Monday, April 27, 2020

Tack Shed Renovation: Delays


I finally decided to go ahead and do curbside pickup on the insulation and paneling, because that seemed like a safe compromise between "getting shit done" and also not interacting with too many humans.... And despite having 30+ panels in stock a few days ago when I was comparing options, when I tried to order them yesterday, they were ALLLLLL gone. Apparently everyone and their brother has decided that quarantine is definitely the time to do all those home improvement projects they've been putting off! They're not wrong, but I'm still annoyed haha.
I am somewhat mollified by my eBay impulse purchases trickling in - I bought these from two different sellers but they're a pretty close match, and I think they're fun. Vaguely reminiscent of my sliding door handles in the house but wayyyy cheaper!
So the panels are ordered, but won't be in for a few weeks, which is super disappointing while also being the very definition of a first world problem, so I'll live. We did manage to pick up the remainder of the insulation and electrical stuff, so that will get done slowly. Unfortunately, 90% of the fun stuff can't be done without the panels up... boo.
Even though I had stain I was going to use for trim I decided to lean in to my white/teal (aqua) theme and I bought this to try on the trim. We'll see how it goes! Of course, no point staining trim until the wall panels are up, so it'll just have to sit for a bit.
Apparently the unit I wanted for heating/cooling also couldn't be ordered for reasons that are still mysterious to me, but I found something comparable on Amazon so I have a plan B there. Doesn't seem like much point in ordering it yet though, since it'll be at least a month until the other stuff is done.
The chandelier arrived Friday and I spent a lengthy amount of time swearing as I assembled it....
But #worthit! I didn't finish and put the dome on it because that needs to happen when it's installed and it also cannot be installed without the paneling 🤷‍♀️😅
Annnnnnd for no apparent reason State Line only shipped half my order, despite my original confirmation email indicating everything was in stock and would ship out at the same time. So far, they've ignored multiple inquiries about any kind of timeline, so that's a bummer too.

So that's the state of things - delayed! Which again, I know, it's the firstiest of first world problems, but it was kind of the only thing keeping me going through being stuck at my house not riding indefinitely. And I realized belatedly that I was super overly emotional this weekend because it was also the weekend I was supposed to be spending in KY with a fantastic group of bloggers (#bestweekendallyear). So some of my irrational disappointment over stupid things like panels not being in stock is really about the fact that Land Rover got cancelled. Which again, first world problems. The Zoom party Saturday night did help (thanks Liz and Holly and Amanda for all your hard work!) yank me out of the doldrums for a bit :)
Sunrise this morning also lifted my spirits. 
The silver lining is our stay at home order is supposed to expire this weekend, so after that I'll probably feel more comfortable about (slowly and gradually) climbing back in the saddle.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tack Shed Renovation: Organizational Plans

A post every day this week? WHO AM I?!?!?! OK moving on, haha. Don't get used to that. I just have actual things to write about this week and more time than usual, and I'm trying to snap myself out of this pandemic-funk, and writing seems to be helping. So I'll keep it up as long as I can!
Even if I feel like this most mornings
With the state still closed, not much progress being made on the physical renovations, but I have ordered a lot of the stuff I think I need to help get things organized once we get to that step! So let's dive right in. First, massive shout-out to everyone who has blogged about their own tack room organization -- Jen (parts one and two), Austen, Liz, and more that I'm probably not remembering. Drop a link in the comments if you have a post you think I should read! Another round of thanks to the friends who let me bounce ideas off them -- there are too many of you to name! Below is a LOT of me geeking out about boring organizational stuff for my ridiculous amounts of tack, so if that's not your jam too, you've been warned. I included links for most of the products in case you're in the market, but they're not affiliate links, I don't make any money off sharing them. 

For saddle pads, I have two of the Schneiders 10-arm racks. Sometime last year a blogger (or maybe a Facebook friend?), I cannot for the life of me remember who, posted about these being on sale, so I snagged myself some for a birthday gift. They've been sitting in the shed every since, lol.
I'm not actually sure that 20 will hold all the saddle pads I own (OK I actually already KNOW that, shut up), so here are some other great ideas people shared with me.
A friend DIYed this herself to make the best use of her available space at a boarding barn. I believe these were Ikea swivel towel hooks (possibly these or these)? Love it!
Clover Ledge Farm shared this great idea with me, and I actually had a bunch of those style hangers saved just in case!
This is a SUPER OLD picture (and there's a zero percent chance I'm getting a new one until construction is over haha) but my previous organization was just stacking them to the ceiling on this shelf. Actually after re-reading Liz's post about her tack shed I'm thinking a shelf over the door would be good for the ones that don't get used much (like the 8+ still in the packaging LOL) and I can use the Schneiders rack for the daily rotation and drying. 
The next big hurdle was bridle hooks - I'm sure you already know this, but I own A LOT of bridles. Some might even call it an excessive amount. Go back to Monday's post and you can see pics, lol. My only requirement was that they actually be rounded, to help a bridle hold its shape, because I had a bridle ruined in college by hanging on a wire hook and getting a crease in the leather I never could get out. Black was preferred, but worst case scenario I figured I could paint them if necessary (I did toy with the idea of painting them teal).
Bye old hooks! They'll be off to their new home soon. 
This is where Jen's posts came in handy, because she had already done pretty much all of the legwork in finding the best value for a lot of the organizational things I was looking for. Unfortunately for me, when I was ready to order, Schneiders was out of the hooks she used in black, and I didn't want any of the colors they offered. I poked around on State Line's website and located these guys.
My old barn used these on each stall for halter hooks, and the lower hook worked well for fly masks. They met my criteria for being rounded, and best of all, when ordered in the quantities I needed, they were even cheaper than the original brackets I looked at. Let's not talk about how many I ordered ;) safe to say, I was on the receiving end of some good-natured teasing from Jen when she found out I needed more than her entire barn full of eventers used in their tack room... haha.
Again from Jen's post, I also really loved how they used the hooks above to hang girths, as that was always tricky for me. I have more girths than saddles, and I didn't love laying them across my saddles/covers, so previously I just slung them up over the center brace, but then they were annoying to get back down (or alternatively fell on my head). This will help keep them tidy and accessible! I did pay a tiny bit more for these from State Line instead of Jeffers, but since I met the order minimum to get 30% off all my items, I think the slightly higher initial cost probably came out in the wash.

In a previous order trying to meet a minimum threshold back in 2018 or 2019 I think, I picked up two of these helmet hangers. I'll probably grab more in a future order, but State Line was oversold on them when I was shopping and I didn't want to buy something so piddly and then pay as much as they cost in shipping from somewhere else. Two will suffice to start for my teal Ovation and my old IRH schooler, which are the ones that get the most use anyway.
Obviously with my matchy matchy tendencies, I do own some fun colored polos. But full disclosure, I find polo wraps kind of fiddly to use, mostly because I am OCD and I can never get all four to come out exactly the same. But I do OWN some, so one of these racks was also tossed in the cart. And then in a fun twist, a friend gave me another she had sitting around, so now I'll have two! Currently I use more boots than polos, and those are in one of those over the door shoe organizers, so I'm not sure if I'll reuse that again or maybe borrow from Austen's boot organization genius if I can get Ikea to ship me some Trones :) 

I'm not 100% sure what I'll do with this, but it seemed like it could be useful so I grabbed one of these too. 

And speaking of boot organizers -- for my own boots, I have DH on record as saying he will make me a few of these :) no link to these anywhere that I could find for sale, sorry, but the image came off Pinterest and I'm sure someone, somewhere makes them!
I already have enough saddle racks -- I own two nice wheel-mounted double racks that the prison used to have prisoners make (but they don't offer them anymore, so sad!), as well as a very nice triple rack that DH got me as an anniversary gift a few years back, then one saddle is on a solo rack, with a spare foldable rack to make a tack cleaning station if necessary. I guess in a perfect world I would have two 4-tier racks, but those are $$$$ so I think I'll just stick with what I have for now. I can always upgrade that down the line if I feel the need. 

Next up, bits! My old system was just to have them hung across the center brace, but again, sometimes that bit me in the ass (or rather the head) if I bumped something and they fell on me. 
Old photo. 
I browsed the internet and saw a lot of options, many of them pegboard type deals. I really liked that, but I was worried about the amount of wall real estate that would take up, so I started brainstorming... and here's what I came up with. 
These are the curtain rods I used on all the windows in my house. They're unobtrusive, inexpensive, and vaguely industrial looking, which fits the general theme I have going on. I paid about $10-12 each for the smaller ones, and I actually bought one of the larger ones to hang over the French doors on the front of the shed so I can put up some thermal curtains there too. I figured a curtain rod combined with the hooks below could be a good bit storage solution. We'll see if it can handle the weight ;) if not, I'll hang fly bonnets on it or something!

Voila! These S-hooks are usually marketed more for pots and pans, so I figured they could hold a little weight. If not, I'll use them somewhere!
I also pondered if there was a good way to display my browbands. I've actually seen some REALLY cool repurposed medicine-style cabinets (with glass fronts and lighting) for browbands, but I decided to start a little simpler for now. 
A 50-pack of these hooks was cheap, and I think if I screw them into a board with the opening facing up, I should be able to drop a browband on them? It makes sense in my head, I'll let you know how the reality plays out ;) 

Whew! That's a lot of organizational stuff -- hopefully we can get the rest of the insulation and the walls up soon so I can start transferring everything from my brain (which feels oddly like a Pinterest board right now) into the actual space to see how it works! Did I miss anything important? Seriously, drop me links. I'm not married to any of these ideas so if you have a better one, I WANNA HEAR IT! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Why DIYing a Tack Shed Chandelier is a Bad Idea (For Me)

So remember when I mentioned I was trying to DIY some lamps? Being stuck in the house 24/7 gave me a bit of a yen to decorate things. I decided to start with bedroom lamps - our comforter is aqua (or you know, teal) and grey, so I figured matching lamps wouldn't be too hard to find. And they weren't. But damn, lamps are expensive y'all! So I managed to meander down a rabbit hole of DIYing Mason jar lamps, and it sounded like something that would at least keep me busy for a week or two, so I got started.
Two old blue quart jars. Check.
Two Mason jar lamp converters, check. Had those bulbs lying around the house, so tossed them in to make sure that everything worked. 
Let there be light!
And then I started trolling around for lamp shades. Which, man, what a fucking racket. Those are also annoyingly expensive. I briefly considered trying to DIY those too, but decided I was all crafted out. Finally I settled on some and placed my order. And this is what I got:
I giggled like a maniac when I opened the box. DH watched me put them on, looked at me, looked back at the lamps, sighed, and walked out of the room. To be fair, they definitely did list the shade dimensions, but I'm not a very visual person in terms of being able to imagine measurements when I read them, so I just assumed it would be okay. Whoops. 
Eventually I'll buy bigger lampshades, but for now, they make me smile every time I see them, so they can stay! 

Annnnnnnd that's the reason it would be a truly terrible idea for me to DIY a chandelier for the tack shed. This is one of those times I'm happy to shell out for something I'm really bad at doing myself 😆
This bad boy should be delivered tomorrow!
So I bought a chandelier. I wasn't super keen on paying what Amazon had it listed for, but then I found it almost half as much on eBay. And then Jen sealed the deal when she said "It's the perfect blend of 'this is a barn' 'easy to clean' and 'THIS GIRL IS A LITTLE EXTRA". Sold. Gimme the chandelier.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Milestone Birthday: 25 Years

I may not have much to write about on the riding front, but today my old man Jack turns 25.
We've been together a long time.
Technically as an OTTB, I guess I should have celebrated on January 1, but I've always been more about the actual day than an arbitrary one. Jack has been in my life since the summer of 2006, making him my longest relationship outside of my actual family. He was the impetus behind so many life-changing decisions, but particularly buying this acreage and committing to hobby farm life.
He is a quirky old dude, even in retirement. I was just joking with someone on FB last week that every day when I turn him out, he HAS to run at least three laps of the pasture at full speed (which even in his heyday, was woefully slow), which is even slower now that he's 25 -- for reference, the chubby Spanish mare can keep pace, haha.
Bit of a failure on the racetrack, that one. 
The early days, showing off one of his weirder quirks, an obsession with soda. 
Look at those BABIES
That one time we played at being hunters and totally sucked at it, but I had fun because everything with him was fun. 
For the first time last weekend, I noticed gray hairs on his face when I was working on getting his winter coat shed out. He comes out of his stall creaky in the morning, but he will still cheerfully make mischief if given an opening -- like a few weeks ago when I opened his door to pick his stall and he immediately ducked out of it and went on a run-about in the front yard.
With his best girl in the field last week. 
He and Cinna are still inseparable -- the amount of time they spend grooming each other is ridiculously adorable. Every year I watch him carefully for signs of struggle in the extreme heat and extreme cold. He drops weight at those times and then I spend the rest of the year putting it back on. His monthly feed bill exceeds the other three horses, the goats, the chickens, the dogs, and the barn cat feed bill combined, and he still looks far ribbier than I'd like on any given day, despite me trying every weight supplement and idea known to man and regular discussions with my vets. But he still nickers every time he hears me walk into the barn, and still gleefully plays tag with Cinna in turnout every day. He frisks me for treats when I visit with the shedding blade, trying to make him look some semblance of presentable. I don't know how many more years I'll get with him, but I'll treasure every second. Earlier this week, I busted out the birthday decorations and we had a mini photo shoot.
This is what he thought about THAT. 
"No thank you stoopid hoomin"
"Fine. But I don't have to like it."
"Isn't this why you got young horses? Go bother them with this bullshit."
It was really windy and he was remarkably chill about me flapping stuff all over his head - a stunt that definitely would have gotten me maimed or seriously injured when I first got him... lol. 
Cheesin' so hard. 
Officially over my shit. 
But still the best boy. 
Always my best boy. 
DH got in with the snuggles too. 
That's actually when I knew he was a keeper - the first time I took him to the barn and introduced him to Jack. 
His happy place - out in the pasture with his girlfriend. 
And I think the birthday stuff I bought for Cinna like two years ago has officially outlived its usefulness, haha. I had to tie the "happy birthday" banner in knots to get it to stay on and then shred it to get it back off, lol. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted! Happy birthday old man! I hope we have many more together!