The Barn: Only Half Ugly

As many of you know by this point, the barn is what sold us {me} when we bought this property. The house was only awesome on opposite day and needed a whole lotta love to be livable. That’s kinda the theme of this place: in need of a whole lotta love.

Good thing we got a lot to give! Most days.

Anyways, the barn. I have always wanted to be able to keep horses at my own place. I grew up riding but always kept my horse and rode away from my home, at nice boarding facilities. So when I saw the lovely barn complete with a horse weathervane, I knew it was meant to be.

The barn ended up being more work than I anticipated {story of our life} so it has been getting done rather slowly or not at all. This weekend I finally removed all the chain-link from off the stall doors and it was so much more satisfying than I anticipated! I think there was chain-link up because birds were kept in the stalls, just based on the poop I cleaned out of there when we first moved in. Regardless, it was awesome to finally get it all down. *Note: All these pictures were taken last summer, so you’ll still see the chainlink up in some of them. And lots of bird poops.

Chain-link on the stall doors

One awesome thing we did a couple winters ago was wire electrical outlets on all the stalls. We still need to cover the wiring better and box in the outlet boxes but it is really nice for heated water buckets when it freezes! If you have tips on hiding new wiring in an existing barn, lay ’em on me.

Right now, the floor of the barn is dirt and it is super bumpy and un-level. In fact, the back stall runs are like 2 feet off the ground in the back because the concrete foundation for the barn was made level, but the ground wasn’t graded around it. Someday we will need to fix that.

Inside the barn, I’d like to lay a layer of pea gravel, then a layer of sand, and then put mats over the top. I have mats in one stall right now, just to help keep moisture in the bedding, not the ground but you can see how they are spreading due to the uneven surface. A key when you’re planning the floor of your barn is drainage. You want moisture to drain “down and away,” so make sure if you’re changing up the flooring in your barn you keep that in mind when planning the slope, if any. You can also rent smaller hand controlled compactor machines that are awesome for this kind of work.

Stall mats

Another long-term goal with the barn would be to put up walls on the inside. Right now they are just the open studs and I’ve going through and pounded down any nails that were sticking out, but I’d feel better if all of that was just enclosed. I can’t decide on a material I like but that would also match my barn. What do you think? I need suggestions!

Stall walls

A less intense project would be getting the grooming area done. This area is serving as storage right now since we aren’t keeping any animals in the barn at the moment. I plan to clear it out this summer and put down temporary mats {until I can do the flooring in the entire barn} and add some cross-ties.

Left side of cross-tie stall

Right side of cross-tie stall

Conveniently, there is water in our barn. Inconveniently, it comes out of this semi-dysfunctional {because it is RIGHT next to the wall} and leaky water spout. All the lovely additions were to keep it from freezing, I’m assuming. I’ve since removed them because, ew. I’d love to just turn and raise it or replace it, but that will take a little digging to figure out.

water spicket

Outside in the stall runs, we {Andy} still have three more run doors to build. We should have enough wood from everything we removed on the chicken coop last summer to get that finished up this summer. The two in the first photo are opened, but when closed they match the main barn doors. They actually aren’t too difficult to build and do a whole lot more for the barn than the classy pieces of particle board that were and are there currently. I’d also like to lay sand in the outdoor runs, however we would need to grade everything much better than it is now, like I mentioned before. And we will do a much better job of keeping the weeds under control this year…promise.

stall runs

outdoor stalls

On the other side of the barn, there is only one stall that would need a run door. These other outdoor runs would just be outside pens. All of the metal poles that separate these are very bent and need straightened. This is most easily done with a torch, which we don’t own as of yet, so buying one of those would probably be really useful.

North side of barn

Additionally, the barn just needs some general maintenance on the outside. Some boards are loose and this attic door is falling off the hinges. The most challenging part of repairing this barn is matching the wood color. It was never weather coated so we have a very difficult time finding the right wood to use for repairs. We would also like to put some kind of protective water coating on it, but we don’t want to change the color. Have you ever done this? What are your favorite products? Tell me!!

DSC_0089

Repairs on outside of barn

Also, if you by 1-ton bales of straw from someone and they insist that you can move them without a forklift, being and remaining skeptical is the correct response. I currently have a constant mess of straw in my barn because I believed the person who sold me this straw when they said it could be moved with a 4-wheeler. Maybe, but not our little 4-wheeler. Should have know better! So now I have this super big straw bale {plus another half bale further up the isle} in the middle of my barn. That is only moveable when tied to our pickup in 4-wheel drive. Which barely fits in the barn isle. Good job, Alli. Nice one. I make myself feel better about it by remembering that I only paid $15 for each bale. That’s worth all the trouble, right?! Ha – if only.

Straw bale in the barn isle

Now that I’ve told you about all my goals, we will see when they actually get accomplished! I have a feeling this is going to be the most expensive project to date, because of all the work that needs done on the ground/floor. The good news is, it’s totally functional as-is. Which means it’s ready for animals! I often get asked if I’d ever want to use it as a horse boarding facility.

Hmmm.

Nope. Never.

Like, ever.

I’d keep horses for friends, no doubt. But having boarded at facilities and worked in them my whole life, nothing would be more satisfying to me than just being able to bed, feed, and keep my barn exactly as I want too, not the way someone else thinks it should be done. I’m also kind of an clean and neat freak when it comes to my barn and tack room {Right now doesn’t count, remember the straw bale?!?! Out of my control..} and sometimes that doesn’t always make sense to other people. And that’s fine, because I’m not a boarding facility. 🙂

Plus my pasture is a disaster currently and I finally decided what direction I’m going with it – I’ll keep you updated as it happens. Hooray!

PS: It’s snowing. Remember my last post? It seems like so long ago…

PPS: Ya’ll realize I’m just channeling my inner T-Swift when I say “like ever,” right? Cuz that’d be embarrassing if you really thought I spoke that way. Because there is nothing embarrassing about loving Taylor Swift. I mean, her first songs were the anthem of my glory days after all. Ahem.

The End.

Love, Alli. AKA: T-Swift Fan for Life {#tsffl} . AKA: Sucker for a Good Deal on a Giant Straw Bale. AKA: The Girl with the Horse Weathervane Barn.

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