Tuesday, August 14, 2012

You may remember a photo from last year of Jill and her prize heifer Dorothy. They won Reserve Grand Champion (that's a fancy way of saying second place) last year at the PGX. Jill entered Dorothy with her calf this year and they won Grand Champion! Yay! We're very pleased. The previous winter, the cows had come into spring looking a little thin so we added some alfalfa hay to their feed last winter and that may have done the trick because they all kept their weight up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Happy New Year

I know it's already March but I didn't get a chance to post a Happy New Year post because my laptop died. About the time I got the new laptop and sorted out all the new issues, learned a few things, lost all my files, found them again, and then bought a new power cord because the cat chewed through the fancy new extra thin one...just when I thought I was ready to start posting again...I lost the camera. Yep.

Oh sure, I could use my phone to take pictures, if I hadn't cheaped out on a phone with the cheesiest excuse for a camera...but I couldn't afford a better phone because my laptop died...

Anyway, the news is: first calf born a week ago to Dorothy! We missed the whole thing but it was obviously a success and Little Nameless is running amok and schmoozing with all the soft-nosed horses.

Photos pending.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last Hay Run

I organized the last hay run of the season and this is how the day turned out. Ugh. But we had a big team of bale-throwers and got three hundred more bales in the barn without getting stuck even once. We're set for winter now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Almost Finished Project

While my horses napped all summer in order of biggest to smallest...

I was busy mucking in the mud.

We had the wettest summer on record here, so these piles of forty-year-old manure that were scraped away from the barn sat amongst the rain ponds for weeks and weeks before it was dry enough to get the dump truck in to haul them away.

Eventually, it dried out, the piles were hauled out, the water lines were dug for three yard taps (only one burst a week later and had to be redug and repaired) and we built the fences.

Here are some of the new fences and the new manure bins (which will have walls on them in a few days). The outhouse has a new home next to the manure piles. I didn't look into a permit for that biffy...but as long as no one complains...

I have a round pen in the works. I plan to brace the top with white boards and string three strands of white poly-coated wire.

Here's another before and after from the back of the barn. Here the old manure has been scraped away and we're waiting for things to dry up before digging the water lines.

And here are two finished paddocks, with the new road and gravel path.

This is one of my boarders in his new paddock.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better...

Today's post is a series of before and after shots. This photo shows a shed attached to the barn on the right of the photo.

Shed gone. Imagine the little Tinkerbell ring they used to have with those Disney audio-assisted picture books. Yeah, the shed disappeared like turning the page on one of those books. That's right. No sweat or fiberglass slivers or convoys to the dump at all.

Here we have an array of graceful fencing. That fence in the middle distance is made of rusty old pipe. One chop saw and five blades later, it and the rest of the pipe fence from behind the barn were in manageable pieces that my helpers then loaded into a bin to go to the metal salvage place. I don't know how much it all weighed, but the bin was 18 feet by 7 feet by 4 feet, and it was full! I got cash for all that. It was kind of like logging my property.

Here's the same spot with most of the fence gone and the horses living in temporary electric fence set-ups, which they regularly escape from. There's a new ditch in the foreground. (I apologize for the poor photography. Most of these pictures are snapped with one hand while grasping muddy gloves, tools and lead ropes under an elbow at the same time as fending off two or three cats and a herd of contractors.)

This shows (sort of) the paddocks behind the barn. The ground here actually rises up above the floor level of the barn, so that all the spring melt ends up in the barn. The ground is higher than the barn on account of forty years of poo building up. The other phenomenon that occurs with that kind of poo accumulation is it acts like a sponge and water won't run off even if the ground is sloped. So the excavator guy spent a whole day scraping that layer of decomposed manure off until he got down to the actual ground level.

Here it is with the ground scraped. Uh, just ignore the scary-looking barn. We'll deal with that later. For now, the idea is to get the right ditching and the right slope on the ground to allow for proper drainage, and then when I actually do fix the barn, it'll stay fixed because the foundations will be dry. That's the theory.

Here's the excavator among its piles of forty-year-old manure. Most of the manure is being taken to a neighbour's place and I'll keep a small pile for future gardens or for putting into tiny bags and selling for $40/bag in downtown Vancouver.

Things are looking dreadful now after a week of rain, but at least the view from my little deck is relaxing, and will stay that way through all this destruction and rebuilding. Oh, except for a trench for the electrical upgrade from the house to the barn...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gate Inventory

As I'm getting my plans organized for the new fence layout, I'm taking stock of what materials I have on the property. A previous owner must have been a metal-worker. The gates are a full curious range of lengths:


How do I plan standard gate openings with those kinds of sizes!?

Okay, don't despair. The gates are quite lovely and light and will last a long time yet, but I still need to plan for the day the gates will have to be replaced with the standard 6,8,10,12 or 14 foot gates. I plan to put in the gate posts so that the standard gates will fit. Which means some of the gates I have will extend past the gate post, and some will have a wee gap between the gate posts that I may fill with a 2x4. It has taken some figuring but I've got it working on paper. We'll see how it all turns out...