Archives for category: Farm Homestead

After 20 years of marriage you would think Hubby would be more comfortable with my schemes…. As we’ve worked through the details of the possible move of BG to NB’s, it became apparent last night that it simply won’t work.

I spent a few hours calculating fence costs… with three different materials (avoiding smooth or barb wire) and the cheapest I could get it to come up too was $1200 for the south fence. The perimeter fence would need an additional $600 to get up too speed, and the loafing shed another $6-800 excluding the water and electric that the Barn Owner wants me too chip in on. As the tenant I was also to pay for annual fertilizing, mowing and brushhogging.

My investment was to be taken out with board, and the BO put his monthly board fee at $225 which was unreleastic considering I can get pasture board of a similar nature for $125 and at the most $175 (this is with me providing feed and hay and BO feeding twice a day).

The biggest issue though was the companion for Big Guy. I do not want to buy another horse, and the BO was wanting me to buy a horse that he could ride and his family had a say-so in choosing. That really hacked off hubby, while I remained more philosophical about it – people do a lot of talk and very little carry through.

The entire back and forth was starting to make me physically lose sleep and gave me some sort of mysterious attack in the middle of the night. I’m just not up to these types of power plays anymore.

I was letting the close in location seduce me too much. The cold, hard facts though of $3,000 investment was a good slap in the face.

Now it’s back to reality: 1.) I want my own place and we can’t sell our house right now; 2.) I could lease land but I don’t think I have enough funds to do the full lease; 3.) I want to be the only boarder, or if there are other boarders be in charge of who is there; and so I have posted a co-op seeking partner ad on CL, as well as a seeking pasture for rent — and have someone to call and view on the later today.

Ideal situation: has enough shelter even if it needs to be improved for all horses (up to 4); could move my pony and board 2-3 other ponies in a herd group; has water and electric; has place to store hay; has enough pasture to last the entire summer; and owner on property.

If we move Big Guy, the existing loafing shed at the future property will need to be enlarged to fit two horses and to feed them separately. There is a 12×12 cover on one side and a feed room area next to it. The plan we have come up with is to extend on the other side of the feed room with another run-in shelter (12×12), leaving the feed room in the middle.

This photo (below) shows the front of the current building. To the left is the run-in shed (12×12) that exists now, and to the right is the feed room, with a door entrance from the interior sidewall. If we re-do it, the front of the feed room will have an exterior door for entrance, an elevated front porch built of railroad ties and an exterior porch light.

The photo below shows the interior wall between the existing 12×12 run-in and the feed room. If we re-do it, there will be a plywood barrier, 4′ high, and then an opening to reach from the feed room over to feed the horse. This would allow anyone to feed without entering the horse area, important because the landowners are not horse savvy.

This photo below, shows the wall condition inside the existing 12×12 run-in shed. If we redo, it will have a layer of insulation and then a plywood, 4′ high, kickboard. This photo makes it look a bit more horrible then it actually is - the boards are very sound except for a few cosmetic repairs.

In the re-do we will be duplicating the roof structure and construction of the existing shelter. Photos (such as the one below) can help the DIY person get a handle on how much lumber and how it would be constructed.

Tentative Lumber List:

4: 4x4x12 posts (treated)

9: 2x6x14 (roof rafters)

2: 2x6x12 (roof end caps)

5: 2x6x12 (roof overhang in front)

4: 2x4x12 (roof overhang in front)

4: 2x4x12 (back wall, vertical runners)

8: 4×8 plywood sheets (stall #1 and 2) interior wall lining

8: 4×8 plywood sheets (stall #2 roof)

3: 80# bags of cement

Recycle the lumber on the east wall and move to back north wall of Stall #2.

Top view with post layout and dimensions. Black squares are the new posts needed.

The side section, giving heights and slopes:

Below is the interior view of the new back wall in Stall #2. It shows the vertical rails needed for mounting the exterior wall board and interior plywood.

The plywood sheeting layout for the roof in Stall #2. Dotted line shows bend in roof at front.

I’ll do the price out sometime this week. If we do go through with the move, I’ll post construction photos as the new side is built.

I’m continuing to work out details on a possible retirement home for the Big Guy. I write possible because things continue to change, most for the good but some sticking points that have to be resolved.

Overall, I am looking for more pasture for him, senior companionship (preferably male), and reduction in board so I can buy him some better supplements. He would be retired from anything but the most casual of riding at a walk.

Benefits:

8 minutes from hubbys’ work; 14 from home.

Private pasture with no other boarders.

Deadend road, backs onto city land with trails.

Will be fed twice a day.

Close enough I can keep a better eye on how he is faring.

Downside:

Big Guy needs another companion. I may end up buying another horse :(

Property needs some major fence work, which is taking time right now on deciding type and figuring price.

Property needs a water line and electrical line laid.

Now, one of the things I want to put in is some gravel forming an apron (pink gray in the diagram) around the run in shed (which is 12×36). The gravel would extend from the front (south) entrance about 20′ and on the sides about 8-10′.

Mats would be inside the run-in shed, extending four feet outwards from the roofline such as one line of 4×12 (stall #1) and then a 4×14 and 4×12 to wrap stall #2.

Roughly a 32′ x 44′ rectangle of gravel (either screenings or crusher run) with a depth of about 6 inches. There is a really neat online calculator here where you can convert square feet into cubic yards which is helpful not only for arena dirt but also calculating amount of gravel needed in cubic yards which I will then convert to tons.

For example, I end up with 1408 square feet or 26.07 cubic yards for a 6″ depth. The next conversion calculation gives me roughly 7 tons. Next I’ve got to go price it out and decide what type of gravel….

For the past few days I have been working out different plans on how Situation #3 might work out as a retirement home for Big Guy.

The biggest work that needs to be done is at the front end of the pasture where it connects to the backyard of the Barn Owner as the fence there is no longer workable. In the (not to size) diagram above, the blue irregular shape is a wet water creek that separates the pasture from the owners back yard. Behind the “hay storage” block is approx. 2 acres of pasture (we will be leasing the neighbors adjoining pasture on a month to month for $70).

The brown lines are proposed fencing and I am considering the rail product by  Centaur. It’s strong, provides a very obvious barrier, an inside the pasture, offset electric wire (“guard” strand) could be set and it would be fast to install. I need to crunch some numbers to make sure it is less costly though then simple wood.

Stall #1 and the feed/tack room is already there in an existing structure. Stall #2 would be added for whatever companion horse joins Big Guy. I’ve designed the ally to the feed room so the barn owner can go inside and feed the separated horses over the interior wall; I feel this would offer maximum safety to non-savvy horse people during feeding.

The hay storage will be a carport that is at the back of the loafing shed. This is something I will need to install. I’m hoping though it can wait until next winter.

The brown fenceline at top right (left to right) might end up being temporary fence panels. That way I can move it about if I don’t like it’s location or use it for other purposes (i.e. roundpen). However, with all of this measurements need to be taken as fencing is all about the linear feet.

Eventually, the perimeter fence will need to be slowly replaced. Right now though the biggest expense would be putting in water and electric to the loafing shed. The owner would do the water and we would do the electric which is cause for some concern as both would be quite the ka-ching.

On other news I may have a lead towards a possible retirement companion, another senior horse whose owners are retiring from horses. He would be about the same age and be kid friendly, allowing the barn owner’s children and my own daughter to ride. We’ll see how that unfolds as so many things in this situation will continue to change and evolve and may be finalized or decided that it won’t work at all.

For some reason I really like the RCA style barn… it’s visually pleasing and I have a plan on how to use a carport version for my pony area. Now, this is for small ponies to mini’s as the height of the carport RCA sides are not tall enough for larger ponies or horses (the middle section in this style would be).

RCA (raised central aisle) carport

Interior, metal roof support

Here are some of my thoughts on how I would convert the above structure into a pony barn (remember, if you want it for a horse barn, you will need to go up in height — I will post photos and a design plan for a wooden RCA pole barn that is for horses at a later date).

This plan includes a pony, loafing shelter (12′ wide) on one end with a full, north wall, and the north wall with insulation and interior lined in plywood. The red backwards L marks a half wall so ponies can look over or be petted. The interior red half wall would probably contain a slow-feed hay rack for inclement weather.

The green center aisle (16′ wide) is for grooming and caring for ponies. A cemented in tie post would have to be added for tying up. The pasture/paddock for the ponies would be accessible through the north gate, marked in blue.

Hay Storage (12′ wide) is right wing. It is separated by a full, insulated wall on the north and east sides, a half wall down the middle aisle (red) so ponies can’t reach over and eat, and a gate for easy loading of hay. The blue gate at the hay storage would open to road acces. This could also serve as a bedding, feed/supplement or tack storage - the block in yellow, which would open to the aisle, marked in blue. Choose solid walls for tack and clean up tools.

The depth of the unit is at least 26 feet, though I want to take some measurements and walk it out before finally deciding.

The open storage in pink (12′ wide) is just an extended roof (not shown in the photos) and is a covered area that could be used for seated viewing onto the playground, additional hay storage, a horse trailer, or store tractor implements (i.e. brushhog, arena harrow etc…).

A much, prettier and larger RCA with a side lean to by MD Enterprises:

This RCA carport was the unit I had in mine for the pony area when I designed this Pasture Paradise Plan:

The biggest plus is that these carports go up quickly and they can be made in any configuration of height, length, and wall sheathing whereever you desire, in many colors. In terms of getting something up and going it would be quite easy.

The biggest minus is that in a tornado they would be easily be destroyed. OTOH, anything hit directly by a tornado or is in the path of tornado winds you might as well kiss goodbye. Also, I think you could make it cheaper if you are a builder/carpenter, then the manufacturer can produce the unit.

Remember! Carports are generally not high enough for horses – raise the roof. Also all metal sheds or stalls need metal walls sheathed in plywood to insure that no horse would kick through the metal. Yes, I’ve seen it happen (twice), thankfully not to my horse as one had to be humanely euthanized and the other (which should have been euthanized) is a barely functioning cripple for life.

Also, anchors into the ground using Mobile Home Ties are needed… (again, can only withstand winds up to so much – a direct tornado or tornadic winds would rip it like a can opener):

Raised off the ground, but shows the ground bar