Sunday, May 8, 2011

News From The Home Front

Well, I didn't get much horse work done this weekend--I did spend some "quality time" with Kate: got her feet trimmed up, in anticipation of a very horsie weekend coming up. More on that later. Suffice it to say, that's why, though she could really use the work, I felt obliged to work on projects instead of riding--I'll be away all next weekend.

Remember this new fence line and barn driveway?
I got the brace posts all finished and some holes dug, at least until I ran out of shear pins for the post hole digger. These are bolts that are designed to break (shear off) when the auger hits something solid (like a rock, of which I have a few), the theory being that it's better to break one pin (or six) than to break the auger or gear box or other expensive part of the post hole digger. That's a very good theory, until one runs out of replacement bolts, and the hardware store is 20 miles away.
Time to move on to another project.

Every year I dread starting up my irrigation system, for fear of whatever catastrophe will ensue after a winter's rest--and there's always something!
At the end of the season last year, my primer pump was giving me fits, so I knew that would be an issue right from the get-go. Plus, the pump had sounded very odd to me, when I went to drain the sump that feeds it last fall. I ended up bailing the six-foot deep sump by the bucket full.
When I walked out a couple of weeks ago to check on the system, the foot valve that should have let the pipe empty of water had malfunctioned and the four inch pipe intake supporting the mechanism had shattered when the water froze. I was so disgusted that I didn't get a picture until after the pump guy came and picked up the intake--that's the sawed off pipe at the right.
He also suggested that many of my priming issues might be eliminated if we were to shorten the distance the hand pump had to draw the water across (it's harder to "pull" water than it is to "push" it). So I poured a new pad for the pump, right next to, though slightly above, the sump--that's it to the left of the electric pole. Now to cut apart the piping and relocate the pump assembly.
When I went to move the 7 hp pump from the lower pad, this is all the farther I could get it, and only by sliding it across the cement. Once I hit the dirt/grass, it wouldn't budge. So back to the barn to get Babe, the blue tractor. I jimmied together a chain "harness" and lifted the assembly gingerly to the new pad (sorry, no pictures).
Pump guy brought out the refurbished intake on Friday, so I glued together the discharge pipe, and went to prime the pump, fearing that the odd sound from last fall meant that the pump would need rebuilding as well. >:-(

I couldn't get the primer pump to draw water!
All that work, and the primer still didn't work!
But I could hear faint air leaks, and as I have done many times in the past, I disassembled the pump (it's the little thingy on top that looks like an old kitchen hand pump, because that's essentially what it is), greased the rubber diaphragm and carefully reassembled it--this sometimes takes two or three tries, but I lucked out today--first try!

Now came the big question:
Would the actual irrigation pump work right?
Amazingly, YES!We've got sprinklers!

One last project:
What's this hole for?
It's the initial test hole for the garage!
I took my drawings into the county plans examiner the other day, and he said I did better on them than some professionals. He made a few suggestions, and told me some details drawings I need to include. I'm waiting for another bid on the trusses, which have to be engineered--the company that produces them will provide the drawings.
I just wanted to check the nature of the soil in the garage's location--and gauge whether the post hole digger would be sufficient, or if I would have to rent a backhoe.
Look Ma, no rocks! (or at least, very few).

I'm hoping to have the fencing projects all out of the way by the time school's out. Then, once haying season is done, my focus will be the garage. And riding.


  1. Wow you have been busy, but looks very productive!

  2. I'm really impressed!!! If you ever get all those projects done, you wanna come visit me and encourage me to do MY projects???

  3. Totally impressive. The stuff I know how to do is easy, but your stuff is amazing to me! :D

  4. Wow, you've got a lot going on there. I'd be in over my head for sure.

  5. That's a lot of work! Hope you can relax and have a great ride on the weekend.

  6. LAURIE!! WOW, you go there woman!Neat what the plans examiner said...we knew that all along!
    The projects are lining up faster than the horses are! You better ride soon!

    Yea, I though of you when the saddle man FINALLY called!!! I also saw your comment on slipping saddles...I gave Arlene(greyhorse)a suggestion I think will help very much. Getting a "HAF" pad. Love that no slip matterial. Don'tt know if they make western but Lami-Cell is about the same material and it truly..slips not!