Friday, August 8, 2008

Ramshackle Chicken Coop a.k.a. the "What-Have-You"

When we bought our house it came with this great dilapidated chicken coop. The adjacent two lots which had originally been attached to the 4 lots that make up our yard were split off and reserved for a future sale. We had the opportunity to buy them but declined since we already had enough weedy hillside to keep us busy and the thought of paying to maintain more seemed irrational. We also thought that a developer would have to be crazy to try to build a house on those lots since there was no road to them, they were on a fairly steep hillside and all of the other houses in the neigborhood are as ramshackle as ours.

We were sure it would be too cost prohibitive to build there on speculation. Our mistake was that we didn't appropriately account for the insane housing market bubble and the degree of unbridled greed that it created in many people. We were right about the crazy factor though, but again our mistake was to appropriately evaluate the near certain statistical probability that, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, there would be someone crazy enough to build on those lots. Of course, when you are dealing with a pool of lunatics as large as Los Angeles, there will always be someone crazy enough, foolish enough or greedy enough to do something that makes sense to almost no one else.

Nearly 3 years of construction, 4,800 cubic yards of earth removed (a dump truck holds about 9 yards for perspective) and 2 3,500 square foot homes later, the "What-have-you" (so named by the developer in disgust) stands in dilapidated defiance.

Now the question is: will chickens move in before the houses are sold and our new neighbors do? With an asking price of 1.2 million per home, my bet is on the chickens.

We've really enjoyed watching Mark Frauenfelder refurbish his coop. We, however, are a little torn between fixing up our "what-have-you" and starting from scratch in a slightly more private part of our yard.


  1. You've got sage! Salvia Clevelandii?? One of my favorites and a must for any yard for instant beauty and soul soothing aromatherapy. But I digress. Great contrast pix. Holy cow. Part of me says let your hens roost in plain view of the future neighbors - you never know what they'll learn. (the neighbors, that is)
    PS - I'm new to your blog. Found it by way of Homegrown Evolution. I am very much enjoying your posts. Thank you.

  2. Good eye! It's actually a hybrid of Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla called Pozo Blue.

    Here's a link if you are interested:

    We may just move some chickens in as you suggest. No one is living in the house and I don't think there will be anytime soon.



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