Saturday, November 5, 2011

A New (warm) Hawk Mews

OK, I have been holding off blogging about this project so that I could present the entire story, with a lot of pictures, though the project is not considered complete.  There is still a lot to be done, but for now one of the first major goals has been achieved, with much thanks to my husband Richard, with a lot of help from his brother Brian.

Back in July Richard saw the following item up for auction on one of the many sites he follows.  He pointed it out to me, and at first I was skeptical, but with further thought about it, decided it was not such a bad idea.  We took the 3.5 hour trip to go see it, West of the Twin Cities.  It was an electrician contractor's job shack.  It has seen some wear and tear, but is basically sound, and a good shell to build up a "mobile" mews . . . that is, one that could be moved from the farm to our eventual home, once we purchase one.  I decided it was a worthy project, so Richard was on hand at the end of the online auction, and placed the winning bid for me.  With taxes and fees, it was $470.  Not really a bad price for a little trailer.
It has updated wiring inside (they were electricians after all) and there is a propane heating unit, which up to this point still has not been tested, and may never be.  It also came with two air conditioning units, one of which is totally shot, and was parted out.  The other runs, but not sure if it cools.  I'm not particularly concerned about it right now.  Richard and Brian and myself made the trip back to where it was located, and Rich hitched it to his truck, and drove it back to the farm.  It took twice as long to return as we couldn't go much faster than about 45 to 50 mph.  They parked it alongside one of the many work sheds on the farm.
Both dogs inspected it when it arrived.
I've taken pictures of what the entire inside looked like, but for now I'm only going to focus on the one room (which is now the South room) as it is the first room to be converted.  Originally I wanted to have a warm mews so I could get a kestrel, or maybe a merlin, but then the Harris Hawk became available and I added her to my license.  So she was the bird that the room was destined for.  Let me clarify as well . . . when I say I need a "warm" mews, I simply mean one that I can maintain above freezing.  Harris Hawks are adapted to live in the desert, and it does get cold at night in the desert, but they are not adapted to deal with anything much below the 20s Fahrenheit.  She will be comfortable in her new home.

This is the BEFORE picture, taken on site before we won the auction.  There were shelves installed holding the electrician's equipment.  After the auction all of this stuff was gone, but there were still shelves.  This is the only room in the trailer, with a sealing door, so we started there.  Also to clarify, I say "we" but really, I didn't do anything, other than dump money into my own personal money pit.  Rich and Brian did all the work.
Out those shelves go!  The parts were saved and reconstructed to make stand alone shelves which were moved into our storage shed, so my stuff in storage got re-organized as well.
As the shelves were removed, it was discovered that the floor and wall on the back side were highly damaged from a water leak.  The leak was isolated, and fixed, but that side of the building needed to be completely rebuilt.
The insulation was substandard as well, so with the refit, all new insulation was installed.
Here they are completely rebuilding the wall.
And the floor . . . though the floor was actually done first.
Then there are some missing pictures, because a lot of progress was made over a period of days that I was working, so I wasn't around to take pictures.  All four windows in the room were replaced with brand new ones, then the new insulation installed, and here below, the new panels over it all.  These are bathroom style panels, easily cleaned up from the hawk poop (slices) which surely will be coating the walls quickly.
Rich is finishing up the new wall panels.
He then custom built the window bars as required by the falconry regulations, but went one step further and made them attached to hinges, so in the summer months I may easily open the windows to let the fresh air in.
At some point during all this construction they also replaced one of the two doors (the more inferior of the two) on the 'Hawk Shack'.  This replacement door was also purchased from an auction.  The other door opens into the room that is being converted.  For now it is being closed off for the winter.  Next year when it gets warm, I'd like to have a full door with the bars made so I can open that in good weather. 
Rich used his welding skills to custom make perch fittings.  Here he is installing one of them.
I had him pose with his drill.  Actually . . . that's MY battery operated drill!!  Behind him is the closed off door.  The hawk gets to look at the Pink Panther all winter.
The final stage was to introduce the room to the hawk.  She has taken to it quickly, and bounces between the windows to see what is going on outside.

So that is the one room of the 'Hawk Shack'.  The rest of the shack has a lot of storage shelves, which I will be leaving to store all my junk.  The floor at the door needs work, and the other side of the trailer could also be converted to a second mews . . . but that is a project for another day.  For now . . . I am quite delighted with the gift I've been given from Rich.  Thank You Rich!!  And Brian!!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant idea! Two of my favorite things...vintage trailers and falconry. I look forward to exploring your blog, having just discovered it. Happy hunting!