Why It’s Important to Measure Twice and Cut Once

Having a Good Plan is the Best Way to Avoid Mistakes

The importance of planning became evident this morning while working on a project at home. I mis-figured and cut two boards the wrong length. Fortunately, the cut was too long rather than too short. The boards were salvageable, it just wasted a couple of 3” pieces.

My wife had been wanting some chickens and the opportunity came up a few weeks back. My sister had more chickens than she needed as well as a small (3’ x 6’) chicken pen/coop that she didn’t need.

The goal or purpose of chickens is to have fresh eggs as well as reducing bugs. (Also, my wife loves hearing a rooster crow.) We can’t let the chickens out because the dog and them wouldn’t get along. If we leave them in one location for more than a few days, there won’t be any grass left in that spot.

It’s up to me to find a solution…

The best solution is a mobile pen that can moved around, otherwise known as a “chicken tractor”. The difference between our pen and a “chicken tractor” is the ease of portability. Our pen needs some wheels.

My problem solving/builder brain kicked in.

The pen is two separate units attached together which allows it to flex in the middle when moved. The more flexing done when moved, the weaker the attachment of the two sections will get. Okay, this means we need a frame that will prevent this from happening.

The next thing is wheels. We need to keep the pen down tight to the ground so that snakes can’t get in and get the eggs but make it so it can be rolled when it needs moved. They need to be able to be raised and lowered.

Back to the plan and minimizing mistakes.

An important part of a plan is knowing the cost upfront. Most ready to go chicken tractors of a comparable size are between $350 to $500. So, one question a plan can provide, “Can I modify the one we have so that it will do what we need for less money?”

I found a 2x4x16’ rough cedar board in the shop, left over from a project, that will work for the frame. I’ve got an old push lawn mower that doesn’t work… it has adjustable wheels. I think those will work. I have plenty of screws, etc. for fastening. So…zero cost for material.

Now comes the design and engineering phase.

I neglected to put any of my ideas into a drawing and this is where the mistake that I spoke about earlier happened. It was a simple mistake. One that was easily fixed but could have been avoided with a simple drawing. It was a miscalculation and dimensions on a plan would have shown this.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re modifying a chicken pen or building a multi-million-dollar building, both turn out better with a plan. The same is true for your life. The end result will be better having a plan and being intentional about implementing it.

The two boards that I cut too long because I didn’t have a plan on this little project was an easy fix. A new home or your life might not be so easy or inexpensive.

I will let you know how the finished project turns out!

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