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Sunday, February 27, 2011

A flury of Activity

The last entry glossed over about 6 months of real world time. A lot happened in that time that plays into keeping a promise.

You can see from the picture of Mariah that we bought her in the winter. We had moved into "Project House" (that's what I started calling the new house) in July of 2010. We closed on it in June but there was a little work that needed to be done.

House Work
Before we could live in the house there was some significant updating that needed to happen. The house had been built in '72. We do not think that the carpet had been changed in that time so the carpet had to go. The walls, of course needed to be painted and the kitchen just did not work. So we went to work. We pulled all the carpet out and loaded it on a borrowed trailer. (*sigh* I hear reality starting to line up for another check.) We tore the old kitchen out and what could not be salvaged for work shop cabinets went on the trailer. All the windows had poorly installed wooden shutters that came off and went onto the trailer. We hired a painter and they came in an repainted the entire upstairs of the house. That single change completely changed the feel of the house. I think we were all a little uncomfortable about the house but painting the walls a basic off white really brightened up the house and made it feel much better. And not all the walls are white, we're not that bouring. We have a nice purple accent wall in the master bedroom and Tira-Toes bedroom is light green on top, lavender on the bottom with a brown accent stripe. It looks really good.

The old poorly refinished brown kitchen cabinets were replaced with new natural maple cabinets that look wonderful. Technically the kitchen is still not done. I need to do a little work to install some cornice boards and finish the toe kicks. Trouble is, the shop is not up and running so I do not have access to all my tools yet. Hopefully by the end of this summer it will be done.

We had cement cutter come and cut a new window into the basement wall. We needed an egress window for the basement. That night, we got robbed. We had most of our stuff in the original boxes so the thieves came in and took all the stuff in boxes. They also cut the lock on the borrowed trailer and stole it too! We have always wondered what happened to the load of trash on the back. Anyway, State Farm worked with us and the replaced everything that was stolen. I might be able to save money by going to a different insurer but over the years State Farm has always done right by us.

We needed one more bedroom so we partitioned off the basement space and added a bedroom and a couple of closets. It is one of the nicest bedrooms in the house. A bit cool in the winter because of a poorly thought out heating system but a small radiant heater makes it comfortable.

Project House is now home. There are still projects to be done, but its home and it feels like it.

Horse Barn / Shop
Now that the house is livable, we need someplace for the horses. There were a few requirements for the barn: it had to have two stalls, a tack room, hay storage and a work shop for me. We decided on a barn that is 24' by 50'. The first 20' is the shop area then it steps down 2' and the rest is equestrian space. There is wall between the two sections to keep the dust out of my shop. Its is your basic pole barn construction and we love it. We have a place to stand and groom that is out of the weather.

Now, we almost did not get our barn. Our property is zoned A2 - agriculture up to 10 acres. We are 0.93 acre. Our property is 150' wide and 280' long. I was looking into building permits and when I read the zoning for A2 properties I realized I had a problem. On an A2 property there is a requirement that a building housing live-stock be located 75' from the side property lines. I could put one sheet of steel down the center of the property. I contacted the county and they told me I would have to ask for a variance and explained the process to me. We drew up our plans and submitted them to the county. I get a note a few days later saying they could not support my request for a variance because I had not explored all of my options to their satisfaction. Basically, they felt like I was not entitled to a shop. I was a little perturbed. So I called them up and asked them, "If I move all the bikes and mowers and motorcycle and the like to the barn for storage and put my shop in the garage, would they approve it?" They changed their mind and said they could support the barn/shop after all and they gave me a hearing date. $325.00 and 15 minutes later my variance was approved. We get to build our barn.

We now have a place to store our hay and a place for the horses to get out of weather. Now all we need is a way to keep them in the pasture. We had chain link fencing on three sides so all we needed as something across the front. We looked around a bit and decided on vinyl three rail fencing. The fencing guys came in the morning and by the end of the day we a fence a man gate and vehicle gate. And it looked good, much better than just going with more chain link fence. We are ready for horses. I called the hay guy and he brought out 150 bails of timothy and stacked it in my barn.

Side note on chain link fencing and horses - turns out the horses discovered that chain link fencing is a great place to scratch those itches on the butt. Every morning I would go out and some portion of the the fence would be leaning out. I would grab the pole and straighten it back up but those little steel posts can only take so much bending before they just break. There was only one solution I could think of. Off to the local ranch supply and a few dollars latter I have all the supplies I need to install an electric fence. It took about a day to install and I have not had to straighten a fence post since. The horses figured it out very quickly and we have not had any problems.

For those of you still interested, the tally:

Daughter: $900.00 for horse

Dad: $100 dollars for horse
$950 for trailer
$550 for receiver and hitch.
$300 first months boarding
$450 for saddle, breast collar and cinch
$120 for saddle pad
$200 for headstall, reigns and grooming supplies
$75 for miscellaneous sundries such as muck rake and bucket and the like.
$200 for trailer training
$1200 for four months board.
$50 for grain (Grain! Are you kidding me! Why do hay burners need grain! Next up - nutrition)
$1800 for about 6 months more of board.
$50 for 6 months of grain (we figured out a reasonable ration)
$1250 for knee care
$2300 for Mariah.
$3600 for a year of boarding.
$325 for variance request
$28,000 for a barn
$1200 for fencing
$500 for electric fencing (I have a lot of wire left over)
$900 for first load of hay

Home improvement projects are not included cause, lets face it, we would have had to do those no matter where we moved.

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