Too Hot to Paint but It Happened

I felt bad for my kid today. He is a very hard worker, not doing what he thought he’d be doing at this point in his life, but learning a lot. But wow it’s hot right now. And he’s been painting.

That shipping container blends in!

He and his coworker had already painted the Suna Shack red and white. But we also had the two shipping containers over in horse world. One is to be the hay storage and one storage for equipment. Both were reddish, but not red.

Another view.

In well over 100° heat, the second container got painted without the coworker. I was really surprised to see him patiently painting on white trim on it. I guess the nephew said to make it all match. Wow, it looks sharp so far!

Not quite done on this side, but I sure don’t miss all the shipping letters on the container. (Roof is getting replaced when it cools off)

I’m glad no one went along with the idea of painting stripes. Whew. I’m feeling like I’m a fancy barn owner, but not at such a high price. This is all done by my family (and Marcus). It means so much more than some prefabricated thing! I do love my kids and wish I’d been a better mom after their dad left. Oops. Back on that topic again.

Apparently this one gets white trim, too. Let’s see if they paint the poles.

Still. The horses will rest in so much style now! Speaking of style. I believe I found the loudest nail polish on earth. It’s called Mardi Gras. Obviously I’m not painting barns.

Yow.

But I do work, and I found out today that I’ll get to stay another year at Dell. We’ll see what I decide to do after that. And tomorrow I hope to do some painting for a good cause!

I hope I don’t mess up my nails!

On the Road to Comfy

Two of our many projects are moving quickly toward a better state. The in-law suite, which will actually be occupied by my elderly and a bit unsteady brother-in-law, is rapidly approaching a livable and comfy state.

Simple and clean

The room that was our first office/bedroom for Lee, which is in the back of our garage, is looking great, especially when I don’t show the other side of the room, where there’s still papers, books, amps and such that are Lee’s. I’m looking to see if any more of my stuff got put there. All the horse stuff is in the tack room, though.

In progress

The room now has a doorway to get to the bathroom and new kitchen area. Everything has been painted, new light fixtures are in, and the fridge is in place (and cleaned off from where the chickens used to roost on it). That was a lot of work.

Nice fridge!

The recycled granite is ready for cabinets that will hold the sink, microwave, etc.

I didn’t know we had a granite saw. Maybe that was already there.

The nephew went to get cabinets today. They need to go in, and I assume some flooring. Then it will be livable, even though the outside wall still needs insulation, which will happen when the pool house gets its insulation blown in.

We already had this bathroom with a handicap-friendly shower. It’s getting a bench.

I’m very pleased at how nice this looks. Speaking of nice! They put a desk in the tack room, which looks very nice with my temporary chairs. I’m hoping to get my furniture in there soon, now that it’s pretty clean.

Sure, the chandelier look better than the fly trap, but this is good.

I tried to clean all the lids to the horse food, but one I can’t get the oily stuff off. I’ll get a more intense cleaner, I guess. I’ll get there. And it wasn’t even too hot today!

I practiced this game today. That proves it wasn’t too hot.

Now to sit by myself again. I’d feel lonely around here, but I was so surrounded by people in my 9 meetings today that I’m actually okay that everyone has other stuff to do!

Me at work. I dressed nice to get me through things. Like my sparkly tooth?

Look at that Suna Shack

It’s not done, but the tack room alas she shed has all the horse stuff in it now. The saddle racks are back up, pegs to hang bridles and halters are up, and it all looks good.

Everything has a place.

Feeding will be real easy because both Kathleen and I can access the food bins at the same time, and all supplements are easy to get to, thanks to the cool old storage unit.

I can even label the drawers.

I like how much of the stuff is recycled. It makes the place feel homey. Another cool aspect of the tack area is that we have a rack to store the trailer’s covers for the ventilation areas. Those things are hard to store.

Convenient. this is before the storage stuff went up.

I’m also happy that now I can see all the stored items in the lofts. That will make organized storage easier to achieve.

What about the Suna shed? Well, they put down my outdoor rug for fanciness, but that’s it for now. They don’t want to bring in furniture until the air conditioner is installed. The electrician isn’t scheduled yet but it should be soon. That will be good, since we don’t want the leather molding.

Imagine the possibilities!

I didn’t get to feed tonight, but I’m sure Kathleen enjoyed it. I was off taking my son and his partner out for dinner at the Nearly Empty Bistro, which was nice. No band so we could talk.

Forgot to show the finished windows yesterday. They will look good trimmed out!

We then walked around the completely empty town. It’s graduation night. Very few people don’t have a friend or relative graduating! Small town living.

Must sleep. Tomorrow we are filming a virtual horse show with Drew and Sully the mare.

What Happened to the Tack Room?

Yesterday I shared the big surprise I received when I got home and found a new hen house created from my former new tack room. I didn’t share what happened to all my tack and food.

It’s like the tack room grew!

Yep. I stepped out of the Hen House and did a double take when I saw there was still a barn red storage building where the tack room was. What the heck!

Very coordinated.

Well, you may recall that we had a lovely Victorian house on Ross Avenue in Cameron. It came with many empty lots and a couple of storage buildings. We are in the process of selling that house to an expert renovator, but are keeping most of the land and the buildings.

A window is going in, plus an air conditioner. And that roof is getting a tarp before it rains tomorrow!

My spousal unit, Lee, was the one who wanted to improve the chicken coop. The nephew said, why build another one? Let’s use the tack room, which is a bit cramped, and haul the big blue building here to be a new tack room? This decision was made before we left for our trip, so I can imagine everyone had a hard time keeping it to themselves!

That looks pretty fancy to me.

So, they had the plan of moving that building here, painting it, and turning it into the tack room plus, all before I got back. Unfortunately the house hauling person had a problem, so the blue building didn’t make it until last Thursday, by which time they’d cleaned it out and painted it red. I’m still in shock.

Wow!

My son, Lee, and the nephew worked overtime to get the flooring down, start insulating, and get some walls up so they could empty my trailer (where the tack all was), so I could take the horses to their lessons. That stuff has all moved a lot. I bet my son and our helper really hope they don’t have to move it again!

After today’s work.

Today my son finished insulating and putting up the lower walls. Now the gambrel roof and ceiling need doing.

The gap is where the window goes.

Notice there isn’t any horse stuff on the side of the room in the photos. There’s a good reason, other than needing it clear to add the walls. The nephew took it into his head to make half the building into a she shed. He even has it wired to put my precious former office chandelier in there. Holy crap.

They are going to bring my rugs and furniture from my old office. And my art! This will be so cool, and Kathleen, Anita, Sara and I can hang out in our girls’ club. Maybe we need a no boys allowed sign.

Wow. Stuff like this makes you just want to hug the world. I’m so grateful.

Horse Home Decor and Spa

What lucky horses I have. Also they are so sweet and good that they deserve to be pampered. Why do they deserve it? Wow they are well behaved.

Yes. Me. I’m getting my hooves trimmed right now.

Trixie came today to trim the horses’ hooves. You may recall that when I got Drew he could not even lift his back leg. Today was another story. She got him trimmed in less than ten minutes. No arguing or anything. By the time she was finished he was dead asleep and I had trouble getting his halter off. I just stood there and petted him and loved on him. It was fantastic.

I love my spa day

Apache was the same. Just stood there and took a nap. It’s so great to see his feet in perfect shape after struggling the past few years. My heart was so full just being with these calm animals. Trixie just exudes calm with horses.

Even though my ears are back, I’m good.

So yep, these precious beings deserve nice things. Or maybe I deserve a nice thing to support them. But today the crew did more work on the tack room. They built a nice shelf for the supplements right over the feed bins.

Feeding station

They also put excellent hooks and hanging pegs on the wall. I can’t wait to see what Kathleen and I do with them!

You may have to zoom in to see everything.

You may see a hat on the wall. It’s not a hat! It’s a riding helmet with a “brimmer” on it. It’s made of real palm fiber. It will give me lots more shade on my face when I ride. Sara got one, too. The helmet may look slightly dorky but it’s not too bad. My head will be safe and shady! that’s what counts.

Trying on my brimmer.

The other thing they added inside the tack room are hooks to hang each horse’s. Rifle and halter with his or her saddle. There is still a shelf or two to be built, but I’m pretty thrilled as it is.

So nice. This will be great for us.

The thing I like best about the tack room is the big, wide steps outside the door. I won’t fall down when carrying heavy items. I am just so impressed with how thoughtful they were in building it!

My new happy place.

We got everything done in time to close all the windows and put away all the outdoor furniture in preparation for yet another tornado warning. This one was even closer. I went in the storm room.

Not happy.

It missed us again. But it hit very very close. Not my favorite thing. People were hurt in nearby Salado and in the tiny town of Burlington just to our north.

Yuck. Much worse elsewhere.

More Tack Room Progress

The guys wanted to get all that horse stuff that came with the new trailer so the shipping container it was in can become the new hay loft. The hay needs to get off the trailer it’s on so we can get new hay in case the threatened drought arrives.

Well, they didn’t quite understand the instructions to put all the horse blankets in the loft. So when I came in, the thing was full of giant boxes of blankets and the furniture buried.

The stuff in the loft shown is all excess tack. That’s all good.

So, the nephew and I moved stuff around to where the tubs of blankets and saddle pads are ready to go to the other loft. Then I got to work. It was our first really hot day of the year, so I was glad to have a fan!

Vlassic is back in the pond again. It’s hot.

I set about figuring out what was in all the buckets of horse products. There was so much green spot remover! Grass stains will be no match for me! There was an ointment, cream, or spray for every possible horse ailment. There were supplements, hoof creams, wound stuff, etc.

There was also a major load of tack repair items. Many buckles and fasteners.

Ointments, creams, and metal things.

The largest amount of stuff was bandages. I get the idea their horses got hurt a lot. I’m ready for all sorts of injuries now!

Boxes of blankets at left. First aid equipment at right.

This all took me a couple of hours. It was very grimy cleaning the desk thing and all the dirty containers. Things aren’t in their final spots, but they are off the floor and out of buckets.

Once the tubs are in the loft, the finishing touches can happen and MY stuff can go in.

I’m sure glad we have the pool, because today I needed it. Wow, it’s deep! I really enjoyed the seat. Life’s good. And my horses will soon have their things stored near where they live.

I do it for them.

Goodbye to a Bird Friend, Hello to Others

Well, there was apparently an actual cock fight last night, and Peeper lost. I was not surprised, but sad. Bruce was just being a rooster. I tried. Sniff. Poultry are sure hard to keep.

Starlings and dewberries across the road.

In good bird news, I’ve heard my first red-winged blackbird of the year. And in better news, the scissor-tail flycatchers are swooping and soaring again. That’s good, because the barn swallows need help with all the flying ants and other swarming creatures.

Mr Robotto, the pool cleaner, was filled with tiny wings yesterday. Yuck.

But all is not bad. Look at the giant mushroom that’s just sitting in front of the house. It looks like an ostrich egg or a softball!

Drew is holding his own. I spent a lot of time with him today. I groomed him a long time and groomed filthy Apache even longer. That horse is still shedding like crazy. Drew is too, but not so badly. And in Drew news you didn’t probably want to hear, he pooped today, which means he’s functioning normally.

No photos of Drew, but right next to him is a newly organized shipping container.

We are about to get to where the tack room will be built out, which sure makes me happy. Then we will be on to our next ranch improvement project, which involves a little building down the road.

Isn’t it cute?

And on one last note, it’s also gnat season. It’s always something here. Enjoy some flowers and an insect.

PS: a hummingbird moth just landed on my phone as I was labeling the flowers. Nature is full of surprises.

Good Things Come

I waited, and good things came. This evening I went out to work with the horses. Apache was in a good mood. So was I. We had a great time together. It’s how I imagined horse ownership could be.

No horse photos, so here is some gaura, which I also have been waiting for.

Warming up was fun. He is cantering so much more calmly. And we went out to practice jumping, like we’ve been doing all week. He would trot the circle, then stop dead to cross the jump, then take off. But finally he jumped! We were both so thrilled! Going the other way he didn’t jump but did trot over the jump. That may have been his first jump. I’ve certainly never seen him do it before.

Spring! Willow buds.

Then we had a great ride in which he barely got nervous and I didn’t react inappropriately once. We are getting the hang of things.

While my hotel sunrise was pretty, I was glad to get away from the city.

Other good things are also coming along. There’s been good progress on the tack room. They wired it for electricity and are insulating the walls. How fancy!

I see future light switches.

I like what they chose for the walls. It looks like shiplap or something. It’s thicker than paneling but not as thick as the stuff we’d originally wanted, which was really expensive. Wood prices, sigh.

I think I’ll leave it unpainted.

They added a side window to the south, so the air conditioner can go in it. That will also bring in a little light.

The mini fridge will go under this new window.

I’m pretty excited that it’s really happening! Good things come to those who wait.

Tack Room, Not Tacky at All

Today our renovation crew had a day off from Anita’s house, so they worked on fixing up a shipping container and a portable shed to be the new Hermits’ Rest hay loft and tack room.

Leveling

It wasn’t the easiest task in the world, but by gosh, the team got it done! Leveling the portable building we’d brought over from our church building wasn’t too bad. With enough concrete blocks and shims, it ended up looking great. And they made me a step to get into it.

They plan to cover the blocks.

Getting the container level was an ordeal. At first not even the backhoe could lift it. So the team had to take all the dang bags of concrete back out, the ones you faithful readers might remember were a problem a while back. Then the backhoe could raise it up.

Lee supervising.

Everything is way up in the air, at least on one end. That will encourage drainage, since it’s all on a slope. The plan is to add some siding to make it look better. But to me it looks great.

The back side, which is the high side.

Once they got it all level, they started to insulate it, beginning with the ceiling. I guess they had some insulation left over from another project. They also began to put the old ceiling tiles from the church over the insulation, but it’s rather fragile.

Insulated loft.

Tiny mom brag: my kid did a good job cutting all the pieces up! The future will probably include inexpensive paneling on the walls. It will look rustic.

All cleaned up and ready for the next phase.

It’s sure looking better, and I feel much closer to tack and hay storage! The tack room will have air conditioning and a little refrigerator for medicine and drinks, plus lights and lots of shelving. Of course there will be saddle racks, hangers for other tack, and a desk. Plenty of space for feed and supplements, too. For me, there will be a chair.

Scenic back of hay loft. Hopefully we will paint our containers to match the tack room.

None of the activity bothered the horses at all. Drew and Apache got their feet trimmed with no problems. Both just enjoyed the attention.

Vlassic enjoyed hoof trimmings. Apache has such good feet now. So thankful for Trixie!

I’m grateful for all the hard work of our team. I’m grateful to be here, enjoying the beauty of spring, listening to the swallows, and loving my family. Peace.

Barn Swallows are nesting!

The Traveling Tack Room

Let’s have a post that isn’t a pity party or poor me, shall we? Let’s talk about how we got our future tack room to the ranch.

Step 1: take tractor to the old church and former Hermit Haus.

So, before COVID when we thought we were going to fix the old church up and rent it out, we bought a cute little building to store seasonal supplies in. Later, when we thought we’d have an active office for the family business, we used it to store Christmas stuff. I decorated a lot.

Step 2: pick up house

Once the office became closed to visitors and periodically closed to everyone for safety reasons, the stuff just sat there, along with the old yellow ceiling tiles Lee wanted to insulate the building with.

Step 3: put house on trailer. That was impressive.

Fast forward to this year. The plan to make our portable building into a tack room was changed. A second portable building came over to be the tack room, that’s the one they moved earlier in the week.

Step 4: slide it forward

The men talked about how we weren’t using that building or another one on the next property we’re renovating. Hmm. Tack room and workshop! So yesterday we fetched the little red building.

Step 5: safety check and off we go!

I was really impressed that the men were able to get the building on the trailer with just our tractor. That takes skill. Lots of it. And coordination!

Step 6: head through Cameron, tailgated by someone with little sense.
Tailgater kept following.

After checking that we were less than the height that would require an escort, Lee and I tried to follow the building, but were thwarted by a traffic light. I was glad when we turned off the main road and took the road that leads to our house the rest of the way.

Whew, I was glad when we were home. Of course, then the house had to come off the trailer, and we had left the helpful tractor back at the church. Never fear, the backhoe was here. I think removing the building was worse than loading it.

Now the house and shipping container need to be put next to each other and leveled. They got the leveling supplies today. Then the insulation will go in and the inside tricked out with saddle racks, hangers for tack, shelving, a little fridge, and more. And there will be space for an air conditioning unit to keep things free from mold. That will have to wait until electricity shows up.

Maybe I can have a chair, so I’ll have a she shed. Why not?

Stay tuned tomorrow for another positive post, this time about my first horse show. I’m sure grateful for the guys’ help on this!

Crissi McDonald

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