Saturday, April 16, 2011

Plotting and Planning

Spring is trying to happen, and summer can't be too far away (I hope, I hope!). It's time to get going on this year's projects.
You may remember that last summer I replaced the 4X4 fence posts in front of Beth, here, with the 6X6 posts beneath her in the foreground.
I'm slowly replacing all the 4X4s that were my original paddock fencing, with sturdier 6X6ers. I am just about finished replacing the posts in the fence line that was behind her:
All I need to do is finish the H-braces and re-stretch the wire and re-hang the gates.

Another project just getting underway is replacing the horse-eating high-tensile field fence along the driveway with safer 2X4 mesh.
In the process, I will alleviate a long-standing issue where the auxiliary drive turns towards the barn. See the telephone pole to the left?Let me show you the view from the other direction...
Although I have gotten very adept at negotiating the turn under the guy-wire, visitors (including those with horse trailers, dump trucks, and harrowbeds full of hay) are reluctant to risk the tight turn.
So I am going to sacrifice a small (usually sparsely turfed) corner of the pasture to make a new access road to the barn, on the nearer side of that pole. The new corner is at the left, and the old corner brace by the pole will come out. I plan to take advantage of some of that extra width to plant some trees to provide shade for that pasture, and a little screening from the road for the house.
Another longstanding wish-list project will hopefully be addressed this year: replacing this small shed (whose door finally beat itself to death in one of last month's wind storms)...
...with a real garage, about where the horse trailer is parked in this photo (south and slightly west of the house/arena/barn).
This will be possible because we just used our tax refund to pay off the horse trailer loan. And the monthly amount that was going to that loan is now going towards the tractor loan, which will officially go bye-bye next month (the loan, not the tractor). Then both of those chunks of money will be split between building materials and double payments on the truck, which should be paid off by next fall! Then one last credit card balance (by next spring) and maybe pay off those pesky student loans early?
In the big picture, we're trying to get out from under all our debt and finish things up around here, in anticipation of retirement in a few years. Of course, it could all be sabotaged by our little commuter car dying (it's been thinking about it) or the unexpected medical expenses that sometimes come with horses and/or increasing maturity (ie. getting old!--It ain't for sissies!).

If I'm really ambitious, I'll add the south wing onto the barn. Although Al and I have identified the garage as the priority (because the horse trailer really needs a home), completing it will also allow me to move my shop and various stored items out of the barn. Then, if the wing is done, I could conceivably create some additional income by taking on one or two retirement boarders, in addition to RT.
If I can manage the finances, it would be really easy (hah!) to create a certain degree of economy of effort by doing both building projects concurrently: get both permits, rent the backhoe to dig both sets of post holes (both will be pole-buildings), set all the posts and pour all the cement (one delivery truck), raise all the trusses and sheath both roofs (a week or so of rental man-lift), then close them in as time and energy and cash allow.

Then, again...Did someone say something about going for a ride?


  1. Great title for this post, EvenSong:) I loved the explanatory drawing with the "look out" message. I can't imagine pulling a horse trailer, let alone negotiating a tight turn, so that project, especially with added trees, will improve life for you and your horses. Financial planning is also not one of my strengths, so I'm really, really impressed with your carefully thought out wish list. Come on, little car. Hang in there for another year or so. You can do it! As for going for rides, I know you won't skimp on those. It seems to me all your dreams come back to that basic life enrichment.

  2. I hope the weather, the critters, the vehicles and the finances - oh, and your health - all cooperate to allow you to achieve your goals. Retirement is great - I highly recommend it!

  3. Retirement, sigh, it's too long from here to even see it!!!

    But: I will see YOU at Milwaukee Rail Trail on the 30th, right? If you want to bring TWO horses, we could doodle around and go "check the water tanks" or something together in the later afternoon (after 3ish??). I'll be in camp only on Saturday. Come on over and say howdy and I will introduce you to the peeps.

    (and perhaps we will convince you to ride at Renegade this summer--my favorite ride of all!!!!)

  4. hehe I hear you I have so many things planned this summer, but riding might take over and they will still be there next year.

  5. Wow, that's a lot of work coming your way. Hope you get it all done this year and can sit back and enjoy it or just go for a ride...

  6. It's gonna be fabulous when it's done!

    I have to admit, I'm giggling at your poor shed - my backyard privacy fence gates also committed suicide in a windstorm this spring. I'm just glad to see proof that I"m not the only one who goes "well crap, I'll get it fixed SOON" and just walks over the gate/door.

  7. You are amazingly ambitious. I thought cleaning my pantries was going to be a lot of work. I may need to reassess.

  8. Hiya Laurie!
    These are fabulous building directions you go it! Hope the shed put up a good looks bedraggled.."rebuild me" it begs, "And bigger and better!"
    The horsetrailer home will be great..I covet that!!
    You are right back to your normal go-go getum!
    And the ride, after thinking about it all-perfect!

    I kinda KNEW you'd come through for me, with my rein dileima. I am going to the catalog you mentioned, after I write this.
    Your drawing..too hilarious!

    Got my Brit dude video working..when ever I load through go!