Archive for January, 2007

New experience!

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

This morning, I had about half an inch of ice on my truck.  It took 40 minutes to get it all off.  When I got to work I had a fun new experience.  The doors of my truck had re-frozen and I couldn’t get out!  I was laughing out loud…I’m thinking, “great!  I’m going to be stuck here in the parking lot for who knows how long?”.  Fortunately another employee showed up after about two minutes and parked right next to me.  With him pulling an me pushing we got the door open.  I’m starting the work day with a big smile on my face…nothing like a touch of the ridiculous to start the day off right.

Visitors

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

We had four Canadians stay with us for a couple of days.  They were very gracious guest – undemanding and very pleasant company all around.  I find international company to be a wonderful experience.  I meant to post this last week when I took the picture, but just didn’t get around to it.

Progress

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Earlier in the week, I managed to get some done on the horse shelter after work.  Here’s a pic of the framework (where I left off last time).

Anchoring the structure was an interesting job.  The back side of the frame (the low end) has a horizontal runner in contact with the ground.  I put three pieces of rebar through this – three feet long each and sunk all the way in.  The front of the structure was a little different.  It’s hard to see in the picture, but I took a couple of five foot long T-posts and sunk them down by each of the outside legs on the front side.  I put them down about 3.5 feet into the ground.  Then I took some high-tensile electric wire (handy stuff! almost as good as duct tape), and wrapped it over the upper support and then wrapped it around the T-post.  Then I pounded the T-post in another few inches to take up all the slack on the wire.  Should keep it firmly in place.

By the end of the work day I had the roof on, and the foreman (er…foreCAT) stopped by to inspect my work.

It must’ve been ok.  There were no complaints.  Yesterday (Saturday 1/13) I got the back wall put on.  Lots of fun working in the ice and cold, but it’s now a pretty fair wind break and will keep the rain and snow off.  I still have to put the end walls on.  I’m going to need to buy another couple of pieces of steel siding to do that, but it shouldn’t cost too much (oh, please don’t let it cost too much!).

The making of a horse shelter

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Problem:  It’s winter in Missouri, I have two horses, and they have no shelter from wind, rain, or snow.

Opportunity:  I have a car port.  I park my truck in it.  My truck is 20 years old, and sheltering it from the elements is a bit moot at this point.

Solution:  Transform car port into a horse shelter.

Ok, so I really did want to keep the car port at first, and mostly I didn’t want to move the silly thing.  Our early plans on how to make a horse shelter out of it were less elaborate as well.  They consisted mostly of moving the car port to the pasture and making some temporary walls out of tarps.  This would have worked, but it would have looked like crap.  Then the little lightbulb went off over Allena’s head…”Let’s cut it in half!”  Harebrained?  Maybe.  But it’s working out great.

Here’s me at the beginning of the project.  It’s a lame picture of me – I was moving when the picture was taken, but it’ll let you see what I started with.

I started at about eleven a.m.  By 1:00 p.m., progress had been made.  The carport was staked to the ground and I’d gotten the six pieces of 3-foot long re-bar pulled up.  Also, the upright posts (the five on each side) were all detached from the horizontal base support.  I’d also started taking some of the roofing off.  The cat decided to join me for lunch.

By about 3:00 p.m., the car port was completely disassembled and the cutting was about to begin.

Cutting the trusses apart was slow going.  I tried a hack saw, but that was not working well.  The trusses are steel square tubes, and they’re probably about 1/16th of an inch thick or so.  I switched to the grinder.  This worked a lot better but it was still slow going.  Ultimately, I ended up breaking a chip off of my grind wheel.  Ironically, it cut a lot faster after that, but I was a tad concerned about it coming apart altogether and sending bits of grinder wheel up into my face.  I wear safety goggles, but the rest of my face is unprotected, and the grind wheel get’s really really HOT!

After the cutting was done, I started moving the trusses into the pasture.  The horses were curious, and expressed a bit of skepticism.

After the trusses were moved, it was assembly time.  I ended up taking one of the base pieces that the uprights attach to and bolting it to what was the peak of the car port.

By the time it was dark, the framing was done.  Unfortunately, that’s the last picture we took for the day.  We didn’t thing to take a shot of the tractor holding the framework up with it’s front end loader while we were attaching the posts to the peak.  I’ll start the next photo essay with a shot of the completed framework.

This was a lot of work, but it’s a great idea from an economic perspective.  Even if we had to buy the car port (which we didn’t), car ports cost about $600, and run in shelters for horses cost about $1,500.  Stay tuned for the completion of the project.  Probably won’t happen until next weekend.  It’s just about dark out by the time I get home in the evenings.