If you don’t know the history of the Taj Mahal, it’s a story about love.
Mumtaz Mahal was the most beloved wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who ruled India from 1628 until 1658. Mumtaz died during the birth of their 13th child. Filled with grief, Shah Jahan went into secluded mourning for an entire year after her death. Yet immediately after her burial, Jahan and the imperial court devoted themselves to the planning and design of the mausoleum and funerary garden in Agra, which took more than 22 years to complete. Mumtaz was Shah Jahan’s constant companion and trusted confidant, and the Taj Mahal stands as the ultimate monument to their love and an homage to her beauty and life. Read more here.
O.M.G.!!!! This is totally the same story as our chicken coop (well, I mean, it’s really really close, right?)!
Our small flock of six arrived way back in March, at which time we had to start making plans for their home. Having never built any kind of structure ever in our lives, we started sketching out plans on napkins and such, thinking about the easiest possible way to build a completely awesome chicken coop. What could be harder than building a box and putting some chickens in it, right?
We enthusiastically broke ground in early April, laying the foundation and building the walls for what would eventually be their new home. As the walls came together, we realized that our coop probably wasn’t going to be large enough. So we threw all of our plans out the window, and instead of taking it all apart (who would do that!?), we just doubled the size of one of the walls by building a second of the same size… (Yes, I can hear you saying that doesn’t make ANY sense.) This would be the first of many spontaneous building “maneuvers” that would lead to more and more makeshift “improvements” in our coop design, as we realized we didn’t think of this or that ahead of time…
As the summer continued, our chicks grew into chick(hen)s and our flock grew from six to fourteen. They (and their smell) were no longer welcome in the house. Of course, the coop wasn’t quite complete (or wasn’t even close to complete), and we made a temporary shelter for a place to call “home.”
And then, we had our first egg. In August. On the ground. Outside of the shelter… Because the coop was still in progress. Uh oh.
As though there wasn’t enough pressure, the race was on to get things completed. On occasion we would make a comment such as, “After we finish this, we’ll be almost done!” As those comments start to pile up, you begin to realize how many “little things” there really are to complete before you can say you’re actually done… And so you stop saying that you’re almost done, until you think you’re almost done, and then you realize again that you’re actually not.
Alas, we finally wrapped things up on the last day of August, moving our chickens into their happy, permanent home. Through the many hurdles and mishaps and plan additions, the coop is absolutely beautiful. We might have done everything 100% backwards, but that’s how things get done around here. We built a chicken coop from scratch, with no plans and having never built anything before… That’s impressive. Like the real Taj Mahal, our coop took a long time to come to completion. Like our visit to the Taj Mahal (and all things here at Earl’s Acres), building our coop was a grand adventure filled with mystery and laughter, sometimes sweat, blood and tears, and, most importantly, an overwhelmingly ridiculous, outpouring of love.