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Ranch, Shop, & Barn This page will show you my new barn, home, and shop. Drill Team Finals As can be seen in this image, Glow was able to take part in the State drill team finals.
I have a number of photo events on there now showing the progress of our horrendous winter.
I have retired and moved from Boise, Idaho, to a ranch near the tiny mountain town of Crouch, in Garden Valley, Idaho. This particular part was done out on a road where they went through their various routines and were not allowed to step off the pavement. I recommend you click on an event and then at the bottom of the page click on "Slideshow" to view them quickly in full screen.
We are raising horses, one miniature donkey named Daffodil, and a lot of other critters. You can see the leg dressing is still on Glow's left rear leg, but that was permissible so long as we informed them in advance. We also have many wild critters, such as elk, wolves, foxes, wild turkeys, bears, bears, and more bears, and even moose. This was the first routine in the morning and I was unable to join Natalie to help her tack up Glow, and the person who did help got the leg wraps on wrong, but I don't think anyone noticed so it was a non issue. I hated to give up my beautiful shop in Boise, but the ranch has a beautiful view in all directions (see VR panorama above), a commercial steel shop building that is four times larger than my old shop, and has a separate fully finished office space, and even has 15' eves along both sides that provide covered storage for my tractors, cord wood, and iron. I was held up by the Chief Parish forest fire when I tried to drive down early in the morning to join Natalie, who had stayed down at the fair grounds over night so she would be ready to ride early in the morning.
The move took a full five months to accomplish, and that included two Allied Moving Company truck loads, two Penski U-haul truck loads, and countless loads in my small trailer. I gave up trying to keep a tally of the snowfalls when we began to get blizzards with very high winds. How do you measure a snowfall when there are areas blown bare, and others with 6' snowdrifts. So along with the the normal work associated with making a move like this, I had to also locate and purchase a 28 KW emergency power generator, get it tied in with our underground propane line, and hooked up to the automatic electrical transfer switch. The official snow measurements for Boise county record depths from 130" to 200"+, so our snow depth here falls somewhere between those two extremes. I also had to buy a tractor and a very large Lorenz snow blower, snow blade, and other accessories, install a 1000 gallon propane tank, and a 300' underground propane pipe line to service the house, shop, and generator. Although it is the 30th of March we are still getting additional snow but it is now melting much faster then it is arriving. This image is looking south at the office space and storage loft above it. There are four anvils of various types mounted in the shop, including this wonderful "new" farrier's anvil that was a gift to me. Because it has a glass smooth work surface, I have it mounted on the Acorn table for use with fine nonferrous metal work, mostly silver and copper. It was the property of a lady farrier down in the wilds of Owyhee County, as was the hammer laying on it in the image. The 8" bronze flagpole cleat came off of a 1932, 37' Alden Coastwise Cruiser. I like things that have a history and that are not foreign made. This last image, taken to the SW, shows an incoming thunderstorm that packed 100+ mph winds, and took the roofs off several homes in the area, the result of a micro-burst. I don't know why, but I felt this was going to be quite a storm, so I photographed its full development and impact when it arrived.
This image, taken inside the house, and looking south, shows the view, with Anderson Creek at the lower right crossing our lower pasture. Here is the first simple piece of work that I produced in the new shop, a bird cage suspension bracket. The biggest difference now is I no longer have to get up and go to work, although I now have far more work to do than ever before, I just enjoy it a lot more now.
I at first thought I would be spending endless hours at the forge during the winter, but after having experienced three winters now, I know that was a pipe-dream. Although now that I have the 7' wide, 1200 pound Lorenz snow blower, clearing the snow after a two or three foot snowfall isn't the chore it was at first.
The Lorenz allows me to clear all the snow after a big snowfall in only 45 minutes! We have already accomplished a whale of a lot since moving here. One thing for sure, my first purchase for the property, a Kubota Model 5030 hydrostatic drive tractor, made it all possible, especially auguring the fence post holes. I am also now very active in our local volunteer fire department. Garden Valley has one of the finest fire departments in the state, and it is tops in the county.
I was an engineer, driving the fire trucks and operating the pumps when we arrived on the fire scene, but now I am support only, filling SCBA bottles etc., following my last heart event. We have had a number of very big fires, including one that caused a fatality, so our job is very important here. It is also very challenging due to having only two paved roads, the rest being narrow winding mountain roads and trails. We handle all emergency situations, white water river rescue, vehicle accidents, structure fires, and wild-land fires.
I love the work however, and the group of guys I work with are the best there is. Other Events A lot has taken place since we moved here.
We now have three horses of our own, one miniature donkey named Daffodil, and for a year we had two boarding horses.
One of our horses came into my life not long ago, a superb 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding named Scamp. Actually his full name is "Definitelee A.
Scamp." I elected to finish Scamp's training myself, so a 45' diameter round pen had to be purchased. Training a horse is quite a challenge, but fortunately there are a great many instructional DVDs available that lead the way. We finally put Scamp under saddle about a month ago. The New Barn The time arrived to build a barn so my horses and other animals will have protection from the weather, especially in the winter. The one I am having built will also have a 14' x 48' awning, or shed-off, running down the east, or right, side in the image. I was involved in construction for roughly 30 years, and in all that time I have never seen construction that matched the workmanship my barn builder is doing for me.
This image of his 2 x 12 diagonal bracing is just one example of the exceptional quality, and it is backed with a 2x10 as well. The roof will be steel, in order to shed the snow, but the rest of the barn will be rough cut blue-stain Pine lumber from our local mill here in Garden Valley. The design allows for tubular steel gate panels to be mounted on the posts that support the shed-off roof, so they can be used as dividers between the stall doors in the summer, and then swung over on their hinges across adjacent posts to create a full length fence that will force the animals to come in through the end of the shed-off roof instead of the side. That is to prevent them from being buried or injured when tons of slide-off snow comes off the roof periodically in the winter. The end of the barn facing into the front pasture will open into a corral to make penning the horses easy. The corral will also have an additional 10' gate in it that will allow me to erect the portable steel panel round pen outside of the arena, but have its gate nested within the corral gate, so that I can easily take horses directly into the training pen from the corral. Well, that is about it at this writing.
I doubt there is another builder in the entire State of Idaho who can match the quality that Bruce puts into his work. Barn Construction Update It has been quite a while since I posted an update to this page, due mostly to the horrific work load associated with getting the barn, corral, and training pen built before the winter snows arrive, which they now have. The corral image shows the training pen with its 12' wide gate panel nested into the 12' wide swing gate opening in the corral. There is another 10' wide swing gate in the corral fence to the left of the image that leads into the front pasture. The water line to supply the two hydrants that are located on either end of the barn was also a trial.
The contractor I had dig the ditch to lay the line to connect to my well supply line, hooked the main power feed to the house and ripped the transformer off the power pole, and out of the breaker box, in the process.
It was two days before it was fully repaired, but the result ended up being positive for me.
The power company put in an underground feed to the barn when they pulled the new supply cable, and the result was my total new service hook-up fee for the barn was only $85! The contractor's insurance covered all of the damages, which amounted to thousands of dollars. The barn is almost complete, and in fact is more complete than this image shows. The stall door framing and wall siding under the shed-off roof are now complete, which they were not in the above image.
The loft doors have been built but not hung, and the big back lower doors are being built as I type this. Possibly tomorrow they will be hung, closing in the loft, which currently has 4 tons of grass hay and 6 tons of alfalfa stored in it. Right now the wind whistles through the barn pretty strongly at times. The concrete work was an agony.
It is very difficult to get anyone to bid on concrete work here, let alone do it in a timely fashion.
Not only that, but the nearest source for concrete is over 50 miles away over mountainous roads.
We had countless long delays, and what should have taken no more than a week to complete took closer to 6 weeks. The lifting beam is a rough cut, completely clear, Pine 4" x 10" timber 12' in length, and one of the most beautiful pieces of lumber I have ever seen.
I beveled the ends and mounted the pulley suspension plates on the end, then coated it with many dilute coats of Linseed oil so they would soak in deeply and preserve the beautiful wood. I have been learning a lot about mules and am discovering they are superb mountain trail animals. I have been doing a lot of work on the hay lowering system.
I elected to lower the bales down through the trapdoor access hatch, instead of using a hay chute, to conserve space below.
The western (left) lower bay is for equipment storage, mostly tractor implements for both tractors, and a chute would require more room than I wanted to allow it.
I designed and built a rather elaborate system to allow easy transporting of 100 pound bales of hay to the trapdoor hatch, and then very easy lifting and lowering to the floor below. I wanted my 13 year old daughter, Natalie, to be able to easily handle the job alone, and this system makes it very easy. The system is based on two pieces of equipment, a hay transport dolly to move the hay down the length of the loft to the hatchway, and a lowering fork to lift the bale off the dolly and securely hold it while it is lowered to the floor below. A trip cord, not shown, automatically dumps the bale when it reaches a preset height above the floor. The block and tackle raise the fork back up for lowering of more bales, all easily done from the loft floor while working alone. The dolly is very strongly built, having a load limit well in excess of 1000 pounds, which is total overkill for what it does, but it will also be used when raising or lowering the 22' long hay elevator each Fall, and that will put considerably more of a load on it. The hay fork was made to be as light in weight as possible, be very strong, and at the same time securely hold the bale when in use. The actual forks I made from an old 2" wide Jeep leaf spring I pulled out of my scrap pile.
The forks fold up when the unit is not in use to allow easy storage on the wall. The white laid rope caused the bale to spin, and the rope to twist, so I replaced it with an old yellow Kernmantle climbing rope, one of many that I have retired over the years.
The rope is tied off to a 12" bronze yachting cleat that allows a slow controlled lowering of the bale to the floor below. Use of the cleat for lowering is not necessary however, because the 3:1 reduction in the block and tackle reduces the load to only about 30 pounds when lowering.
The picture shows the bale in place on the dolly with the fork under it, and everything ready for a lower. In use the operator only has to give a pull on the rope and the forks lift up in the front and snatch the bale off the cart effortlessly.
The lift point of the fork is designed to tilt the bale back into the frame of the fork to make it totally secure during the entire operation.
This winter I will not be providing free meals to the dozens of elk that were coming in to enjoy my hay when I had it stored under the shop eve last winter.
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