Thursday, 30 May 2013

A duck house that doesn't cost the British taxpayer anything!

In a continuing quest to make as much of the stuff we do here from scratch and using recycled materials here is the tale of “The Pallet Duck House”
We’re lucky here in that the local garden center/agricultural suppliers in the local town put all their non returnable or damaged pallets out for general use. I think most people round here gather them for firewood as they do make good kindling. Here at Chez Powell we’re aiming for something a bit more creative. My skills are not yet complete and I’m a long way off some of the creations you can find with a quick google search but I have a go. Like the poly tunnel below I’m not going to claim that this is a “how to....” but a “how I did it”

The basic frame was made up of 5 pallets. One we found with no spaces for the base. I then attached one on each of three sides. I then took apart some that weren't suitable for use whole and used them to fill in the gaps. Ducks like a draft free but ventilated home so I overlapped the gap fillers leaving a gap at the top for ventilation.

As with all here crazy child is optional!

The front is another whole pallet, with a gap cut out for a door and restrengthened across the bottom. Ducks can be quite messy so I’ve built it (I would use the word design but to call anything I do a design would be an insult to designers and engineers everywhere) so that it can be lifted out for ease of cleaning. I’ve included a close up of what I came up with for those who are interested! It is simply two offset planks screwed into the sides. As with the sides the gaps were filled with more broken down pallet planks. The door is knocked up from some old bits of wood reclaimed from inside the house.

The closest thing to a design feature I've ever done!

The roof is the only bit we bought new. I don’t trust my skills enough to build a watertight roof from pallets so this was a concession. We did have a good look around for something suitable but couldn't find anything. It’s 10mm plywood cut to overhang the house. We put some baton round the edge for strength and some bit so it would sort of slot into place over the house. On either side I also put so pallet planks for extra wind proofing.

Shot so you can see the overlapping idea

So there it is. A nearly free duck house not paid for by the British taxpayer!! We put in 5 ducks from a very nice English lady with a farm up the road. (I would imagine you’ll hear more about them in the future!) However, there was an unfortunate incident involving an escape and a PBGV called Lottie. We now have three, who continue to astound us with their ability to get out of their enclosure through gaps I can’t even get my hand through.

Don't let her fool you, she's a cold blooded killer, attack dog (So long as you are small and feathered)
By way of a general update, as we're writing and all. Veg garden is pretty much all sown and most is coming along nicely despite this "interesting" spring weather Europe is having. Thanks to Maz we're also trialing some permiculture. This year is mostly to see what will survive the Correzienne winter before we do some actual designed planting in the next couple of years. We broke out War of the Ring this week as well, it was looking like I was going to crush the the Free peoples in full totalitarian style when Mrs Powell put in a cheeky military sortie in the North and stole victory from under me! Next time do-gooding elves, next time! I've also finished A Song of Ice and Fire, now I have to wait for George R R Martin to stop fannying around with the TV series and get writing the last two books.