Thursday, January 19, 2023

Spring Project: Spruce up the Barn, But...

We built our barn right after we purchased our house, which was almost 16 years ago. I have drug my feet on finishing it. This spring, we're getting ready to tackle the barn, and I am paralyzed, yet again, with the decisions about breezeway flooring, stalls, and stall fronts. 

For every option, there is a pro and a con. Currently, the breezeway is a dirt floor, and a dirt floor, though not attractive, is extremely safe and comfortable for the horses. The stalls are the same. They are dirt floors with lots of woodchips. The horses love it, and it allows me to customize them. Cowboy is old and arthritic, as was Old Red, and for them I mound up dirt so that it is at a steep incline. When they lay down, it makes it very easy for them to get back up. The stalls are harder to clean and the woodchips cost a small fortune, but again, au natural has many pro's. Attractiveness is not one of them, but comfort certainly is.

Decisions, decisions.

I'm tempted to use concrete in the breezeway and tack room. It's easy to clean, and it's simple. I can place our rubber mats over the portions where they are tied, as we do now. The con of concrete floors is that they are slick, but rubber mats would help with that. 

I just read of another option, popcorn asphalt. It has better traction and is more porous to allow water and urine to permeate.

Have any of you had experience with popcorn asphalt?

As for stalls, I'm pretty sure I want to build them up and use stall mats. Dirt, gravel layer, mats--or something like that. I'll let my husband research the base of the stall floors. But I may keep a couple of them natural for the older horses, or perhaps, clay flooring, that is also moldable?

The stall fronts will probably be wood with a yoke opening. The reason I haven't already done the stall fronts is because we need to take them off to bring in more dirt, and our tractor is big. Permanent stall fronts will make removal much more difficult. Kind of makes me think that if we do the stall fronts, we will have to also do the stall floors so that they don't need that kind of semi-annual maintenance.

The easiest decision of all is about the tack room. We'll definitely go with concrete in there. I'm most looking forward to that project, because it's the most straightforward. I know what I want and need, but it's harder to know what the horses would like best, since they can't talk.

I welcome your thoughts and experiences with barns as I, hopefully, finally, make these decisions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Winter Wisdom of Also Me

Me: It's gloomy outside. Looks cold. Looks wet. Looks bad.

Also me: Well, you do choose to live in the Northwest.

Me: Did you hear the part about cold and gloomy?

Also me: Yes, but you have Bogs and wool socks and shirts and gloves. Damn girl, you even have a cozy NorthFace parka that you can't stop wearing to the barn! Layer up, and you'll feel warm and toasty.

Me: Yet, I'm lacking the joy in "joyful movement." I'm all about that nowadays. I don't "exercise," I hike. I don't go to the gym, I dance around my kitchen.

Also me: Objects at rest stay at rest. Get up and move, and get out and explore, the joy will come.

Me: Well, even the horses don't like it, and they are all about joyful movement and dance.

Also me: That's not really true. They dislike heat and flies even more. Remember Cowboy and Tweed running in the snow yesterday? Wasn't that joyful movement, even for old Cowboy?

Me: Yes, that was a magical moment. And when the fog lifted and the sun finally shined down on us at the end of the day. Glorious.

Also me: There's beauty to be found everyday, despite the weather. You can't change weather. It's part of life and the cold and fog help you appreciate the sun.

Me: Had I not listened to you, I wouldn't have seen Cowboy and Tumbleweed chasing each other in the snow, or Epona and Tweed tustling over the fence, or been able to bring Little Joe in and pamper him for the afternoon, or hike with my lover, or spread woodchips and spent hay to make the paths more stable for the herd. I wouldn't have been there to feel the sun when it finally broke through the fog. 

You're very wise, Also me.