Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for August 2nd, 2014

More Designing

leave a comment »

DSCN2175eI recently built a platform outside the back door of the barn for Cyndie’s portable sink. She said she liked it, but that she was also hoping to have a work station for washing horses in that area. On Friday, I worked on a design for a way to provide that, just beyond the sink.

The area will require a fair amount of fill, so I decided it was time to use the loader bucket on the diesel tractor. Moving massive amounts of manure was one of the reasons I figured I needed this tractor, but up until now, we have been managing just fine without it.

Actually, our neighbor, George, was just asking about our manure pile, and happily offered us the use of his manure spreader, as long as we can fill it using the loader on our tractor. That would allow us to spread our fertilizer on the hay-field. His asking created incentive for me to practice my skills using the loader for something other than snow.

DSCN2181eIt doesn’t come naturally for me. I have better control using hand tools. However, there is no denying the increased efficiency the loader provides. I can move a lot more fertilizer in a lot less time. One of my problems with mechanized assistance is that it also allows me to make a lot bigger mistakes in a shockingly quick blink of an eye.

For now, I am using the mostly composted manure from long ago as clean fill around our property. I moved a few bucket-loads to the spot and now have a sense of space that will be needed. I plan to bury a couple of fence posts to make a hitching rail and build up a platform where the horses will stand. We have some plastic grates that interlock, which we will fill with pea-gravel, and then that will be covered by rubber mats. I expect there will be a layer of plastic beneath the pea-gravel to cause water to drain in the direction we want it to go.

DSCN2193eLuckily, Cyndie said she doesn’t expect to be washing horses for a while, so I have time to proceed in phases.

She was able to make use of the new arena space in the afternoon, exercising the horses with a lunge line. It was beautiful to see. The horses responded nicely to the exercise, and moved proudly around her in this new workout space that has been created.

Every day is something new around here. The progress of late has been invigorating for the soul, yet taxing on the body. That end-of-the-day shower is becoming a ritual of renewal and recovery after long days of heavy laboring.

During a brief pause between tasks yesterday afternoon, Cyndie brought out popsicles and invited me to join her on rocking chairs overlooking the back yard. With a cool breeze washing over us, it was a precious (and intentional) opportunity to take a moment to enjoy the richness of blessings we are surrounded by here. They are more than enough justification for the hard work we find ourselves engaged in day-after-day.

Written by johnwhays

August 2, 2014 at 6:00 am