Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The tent goes up! And down, and up and...

Well I am one day late to hold to the bi-weekly status reports schedule, but this one was truly worth the wait... It's DONE!

Last Monday we pretty much finished sewing on our tent, and Rossilin's was down to just webbing loops. Unfortunately I had to travel on business, and Dave had some things going, so after he helped her with the last major 2-person job -- attaching the roof valence, we left her to finishing it up. And she did! So on Sunday we got down to the business of setting up the tents and doing the final adjustments.

One big question was -- WHERE would we do this? Everything is still snow and ice encased, and now that the days are up to the 40's, they are horribly muddy to boot. So... we headed for the barn.

The fine-tuning process, we'd been warned, would take a day. We were seriously hoping this would not be the case, but considering it took Dave and I nearly 2 hours to get all the equipment moved in, the guy lines and the pole set up initially... we knew we were in for the long haul.

Kevin arrived about that time and set up next to us.

Once up, you start inserting spokes - until you cannot get any more in, and then you trim them all down a bit, and do it again. Eventually you get to the right length, and all spokes fit in.

We also didn't know how long the poles needed to be, so you can see here that the spoke hub is WAY higher than intended -- it's supposed to sit right on that little shoulder in the pole, just above the black metal band. We ended up taking about 18 inches off the pole. (Thank GOODNESS!! Because getting those spokes in so high was a real chore!)

But every little adjustment changes a lot of things.. Shorten the spokes, and the angle of the roof changes, dropping the eves and hub lower. Adding the walls, too, will pull down the eves. So it is an exhausting chore of making a change, setting up again to see how it looks, then adjusting something else.

Slicing off the spokes was the easy, and fun part. We set up a back stop on the chop saw, so we could just throw the spokes in two at a time and go for it.

So we had the two tents going up and down at their own rhythms.

And we were well warned. We are very aware that it's 'easy to cut things shorter, but hard to cut things longer'... Never the less, it seems Dave and I made a serious miscalculation and took too big a chop off of our spokes. GRRRRRR! Somehow we were convinced we had another 5" to take off, so we thought we'd be conservative and just cut 2 1/2" to start with. Ug. If only we'd gone with 2" it might have been perfect! But all of a sudden Dave had all the spokes in, and they were easy to go in. HUURRMM. So we said lets hang the walls and see what happens.

We also re-laced the top ring, because the laces looked too long and did not match the slope of the canvas roof when all put together. (I did mention there are 1000 different adjustments, right?)

The walls indeed did pull the canvas more taught. You can see here another reason for trimming the center poles - because the walls are about 10 inches off the ground here (those tabs at the bottom are suppose to lie flat on the ground under your ground cloth).

We both continued to make small changes and monkey with the tents - finally staking the walls to the ground. Eventually we wore out, and decided to leave them up overnight in the barn and come back Monday.

Interesting thing about leaving them overnight is that our walls did relax a bit, allowing us to pull them out further - actually achieving our 7' base diameter it was designed to be. Also, after sleeping on it we decided we really didn't like the shortness of our spokes, so Dave cut some rounds off of a dowel and put them in the bottom of our hub-holes. 1/2" and we're much happier with the shape of the eves of the tent. Kevin is convinced that was unnecessary - as the tent may well shrink when it gets rained on. Well -- whatever I say! We can always drill out those plugs if we need to. Going SHORTER is easy!

Here's a little time lapse showing our FINAL setup.

And.. not only is it done -- but THE BED FITS! I knew I was worried about the tent not being exactly as big as we'd designed it. And that the bed was the minimum constraint that we put upon sizing the tent. But it turns out my fears that the bed would not fit inside were a bit larger than I realized. When I got home last night, Dave and Kevin were working down in the barn. So I loaded up the bed frame and drove it down. Once we'd done the final set up, we brought it in to see how it looked.

LOOKS FABULOUS! And the enormous rush of relief that I felt seeing that? Who needs drugs?

The tent is packed -- we actually haven't made stuff sacks for the canvas yet, but they are made for the poles and stakes. We load up a trailer this Sunday and head out on Monday to try out the new living quarters for a week.

We surely owe a huge thanks and High Fives to Rossilin and Kevin for their help and camaraderie throughout this long drawn out project -- and of course to Friedrich as well who gave us SOOO much advice. Couldn't have made it without any of them!




Anonymous Nancy said...

Hey! Made everyone in the family look at your tents! How cool! and sooooo much work. I know that you are glad to be done! :0)

2/3/10, 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Hey! Made everyone in the family look at your tents! How cool! and sooooo much work. I know that you are glad to be done! :0)

2/3/10, 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Wow! Looks great! Congrats! Love the video too.

2/3/10, 8:33 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

:-D :-D :-D

Thanks guys!!

2/3/10, 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this is really awesome. What a sense of accomplishment you must have. And it looks very cozy and warm inside too!

2/3/10, 9:47 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Well, I presume it will look a LOT cosier when we actually get it setup - instead of just sorta slapped together. I'm really looking forward to 'moving in'. Makes it all the more worth it to be spending 2 more days at war this year.

2/3/10, 9:58 AM  
Blogger Spike said...

Wow. Big change from the plastic Pop-Up you had last year! How beautiful this is! Hope your Estrella is wonderful!

2/3/10, 9:22 PM  
Blogger Birdie said...

This is so very cool. It really does look fantastic. You have every right to be very proud.

2/10/10, 11:56 PM  

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