Thursday, September 5, 2019

Nearly There!

In the days following my last post, Dave really began hauling ass on completing the barn. In the span of two days, I suddenly had completed doors for each stall door (inside and outside), completed main doors on either end of the aisle, completed walls in every stall, completed exterior everywhere except under the eave on the front, and one nearly-complete wall in the tack/feed room. In addition, I got stall mats placed in each stall and put one in the aisle where my cross ties are so I have a nice clean place to trim hooves!

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Almost complete shingling under the eave at the back. The hole will be an exterior light...though Dave is calling it a "starling entrance" right now because he knows how much I detest starlings.
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Pano of the back of the barn. Shingling not complete and still waiting on the other door + light installation.
The mess in the photo is now picked up and I can't believe how much it makes me twitch to look at it in the image now lol
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Walls going up in the back stall (Griffin's)
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Stan in his mostly-complete stall with a partially complete sliding door
Q looking in from under the overhang
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A hot freaking mess
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All of the mess to the back of the barn and on the right of the photo is GONE as of this past weekend *celebrate*
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Lit the F up!
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Seriously. It's so freaking bright in there. That's only from THREE lights.
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I was teleworking last week and looked out to see Stan taking a nap. First time I've witnessed since moving them home.
And yes, that temp tape is loose because Dave was working and he always moves it around which results in it being loose.
I'm fortunate to have the worlds most respectable horses when it comes to this fence though. They happily much hay and don't fuck with it at all while it's loose (or any other time).
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Zzzzzz
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Saddles will go on this wall! Eeee! 
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Cleaned up (mostly)! Completed doors! Completed walls! Stall mats!
Stall assignments are, from left to right, Stan, Q, Grif.
And yes, it's really fucking gorgeous with all of that mosaicked wood.
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Front doors. (No chevrons because Dave has reached a IDGAF stage with things 😂)
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The other front door.
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Stan's stall...still waiting on one board int his photo lol
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Grif's stall (and temp feed room), also waiting on a board.
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Grif's door
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Okay, so, for the curious wood enthusiasts:
The darkest boards are 100+ year old red spruce timbered locally that used to be a schoolhouse in a neighboring town.
The pinkish boards are black cherry timbered/milled as a part of this project.
The light boards with some black blemishes (second form bottom and on top on right) are sugar maple timbered/milled as a part of this project.
The bright white-ish boards are pine timbered/milled locally.
The grey-ish hued boards (bottom and door frame) are white oak, timbered/milled in an adjacent county. (The exterior of the barn is also white oak.)
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Exterior stall door bottoms installed!
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Bottom and top. The only "unfancy" wood on the whole thing lol! See note above about Dave reaching the IDGAF stage. 
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I installed latches last night that temp tape is (finally!) not stretched across here.
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The chevron back doors. I kinda love them.
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The aisle, much more clean than in past photos! But still a mess because it's still under construction.
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The first hook for organizational purposes has been installed! 
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Okay, so we have some of the best neighbors ever.
Their granddaughter used some of the wood scraps we had to make us a wood burned sign with our house number.
It, of course, has a husky and a horse on it! The silhouette behind is of Seneca Rocks, a pretty unique climbing destination 25 min from our house and a place Dave and I took many first dates.
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Straight out of camera. My little paradise!
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Proof that the mess was (somewhat) cleaned up lol! Scraps sorted into piles along the barn (will be firewood/kindling).
Scaffolding in front to facilitate the shingles going up (they're actually mostly done as of yesterday but I haven't uploaded the photos so you get to wait for a final reveal).

It's been really nice to begin to use the barn and not do-si-do with all of the construction! In fact, I spent much of my weekend re-organizing what remains of the construction zone to clean things up around the barnyard and neaten the remaining materials (visible in the last photo). It feels really good to see things buttoned up.

As of last evening, I installed the latches on the stall doors and re-did the temp tape. It is SO NICE to just walk through the stall doors and NOT duck under temp tape now. OMG. It's also nice to be able to allow the horses to hang their heads into the barn.

The rest of the dry wall for the tack room arrived yesterday, so that will go up today/tomorrow. With luck, I may be painting in there some this weekend! I can only hope.

I am SO eager to get all of my shit into that tack/feed room and get it organized. It's the last big piece for me (besides the fence but we're just not talking about the fence right now) to feel settled with this project. As grateful as I am to have had the horses home these past many weeks, it's been hard having my things scattered about between the trailer, the barn, the basement, the garage, and the house.

I've been in a bit of a transitory phase with my tack for the past 15 months or so. When I brought the horses to Canaan last summer, I did my best to modify my trailer into an all-encompassing tack/feed room. It was tight, but it served the purposes I needed. When I moved back to our boarding barn for the winter, I kept everything in the trailer because I just couldn't handle the thought of reorganizing it all into that tack/feed room again. It's worked, but I am seriously OVER living out of my trailer/having shit scattered to the four winds. Getting my tack room completed and organized in the next two weeks is something I am SO excited about. It won't come together in organizational perfection overnight, but simply getting everything into one room will be HUGE.

With any luck, my next barn post will wrap things up! As eager as I am for this project to be done, I'll be sad to bring this series of posts to an end. While inordinately stressful, it's been a very fun project and I've very much enjoyed bringing y'all along for the process.

So stay tuned a little longer, and we'll see about bringing this all to a close.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Slow Progress is Better than No Progress

Okay, I'll admit. I've been really grudgy and angry lately with regard to barn progress. Things stalled out for a solid week+ due to various things, and when I thought about putting together any kind of progress post I immediately had a bunch of negative thoughts because it felt like nothing was changing.

But then when I went back to check the date of my last progress post paired with the photos, I realized, Oh shit, we actually HAVE made progress. 

And this is precisely why this blog is invaluable. From horse training to barn building, when progress seems stagnated, I have but to review past entries to find that my mind is playing tricks on me and things are actually far better than they seem.

And so, despite thinking I had nothing to update on and would have nothing to update on for another forever, let me fill you in on what has happened since August 9! Cue: photo montage.

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August 11
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Barn door progress
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Finally got my slow feed net for the basket which slowed the horses from finishing their daily ration in 3-4 hours to taking ~20 hours. WIN.
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Such pretty stall walls!
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Butttttt it's a total construction zone of chaos in the aisle
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Cherry and maple
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Inside the first stall
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Closer detail
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Inside the second stall
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Makeshift feed area in second stall
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Framed out third stall
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Door progress
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Still no siding in the horse area
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Framing detail of back window
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They took to the net surprisingly well! 
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August 12
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Sigh to the perpetual construction zone
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All of my barn doors will look like this! Dave opted to even do them in the front, too.
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Can't wait to see what it looks like with both doors
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Gutter for the dry lot extending down the aisle
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Framing for another barn door
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A long, fragile gutter
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Learning to manage these three during meals has been interesting. Stan is an ASSHOLE about food. I learned quickly that the hay basket alone wouldn't work.
For a short period, I would put hay in an additional net (not slow feed) to keep him away from the basket for a bit so the
others could eat for a time without being harrassed/beat up. That's what is happening in this shot.
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Creeping one morning to see if they could all eat from the basket at once.
They're used to sharing a round bale feeder with their former herd mates,
so I had faith maybe the could share this and maybe just when I wasn't around?
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Griffin, my low man on the totem pole had to be ready to run at a moment's notice, but he was getting some food this AM.
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Front door framed out and up.
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Um. Lady, this barn is supposed to be for me, yes? Not all this shit? - Griffin, probably
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But I mean.... 
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A peaceful summer evening. View to the west.
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View to the east.
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Dramatic clouds and lighting...and pony. He reared right after this photo because being asked to stand still was Too Much.
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The first of what will be many foggy mornings.
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Installing fence posts. Getting the fence installed has been A Thing. Spoiler alert, it still isn't done. 
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Itsy bitsy baby ring-necked snake!
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Prep for electrical work.
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A door on the tack/feed room!
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Still getting there with framing out the stalls...
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All the stall doors framed out. The interior wood is 100 year old red spruce.
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Framing of one door.
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Yep. This doesn't suck.
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Exterior siding going up under the overhang.
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Oh look, the tack/feed room is really taking shape!
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Pretty sweet!
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Still a mess of an aisle way though...
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So much chaos.
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Shingles going up on the back under the eave
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Odd panorama, but you get the idea.
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August 22...this view really hasn't changed much in awhile. Except for the mulching progress!
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More shingles on the back. Really starting to get an idea of what the finished picture will be like!
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Electrical work 
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My LED aisle lights are BRIGHT, y'all.
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Completed siding under the overhang and a wealth of temporary hot tape lol
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This asshole will forever live in his own 1/3 section of the dry lot. I'll have a slow feeder for him in short order.
Everyone is so much happier with this arrangement. Stan gets his food all to himself and the other two horses don't have new bite marks.
After Griffin turned up with a 6 inch long gash on his rump, I gave up on any hopes of finding a way to keep them all in the same area.
I could feed them in stalls only, but don't want them cooped up in there when they have a dry lot they can move about in.
I could put out multiple feeders (and still may try this one day in the future), but there isn't that much space and I'd like to minimize the
number of things I clutter it with.
And so for now, this is the solution that is working and keeping everyone happy and fed. YAY.
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One partially complete stall door! Dave made them sliding doors to maximize the utilization of the space.
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Just a beautiful evening ride with my neighbor
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Got all three horses out!
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I cannot even. I will never, ever, ever cease to be grateful that I live in this place and get to enjoy views like this.
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Especially that I get to enjoy them on horseback.
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Pretty damn amazing.
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I had a weekend home alone for the first time in AGES. So what did I do? Mulched and seeded the shit out of all the disturbed areas finally!
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IT LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER.
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My anxiety lessened with every square inch that became seeded and mulched.
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Even took care of the patchy areas.
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And packed it on thick where the slopes were steepest.
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SO MUCH WORK. But so worth it. So, so worth it.
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Happy horses eating away (Stan under the overhang)
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Another beautiful evening ride
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The first time all three horses have been out together with their own riders since coming home!
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Another beautiful sunset (the mowed grass is one of my gallop hills)
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Lots of stops to let the horses graze 
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Gotta get the behind the ears sunset shot! Even if Grif just wanted to eat.
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Kate LOVED Q. She usually rides Grif and this was her first night on Q.
She squealed with delight more times than I could count.
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And Miss Emma had a blast on Stanimal. I think these two will become a regular pair.
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Wandering home.

And so, progress may be slow, but at least things are moving forward. I'll do my best to provide another update in a shorter time period than it's taken me to get this one out. I don't have last night's photos uploaded, so you'll have to wait for those. In the mean time, I will share that the exterior doors are completely framed out and ready to be hung and the shingles under the eave in the back have been completed. I also plugged my lights into a cool device that lets me turn them on and off with a remote from my house! This is amazing and will persist even after we aren't living on extension cords down there.

Everything gets a little easier every day as I get my routine dialed in. I'm slowly moving my things into the barn in a manner that works with the interim state of things. It's a bit chaotic having to shuffle around tools and dance under the temp fence, but I'm making it work. Having the horses home and in my care is worth all the dancing I have to do right now. Being able to see them daily and love on them is the greatest thing ever.