Monday, April 30, 2018

Pasure Shelter 2.0

Last year we made our own pasture shelter out of cattle panels, a tarp and some pallets. Through the winter the constant wind just totally destroyed the t-posts that were holding it upright and the posts bent.

My husband the engineer later informed me it was because they weren't true t-posts, they were garden posts and were a "U" shape which allowed them to bend. They were also cheaper.... Ah well, you live and learn and go back and overengineer the damn thing a second time.

So with the engineer husband on board to just REALLY make sure this thing is still semi-permanent but unlikely to blow over, we set about correcting the original design.

The first one was open on two sides with the cattle panels arcing over the top. Good for shade and not a three sided shelter.

We had to add some cross bracing so that if the wind blew, there would be strong enough resistance to the sheer force.
The animals are happy to be on plentiful grass, and just in time as I've run out of hay and the hay guy I called and reserved 50 with has blown me off.

I bought a few 8ft 2x4s only to discover yesterday when we went to go attach them that we had spaced the shelter to be 8 feet wide. WOMP WOMP.

Engineer husband had a great idea though. We had spare plywood in the shed and that was 8 feet long. He grabbed one full panel and a second as well. We slid the 8ft full panel on the north side closer to the fence line then cut plywood panels to overlap the plywood and the end of the pallets. My useless 2x4s became useful as an additional anchor point on the inside of the plywood so that the nice long screws wouldn't cause issues.

Voila! The structure stands once again with no slanted support! And hopefully much better wind resistance. Until our budget allows for a better run in shed, this will be serviceable and is ready for the beginning of the season of them on this pasture while I let the winter one start resting.

It felt good to get this done. We're also digging out the winter manure and spreading it in the other summer and winter pastures. It's already dry and broken down so it's being used to fill low spots and fertilize everything else. Spring is finally here!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Day Late but...

Happy Spring Equinox!

Tulips, Watercolor, by Amy (c)2018
The snow is gone from all but the shadiest spots. The temperature isn't quite warm but looks to be inching back up. Shedding season for Gwyn is on a roll and Saffron is stubbornly holding onto her coat still, which seems normal for her.

The seeds we ordered for our garden this year have arrived and we'll be planting those soon to get the starts nice and healthy before moving them outside. Once the nights stop being so cold we'll move the fish and aquaponics back outside. The goldfish have done well in the basement, the mojito mint just LOVES the aquaponics and the lemongrass did well too. Everything else got bug infested. We kept the spiders around though. Spiders are great garden friends.

I plan on making tea bags out of the mint. We have a dehydrator and I've got fill your own tea bags in my Amazon cart as we speak.

We will be rototilling the garden beds soon to prepare the soil for planting and adding more compost to them to beef up the soil level again, as things have settled through the winter.

Bring on the longer days and shorter nights!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Trailer Reorganization

One thing I really want to do to prep for show season this year is get my trailer organized and using the space efficiently for storage of necessary items. I take a lot with me, especially camping, and being able to store most of it in the tack room rather than the bed of my truck in totes would be very handy, especially since I put the tent up in the bed of the truck and thus have to unload everything first. This gets hampered when there is inclement weather. 

The current state of the dressing room in my trailer. AKA A Mess

Note the saddle pads and wool cooler thrown in haphazardly, the single saddle rack (I have the second in the barn), not nearly enough hooks, a whip holder installed by the previous owners, lots of buckets, my cross country vest and a huge water container for rides where there isn't water available (like when I trail ride)

There's the water container and bonus spare tire.

Oh! And my tent, which I want to rewaterproof, but just threw in after camping in October.  I'm so on top of things

NEED MOAR HOOKS.  There is also a handy dandy mirror on the left there as well as a packing list for a not my kind of horse show, haha. 

In trying to get the door open I basically removed weather stripping. It had frozen to the door. So that's another thing that needs to be fixed, probably on a day when it isn't freezing so that the adhesive will work better.
I made this spiffy paint drawing for my husband when I was talking to him about what I wanted to do. See the amazing 3D rendering!?


But seriously, the water tank creates a lot of dead space all above it. I think I'm going to need to pinterest for more ideas (because alas, pinterest can be useful for aggregating ideas for stuff like this) but someone suggested using wire shelving instead of peg board as it may be lighter.

Something like this:

The Floor plan, not to scale, but pretty darn proportionate if I do say so myself

Anyway, peg board or metal racks? Definitely build the shelves? I'd like to have a place to keep saddle pads, coolers and a first aid kit and that seems like a good way to do it. I do have a hanging saddle pad holder that could be attached to the shelves.

And how the heck do you attach things to the inside of the trailer? Do I need to learn to weld? Can I just screw stuff in? I am so lost here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ready for Hunting Season!

This is a project that I've had in the pipeline for about a year now. The main gist is that I wanted to have something for cold weather that could function both as a quarter sheet and as a big orange flag to hunters that we were not a deer. As rifle season starts in two days, I finished this just in time!

Kaylee made this herself! It's a purse made with my scrap pieces and is held together with rare earth magnets. It's pretty ingenious engineering, and modular to boot!

So materials list are:
2 yards of your fav fleece material. Every so often JoAnns (if you're US) has a sale on fleece. Go then.
3-4 packages of double fold bias tape quilt binding (A total of 9-12 yards)  NOTE:  9 yards was about 8 inches shy of what I needed. You may get more out of your binding if you don't make as big a hole.
1 foot of 3 inch wide velcro
sewing machine

Here's my diagram. It's minimal cutting. Woo!

I folded my fabric in half such that it appeared when draped over a horse's backside it would be of a decent length to either side. Then I cut in along the fold but not all the way through. I made crescent cuts until I had opened up the middle of it so it would go around my body, while leaving the flat entrance.

Then, I put the quilt binding bias tape along the edge, pinned it in place and sewed it on. I didn't take many pictures of the sewing step. Sorry.

Sewing on the bias tape.
Once all the bias tape was sewn on, I separated my velcro pieces and pinned them in place on each of the fleece such that the flat sides where I cut could overlap and the velcro would attach to itself.  That's represented by the black and gray strip. Imagine the gray being on the underhalf of the fleece.

Ta-da! You're done! Unless you want to add a tail rope, which I might do at some point.

Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.

The attachment with the velcro

See? Velcro!

Draped over Gwyn's butt, nice and orange! No mistaking us for deer!
I still need to test it during a ride but I'm pretty sure it will fit me better than the one I bought. The goal is for it to go over my legs to keep me warm too. It could also fit under a saddle flap if I wanted.

I'm pretty proud of this! I winged it hardcore and there was some anxiety as I cut into the fleece. No going back!

All for less than $30!

My next project is a riding skirt that can also function as a quarter sheet. And once I perfect that I'm going to splurge on some nice waterproof outwear fabric and make it from that for rainy rides.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Prepping for Mud

In a first for me, I decided to try doing a mud knot for Gwyn's tail to keep it up and out of the muck and mud as winter trudges ever toward us. We've had enough rain at this point that the creek has water in it. Saffron is making the most of the water and drier areas of the runs.

Tonight after the girls were in bed I headed out to do barn chores and decided that tonight was the night. Gwyn was getting her mud knot.

So after making up the grain and filling hay bags, I pulled Gwyn out and started grooming.

 First step was to get all the knots out of her tail. It's been a while since I did a thorough brushing so it took me a while to work through all the hair. Her friesian side is really strong with her mane and tail and she's got a LOT of tail. It grows well too and usually is near to or dragging on the ground. I used a human hair product that's basically just silicone dioxide for getting rid of tangles.

Look at that beautifully brushed tail that nearly touches the ground. LOOK AT IT.

So after brushing it you braid it. Start the braid below the tail bone. You want to leave a decent amount of room. I elasticed it off. Then you wrap it in vetwrap or similar self adhesive wrap. If it's fly season, apparently you add baling twine to act as the horse's tail to swat flies.

Final product. The vetwrapped part can swing freely and it keeps her tail up and out of the mud! We'll see how it goes. It didn't take me long to do, so I'll redo if necessary and/or reevaluate.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Yellow Jackets

If you're friends with me on facebook you've likely seen these pictures, if not, a warning: If you don't like wasps/stinging insects, this might not be the post for you.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Our Newest Addition

Eric hasn't been worn down enough to let me get a pony for the girls to ride, so I satisfied myself with a Halloween addition. We introduced Bony Pony to the herd on Saturday, much to our amusement.  Saffron is NOT a fan and has Powered Up into Protect the Herd mode like a good donkey. Gwyn has decided it's just another thing that Mom throws at her and she should ignore it.

We also hung skeleton person, who has seen better days. It seems more halloween decoration acquiring is in my future :D 

Saffron on high alert

We also took a trip over to our neighbor's house. She has brand new baby chicks!

Both girls were thrilled!

And on Sunday a friend came over and Gwyn got lots of loving.