Staycation with a fire and a pickaxe

Well I am reminded why I don’t take many vacations. Rarely, if ever, but I thought I would take the 4th of July week off on vacation to get some painting done. Best laid plans they say…

This is Thursday, day 6 of my staycation and I haven’t picked up a paint brush except to purchase a few at the local Home Depot. Instead I accomplished very little  in the last 5 days. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. It just means I’m not making a lot of progress. So this is how my staycation began:

Woke Saturday morning with plans to have a brief visit with a friend then begin my painting. My visitor was due to arrive so I went upstairs to open some windows and get a good breeze going through the house. Upon looking out the window I was opening, I thought I saw smoke in the paddock of the stable. Maybe it was just dust being stirred up by the horse, except she wasn’t in the paddock. Yep, that was smoke. This was around 7:00 a.m. and I hadn’t had any coffee as of yet, but you wouldn’t have known it as I headed down the stairs at a brisk run, and yelled at Lynn to get up there was a fire at the stable.

Out the door I went to assess the situation. There were no flames but a black patch of smoldering dried grass. I immediately saw a couple of extension cords leading from the irrigation pump to the stable had overheated and sparks had started the fire. It appeared to have been smoldering for awhile. So first thing I had to do was make sure the cords were unplugged, I didn’t want to hit live wires with water.

That being done now I had to find a hose. Tried one that was closest to the fire, and it had more leaks than a colander. So I had to run and grab one from the back pasture – one of the new 100′ ones we just bought. Grabbing it through the fence and taking it off the spigot, I accidently touched my forehead to the electric fence wire. That jolted me awake. Then dragging it about 100 feet to hook up to the closer water supply, was my workout for the month. I proceed to douse the smoldering grass with the help of my new neighbors. In short order, the grass was doused with water and I was boiling mad.

Charred Grass.
Smoldering fire doused.

I was mad at myself and at Lynn. Let me explain. He has been using extension cords to get power to the pump (about 150′ from the power source) for appx. 30 years, and he’s never had a problem until now. Those were his exact words when this spring I tried to get him to bury an electric line up to the shop. These were cords that ran in front of the paddocks and the horse/horses walked back and forth over them for 17 of those 30 years. He said nothing ever happened, but he isn’t looking at all the times they have been unplugged by the horses and the pump had to be primed and restarted. He has selective memory syndrome.

I blame myself, because I thought I had found a solution by having him plug them into the stable, therefore rerouting the cords so the horses couldn’t step on them, when he would not let me dig the trench to bury the line. I don’t like arguing so he usually gets his way. Until I really get ticked, which is where I was this particular morning.

Digging in the early spring would have been so much easier as the ground was soft and wet. Now, not so much. So we (I) came up with a plan, I was going to call an electrician and have them come out and do it right. Upon more thinking about costs; waterlines not being mapped when he ran them for the house, we worried about hitting those, and I didn’t think we would be able to get an electrician for at least a couple of weeks, and we needed the pump going or we would loose the pastures. I do real well at talking myself out of things. So I became a trencher.

I have spent the last 4 days digging in the hard ground trying to dig a trench. A 150′ foot trench. Thought about renting a trencher, but I didn’t think I could handle one. I’m 66 years old and a pickaxe is about as dangerous as I want to get.

Then we headed to Home Depot to get conduit to bury real electrical wire and hook it up to the service with a breaker that would actually trip if all wasn’t well. A novel idea… do it the right way! Oh, and I picked up a few paint brushes, if I get that far this week.

I was talking to a friend of mine, that said why don’t you hire some young strong boys to do the digging. You know, this is going to sound stupid, but I never thought of that. I am so used to doing things myself, that that never occurred to me. I mentioned this to Lynn, and he wasn’t for that idea either. Ugh, now I remember why I never thought of that, Lynn never wants to let anyone else help. If he can’t do it, then the only other person who can, is me. He’s anti-social besides being pig-headed, but what can you do, he’s too old to re-train. (Wow, I feel better since I got that out there). Oh and he never reads my blogs. He he. 🙂

Trench from the pump to the shop.
Gotta dig it deeper
Yep, those are throwaways.

Hoping that I can get this done in time to go back to work on Monday. I like work, it’s predictable, and I get to drink a cup of coffee before I have to dig right in. Pun intended.

Stay tuned and I will let you know how this adventure turns out.

Annie, the reluctant trencher

 

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Editing my book; Planting an Aspen; Moving April.

This weekend is a little less intense than last weekend when I was busy rebuilding our fence. Still lots of fence to repair, but that will hold for another weekend. Here is another look at the fence. So proud of it, but will love it even more when I get some paint on it.

Front pasture fence
Front pasture fence

This weekend I focused on editing my first book. I am about 1/2 way through, meaning I have 70 more pages to do. Then it is off to another editor to see if I am getting there. I will reveal what it is about in one of my later blogs where I will be starting another site that will be an author site. So stay tuned. I’m excited, but also somewhat afraid. This is new to me and a bit scary.

In other news, I planted an Arbor Day Tree. An Aspen. It’s a little twig, but I got a little water bed for it to be cradled in and it will be automatically watered through our dry summers, so I hope it will help it make it though. I put it in the front horse pasture as it is a fast growing tree and the horse can use a little more shade. My understanding is that it will grow about 5 ft. a year, and that’s pretty fast. So we will see. Here is a photo of it  snug in it’s little water bed.

Aspen tree
Baby Aspen Tree

I have another one to plant, but the wind blew it over, so it is recovering. If it survives, it will get planted sometime this week, in another pasture.

Now the third photo I have is of a weed/plant/tree that is growing beside my front porch. It’s not going to stay there, but I was hoping someone may be able to identify what it is. It is on one stalk but is branching at the stop. It’s not a maple tree as I know what those are, and it may just be a weed, but if you can help, I would greatly appreciate it.

Weed?
Weed or Tree or Good Plant or Bad Plant? Can you identify it?

It has been a gorgeous day, but my weekend is almost over and it’s back to the real world tomorrow.

I hope you are enjoying the spring. My favorite time of the year.

Annie, the Aspen Whisperer

 

Phase One of the Fence is done

This is day two of my fence project. Started at about 12:30 and ended at 5:00. Whew, that made for a long day as I had a writing class this more. Love that class, but more on that another time. Back to the fence.

The hardest part is getting all the stuff out of the shop, like the drill; reciprocal saw; extension cords; level; nails; pry bars; post-hole diggers; tape measure; and that do-hickey that pounds the dirt around the posts. Just doing all that made me tired.

The easiest thing I had to do today was take out two posts that were rotted in the ground, that was the easy part, they just pulled out of the ground and left the rotted part in the ground. Then came the hard part, digging that rotted mess out. This was a pound with the do-hickey, get on your knees, clean the mess out, then repeat, and repeat 10 more times.

Then it was a matter of cutting boards, that was done by the Boss and saw-man. (Oh, and he was already tired from mowing the two pastures). But he didn’t complain, much.

I will tell you I have developed quite a dead-on right arm swing. Yes, I did it the old-fashioned way with a hammer and nails. Not very good with those nail guns. Besides I need the exercise.

It is a four board fence now where it used to be a three board fence, but we wanted to make sure Kinzie couldn’t go underneath. Though she is pretty good about hanging around the house. Just not taking any chances, she is our world.

Now for some photos:

Fence
This is from left to right. Some old boards and some new boards used.

This was picking up where I left off yesterday.

Fence
Another shot looking west toward the driveway.

This is panning more to the west and the first two tall posts were the ones I replaced today. That second one was a booger. The white boards were left over from when I built the other fence 4 years ago. The boss never throws anything away.

Fence
This is the fence that keeps Kinzie in her back yard. We did that about 4 years ago just before we moved into the house.

Just a preview of what I intend to do to the fence we just built. My plan is to paint it white like the one above. It was easier four years ago, as I had time to paint the boards before building it. This time I didn’t have the luxury as it was becoming a safety issue with keeping April in her pasture.

So now you know what is on my to-do list this summer. Painting and more painting.

Though tomorrow, I have to catch-up on weed-eating. Lots and lots of weed eating. The weather has been gorgeous the last couple of days and the grass has just jumped out of the ground. More fun for me.

Oh, yeah, you might be wondering what I bribed the boss with today. That would be a Big Mac meal. Whatever works, I say.

Annie, with her bottle of Excedrin

PS Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

 

 

Bribery and Fencing

Well, I have stooped to bribery to get some fences done. Yes, I know, it’s not a good thing, unless you like waffles.

That’s what the price of being the saw-man on this fencing project requires before he will assist me in rebuilding/repairing our front pasture fence. You know how obsessed I am with getting those fences done this year. The part we are repairing is 30+ years old so I would say it’s about time. It’s a good thing April isn’t an escape artist, but we would like to get her a companion and that will require a sturdier fence than we now have.

So I took a couple of days off to work on it. Maybe not the way most people would like to spend their vacation time, but for me its great. So here are some photos I took:

Front fence & April

This was taken in March 2018. The black walnut tree which was cut down behind April and the fence needing repair in front of her.

Tractor & Fence
Walnut tree is gone, but fence still needs repairing

Now for this week.

Fence as of this morning
Had the boss move his tractor so we could begin.

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This is a shot from the front porch but can’t get a good look at the fence with all the stuff in front of it.

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The boss on his mower. It would make a good bronze. What do you think?
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Getting there. A little section done
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Now for Kinzie the inspector.
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This doesn’t look very good, as it’s the part scheduled for demo and repair tomorrow.

Now comes the hard part tomorrow.  I have to remove the next two posts and replace them then continue the fence along until just past the water trough.

Hope I can get out of bed in the morning. I’m too dang old for this stuff. I have Excedrin, so I’m good. I wonder if tomorrow will cost me more waffles? Maybe for dinner as I have class in the morning, then working on the fence in the afternoon. The boss will be playing with his tractor and hopefully getting some pastures mowed.

Stay tune for more fun stuff tomorrow.

Annie, the waffle maker.

 

April is in her winter home

Well, we finished the fence in the paddock and returned April to the front pasture. She was one happy girl as she pranced around in her fifedom.

Lynn and I finished that part of the fence and now I have a bigger right bicep than Rosie the Riveter, from swinging that 16 pound framing hammer. I hope April doesn’t see this as a challenge that she can destroy as fast, well faster, than I can rebuild.

Weather predicts that next week will be in the upper fifties and mid sixties. It is warm enough to mend more fences. I think if I even mentioned that to Lynn he would have a melt-down.

But that is on the to-do list for next spring. Along with a lot of landscaping. Got to get this stuff done before I retire, because I just plan to sit in the rocking chair on the front porch and drink sweet tea. Maybe putter in the flower beds and garden. Oh the life of leisure awaits me. What a sweet fantasy, now back to the real world.

Another thing I have planned for next year is getting the railing around the front porch, a ramp, finish painting the house, garage, shop, stable and getting the garage cleaned out so I can actually park my car in there. That’s a novel idea, actually being able to park my car in there. Just don’t know if I can get Lynn to part with some of his treasures that he has packed away for 30+ years, so I can make that happen.

I keep thinking and am coming up with more things that need to be done. So I better cut this blog short before I think of anything else. So here are the pictures.

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April in the front pasture
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I’ve got her attention.
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She comes a running for grain

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She such a pretty girl.
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Pretty girl has a knot in her tail.
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It actually looks better in person
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This is a little better angle. When spring comes and it’s painted it will look much better.
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You are going to give me grain, aren’t you?
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She’s actually in the paddock. If you look real close you can see her.

Well that’s all folks.

Annie, the fence finisher 🙂

 

 

More Fences and Stable Work

I know Lynn is praying that I go back to work tomorrow and leave him to recuperate from this weekend. But I just couldn’t help myself.  The weekend was beautiful and warm so I had to get stuff done. I want to move April back to the front pasture because the tree trimmers are not coming until December the 5th and I just know I feel better when she is up front in a more secure pasture.

I thought we could get the other side of the paddock finished and done and move her today, but it didn’t happen.

Lynn really didn’t even want to do it, but I was just nervous about how the paddock area is in such need of repair. Should have started this yesterday, but I was organizing the stable and putting up shelves. Still didn’t get all that done, but got a good start on it.

So, I am exhausted so this will be a little short. I will let the pictures tell the story.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The huge elm tree that has caused us so much distress. It is huge and will be trimmed in early December. The limbs are so heavy and we thought pruning rather than taking it completely down.  I am a true tree hugger and love my trees.

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The messy before and after pictures of organizing some of the stable. I don’t know how Lynn could stand it so I decided that if I wanted it done I needed to get some sturdy shelves and just do it. Lynn had some good suggestions and he was thrilled that it was done.

Well that was a brief picture of the four stalls in the stable and April enjoying herself in the back pasture. Next weekend we will move you, I promise.

Well the gate just got a primer coat and I rehung it today.

Thank goodness this weekend is over. I’m all tuckered out.  Didn’t get any grocery shopping done, I guess I will just have to scrounge for the next week.

Annie, The tree-hugger.

Mending Fences and Most of it is Done

I have really been stressing about getting the paddock fences repaired before bad weather sets in. This is April’s winter home. So I took the day off to get it done. Needless to say this didn’t make Lynn a happy camper, but he can rest for the next 2 days, so he can be ready when the weekend rolls around.

Remember we had a big limb fall from the tree beside the paddock which broke two sections of board fence and April was scratching her rump and broke another whole section. Love her dearly, but she needs a companion, but that is a blog for the future.

We moved her to the back pasture so we could work in the front pasture without her supervision. Tear down was easy as the tree and April took care of that. I just had to remove as many of the boards as I could, Then the matter of cutting up the tree branches.  Lynn took care of cutting three big limbs in pieces so we could at least work around them. My neighbor burns wood in his shop and he will be taking some of those off our hands.

I did call a few tree companies and will be getting some estimates on either taking the whole tree down or at least getting some of the larger limbs cut so they don’t fall on April. She was lucky the last time and I don’t want to take anymore chances. When they come out for the estimate we will see what kind of tree it is. I think it is a Chinese Elm, but it could be some kind of Locust as there are a lot of them in this country.

We installed two posts and three 16ft 2×6 boards and was able to reuse some that weren’t damaged. It looks a lot better but we still have a lot of clean-up to do.

I love finding treasures when I do projects like this. There is this small gate that goes into the paddock that had some hinge details that I admired. It also has some lap joints that makes it unique. Lynn didn’t make this one as he hasn’t ever used lap joints that I can remember. So it will be scraped and sanded then primer and paint will go on. I know it’s silly as the rest of the fence will not get painted this year. Maybe next year. Can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Now for some photos:

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I just uploaded this photos and had to laugh as I lost one of Lynn’s wrenches and I  looked all over the place and couldn’t find it. He said we would have to go to Sears and get him a new one. Did you see it. I hope it’s still there in the morning as it is too dark out there now. Shoosh, don’t tell Lynn until I make sure it is still there and I didn’t move it after the picture was taken.

Annie, the fence mender.

Drapes and Pictures

Well this weekend rain was predicted so I decided it was time to hang a few more pictures and drapes. Our living room has 3 large windows on a 16 ft. wall looking north  on pastures in the back.  I loved that it allowed all the light to come into the house. But it was kind’a like living in a fish bowl. Being there is a heavy tree covered levee behind the house and a river there is very little traffic back there so we weren’t too concerned.

I decided that I wanted to add drapes to soften the room and give us a semblance of privacy if we needed it in the future. I did a lot of studying on what kind of drapes would look appropriate as these windows took up most of the wall.

Going with the western theme on the south wall of the living room I wanted to be a little more eclectic and the west wall has the piano and a nautical theme. I decided that I needed to dress up the round coffee table that Lynn just can’t get rid of.  This has a crystal chess set that I bought for him years ago. The only thing new is the drapes. The ships wheel clock was a gift years ago from Diana our daughter.

I’m hoping to have fair weather for the next couple of week as we absolutely need to get the paddock fence repaired before winter.

Here are a few photos so you know I haven’t been sluffing off.

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The drapes are hung and anyone for a game of chess?
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If the hubby won’t let you get rid of it, cover it with a table cloth.
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Piano with world map
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Chess anyone
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Watching the seasons change out my office window
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Doesn’t look like the storm is over yet

Next week I hope to have some board fence photos to share.

Stay dry and I’ll see you next weekend.

Annie the decorator.