Saturday, August 13, 2011

a pony winter

I would be lying if I didn't admit I am getting nervous about winter. Just a few weeks till November 1, and I still have a chimney to install, a new sheep shelter to replace the old one, a roof to repair, and heating bills and a horse to see too. Today at least, I saw to the horse.

Brett came down from his cabin near Saranac to help me build a stall and paddock in the barn for Jasper. As much as he loves romping with the sheep in the 3-acre pen—come winter that steep hill covered with ice and snow is trouble. Might as well break his legs myself if I intended to keep him with the flock. Sheep can handle a steep, icy bank. I don't know if Jasper could or not, but I'm not finding out the hard way.

So yesterday Brett and I headed to the lumber store and Tractor Supply and got enough wood and gear to create a stall indoors/fence outdoors for the pony (did you know dented gates at the Bennington TSC are half price?!). It's 10x14 inside, and larger outisde. I had already ordered a hay bag feeder, bridle holders, and other barn supplies to keep him happy. It took us most of the morning, and a bit of the afternoon, but we (mostly he) built a nice stall and paddock out of sheer will. It looks wonderful, and it makes me happy to see him munching on hay in his trial run this evening.

Other tasks like re-shingling holes in the barn roof and placing more support beams were seen too. Brett said he'd give the barn three more years and it would start to buckle. Not a collapse in a flash, or a danger to the livestock, but signs of replacement over repair would arise and the cost of fixing it would not make sense. Thousands of pounds of slate are on that centennial roof. It would cost more to replace that roof then build a new barn. I took this grave news best I could. But like most small farms, you have a running tab in your head of what needs to be done now, and what can last a season or two longer. This winter, we are looking safe barn-wise. I have a PHD woodsman carpenter's okay. I take that as a thumbs up for a pony winter.

Thank you, Brett.

List
Wood delivered: check
Jasper's winter stall: check
A bit of heating oil ordered: check
New sheep pole barn: soon, (still owe half)
Chimney installed: God, I hope so (also still owe half)
Roof repairs: planned
Blind Certainty I'll figure it out: check
Spots left for Fall Festival: 6
Spots left for Joseph's wool: 7

21 Comments:

Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Great photo of Jasper looking out of his stall, Jenna! Your composition is awesome. Additionally, that's a great looking barn door...

August 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

That barn door is all brett. I just picked out the latch.

August 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM  
Blogger goatldi said...

Nice digs for Jasper.

Now you are getting it. List- major list for the anticipated and not. If it might it will so plan for it.

I believe I posted earlier on that the folks I have seen not make it more than a few years are the ones who jumped in and diversified before they had one or two things down pat.

We all have learning curves but if we try to start with too much too soon they become roadblocks and lead to major head on's.

Slow it down , give yourself another year to become more sheep/horse wise and enjoy the winter. I love winter!Why?

I live in Nor. Cal for one so even tho we are in the mountains the snow is minimal and the climate tolerable.

And in the winter I get to kiss my goats, toss them hay and be back in the house early. As much as I love them a break is a good thing.

August 13, 2011 at 7:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Jenna.
How is Jasper doing in his stall? My first horse, which I had little history on, did not do confinement well and dragged her teeth all across the walls of the stall (which we had JUST built for her). She also ATE part of the beams of the post and beam barn. I am not trying to scare you or be negative-but it can be a challenge sometimes to find out what a horse is all about if you don't have a lot of background info on the horse.
Lisa

August 13, 2011 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hello again, Jenna. :)
Don't be nervous about Jasper this winter. Horses are remarkable in their ability to cope with cold and sub zero temps. You have Jasper in good condition and he will do the rest. He will be a "wooly mammoth" with his winter coat before you know it! My gelding did great last winter and he was in tough shape when I got him at the end of June and had only a few weeks to get some good nutrition into him before the snow flew!
Lisa

August 13, 2011 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Jeremy and Heather McCool said...

I was going to tell you a little story about my 11.5 hand pony mare and her ridiculous antics to get herself out of a box stall that ended up scary. She was fine but the dutch doors took a real beating...

And then I realized you had a gelding. And geldings are angelic compared to mares. So, he'll be fine :)

August 13, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Sewing Machine Girl said...

If I were doing it, and wasn't attached to that old roof, I'd make plans to salvage that slate and sell it for a pretty penny. Mark my words, someone would pay through the nose to get 100 year old slate. It probably only has one or two nails per pc.One could go a long way towards building a brand new barn with that slate sale. The salvager would probably take it down for you, just have them make it a part of their purchase price. An old hay barn here in TN can sell for $4000-$7000 and you have to take it down yourself to get the wood. And a co-op metal roof on your new barn will last 75 or more years. Just sayin'.

August 13, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

JENNA,
"SEWING MAXCHINE GIRL" HAS
ALREADY SUGGESTED WHAT I'D DO WITH
THAT ANTIQUE HUNDRED YEAR OLD SLATE, SELL, SELL, SELL IT!!!
LIKE YOUR BARN, & I ESPECIALLY LIKE THE BARN DOOR AT
CAF!!!
YES, STORY BOARD YOUR PROJECTS, & YEP ( WE'LL KEEP OUR FINGERS CROSSED) THAT ALL YOUR PROJECTS WILL COME TO FRUITION!!!
IN THE MEANTIME "THANKS" FOR
THE BLOG, &
"CHEERS" WITH A HEALTH DRINK!!!
RONNIE A VERY HAPPY X SEAT WEAVWER!!!
http://www.chaircaningdirectory.com

August 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I really like the stall and barn door. I'm confident Jasper will do well with it.

August 13, 2011 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Indio said...

Jenna,
I'm still interested in the Oct farm workshop. Can you please tell me your email? The aol one didn't work so I assume you have another one.

August 13, 2011 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I'm no expert, but I have a couple suggestions for you (based on the pictures provided).

1)Remove the halter when he's in his stall (I would only put it on when you are working with him).

2)Fill in the spaces between the 2x6's. Most importantly from the floor to the lowest one. Too easy for him to lie down and/or roll and get his head or legs stuck in the between the rails.

3)Come up with a way to secure the open Dutch door to the barn so the wind doesn't slam him in the face with it (if you haven't already).

4)If you are not going to work him often in the winter, don't blanket him unless he starts dropping weight. Get a weight tape if you don't have one so you can monitor it this winter. Rain, sleet, and wind in the winter are the worst. The cold they can handle just fine. You may only need a waterproof sheet for him for the winter. I don't blanket any of my horses - they have access to a run in shed - no stalls.

5)You could sell the slate for sure, but why not use it on the roof of your new barn? If you have slate on the house, I would save a good pile of it from the barn for repairs on the house.

6)What makes that post in the foreground (of the top picture) black?

7)Horses crib mostly because they are bored, you can hang a Johnny ball in the stall to give something to do.

Good call on the hill for the winter, but you'll need some place to give him some exercise even if its on the road or walk him up to an upper pasture and leave him out during the day time.

August 13, 2011 at 10:45 PM  
OpenID notherethenwhere said...

The work looks great - I especially love that door. The barn news is a drag, but I suppose knowing now gives a lot more time to plan for it, which can't be a bad things, and my first thought (as others have also pointed out) was whether there could be some money made from selling the parts - I'm sure there's a market for them. But good on you for keeping track of everything, and managing as much as you do - I realise it's largely necessary, but it's impressive all the same.

August 13, 2011 at 11:00 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

I love the barn your making all cozy. I also love that CJ and others have wisdom to help you through the new thing..........he has so many good points! Have fun.....your doing great! Winter should shiver before you Jenna. :)

August 14, 2011 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger redbird said...

Looks great, that Dutch door is classy. I like how he has an outside “run” too. As one of the other posters stated, you’re lucky Jasper’s a gelding; it does make a huge difference! I built a stall once to winter my horse during the worst weather—she was only a gangling yearling, but she managed to bust out of the stall AND the sliding barn door the 2nd night I kept her there. The first night I actually slept in the barn with her trying to calm her down. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her standing out front early the next morning. I’d gotten up twice that night to check on her and she’d seemed fine. I had two other horses, both geldings, at the time and they loved the barn during the bad storms but not Gypsy. After that I only supplied her with a lean-to and lots of bedding which she never even utilized in the winter during the worst storms—she was never fazed by blizzards or subzero temperatures. Horses are something.

August 14, 2011 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Lots of great advice here, I agree with all of CJ's suggestions. Better to prevent a vet bill from happening. I like the look of the door latch, but those things make me nervous. We had a quarterhorse colt 29 years ago, and he broke his jaw. Can't remember exactly, but I think he got it caught in one of those horseshoe shaped door latches (he was a great one for playing with the latch) In fact in later years I used to see those with a bar across the horse shoe part to make the hole too small to get the jaw caught in it. Also, can't tell if that latch has something to prevent it from being flipped up and slid open. There are some that have a hole for a snap (like on a dog leash) that has to be taken off before the latch can be opened. We had a gelding that needed to have two snaps on the latch to keep him in the stall. It's amazing what they can do with that uppper lip in the course of a night.
It's a nice feeling to know that your animals are tucked in a safe cosy spot when those winter storms are howling. Hope Jasper appreciates your efforts:)

August 14, 2011 at 1:09 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Indio: the email address is Jenna@itsafarwalk.com where are you seeing an aol one?

August 14, 2011 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

CJ: thanks for all those points. I will look into them, but the black post isn't black. It just looks like it is in the photo. I was dirty from being on the muddy/black dirt of the barn floor. It will be scraped and sanded cleaned up. Jasper was only in his stall a few hours before he went back to the pasture. He seemed fine for the trial run.

They are 2x8s

August 14, 2011 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I think Jasper would do just fine with bare feet in the sheep pasture. He will need to get outside during the winter so if you are really nervous about the slope you'll have to come up with an alternative. A healthy horse can stay out in storms all day as long as it has a place that breaks the wind.
I totally agree with other readers about the open sides of your stall. If there is a way to get hurt a horse will find it. You have to give them fewer ways and solid sides on the stall are a must.

August 14, 2011 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Hey there! Sorry I haven't commented in a while, I've been away with hubby for business. I've been reading all along, just not able to comment. How fabulous that Jasper has his winter digs. Brett is such a great guy. I loved being able to get to know him at the workshop. He's definately the kind of guy to keep in your cell. :)

August 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM  
Blogger Campbell Kids said...

Fabulous barn door! One less thing to worry about. Great idea to create a list and plan ahead...just try not to worry about everything. Enjoy the process if you can...

August 16, 2011 at 11:50 AM  

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