Thursday, December 3, 2015

Johnny's Many Projects

Over the summer and fall, Johnny has been working on numerous projects around the farm that he has been trying to get to for years. Or that I've been trying to get him to get to for years. He has this round completed. But, no worries that he'll get bored, I have another list started...

One project he finished before the rains arrived was new gutters and new gutter boards on his shop. I think this was inspired by my rain barrels at the corner of his shop, catching water off the one section of gutters that was still intact. He and everyone else kept backing into my rain barrel. So Johnny moved the big fiberglass water tank that had been sitting by the horse barn doing nothing for years to the back corner of the shop (inside my riding arena) and ran the new gutters into it.

Before he could put up the gutters, he had to put up boards to fasten them to. The old barn provided those boards. Our old barn wood has been used in many projects around here.

Another project was replacing the chicken wire around the turkey portion of the chicken house, which is currently open for both chickens and turkeys. The chickens were flying in and out at will. The turkeys were too dumb to figure out how to do that. As long as he was working on that, I asked to have a bigger door cut in the chicken house going into the turkey yard. I was tired of crawling on hands and knees through poultry droppings when I needed to shoo turkeys or whatever from the outside yard to the inside. Now I just have to bend over a little to get through. Hooray!

The peacock examined the finished project from on top.

Another project dear to my heart was replacing the "temporary" plywood sheets blocking wind in the northeast corner of the goat yard. Those temporary sheets had been propped up against the fence around the yard since the barn was built. Once again, old barn wood came in useful to replace the fencing for something to screw the metal sheets to. Those metal sheets came from Traumhof. One man's junk is another man's treasure.

What's left of the old barn looms in the background. It is still home to old barn lumber and other wood.


 And then there was the plywood project... Friends sold us their used plywood sheets that had been animal housing... lots of housing and lots of sheets. Johnny hooked the big flatbed trailer Dad had given us to his van and we drove over to get the plywood. We loaded about half of it on and decided that was heavy enough for the trailer. Then, in an ill-fated decision, Johnny decided to go back out a different way than we had come in. He had forgotten about a very steep hill with loose gravel. We got stuck. He tried backing up to get a run at it and almost made it up... but not quite. The next time he backed the trailer went off the road a bit and we were going nowhere forward or back. The guy who works there came with a little tractor but it could do nothing. So we unhooked the van, offloaded some of the lumber into the van, and drove home.

After unloading the lumber from the van, Johnny went back for more. At least, that's what I'm remembering now. Later that day (after I was done with morning chores), he loaded up several big jacks, come-alongs, and a zillion feet of heavy logging cables. First we offloaded about a fourth of the plywood into the van to give the van better traction. I drove the pickup and he the van. We hitched the trailer to the pickup, ran the cables from the trailer, under the pickup, up to the van that was perched on top of the hill, out of the loose gravel. This all sounds much easier that it was. It took several jacks and a come-along to accomplish this easily stated feat. Johnny drove the van gradually pulling the trailer while I drove the pickup. When I felt the pickup starting to do the pulling itself, I waved him to stop. We unhitched the pickup and rehitched the van to the trailer and Johnny pulled it out successfully. That was a very tense and nervous day but all worked out in the end. I guess you can do most anything if you have enough jacks, come-alongs and miles of logging chain.

I did not take photos of the fully loaded or the stuck trailer. It was too embarrassing and tense. Here is the trailer after the offloading and after successfully reaching the top of the hill.

 We went back the next day for the rest of the lumber and did not take the steep hill route out.

The old barn is the repository for all this plywood, which Johnny intends to use on his next summer projects of replacing the roofs on the shop and horse barn. The plywood will go under the new metal and we will no longer have insulation dripping from the ceilings and creating nests for mice and birds. Back when those roofs were put on (30 plus years ago), the recommended procedure was to use that insulation. Bad idea.

Plywood stored in what's left of the old barn

 Of course there have been many smaller projects to keep Johnny busy... a third stock tank heater, fence and gate repairs, equipment repairs, fixing a broken water pipe that had a steel fence post driven through it during the barn siding project, plus, Johnny says, "lots of other fifteen minute projects that took at least two hours to do."

In between his projects Johnny joined me on many bird monitoring trips plus got in our year's supply of firewood.

And so goes Johnny's "retirement" days... I don't know how he ever had time to "work".

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