Friday, January 4, 2013

More Work, but Inside

With the growth of my wife’s training business, we’ve ended up with more horses. As you might expect, they don’t all get along. We ended up separating them in different pastures, which brought about another problem.


We had one of the buckets freeze during the cold CO winter, and when we dumped it, we had quite the blog of ice.

Photo Jan 01, 11 55 21 AM (1)

Fortunately my wife had started me on a solar water heater. I used a plan from Gary at Build It Solar. Here’s what I ended up with.

Photo Jan 02, 1 48 31 PM

We filled it one morning, had a 25F day, and overnight the temp dropped to around 4-5F. The next morning there was a thin layer of ice, but not much more than was in the tank with the 250W heater.

A success, which is good, but just sends me on to the next project.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Honey-Do List is Growing

It’s almost time for winter. We’ve had a few cold nights and I blew out the sprinklers, but this year I’ve got more projects to do, and because of horses.

My wife is working full time with horses and horse people, so that means more horsey-related activity at the ranch. Apart from the normal fence breaking the horses keep us busy with, I’ve been handed a few improvement chores.

My list this fall is a new track, and a new shelter. I’ve started on the shelter, and fortunately had a little help.

Photo Sep 23, 4 19 54 PM

Unfortunately that also means I need to find time to measure the sides for metal, order it, pick it up (way up north), trim it (sparks are always fun) and then screw it to the frame.

Fortunately this is 9 feet in the air, so a tumble won’t be too hard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Boarders, Benches, and Sawdust

With new boarders slated to move in this winter, I have a few projects to work on. The first one is a new set of benches and saddle racks for the tack room. I also need to add a new shelter for horses, but that's going to take a bit more time.

Our tack room is a little crowded, but we made things work better by building a bench along one wall and then putting saddle racks on the wall above them. You can see the end of one bench, and the start of the second one. The second one was my project this week.

I got some wood and screwed together braces earlier in the week, and with a quiet night, I headed out to put the bench together. It only took about an hour, mostly because I had to move slow and switch bits out 3 times for each hole. When I got done, it looked pretty good and gives us more space for storage.

Now I just need to get 3 or 4 more saddle racks together. That's on the list for tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Morning Routine

It’s not usually my routine, but my wife travel s a fair amount, so this is what my days looks like sometimes


As soon as I walk out of the barn, I’m usually greeted by someone looking for breakfast. However it doesn’t take long for the chuck wagon train to form


I walk the track that you see here, usually with the dogs for company (occasionally a cat) about 1,000 feet to a couple feed buckets and spread a hay bale among them. The horses kick and annoy each other a bit, but I don’t usually wait until they figure it out. Either they’ll all eat, or we’ll have less horses to feed.


Somehow it seems that much of the time I end up feeding I find a fairly empty water trough. It’s not a big deal to clean it with a brush and then fill it, but it takes time.

Fortunately I’ve learned to plan on doing this and build time into the schedule. If I don’t, it’s a good day, but if I do, I can check email on the iPhone while listening to Pandora.


That cats  usually come out to see what I’m doing, and will look in the trough, but none of them has decided to take a plunge yet. I’m still hoping they’ll jump in one of these days.


Chores done, we head back to the house. In the summer it’s hot, and the dark dog is panting up a storm. In the winter, we both move a little quicker.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Happy Customer

My wife has been traveling a lot, and that means you-know-who has to stand in as the chef and waiter on the west end of the property. After serving one round to the first seating, I found an extra customer that was left out of the group, and locked out of the middle seating area.

So I made a second breakfast, allowing this patron to eat by herself.

A happy customer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The other downside of horses

Horse are hard. They have to be fed every day, they need water kept warm in the winter, they break fences, all kinds of stuff. They are expensive, and need vet care.

However I ran into a new one recently. We had a bunch of snow and cold weather recently and the horses were being fed close to the barn in buckets. This resulted in a lot of droppings near the barn, which were too frozen to clean up. As the weather turned, and things started to melt, it was a bit of a mess out there, which made for some careful treading by me.

Not so for our dog.

He decided that a sloppy, melting, wet mess of horse manure was a perfect place to roll around on the ground.

I’ll spare you a picture, but a nice coating on his normally blonde fur added quite of bit of brown to the picture. Gross.

The only good thing is my wife has to clean him up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Vehicle on the Ranch

I never really realized that the vehicles we have on the ranch are really required. I knew we needed them to knock down manure with the harrow or run the spreader, and I know the tractor has gotten us unstuck, cleared snow, and cut grass, but I didn't realize how important these things were until they were gone. My wife let me know multiple times that we needed them fixed for chores.

On consecutive weeks, the ATV and the riding mower died on us. The ATV went to the shop, since I wasn't sure what was wrong there. I've never worked with a belt, and when the belt light comes on, I take it in.

The mower was another story. Over the years I've fixed a variety of things on this mower and since it was running fine and then died, I figured I could fix this. First I checked fuel, and a steady stream out of the fuel filter onto my boot convinced me this wasn't the issue. Next was the spark plug, and when I held it in my hand and didn't see a spark while cranking, I decided to get a new one.

I did, and I held it up after plugging on the wife to check for a spark while I cranked it. I didn't see a spark, but I felt one. Just a hint, hold the rubber boot of the spark plug wire, not the metal of the spark plug itself when you check it. I think I grounded things out. Fortunately it didn't break when I dropped it as the cord held it off the floor, swinging back and forth.

It seemed to be working, so I screwed it in, and sure enough it was cranked up and back to chore duty that day.