Horse Fencing 101: Not Another Horse Fencing Post

Afternoon all!

I think the title pretty much sums this one just right on up. Yet another…horse -fencing- post. *dramatic music ensues*

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We opted for 5″ CenFlex horse fencing with CA (Copper Azole) treated lumber.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I am happy to report that our fence is FINALLY finished. Let me just get that out of my system one more time, I repeat, our fence…is FINALLY FINISHED!!! Where is a rooftop that I can shout this from? …that isn’t ours, as I am PRETTY confident that is the next thing on our ol’ farmhouse that’s going to kick the bucket.

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The northwestern corner of our pasture leading to the barn.

ANYWAYS… after two months, twenty-three days, sixteen hours, and give or take forty-five minutes or so…our pasture fence is done. How best to express the joy the Mr. and I felt in that moment? It was champagne toasting type worthy, if we were not scrounging pennies, and if I drank…but still! It was a glorious moment of realization, driving home that day to find the fence crew gone and our pasture in all of its splendor just waiting for horses to settle within its borders.

There is an old saying amongst folks that own horses and it goes as follows: “If you want to make a small fortune in the horse industry…start with a large one.”

My bleeding savings account endorses that belief wholeheartedly.

Why? Despite careful planning and placing a ridiculously high “in case of: X” fund aside, for all the little hiccups one -always- runs into whilst doing any sort of DIY / home renovation project, we went over budget (understatement of the year) …and then some, not to mention we were a month and a half behind schedule.

Regardless, the finished project was worth all of the headaches, sleepless nights, budget constraints, and overall stress (Is that a gray hair?). From the moment our horses were brought home, they settled in without any fuss, choosing to enjoy the Bermuda grass rather than explore or kick up their heels.

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From left to right, Gambit and Finnegan.

Our geldings have never felt more comfortable as we often find them laying on their side napping during the day. My rescued Standardbred, Remington, who suffers from anxiety and is extremely skittish, lounges about day after day and whinnies in excitement whenever anyone approaches the pasture.

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Lilah and our miracle foal, lil’ Ember.

Lilah, our rescued Quarter Horse mare, was pacing in place on the trailer in anticipation as we went to unfasten her lead rope. She forget her filly, Ember, as she tugged me along to their separate temporary pasture in our 60′ round pen. Lil’ Ember chasing after mom was a spectacle all in itself.

Like I said, for all of the heartache and hardship, having our horses home at last…worth every moment.

~Christy

When Two Worlds Collide: Lawn care Woes

Good morning all!

     I realized it has been a quick minute since our last update on the farm. To be blunt, this whirlwind never slows down long enough for my head to stop spinning. Still, no regrets!

Now then…as you can imagine, going from 1/3 of an acre to 15 acres is a bit of a leap. In our previous garden home, we actually considered our lawn to be quite sizable, yes…I know, looking back, I feel silly for ever complaining about mowing it.

Looking back, it was around a year to two years ago that our hand-me-down mower, a.k.a. the one that was left in the garage when we purchased the house, had finally had enough and simply called it quits. There was no fixing it, no helping it, it was done. D-o-n-e, done.

Not wishing to be the social pariah of our neighborhood, we were a part of an HoA community mind you, the Mr. did some research into finding a replacement and came to adore the idea of a battery powered electric mower. No more awful gasoline stench in our garage, quiet, and just as quick to mow. Did I mention it was surprisingly cheaper? Seemed a no-brainer, so we went for it.

Now for the final year in our garden home, it was a wonderful addition to our lawn care regime. Fast forward to purchasing our farmhouse fixer-upper and that we’ve moved from that 1/3 of an acre to 15 acres. Let me just express how terribly quickly one gets over mowing when you only have a 28″ wide blade and the average battery life is one hour before needing to be recharged.

The Mr. or I used to spend about an hour cutting the front and back yard at our previous home once a week and presto, done! Now it takes about four days, six hours each day, to get about 5 acres done. Does it help that we’ve been reclaiming our acreage from nature, seeing as it sat untended for 5 years? Nope, not really. So there I am, day after day, me and my electric push mower vs. the mighty Amazon jungle. I say that literally, I believe our grass gets to around 3-4′ tall after two weeks of not mowing.

Just call me Sisyphus as my stubbornness won’t let the acreage get the better of me…but I don’t even have the excuse of blaming Zeus, nope, all my own doing.

Now I will admit, while one sweats into a puddle out in the humid southern heat hour after hour, I’ve never been tanner AND my arms are beginning to really look great. On the flip side, I likely terrify local wildlife as they watch me charge at a run pushing that mower over the 3-4′ tall sections of weeds.

It’s a jungle out there.

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My throne.

Now I found that during my hourly breaks, due to the batteries recharging, I needed something to do. It was then that ‘the throne’ came to be. I spend a good deal of time cooling off in the shade with some water, staring with one eye twitching at the bane of my existence, I mean…looking at the lawn mower as the batteries charge inside.

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There she is, in all her eco-friendly glory…

 

But to be fair, I mean…the lawn does look pretty fantastic despite the fact I’m working with the poor man’s Mary of lawn mowers here. So to all of the folks with those lovely tractors, driving mowers, and zero turns…check out my ECO-FRIENDLY (it hurts inside…) and mad ELECTRIC PUSH MOWER skills (…make it stop)!

That being said, I’ve begun filling a mason jar with spare change. One day, I will have my zero turn. Just you wait acreage, your days are numbered!

Ciao!

~Christy

Horse Fencing 101: SCIENCE …errr PROGRESS!!!

Morning y’all, don’t mind me … between what feels like two-full time jobs and 5-7 hours a day in the harsh sticky heat of the South I find myself jiving my inner Bill Nye the Science Guy.

It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted photos of the project’s progression from gently rolling weed-filled acres to a proper horse pasture. Now I’ll be straight with you, since I’ve still only access to our battery operated …you heard that right… push mower, it is still very much weed-filled acres, even higher than when we started however. (Lookin’ at you, rain!) BUT…all four sides have every third post set and concreted in place, all the corners posts are concreted in as well as our pasture access gate posts.

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Posts going down to the edge of the southeastern side of the pasture.

Now before I get too excited, as pictures can be quite deceiving, for maximum strength and lowest strain placed upon each individual post, we elected to space our posts 10′ apart. So right now, every 30′ there is a post. So it looks like we’re ready to attach fasteners and start unrolling the CenFlex but alas… I’ve still a solid 60 posts to set and backfill with our gravel/sand mixture.

Now that…THAT in itself is the right bugger of this project. On average once loaded up with backfill our wheelbarrow weighs about 50-60lbs. Hauling this up and down a 4 acre hill is a terrifyingly spectacular thing to witness…at least when I’m the one doing it. A few trips ‘down’ and I start envisioning myself just tipping over or the wheelbarrow tire going flat. A dozen trips ‘down’ and I start to imagine sitting on top and magically riding it down and squealing to a stop just before the post hole. Like I said, I spend a lot of time in the sun doing a simple but very tedious task over and over and over. Your mind starts to wander.

…to be continued.

Fencing 101: Real Talk

In every DIY project you undertake, no matter how big or small the job is, there will always be a pivotal moment in which you ask yourself, “Am I still glad we chose to do this or am I filled with regret?” Now generally speaking, I’m a ‘you can’t cut the wind from my sails’ kind of gal but let’s just say that the previous gust propelling us through this project has dwindled to a passing breeze.

Now I can assure you that these long labor-intensive hours spent beneath an unforgiving sun haven’t curbed my enthusiasm, even seven weeks in. Why? Because this equestrian CANNOT wait to have her horses home and grazing in her front pasture. I envision watching them enjoying a summer morning as I’m looking out my kitchen window. That vision, …that alone… has kept me moving forward through every conceivable problem that can happen when trying to muster manpower, funds, time, and energy to put in 4 acres of pasture fencing.

So what did it? What has me so deflated?

Our friend that we hired to help us? …well he had to quit today. His new job is going to lessen his availability and while we are thrilled for him and this new opportunity it unfortunately has left myself and the Mr. holding the bag when we’ve SO MUCH work to do and two weeks left till the horses come home.

What’s a girl to do? Well, this particular girl wasn’t having it. I’m not a quitter, never have been and I don’t intend to start now. So instead of wasting time moping and stressing, which solves every problem (said no one ever) am I right? I grabbed the shovel and wheelbarrow and started shoveling backfill gravel like a woman possessed.

Five hours under that sun, a bad glove-edge tan line, and bug bites from here to New Zealand (hi kangaroos!) I have another 11 posts set in concrete and 10 more, that were set yesterday, backfilled with gravel and sand.

That’s right, this gal has ALL of the concreted posts -done-. Now…we still have another 60 or so posts to set with gravel and sand BUT…just let me have this little triumph born from sheer Irish stubbornness.

Now if you would please pardon me, I’m going to go collapse on the sofa for a ‘Netflix and chill’ kind of evening.

Until next time!

~Christy

Our Little Miracle – Ember

I know it has been forever since I posted about our fence progress but I live, sweat, and bleed that pasture fencing right now and tonight I’ve decided after a day spent laboring in the unforgiving southern sun…I’m taking the night off!

Now I realized a short while ago that whilst I litter my Instagram and Snapchat with photos and information about her, I haven’t mentioned our little Ember -once- on here!

Prepare yourself for the cuteness overload slideshow…

Two days after we closed on our farmhouse, a friend and I drove out to pick up an emaciated mare that we’d fallen in love with a month prior. She has the sweetest disposition and simply enjoyed being groomed. After trailering her home and taking her to the barn we kept reminding how her much better her life was going to be now, that she wouldn’t have to fight for feed, would receive proper hoof care, and loads of TLC …something that has been horribly lacking in her life these past fifteen years. Sweet ol’ Lilah didn’t even know what a treat was! She does now, I’m happy to report and will sniff every single pocket you have to find one. Food oriented – ahhh…just like her new momma.

After settling her in with our geldings I headed home and off to an early shift at work the following day. Everything seemed like your run of the mill Monday until I received a text, “Congratulations Mom, it’s a girl!” Following said text was this picture:

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Ember at 3 hours old! Lilah is the best mama!

That’s right…the emaciated mare we’d rescued was skin and bones with no muscle left on her to speak of…and was pregnant, though her former owner claims she had no idea of her condition but we won’t go there, it’ll just get me riled up again.

Shock was our first initial feeling, how could we have missed it? How could a mare her age, in the condition she was in when we brought her home have gotten with foal let alone carry to term?? And on top of everything else, this sweet mare foaled by herself with no one there to help had any complications arose. So there I was, staring blankly at my mobile screen trying to figure out what had just happened.

We hadn’t signed up for two but…I mean, look at her! She was sweet as the day and born without complications from a mare that had endured the worst of conditions. I can only assume she looked as pitiful as she did as she was giving everything she had to support growing little Ember.

Fast forward a few weeks, Ember just turned one month old this past Monday. She is sassy as the day, heavily muscled, and endlessly curious. Watching her grow stronger everyday only makes me more excited to have her home and placing her foal-sized halter on for the first time gave my heart a little leap.

Foals are 50% precious, 50% mischievous.

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Ember at one week old.
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Nearly three weeks old!

As I’m feeling nostalgic looking over her growth-progression photos, I’m leaning towards the precious side right now.

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Ember at one month old. Lilah has put on another 5lbs, we’re now at 40lbs put on in 30 days!

Not for nothing, Lilah (or Mama), has packed on around 30-40lbs over the past month on her new feeding regime. She and Ember have an acre to themselves, whereas she came from a barn where 40 horses shared 10 acres. She willingly hurries to the gate when she sees you approaching and no longer dreads being haltered. Grooming is something she’d never previously experienced and you can watch her physically relax as she begins to yawn and those eyes start drooping when currying her withers and hips.

All in all, we are so happy to have these special gals in our lives.

XOXO,

Christy

Horse Fencing 101: Pasture Fencing at its Finest

“I dreamed a dream of time gone by, when hope was high and …” Wait, this isn’t Les Miserables. (Could be? Possibly… I hope not.)

Right then, so I had my fingers crossed that our fence post holes would be dug, posts set,  and… dare I say, fence up and ready for our horses by Friday. (And by Friday, I mean Friday two days ago…)

Well! I can say that all of our post holes have been dug, despite the adamantium strength clay-soil we have. The one drawback? Well rather, the main drawback is that we completed that yesterday. The day after I was hoping to have the entirety of the fence done.

All things considered, I’m the silver lining type and the fact that I managed to tear down 5 acres worth of barbed wire fencing that we inherited with the property…and only nicked myself in one teensy tiny place on my arm, GREAT SUCCESS!

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Removing rusted barbed wire and recoiling it is the worst but barbed wire kabobs were fun to create!

The Mr. and our friend worked tirelessly in the sticky humid heat of the south. So…while I’ve extended boarding our horses another week or two, an expense we would’ve rather avoided, we are finally ready to get this fence movin’!

Our posts were a week behind schedule but when you reach this point in a project (T minus 30 days anyone?) you find that you become far more tolerant of the speed-bumps because the joy you feel at them arriving outweighs the previous weeks of frustration. And can I just add, they were worth the wait! Eco-friendly treated wood posts in all of their overpriced but delightful glory!

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We chose CA-Preserve or the Copper Azole treatment for our posts. This was to ensure durability and longevity as well as horse-friendly and well-water safe.

And now that you’ve seen them too I already know what you’re thinking. That’s it? These are the posts that dreams are made of? But Christy…it’s just wood 4×4’s…I mean really, let it go. They’re JUST 4×4’s. Not for nothing, I get it, I do…but it’s not taking the wind from -these- sails, oh no! I’m still really excited. Like…ran out and began cutting the straps to begin carrying posts to lay next to their respective post holes, kind of excited.

If that didn’t convince you, running about wildly in 90+ degree weather with the humidity above 85%… -THAT- my darlings is excitement!

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SnapChat happened when I drove home and spotted them. #sorrynotsorry

So what’s the next step? I foresee concrete, gravel, and sand in my immediate future as we set all of these posts in place. The plan WAS to set the end posts and gate’s posts today to give our concrete 3 days to set fully but…thunderstorms have halted progress for the time being.

After non-stop work around the farm to begin whipping it back into shape from its vacant status over the past few years, I am entirely alright with a day spent relaxing to the sound of the rain.

Cheers to progress!

Horse Fencing 101: Post Hole Digging Edition

Do you ever find yourself looking over the “how-to’s” of a project only to watch everything that can go wrong, do so, once you’ve already thrown yourself into the heart of it?

Well my friends, that’s what this continuing experience has become…the seemingly “easy” part of the fence construction process that was estimated to take us a few days, give or take, working a few hours a day on digging holes.

Must not laugh, must not laugh, all work and no play make Christy a … no, too far.

Back on point! So! Twenty-three days later (Whose counting?) I have two-thirds of my post holes dug and our horses arriving to the farm in six days (Seriously NOT counting, …honest!). Being that this is the south…and spring…one might assume the weather became an issue. You would be wrong, so very -very- wrong.

The miser- …adventure*** began here…

Not afraid of rolling up our sleeves, we enlisted the help of a friend who works in construction. His knowledge and access to equipment and proper usage have been HUGE time-savers. (Note: We did consider renting equipment at first but then I remembered I will somehow always find a ditch and drive right into it. Enough said.) I wanted 3′ deep post holes dug that were at least 8″ wide so he chose a Bobcat with an auger attachment and brought it over.

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Progress! Eeek!!!
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Meet the auger!

It started out simple enough, Bobcats are so compact and easy to maneuver in the field that he and the Mr. had two sides of the pasture holes dug in a day. I was one happy little farmer. Now the acreage had begun to look as though a gopher with insane accuracy had taken up lodging but I knew it was only temporary. No biggie, right? Wrong again. Just so wrong…

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Holes for days…

The next time our friend was able to come out, we managed a total of five post holes before the Bobcat broke down. Now I’ve come to learn a bit of lingo from the menfolk and it seems there are varying levels of ‘broken down’. There’s “ah hell”, translation – this could be a minute, or the popular “C’mon man!”, translation – prepare to get your hands dirty, and of course “No no no…you best cut back on! …sonuva…!”, translation – just chunk it, it’s dead Fred!

This is when I learned we were in a, ‘…sonuva!’, kind of situation. The auger wasn’t moving…my drill had stopped while submerged three feet into the soil. Reason? A belt had broken. Being late into the afternoon on a weekend there was no hope of getting a replacement and the following day was Easter Sunday. …crap.

Fast forward another week and our friend returned with a few more friends to swap out the belt. Success! We could get back on track at last…only two weeks till horses were coming home after all. The Mr. and our friend got to work and managed another ten holes before fluid started spewing all over the place and soaking into my soil. A hose had broken and the only option was to get another replacement part. I wish I could tell you that he got the part, replaced it, and we were back on track but I would be lying…but hey, at least I didn’t trip in one of these suckers right?

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Over the next week and a half he went out and found a replacement three different times. The first time, he bought the part that was not broken and so was returned. The second time, the store sold him the wrong part. At present we are on round three, where he has taken the defective part with him to make certain the store sends him back with the right one. To say that I’m frustrated is an understatement. He’s been a complete trooper throughout the entire process and the Mr. has helped however he can.

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Will my pasture ever have fence posts to fill these in?!

Now…will my fence be up and ready by Friday so I can pick up my horses from where they’re currently stabled? Heck, will our post holes even be dug by Friday let alone the fence up? Doubtful…but I’m going to be optimistic.

When faced with adversity, it’s really the only hand you have to play!

…to be continued.