Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Farm Chores

It seems to be summer (although today it sure doesn't act like it).  I can tell because we've already gotten 2 loads of local hay out of the field and that ONLY happens in the summer.  I've been dealing with the same family for around 20 years now, THANK YOU Vicky!  Every summer we joke that if the kids get the phone when she calls, they won't hand it to me.

Last year we picked up around 600 bales and I was able to get another 100 or so when I ran out in the spring.  That really helps stretch the expensive Eastern Washington hay I get.  And, last year, the local was so good that it actually was better than a lot of the Eastern WA I got. 

My children and husband have become a well-oiled team;  maybe not the most cheerful during this time, but they do the work. 

This is Callie (in green) my almost 20 year old daughter and Zach (almost 17 year old) stacking hay.  I took this in the trailer, as I was throwing the hay to them.

One of the great things about local is that most bales run around 50-60 lbs, which means we can throw them around.  Those monsters from across the mountains need one of us on each end.  Also, it's cheaper than Eastern, thank heavens!  I have to feed hay year round, so my expenses are not insignificant.

Other things we do during 'summer';  get ready for winter!  This past weekend (Father's Day weekend), my husband and I spent most of it working on new runs off the barn.  Our plan is that we will have almost all the stalls with runs, which makes winter so much easier.  Over the years, we've figured it out; Larry cuts a hole in the barn for a door, frames it in and then we sink posts and put down fabric over the graded run area.  Then, it's drainage rock about 4 inches deep and 5/8 minus over that, another 5-6 inches.  Near the barn, we put in a 'porch' of Hoofgrid with gravel in it(I'm trying a competitor this time called Ecogrid) to keep down any possibility of mud.

The view from inside the stall.  Right now, I have the end of the Ecogrid up in the air, as I need to put more drainage rock under it, but my tractor died before I finished.  Sigh...

So, once the tractor is running again, I'll put in more of the big drainage rock until the whole area is smooth and flat and then put the grid down and fill everything in with 5/8 minus.  When this is done, you will barely see the grid, but the horses will not be able to dig or paw.  Presto!  Dry runs no matter how wet it gets.  (right...presto...so far it's taken about a year to get to this point).  The horses love it, as they can go in and out all night long, there is no mud (here anyway) and if they like, they can poop and pee outside only and keep their stall clean.  Win-win all around! 

Now, why haven't we done this sooner?  Besides the large amount of work involved, it is NOT CHEAP.  Each normal size run costs us around $1500 + or -.  This is a double run (otherwise, there would be a slice of useless area and we can't have THAT) and I think it will be well over $2000 by the time we're done. 

We are also moving a shed.  We started looking at the projected runs and realized that if we ever wanted to move this shed, we had better do it now.  When it was built, over 20 years ago, we had no plans to put runs on.  Well, times change and this shed is built so strongly that I can't imagine trying to take it apart (or, at least MEANING to take it apart).  We will see what happens when we actually go to move it. 

So, this coming weekend, we are planning to shovel out around the posts and put runners on each pair, along with cross bracing.  We will cut each post off and then the idea is that we will hitch up the truck and tractor (when it's working again, argh) and just pull the whole shed to it's new position.  Sounds easy in theory; we'll see how it works in practice.

Oh and actual horsey stuff?  Well, not so much right now!

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