Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, December 20, 2004

And so it continues

David finally completed the wiring in the east end of the barn! This process involved digging up a junction box just outside the main door, only to discover that that particular junction wasn't the source of the problem. So there is yet another underground break in the circuit. I noticed that he didn't bother with any more excavating.

During this process he was able to discover what the lone light switch that was mounted up high - about 12 feet up - was for. We'd wondered about it, but due to its location hadn't been able to flip it back and forth to observe the effects. It's just as well, because the effects weren't observable - because it turns the waterer heaters on and off - and since they weren't hooked up... You get the picture. Having a switch for the heaters seems handy - no need to run power to the devices that combine our horses' noses and water if it isn't necessary. Strangely enough (and yet par for the course), he wasn't able to find an equivalent switch in the other end of the barn. Well, that was because they never got around to putting in the switch - they just closed up the cut ends of the wire into a junction box in the tack room and left them.
And, would you believe, the electrical issues weren't the only ones.

One of the waterers, instead of sitting on a concrete piling was supported only by a 4" diameter piece of PVC pipe. This looked funny, but would have been satisfactory if the pipe wasn't also too short. This meant that the water valve below the waterer was not within the insulated / heated area of the waterer, so it too froze. That whole waterer and pipe had to be pulled, rebuilt, and backfilled. He also found numerous other plubming problems leading to leakage. So a bunch of plumbing repairs later... we now have 4 completely heated and plumbed waterers! Only 4 more to go on the other end of the barn. Dave has already dismantled a couple of them, but it looks like they are going to have to stay that way until we return from spending Christmas in California.

As for the ones up in the small barn, we've just shut off water to that barn altogether and will adress later as well - by digging all those fitting up with the tractor. Based on the quality of work we've seen in the big barn, we'll be better off getting rid of everything and starting from scratch anyways.


Suddenly some of the pieces have fallen into place regarding a slight mystery we encountered shortly after moving in. When we first started overhauling the stalls, we were prepared to find mice nests underneath the stall mats. And we did, a bunch of them. What totally freaked me out, though, was running into salamanders! Big ones - or at least big in my estimation. We're talking black and chartreuse spotted salamanders, some 5-6 inches long. Aparently they are the incredibly common Tiger Salamander. Salamanders are supposed to be nice creatures. But they totally grossed me out. I'm fine with lizards and even snakes, but these look slimy and squishey, and just gave me the heebey jeebeys.

My co-worker Mike was altogether too interested in hearing about my salamanders. He helped me identify them based on my description. He suggested that it was strange they were hanging out in the barn since they like water. Ah ha - perhaps we should have investigated for leaking waterers back then. But I suspect that at the time we just didn't want to know about that potential problem!

Anyways, Mike has a pond that he put into his back yard a while ago. He started saying that he'd be happy to add some salamanders to his pond, and that all I had to do was put them in a bucket and bring them to work with me. Yeah right. I have a 45 minute drive to get to work. Like I'm going to sit in my car for nearly an hour with those things trying to crawl out of a smooth sided bucket into my seat!

Mike came out the next weekend and collected his own salamanders, thank you very much.



Post a Comment

<< Home