By Patty Wilber
I just finished my 2013 business tax summary, and while “Supplies” (which includes feed) and “Mileage” were my two most costly categories, “Repairs and Maintenance” was the most time consuming!
When we bought this house in 1997, Bernard, the old guy that lived here, asked Jim, “Are you handy?”
Bernard said, “There’s a lot to do.”
Then we added a bunch of horses and the list quadrupled.
Recently, we have been on a tear…I hire people and Jim does actual work…
Due to the drought, our “Dog Pen” (which for years had horses and dogs co-habitating) has lost some of the bigger trees that used to provide shade and shelter.
I decided to have a simple shelter built. (That’s me hiring. I got my favorite contractor–same one who re-roofed the barns after the hail storm, built our awesome patio, helped me site my round pen and did all the dirt work, redid a bathroom and did the amazing tile job and fireplace plaster in the living room. Fortunately, I was able to trade horse training for some of this!)
Unfortunately, there is a decent slope in that pen. So much for “simple.”
Here are the features: Railroad tie foundation, filled with crusher fines, split level (kind of like a 70’s house), barn red siding to match the *wait for it* barns, welded pipe dividers, FREE conveyer belting between the upper and lower tiers to keep horses from changing stories through the pipe, and a water catchment system. Very upscale!
There are still a few refinements in the works, like flashing over the railroad ties in the back so rain doesn’t leak in, and few bolts that need to be hack-sawed off. But the inhabitants have moved in.
Lacey and Cometa thought it looked like home right away while LT and Stetson were not so sure change was welcome!
Meanwhile, Jim was emptying the manure bins.
Jim was also moving dirt: to fill the stalls, replace lost dirt under the back shed (built by You Know Who), and stop Unwanted Flow.
When we removed the dilapidated chicken shed (I did actual physical work on that project), we created a gap in our railroad tie water deflection system. So, to keep flow from coming into the loafing area, we created a berm. The berm, however, needs to be periodically rebermed .
Jim also did dirt work to allow water to exit the property. He cleaned the culvert behind the barn and re-ditched.
(I dragged the arena.)
Now all we have left is to replace the tack room door, distribute the crusher-fines,
fix a saggy fence, add a few gates so the tractor can get into all the pens more easily, install some mats (aka conveyer belts),
re-gravel the driveway and empty the next manure bin (those things just do not stay empty).
We should be done just in time to start a whole new list!
I think I will go riding.
Nice thing about owning horses and cleaning up and repairing after them is how they save us from having to get memberships in a gym to keep in shape:)
I just came in from some outdoor maintenance to grab some ibu, and boy, that there is the certain truth!