Friday, October 28, 2011

Feeling warm and fuzzy

Now that fall has set in, I've noticed a distinct change in the equine beasties.  They have all started to get in their thick winter coats.  Gino is growing his little donkey-fro again.

Ellie has started to change colors again for the second, third... maybe fourth time this year.  I can't seem to keep track of her molting cycle.  She goes from chestnut to strawberry roan and back a few times a year.

Ellie develops a wonderfully thick pelt in the fall.  Whereas Ellie is always quite huggable, she is especially so when the weather gets cold.

The other great thing about fall is being able to enjoy the great outdoors.  It is wonderful to get out and see the leaves turning colors while the weather is still temperate.  While I was out driving around the other day on my vespa, I came across this gentleman while he was out for a brisk ride with some friends:

He was obviously a bit annoyed, shocked, and slightly bemused at the sight of me taking his picture.  Still, Big George turned out to be a decent fellow.  He actually gave a big cheesey smile for the next picture, but it was out of focus.

Still, it's good to get out and enjoy the world.  You never know just who or what you might see.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day, so the we decided to do some nautical adventuring this weekend in his honor.  The wife and I loaded up her kayak and hitched my barge to the truck, and we did a little paddling on the lake. 

It was a wonderfully warm fall day.  There was not a cloud in the sky and the water was quite calm.  Better yet, the leaves have started to change colors, so I spent most of the day drifting slowly about, taking pictures with my phone.

There is a shallow section in the middle of the lake. Someone stacked stones in this area, possibly as a warning to boaters. I have seen a bald eagle perched on the top of these stones, so it seems to serve multiple purposes.  Unfortunately, we got a bit of a late start on the day, so we missed most of the good birding opportunities.

It was not a bad way to enjoy the day.  Unfortunately, I can't waste too much time because I need to chop up some poplar trees that fell down, mow the pastures, and get ready to re-seed them next week.  Always something to do on the farm.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Stall that Bound (a nominal success story)

Snow was supposed to be stall bound for a a few more weeks, but as you can see, she is out and about, scratching herself by running up and down the forsythia.

The other day, I went up to the barn and found this:

Snow had simply busted through her stall door.  It seems that normal barn locks are not really designed to contain a 1925 lbs. monster.  She simply walked through the door and took the latch and screws with her.  (She left some fur behind.)  Whilst pulling the latch off of the barn, Snow split the trim wood around the barn door.

You could see that she pushed the trim away from the rest of the door jam before the latch gave way.

Thus, I had a new chore to add to the list. 

I measured the broken trim piece and then ran to the local big box hardware store for a new piece of wood and paint.  The wood was easy enough.  It was 1" x 3" and about 7.5' long.  I found lumber marked 1" x 3", purchased it, and then tried to match a paint chip to a picture I had on my phone.  Upon getting home, I found that the paint was not a good match for the barn.  Thankfully, my lovely wife went out and was able to find "Barn Paint" at the local Ace Hardware.  Of note, Barn Paint does not have a stated color.  It is simply the color of a barn.  (In much the same way that an albatross is albatross flavored.)  I suppose, that if you have a barn, it should be barn colored.  I could not argue with this sort of logic, but I am rather certain that I have seen different colored barns.  I'm not sure what these people do for paint.

Anyway, I primed and painted the wood and then went up to the barn to nail it into place. I found that the trim was nowhere close to the right size.  A bit confused, I measured it again.  The wood I purchased was 0.5" x 2.5"! So I went back to the local big box hardware store, and this is where things got vexing. I found a sales representative and asked if they had any lumber that was actually 1" x 3" because the lumber marked 1" x 3" wasn't even close.  I was kindly informed that 1" x 3" lumber is 0.5" x 2.5", and that the lumber industry was going by "nominal measurements."  Since inches and feet are real measurements with definite meanings, the convention seems rather misleading. Of course, I didn't have the time to change the lumber industry. Instead, I asked if they had a piece of wood that was actually 1" x 3".  The sales representative said that he did not. 

I left and went to Ace Hardware.  They of course, sell Barn Paint, so maybe they still had wood that was referenced by its actual measurements.  They did not.  I noted that I needed a piece of lumber that was actually 1" x 3" and about 8'. I was told that the best I could do was to get a piece of wood that was 1" thick, and then "rip" it to the actual width I needed.  I asked what they had that was close to 1" x 3", and I was informed that a 1" x 5" would be 3/4" x 4.5".  To get something that was actually 1", I would have to buy a 1.25" piece of wood. I could purchase a 1.25" x 4" which was 1" x 3.5".  Sure... I guess that makes sense.  (Upon doing some internet research, I found that the wood is cut to the correct size, but it shrinks when dried.)

I purchased my piece of wood, took it home, "ripped" it with my circular saw, then primed and painted it with Barn Paint.  The good news is that I did a good job of "ripping" the wood and my barn is actually barn colored.  I nailed the wood up with more nails than should be necessary, and put the hardware back on.  It all worked out well, though the old paint is a little faded, so the new piece sticks out a bit.

Snow was pleased to have her stall back in good repair...

but she's pretty sure she can bust out again if need be.

At least when she does, I'll be a bit more prepared to repair the damage.