing me to gather eggs and get into the coop without having to go mud bogging. The Mr. gets these great little pallets from work that are perfect for this project. The slats are wide and thick and placed close together, and the size is perfect for the walkway back to the back door steps.

Of course I didn't bother to level underneath it before slapping the pallets down, so now I get to go back and do that after the fact. I'm getting a load of dirt in on Monday, and will level the ground out. Then I'll bolt the sections together, and run an end cap along that open edge to both stabilize the deck and make it look better. It's redneck engineering and in a wetter climate would probably rot to pieces in a few years, but out here where rain is an anomaly it'll last a good while.

Chicken Coop Planter
I'd put in a half assed bed here last year but within a week the bermuda had taken over. Have I ever mentioned how much I despise bermuda? I can't kill it all off because the Mr. is determined that it cover our backyard, so all I can do is try to thwart it's determination to take over my garden and flower beds. This raised bed is made from the narrow pallets ripped lengthwise. The top board comes from the pallets I source, which have rounded edges and are practically new so they look nice. I'll wind up covering the entire front with these since the pallets I used for the framework are rather ratty. The inside is lined under and inside with cardboard boxes that I get for free from a friend who works at the newspaper. Once I get it all lined, I'll layer in a mix of the powdered chicken poo from the earlier coop cleaning, rotted straw, topsoil, bunny poo, kitchen scraps, leaves, etc. This will be planted with smelly stuff to both sweeten up the coop smell, and drive off bugs. Rosemary, mint, lemon grass, marigolds, etc.

Chicken Yard Fence
These are those awesome pallets I get from my unlimited pallet source. They've only been used once, left indoors, and have those great rounded edges. I'd been letting the chickens out to run around the entire yard, but between pooping everywhere and eating all the grapes, it's time to restrict them to their own yard. I'm going to do a cheater foundation by pouring Quickcrete between the bottom two slats and framing a little on the outside. This will go down an additional pallet, then angle back towards the fence to make way for the garden. The gate will be a pallet on the angle, which can be closed to keep them in their yard, or opened and latched to a pallet garden fence to allow them into the garden during the off months.

Those license plates there shingle the hinged lid to the nest boxes. I got those free from the tax office, make great shingles!

Please excuse the horrible mess. That trash can is full of trimmings from the Mimosa in the chicken yard, and the bucket and duct and wire and whatnot was all stacked neatly but when things get in my way I tend to toss them wherever and deal with it later. Probably should have picked it up for photos...

Aquaponics Greenhouse
This won't get started until probably next month or so. I need to level the area it will be at. Think pallet walls, with PVC pipe arched from one side to the other going through the top rail of the pallet walls, then greenhouse film over that, for an 8' x 16' or 20' cold frame hoop house.

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