Monday, August 5, 2019

Chaos, Fence Stress, and Forward Progress

July 26

Friday was yet another crazy, crazy day. There were SO many moving parts and so much that needed done. Every where I turned my head there were people working, machinery running, and things happening. At the peak of it all, we had 11 (!) people present. The French drain was installed, we finished milling all of the wood, accomplished some detail work on the barn, and we got the fence started.

And everything went well! ...except for the fence. Sigh.

After having ample time to dissect it over the weekend, I can say that every issue with that damn fence is a result of miscommunication - as so many problems in life are. Though Mercury was in retrograde and is supposed to rule communication, so I guess score 1 for Mercury. You bastard.

To begin, we had an incredibly delayed start building fence, beginning at 12:30p. UGH. Things limped along from there: prepping posts, sinking some posts, and then, yanno, blowing a water line. A private water line that calling 811 doesn't take care of. A private water line of which there is no known map of the water system. A private water line only known by ~3 people, all of whom knew I was putting in a fence, all of whom were on site while the fence was going in, and all of whom never mentioned to me that we should be aware or cautious of said line.

SO. An extra $800+ dollars later, we've learned where part of that line is thanks to absolutely destroying the pipe and one valve.

UGH. And double-ugh because it happened at a point in the month when my anxiety is infinitely worse than it is all of the other days. Hormones are a bitch, y'all.

As a result of the water line debacle, the late start, and the utter chaos that ruled the day, we only got a fraction of the posts in the ground that we'd hoped to. The crew can't come back to [hopefully] finish the fence until August 16. SIGH. Such a let down after a stressful day.

However, in my quest to be grateful and find things to be grateful for, let's focus on things that went well amidst the chaos that triggered several small anxiety-attacks:
  • we had the only people capable of repairing that water line on site right when it happened, so the neighborhood was only without water for a few hours before we had it patched (permanent fix to follow this week)
  • we did get the posts in for the dry lot so I can temp tape that and put the horses in there when the dry lot is complete
  • all of the materials for the fence are on site now so we just need to get the man power there to finish the job
  • the French drain is IN!
  • the dry lot is nearly complete
  • the wood is all milled - and gorgeous!
  • the barn is basically dried in so that progress can happen even on rainy days - and it's so beautiful
  • the sky didn't fall and the world is still going 'round, even if my anxiety tries to tell me otherwise
20190701 July Misc Home and Barn_16
Milling the trees
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Eyeing up the next cut
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My excavators' company is family owned and run. There are three generations right here.
20190701 July Misc Home and Barn_11
This little boy loves nothing more than to come to job sites and sit with his granddad learning the ropes
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French drain! 
20190701 July Misc Home and Barn_25
Installing soffit
Lots of people. Lots of happenings.
Milling chaos
So many things in the pasture
The French drain forms a capital "E" The long side is along the toe of the slope, with a fin extending on either side
of the barn and right through the dry lot before it meets the overhang
Heavy equipment and milling and fence posts OH MY. It was SUCH a chaotic environment with everything going on!
Dave helping the gentleman milling for us. 
Dave also had him cut what will eventually become the new bar top on
our kitchen island. One live edge! Now to wait 2 years for it to cure...
Tying twine to help align the posts
Nice and straight!
Two wings of the French drain
Pounding fence posts the easy way - with machinery
Still a lot going on down there...
Two in machines, two on the roof.
Yet another view of the chaos lol
Bit quieter...
Yet still driving posts! And pushing the gravel to allow space for the hay delivery
The short section of exposed French drain. I realized I had few photos of the pipe in the ground and rushed to take one before they covered it

July 27 & 28

Things didn't slow down on the weekend. Dave was down at the barn on Saturday and Sunday toodling away with things making small, but important progress on some details that need to be completed before work could move forward on Monday. I even helped out with some small menial tasks AND helping him put the final roof panel up! 

While Dave toodled I wasn't idle. I was actually quite busy:
  • bringing the horses to Canaan for a chiropractic appointment at a friend's farm (hopefully will have time to do a separate post on this eventually)
  • driving to Front Royal and back to pick up the hay basket that will grace the dry lot
  • helping make hay and put hay up in my barn
Still a construction zone, but now a construction zone with HAY! It smells a lot better now ;-)
Starting to get an idea of what the finished product will look like!!
From the back door looking toward the front
Hay basket full of bales the teenagers threw so hard they exploded...smh
Just bought the slow feed net for this thing. The horses are gonna hate me.
And look closely to find three little ponies in their temp fence area!

It was a VERY full weekend. But it feels REALLY good to have the roof done, the hay basket home, the horses sorta home, and - the biggest one! -  hay in the barn. Bonus? We managed to fit in about 40 more bales than I thought would go in the space based on my calculations. Though, I honestly think we could easily fit that and then some if I'd had the good hay stacker there at the beginning. That shit is not stacked well and I'm well-aware of it, but the good stacker did his best to rectify what the first crew (high schoolers) did with the initial 144 bales. Free help is better than no help and young, strong backs are better than inexperienced, weaker backs when it comes to doing this. I'm grateful for all of the help I had even if some of those bales will end up crashing down later this winter when I go to pull them down! Hay in the barn is hay in the barn - made all the better knowing it's quality hay that the horses like!

July 29

On Monday, incremental progress on small things was made in the barn:
  • a bit more of the final siding was put up, 
  • soffit was installed, 
  • detail finish work on the roof trim was completed, 
  • building wrap was put up, 
  • protection was installed to the bottom of the framing in the stalls from the eventual stonedust, 
  • the header board for the interior sliding stall doors was installed, 
  • the #4 clean stone was spread in the dry lot and finished around the barn, 
  • the stonedust was delivered, 
  • and they began spreading the stonedust.

20190701 July Misc Home and Barn_26
Yep. That's paradise right there. Even if it isn't finished
The dry lot makes everything look SO MUCH BETTER. Now to get the stone dust layer in the barn...
Still gotta finish spreading the stone and compact it, but omg. It's looking so good.
I keep telling Dave I'm gonna have the prettiest barn in the whole state.
Protection for the untreated lumber against moisture that will inevitably be present due to the stone dust
More detail work to protect the untreated lumber

They'd hope to finish the dry lot Monday evening, but the truck carrying the final load of stonedust broke down around 4:15p and that killed any hopes of finishing. Still, it looks amazing even though there is still a bit more to be completed!

July 30

On Tuesday, believe it or not, we were praying for rain. It surprisingly hadn't rained in 8 days. We fortunately had a few bouts, but nothing overly substantial. Still, it was good for the stonedust that had been laid already to get a quick douse to help with compaction.

While I didn't take any photos on Tuesday progress was made. Soffit was installed along more of the roofline, Dave continued putting up the white oak siding on the side nearest the house, the tack/feed room ceiling framing began, and Dave got the lights mounted in the aisle - three 8-foot LED lights that light the space beautifully!

July 31

On Wednesday, Dave finished the exterior siding on the side of the barn that is nearest the house. I joke this is so he doesn't have to stare and obsess over it while he sits on the back porch, but in reality, it's because those windows are the only ones installed. We should have the other three windows tomorrow or early next week (they're coming out of my buddy's house and their contractor is waiting on the new windows to arrive).

The excavator also popped by for a few hours to compact the dry lot. It's real nice now. I didn't fully comprehend how much of a difference that compaction would make!

Those thin little lights don't look like much, but HOLY. I've never been in such a brightly lit barn before.
Compacted stone dust!
All of the heart eyes
So close...just need hot tape and horses...

August 1

Due to a work meeting in Canaan, I teleworked on Thursday. As I was about to head out the front door to the meeting, four trucks pulled onto the job site: two electric company trucks and my two excavators. I had no idea they were going to do the utilities on this day! They'd originally told me Friday, Monday, or Tuesday and because they end up being delayed every time they tell me they're coming, I'd just shrugged it off any expectations, figuring it wouldn't be until late next week at the earliest. I've never been so happy to be wrong!

To install the utilities they had to churn up more of my future pasture (ugh), but they had the trench dug and filled in within one day, completing about 85% of what needed to be done. I had hoped they would also get around to finishing the dry lot, but no such luck. Sigh.

While the utilities were going in, more of the siding was completed on the barn.

All of that newly churned up dirt causes me a lot of *internal screaming* Even if it is necessary.
Deep trench for utilities. Or, as I joked, we're ready for the next war - get in the trench and take cover!
This thing is looking beautiful though. That dry lot makes all the difference for me.
The guy in the ditch is ~5'11" for reference.
The daily "work is done" progress photo
I'm pretty happy with this
One completely done side
The back door
Detail work along the door
Dave says this is "standard" but I still think it's pretty cool!
RIP the grass in the foreground *sob*

August 2

When I realized the dry lot wasn't going to be finished on Thursday, I told myself if I could just make it through to the end of Friday (when it should finally be completed) everything would be better. It has been so exhausting managing expectations through this process. The fencing and the dry lot were the two huge things I was looking forward to having complete. I can wait awhile on the barn interior, but the fencing and dry lot are pretty crucial for the horses.

The fence getting delayed the previous Friday was a hard blow for me mentally. I knew it was out of my control and it was going to be the way it was going to be, but it was still a disappointment. The excavators told me each day this week that the dry lot would be finished "tomorrow". And each day, it wasn't complete. Teasingly close, but still not complete.

And so, on Friday they finally finished it. In fact, except for spreading the final bit of topsoil on the backside of the barn where Dave currently has materials stacked, they finished everything they were slated to do on Friday (utilities, dry lot, and stonedust into the barn). My relief over this is nearly palpable because it means I can not only move the horses into the dry lot while we await the completion of the fence, but I can also focus on getting grass seeded and regrown in almost every area of disturbance. The site of bare earth, to quote my fifth grade teacher, 'irks my liver'.

SIGH. Earth work gives me anxiety I learned on this day when my HR rocketed up watching him tear up all my new grass
Where the water will go. 
That's my French drain pipe getting to see daylight for the second time in a week.
*elevated HR* Can't wait to get grass back on this slope...
Where the electric meter box will be
I thought the tape was clever
Water to the left, electric to the right. 

Progress on the barn also moved forward Friday. The windows were finally removed from my friend's house, so I fetched them. The first was immediately installed into the tack room because Dave would like to focus on that next.

More trim work along the roof was also completed, exterior siding along the backside put up, and we hung the frame for one of the barn doors to test that out. ...and discovered that one end of the track needs to be raised a quarter inch to make things perfectly level. Dave is a stickler for perfectly level things!

The beginnings of a sliding barn door!
Pretty cool stuff. Dave was pleased, I think lol

And finally, the most exciting part of Friday: I finally moved the horses from their temporary dry lot to their permanent dry lot. They are so much happier. I am so much happier. Everything seems so much more right with the world.

I spy with my little eye, a Q mare!
Now to make all of the brown green again... And, because life is funny like this, we're in a drought for the first time in literal years.
Soooo, I bought some sprinklers and will commence using them to help me get my grass growing and established for the next few weeks!
Hi buddy <3

After moving the horses into the dry lot, I went riding for the first time since bringing them home the week prior. It had been a literal MONTH since I'd ridden any of my horses. I was beyond ready to get back to it! And besides, Grif was going to drive Stan and Q crazy if I didn't burn off some of his playful energy. We fit in a quick 2.7 miles from sunset into dusk and both came home much more relaxed and settled. I don't know which one of us needed that ride more.

Progress on the barn will continue over the next few weeks as we work toward completion. The realization that I'm going to get to decorate a tack room in the next few weeks is making my little organization-obsessed heart go pitter patter. Expect some dramatic changes to the barn's appearance - inside and outside! - for my next update. We're getting so close!


    the dry lot is gorgeous.

    that's so unfortunate about the fencing but they'll be back to finish it before you even know it.

  2. Wow. You're really getting stuff done over there. Tearing ground up drives me nuts too. Although tree destruction is worse for me. I lost it when the excavator cut down some trees he wasn't supposed to. But ponies are the best reward.

  3. So happy and excited for you and the ponies! I can't wait to see how the dry lot and pasture configuration work out, I love seeing all the construction photos (even though the uprooted and compressed grass was giving me a bit of an panic attack LOL)

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one upset over the destruction lol

  4. Looking great, and getting so close!!

    Despite getting existing utilities marked, and taking pix of the spray paint lines before they faded (because they were marked way earlier than we needed), we (the guy who insisted on operating the trencher) still cut everyone's internet + phone + tv in multiple places as well as two neighbor's water lines - on a Saturday afternoon. Luckily we had bought extra stuff for water line repairs, but it was still mighty stressful. And all timetables are approximate in construction I think. ;D

    1. OMG. That's ridiculous. GOOD idea buying stuff for repairs! And thank you for sharing. It's nice to hear about other instances where this kind of thing happens.

  5. Horse are home!!!! And you rode from your house!!!!!! So happy for you

  6. Isn't it nice to look out your window and have them RIGHT THERE?!?!

  7. Your barn is so amazingly gorgeous!! It's so nice that it's going to be so beautiful AND so functional! I'm so excited for you!!!

  8. i lust after your dry lot? too weird? :) Glad they are home sorry other things didnt go as planned but you are getting there....

    1. Haha, not weird at all! Especially considering the mud situation you deal with in wetter months.

  9. Oh my gosh! How exciting to have them home! I love the hay basket! Just for curiosity, how many bales did you fit in?

    1. ~290 bales. They're around 35# (15.9 kg). I'm planning to buy another 100-150 in November. They baled a ton and the other barn has something like 500 stored in it and they only need that for their two horses..who are fat tubs of lard lol. Next year I will just pack one stall full of hay in addition to the hay area...oh, and make sure my buddy that stacks tight is present the whole time lol! That should guarantee all I need in one day's work.

    2. okay. for reference we can get about 410 bales in ours (about 30-35 pounds) down my long side. I tend to think of our barns as twins, which is why I curious. My tack room is 12 x 12 which gives a space of 12x24 to stack the hay.
      I am also after Ed to build me an overhang like yours so I'm gong to share your photos with him. :)

  10. I admit I'll be sad when the barn is finished - I love these update posts!

    1. I'm going to be sad when I have to work harder to create blog content lol!

  11. The barn is beautiful !

    I wish we could find a house half that nice in our house hunt right now LOL.

  12. WOW! It is looking AWESOME! I'm "EEEEEEE"-ing over here and I don't even know you! HOW EXCITING!!!! Your horses on your property!!! WOOOT!

  13. Seeing them in that dry lot is so satisfying and I've just been following along with this project. It must feel AMAZING for you to see them there!