Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Friday, February 10, 2017

Phase 1 of the Horses at Home Project

The barn with 2 strands up.  The tall posts are for the gate, and the building you can just see on the right is the 3-sided hay shed.
My little barn needs gutters.  There is ice blocking my person door.  And the big door is iced in as well.  So, a bit more work before the horses can come!
My husband and I are renting a house with a very cute, tiny barn (containing 2 stalls and not much else) and a small pasture.  Upon our move-in several weeks ago, the "pasture" was merely the perimeter of 70 wood posts with most of the insulators still present.  The poly tape fencing, the gates, and the fencer were all removed.  Today, with sunshine and 32 degrees, I began the process of enclosing the pasture so that Red and Rhio can come home.

The snow is over my knees, but a significant January thaw (including rain!) made for a pretty tough crust, now covered by about 4 inches of fluffy new snow.  I was able to walk on the crust probably at least 75% of the time I was working out there today, but the other 25% consisted of breaking through unexpectedly, often while walking backwards unrolling a spool of poly tape.  Between that, and the repetitive kneeling/standing/kneeling at each post, and the pounding/screwing of insulators, I'm pretty tired tonight!  I got the lower and middle "rails" done, and started on the top - before I ran out of screws, daylight, and energy. 
Just getting ready to begin - a line of posts without any fencing.  And Birch, "helping."
My "helper" is also tuckered out - 7 month old Birch spent his day racing around in the snow, "inspecting" my work, and chewing on lots of sticks. 

I need a few additional supplies, but I hope to get the fence completed tomorrow (except for a gate, which I haven't purchased yet) if I can find the supplies locally.  In the tiny town of Eagle River, we do not (yet!) have a farm-type store, and the local hardware store only stocked T-post insulators and supplies last time I was there - so I may have to hunt around to find the few things I need. 
A new insulator on the left, and an old broken one I had to replace, with the too-short screw.

Don't fool yourself into thinking I was working with gloves on - no chance!  My fingers/hands/wrists are so fatigued, I don't think I could open or close another insulator right now.
The posts are untreated, and are deteriorating.  Most of the insulators had to be tightened (the screws used are too short, so I will have to keep a close eye on their integrity), a few had to be repositioned entirely due to cracks or dry rot in the post, and more than a few had to have a second screw added (which I did by hand, through the flat plastic part, since I don't have a functional cordless drill).  So far, all the posts seem solid in the ground (but, the ground is frozen!)  - that is another thing I will have to check this spring after the frost is out of the ground.  I picked 2 inch wide poly tape, so I hope this looks and acts like a nice, solid fence for the boys.  Rhio is famous for getting out (by crawling *through* a fence that isn't electrified), so I'm glad the three strands of tape are fairly close together.  Now let's all cross our fingers that when I finally hook it up to the charger, it is nice and hot!  I probably won't hook up the bottom line until the snow melts however, as there were multiple places I had to clear the snow to even put it up. 
The plow bank in front of the gate area.
My next tasks to prep for the horses include getting a gate, and melting snow/chopping ice so I can both open the barn door, and get the horses through the gate area (blocked by a plow bank), and getting hay.  I expect I'll be posting more as I progress towards getting the boys home!  I am beyond thrilled to have them in my own backyard, finally, for the first time in my horse ownership life. 
A little bit is actually done!

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