Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Loafing Shed 1

We put down some stall mats, to control the mud where he eats.
And now it is time to take the next step, the Loafing Shed. Horses like to loaf around. As do I, I must admit.  However, when it is raining at the Homestead, I get to loaf in our cozy warm trailer. The horse gets to stand under a tree.

(OK, not entirely true. There is a paddock for him, but it is not in the pasture, and neither he nor we are big fans of him spending a lot of time in there. Muddy and boring.)

Anyway, we need to create a shelter in the pasture for the horse, soon to be horses. Hence the Loafing Shed.

We are putting the posts on concrete, which needs time to set up before we can put weight on it. Since we won't be working over Thanksgiving, doing the footings now will give them time to set up.
First step was to dig the holes. I cordoned off that part of the pasture, using half of the round pen.  We don't want the very inquisitive mustang getting in there.  The spot is just across from the barn, and at the crest of a small slope: both key considerations in choosing the site.
Digging holes is one of my primary contributions to these projects. (I also specialize in holding things, getting things and being dead weight.)

I got all fancy on the hole digging, using the Pythagorean Theorem to determine where the second row of holes should be dug. I honestly think this is the only instance in which high school algebra has actually served me well. My posts are on 9' centers, so my a2 and b2 are both 81, which makes my c2 162, and its square root 12.72. I tied some baling twine together, and put a knot at 12.72-ish feet and triangulated that with 9' on the tape measure. That told me where to dig my hole at a right angle to the other. (Whew, math!)

Mr B was there as usual, offering moral support.

Holes dug, the next step was to pull Hank off Phoebe's Art Shack project. In addition to being an excellent carpenter and collaborator, he is also a wiz at concrete. He has worked on Bonneville Dam, and on the 7 story refrigerator at the Tillamook Creamery.

So putting in our posts would be no problem.

We started by bending rebar to give the concrete a little more to hold on to.
I sprung for deluxe brackets; the wind can blow pretty good up here, and since we are not burying the posts in the concrete, I wanted the saddles to be really beefy. (Phoebe has long opposed putting posts in concrete, and with a little googlin' I understand why. Check it out if you are curious.)
hank put a pair of 12' 2X4 together to get a nice straight line to center the brackets over the holes, and keep them in place when the concrete is poured and cures.
 He marked the boards where each saddle would hang.
We held the boards in place with stakes, and marked them so we could move the boards and get them back in the right spots.
Why did we have to move the boards? Because I only had one job to do, and I needed to fix it! (Several holes needed a little tweaking once we got really specific about where the brackets would hang. As I knew they would.)

Hank likes to mix a shovel full of Portland Cement into each bag of concrete. Says it sets up stronger and cures faster.
Mixed it in the wheelbarrow, then dumped or shoveled it into the holes.


 A little dressing with a chunk of 2X4...
And voila, nice concrete footing for our saddles. We will let them sit as is for 10 days or so. Then the boards come out, and we are ready to build the structure.
After all that work, it was time for a cup of Phoebe's home roasted coffee.
What's that Mr B?  You want me to throw the chicken again?  Really?  OK, just one more time...
Oh, and one last thing: What a crazy beautiful day for mid-November!  


  1. you and Mark are teachingme quite a bit! I always say to the GF that we need a concrete truck to do some of the work we want but I think I was wrong..mostly small concrete jobs. great post(s)..not just the footings either..if that makes sense.

  2. ..and it is not like concrete is super hard..I sometimes build mountains in my head but when I actually see a job done and have a description it becomes more of a mole-hill..thanks for help molehill'ifying this for me..hehe

  3. That looks like a good job well done. It's nice to get new projects off the ground, no pun intended.

    I used to work with engineers, and none of them could remember Pythagoras theorem. Knocked their socks off each time I'd come up with it LOL. It's about the only one I remember from my high school daze, too. Maybe that and "Pi R squared" thanks to a really goofy math teacher who'd prove his point with real pie. My kind of math involves food!

    Enjoy the great weather, hope it lasts!

  4. @eagergridlessbeaver
    Eager, I am glad this helps. This kind of process is so foreign to my way of thinking that I need to see it broken down to get it. I just don't see the steps and end result as well as Phoebe or Mark.

    Thanks for the comments.

  5. @Buck..me too..I build software with a keyboard and mouse so switching to a hammer and nail has been an adjustment to say the least..but seeing it done takes the guesswork out of it..it's why I love these blogs!


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