Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Passing Grade, Five Fs, and a PhD, and We're Ready for Winter

Well, we got the edge of the big Alaskan storm through here Friday night a couple of weeks ago (when I first started this post--now I've got to update it so I can actually get it published!).
The wind started howling something awful about 8 pm, and I worried that I hadn't even gotten you a picture of my new barn-end curtain yet!
Last winter's cheapo tarps about beat themselves to death in the first big storm, and had lost most of their grommets by the end of the winter.
Would my new "wind screen" (70% shade cloth) from Farm Tek survive the night?
It passed the test!
Not only does it let a certain amount of the wind travel through it, thereby preventing the pressure of the full force of the wind, but it's nice that it also allows some light and visibility! (I still have a couple of tweaks to do with it before next year, but it looks like its good to go for now.)
You can see how impatient RT gets for his Senior Mush by his well-worn path along the fence.
I had a honey-do list of five "F" projects to try to get done over that long Veteran's Day weekend.  Then I'd be ready for winter.  Actually, none of them were absolutely necessary, but they would pretty much finish off my list for the year.  (Of course, there's the tack room insulation waiting, and a list already brewing for next year!)
The first F:  Feeders
Last year's feeders have been okay, but the girls have to twist their necks a bit to access the hay.  They also don't like it when precipitation drips off the roof line above onto the back of their heads.
I fabricated these two feeders from hockey net material from Arizona Sports Equipment and they came out so well that I think they deserve a post of their own at a later date (don't, however, hold your breath).

An ancillary project finished that weekend: the water tank experiment.
 See the layer of foil/bubble insulation between the two tanks?  See the ripples on top of the water?  There's a "Clean Flow Tank Filter" (essentially a pond filter) with a small (500 watt, a third the size of my other tank heaters) heater in this tank.  I'll let you know how it works out.
The next F:  Feet!
Everyone's due for a trim.  With my back, I can usually do two feet at a time.  My goal is one horse a day, but I will often settle for one horse a weekend.
I got these four feet trimmed Friday. 
 The old gray mare ain't what she used to be, but Misty looks like she's ready for the weather--fat and fuzzy!  She's pushing 25!
And started on RT's fronts Saturday morning, and finished that evening. 
 The old guy looks pretty good for almost 32!  I like to keep up on his feet pretty regularly, as he has one slightly clubbed fore foot (the right, exaggerated here by the sticky snow balls in his hooves.
The girls coming in--they figured they needed some extra breakfast...
 Maddie got done on Sunday, and Kate the next weekend, so I"m probably good until Christmas break, when I'll give everybody a quick touch-up that may get me through to spring (or at least late winter).
Another F:  Flowers
 These flowers from Pat now needed to be "dead-headed"--I'll scatter the seeds in various beds for next spring.
The flower heads laid in composted manure along the back yard/paddock fence.
 One more F:  Fencing
The driveway Fence is all done.
Along with leveling these two piles--Fill dirt from Hanks and Fine gravel where I didn't need to build up the driveway any.
I'll get a load or two of big gravel in the spring to go over the fill dirt, and then a healthy layer of the finer gravel to smooth it all out.
I just need to add some garden mesh to a couple of my arena gates, and Sandy will have the bigger yard I've been promising her all summer.
The Final F:  Fixtures
These ugly brass Fixtures have needed changing out since we moved here 9 1/2 years ago!
The cover on this one finally gave up against the Ellensburg wind a month or so ago, and now they really need to be replaced!
 The fixture issue, however, has not yet been addressed.
Partly because I made a last minute trip to northern California over Thanksgiving weekend to visit my Mom's new assisted living apartment.  With the hubby, who didn't get to go down last summer (though Mom was in such bad shape at the time, she may not have remembered him).  And the dog... And my daughter...And the grandkids!
This is the woodsy view from Mom's apartment!
And partly because the fixtures will require a decent-weather day:  I'll have to work gloveless to do the wiring, so a warm-ish, windless day will be a must.  Might not happen 'til spring...

The PhD:  My "new" post hole digger
I've had this auger for most of two years now, borrowed from Terry and Anita.  It became "mine" as part of the deal for Beth.
Done for the season.
But I'm not quite ready to put the sn*w plow on yet!
 Another random chore:
 I never got around to washing blankets, but the E-burg Saddle Co. is having a special right now: 3 for the price of 2.  So RT's two will go in next week, plus one back-up for the girls, just in case.
And some random winter pictures.
The spoiled baby blue Buick that we adopted from my Mom in California,
 when she gave up driving this last summer.
Not! Happy!
 Speaking of spoiled, Hubby Al feeds our fat birdies year round.
Final image:


  1. Love the title - as a retired academian, my brain was totally unprepared for PostHoleDigger!! :)
    And could those possibly be red Canadian maple leaves in that last photo? I think that arctic wind blew them from my place to yours, 'cause our trees are now bare. Tell them we miss them!

  2. Wow it looks like you have been really busy getting everything done before winter hits good and proper. Your barn curtain looks good. DOes the snow get through?. We get so much rain that our barns need to be pretty water tight.My barn is open one end but its the opposite side to where we get most of our rain so is ok. Love the winter scenes in your photos.Stay warm

  3. I really like those shade cloth tarps, especially that they allow light and keep out the snow, too.
    Good for you for getting yourself some of the hockey net feeders, too. I've had our small mesh hockey net feeders from Arizona Sports for almost 4 years now and love them. They've really held up well an do a fine job with making sure my mare eats slow and isn't bored in between meals.


  4. Do I LOVE the PhD?

    Yes. Yes, I do.

    But...honey, I don't want you to panic or anything...but...

    THERE'S SN*W all over the place!

  5. Jean--I don't think it's a maple--it's a tall rather spindly tree (main truck just behind the red suckers). But I DO have a bushy little maple on the other side of the yard.

    Sally--So far the curtain hasn't really been snow tested--that snow in the photos came from the west. But our hay is a little over 12 feet in from the end of the barn, so I'm hoping is any moisture does work it's way thru, it won't get too far. I don't think it'll be a problem tho.

    Lisa--Kate's already figured how to worm her way around the sides of the net (between the two horizontal bars of the panel) so I'm going to have to do a little tweaking. But they are going to be the next better mouse trap. (And, btw, I got the info on Arizona Sports from you and dp at Food for Founder, quite a while back. Just hadn't followed through on it 'til now.)

    Aarene--Please don't drool on the PhD. Also, all that snow was three weeks ago, and melted away within a couple of days. Weather has been clear and cold since then, but the sun has been glorious (she says from inside the toasty house!). Hear that's supposed to change later this week. :-(

  6. Wow, you have been busy. We love those hay net feeders too. My daughter came up with the idea of how to make them user friendly and how to hang the nets on our fence and put it on her blog a long time ago: (, it really seems to be catching on. Really liked your curtain too it looks like it will be much better than the tarp. Great pictures of everything, stay warm.

  7. What a great catchup post!

    Love the hay feeders on the fence. I wish I had a section of pipe to do that! Dixie demolished her feeder a couple months ago so I've just been feeding out of a bathtub, but I miss slow feeding. :(

    Those porch fixtures are awful! Everything else looks great though ;)

  8. I didn't realize that you first saw it on mine and dp's blog. :)
    And I got the idea from Paddock Paradise just after I bought Baby Doll over 4 years ago. I'm glad the idea has taken off, because it's a great one. And it's nice having larger and less expensive alternatives to the slow feeders that are sold in the stores.


  9. just seeing a washington state plate on that buick made me happy. thank you for that: )

  10. Great winter prep. I'll keep an eye out for your post on the hockey net feeders. Those look intriguing. I too rely on slow feeders.