I love my pet chick­ens. I don’t always love what they do to my garden.

If you have vis­ited here before, you may know that I’m in the habit of let­ting the chick­ens go on walk­a­bout for a few hours in the late after­noon and early evening. This is the time of day they have fin­ished their egg lay­ing chores and are ready for a lit­tle bit of exer­cise and fresh air. Gen­er­ally, I’m either out­side nearby or have the win­dows open so that I can hear the dis­tinc­tive alarm that means “Warn­ing! Warning!”

But I can’t always keep an eye on all the hens. They amble here, run there and gen­er­ally take in the whole front and back yard scam­per­ing after bugs, worms, snakes and sala­man­ders. Rarely do they travel in  one large pack. They usu­ally amble around in twosies and three­sies. Tina Turner is usu­ally off in her own la-la land.

The fence around the potager keeps them out of trou­ble there. But they can play heck with the rest of the place with their deter­mined scratch­ing, scratch­ing, scratch­ing for bugs. And the Num­ber One Rule of Chicken For­ag­ing is:  Dig up any­thing Robin just planted.

The last straw was when they absolutely destroyed a beau­ti­ful new Heuchera ‘Mys­te­ria’ . It was a gor­geous bur­gundy and pink in full bloom. They scratched it out of exis­tence. Baaaaad chickens!

So, for one of the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas projects I decided to build some cloches to pro­tect the newly planted. Lowe’s pro­vided a $100 gift card and let me loose to make some­thing under the head­ing of “Fur­ni­ture Fun.”

Now, let me state right up front that I have exactly ZERO expe­ri­ence doing wood­work­ing projects. I have no wood­work­ing power tools except for a drill. I had no pat­tern to fol­low. I just had an idea. So, here’s what I came up with.

Don’t laugh too hard. And don’t send me links of your own gor­geous wood­work­ing projects to make me feel even more inept. I don’t think it’s bad at all for some­one who never did her own wood­work­ing project in her life. And it works!

For the project, I used the fol­low­ing mate­ri­als and tools:

- Strips of craft wood
– Chicken wire
– L-brackets of two dif­fer­ent sizes—big and less big (I think those are the tech­ni­cal terms)
– Power sta­pler
– Wire cut­ters
– Screws
– Screw­driver
– Metal joint tacks
– Hand saw
– Ham­mer
– White out­door deck stain
– Paint brush
– Sand­ing pad

I cut strips of the wood and assem­bled them into squares. I used joint tacks to hold them together and then sta­pled squares of the chicken wire. I topped that assem­blage with another assem­bled wood square. I attached the squares together using L-brackets and then painted the whole contraption—I mean cloche.

I will be mak­ing more cloches of dif­fer­ent sizes. For the next cloche I will paint the wood strips before assem­bling the squares so that the naked wood isn’t show­ing between the sandwiched-together squares. It will also help to pro­tect the cloche out in the rain. I think I’ll also inves­ti­gate some of the classes that Lowe’s offers from time to time to see if I can get some real help learn­ing more wood­work­ing skills.

My first Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas project—a con­crete planter—is here.

Check back here through­out the next few months, because there are more projects, give­aways and other blog­gers’ projects to explore.

Lowe’s has some pretty cool Pin­ter­est boards too. Go check them out.


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Filed in: Chickens, DIY, Gardening

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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