What didn't work
Today I had the brilliant idea of making a chook tractor (portable cook pen) out of an old abandoned BBQ.
This beast on wheels was left abandoned at Highfield. I suspect it no longer worked, in any case we were not going to revive it as a BBQ. I actually don't see the point of gas BBQs. I like the smokey wood / coal smell that a real BBQ imparts and so to me this beast was just junk or fit for recycling and the idea was to recycle it into a chook tractor.
The idea was to remove the BBQ bit and to enclose the frame with weld mesh. I could roll it out to the bit of grass I wanted munched and pop the girls in and they could do their thing, scratching and eating.
Good idea right?
Disassembly was going well and soon, with a bit of fiddling, I got the beast down to the frame - the bit that I wanted.
I even cut out and fitted a bit of weld mesh to the top. So what went wrong you ask?
Well I took a look at the space under the frame and tried to imagine a little chooky or two inside it trying to scratch away... behind a bit of weld mesh... I decided that there was barely room for one chooky to turn around, let alone the tribe of 4 lasses. It didn't seem like the right thing to do to lock one girlie into a space that was so small to go to work for me so I decided to abandon the idea. But there was an unexpected outcome.
Feeding the chooks
I can hear someone saying, "Every cloud has a silver lining" or "Make a silk purse from a sows ear", or something equally annoying saying? (Please, please, out of my head!)
In detaching the BBQ bit I found that there were loads of mud wasp nests attached - 7 in total. I was grateful it was not hatching season.
In a re-purposing mood and with chookies in mind, I saw these nests and thought - chook food. I broke the nests off the frame,
and broke them open.
Inside the hard mud encrustations were not only the larvae of the mud wasp, but also loads of dead spiders, stuffed in each cell presumably to feed the baby mud wasp.
Earlier in the year we had watched a mud wasp build its nest on the front verandah of the house and we had watched as they stuffed fresh spiders inside the egg cavity.
Here on the right is the huge nest we watched being built on the wall of the house under the protection of the verandah. It along with other smaller nests are being left to do their thing.
Take a look at the three-coloured mud.
As there are loads of these nests all over the property, including ones we have left on the verandah, I didn't feel too bad about breaking into the BBQ ones and feeding the chooks.
Well, the girlies had a ball, some seemed to prefer the larvae, some preferred the more numerous spiders. I had a ball too watching their delight in their new strange food source. I wish I could show you some photos of the happy lasses, but so keen and eager were they to dive in and run off with their loot as I was breaking open the cases, it was impossible to get a snap. You will just have to believe me. My mood, previously stormy at a wasted day, improved markedly!
I have decided that there should be a new aphorism for these sort of situations. It might go something like this, "When you have had enough, go feed a chook".
Anyone want a dead gas BBQ?