Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Life since the Holidays

Well, things have just been chugging along here at the ranch. The kennel continues to surprise us at running about 10-14 dogs a day even in Jan and Feb which we figured would be dead once the holiday traffic stopped. Au Contraire, January ended up bringing in 150% of the revenue we'd forcast, which just makes us all sorts of giddy.

As for the horses, things aren't nearly so lively. We postponed lessons, postponed again, and yet again - before finally cancelling the entire Winter session. Since we still can't see the sand in the arena, I'm thinking that was the right call. Fortunately with the kennel doing great we're not too stressed over the loss of lesson income.

Joey, the new boy, however is settling in fine with Romeo, Jack and Rio. But in taking a look at the horse fences while we were doing all this introduction stuff, sorta made it clear we're going to have to do some maintenance to the pastures here soon. We've always intended to have 3 horse pastures... Gosh, will we ever be out of fences to be built?

The last few weeks it's warmed up, which only means that our drive way does its best impression of a mud-wrestling pit every day. The ruts in several sections were getting quite impressive, and since every morning they were frozen solid again I was having difficulty getting my car out because it just plain doesn't have that much clearance. We MIGHT just have turned a corner of getting the main drive pretty dry this weekend, but try walking down to the barn and you've got to be prepared to go slogging. The dog yards, however, fortunately are still 100% snowpacked, so the dogs aren't churning up mud and making everything a heck of a mess. (yet) There are small blessings!

On the mess side of things, we received our power sprayer that we'd ordered before the holidays.. hoping that it would be here in time for the holidays. We weren't quite that lucky. It's taken us several weeks of working out the kinks (you know, pesky stuff like reading the instructions! ;) ) but I'm loving it! Cleaning kennels are now about twice as fast or better than it used to be -- but the biggest bonus is that you don't have to lean over so your back takes a lot less brunt than it used to hand-scrubbing all those kennels. Last weekend we moved all our dogs into one aisle, and managed to get all 5 of the other aisles cleaned plus the center aisle with the play set and both crates, washed and disinfected. Even when construction was just completed on the kennel, it has probably never been that clean at once.

The seemingly never ending task I've also been working on for weeks is getting all the kennels sealed so that water won't travel from one to the next during cleaning. These kennels we put up last Thanksgiving used a different back-wall method than the first half of the kennels, and this different method has proven to be terrible for water proofing. We've used up way more tubes of caulk than I care to think of. Today I spent hand-cutting aluminum angle pieces to be custom fit in place. I'm just taking a break now, for instance, while I let one angle get set in place before I move the braces to install the next.

We have gotten our retail setup going -- again since the holidays. That one probably really would have behooved us to get in place before the holidays, so as to be able to sell the Holiday Themed Toys that we purchased. Oh well -- we've since ordered a bunch more on close out for next season, so we were destined to have boxes of stuff to store anyways. But it makes for a nice addition to the office, and things sell. Slowly, but people are taking notice.

So that's our nutshell, folks. Not a lot of anything in particular to report. Just business more or less as usual.



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