Wednesday 26 October 2022

Welcome, Wet Coast Fall

 We had a bit of an endless summer this year, for which I'm very grateful. The unprecedented dry spell until well into last week meant were able to get so much done on the property. I was able to plant grass over all the excavated areas last week and get a good start on new pasture and hedging for next year. I was even staining fences a couple of days ago!

Sophie having a good roll in the sun last week

When the forecast finally changed, it really changed - we went straight from sunny t-shirt weather to 'atmospheric rivers' and nothing but rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future.

It's crazy to think last week my work projects were mostly composed of drought mitigation efforts ( the regional area I work for came within days of turning on the taps and having no water). This week I am getting a head start on the flooding and road closure data I'm thinking we'll need soon enough.

On the pony front, the sudden and dramatic weather change means 7am and 7pm are both equally dark and dreary times to feed, and there are days where I don't see them in the daylight anymore. I'm back to researching outdoor lighting for the arena and having second thoughts whether solar will do the trick. My solar fence charger hasn't been working the last couple of days - I guess it needs more daylight to operate with than we've been getting.

Sunrise fencing picture making me look so productive. Really it's the time of year where it's about 7:30 am and I was just getting done feeding ponies breakfast. The construction part of the fence is done, I just need to hang gates. The wood stain is still random like the picture shows and is driving me nuts. Fingers crossed for a dry day soon so I can finish!

In the meantime - This thing has been a lifesaver! It powers my barn lights for about 20 hours and then it recharges itself in about an hour plugged in at home. It also connects to my phone so in theory once I have wifi there I could turn lights off and on from home.

This weather is putting our new drainage and barn set up to the test, and fingers crossed, we are mostly winning. While I trusted the plan, I couldn't help but be nervous to see what the reality would be once the rain came! It wasn't so long ago there used to be water running through the barn in a big storm. There are a couple of minor gutter fixes needed at the barn, and the shared paddock is going to need more sand added eventually. Other than that, it's working as expected. Yay!

 I feel more than a little guilty that B doesn't have a barn space at night, but when I show up in the morning she's been warm and dry under the covered area in front. I leave the stall door open for her in the day, so I'm hopeful she's going inside then to have a proper break from the weather (plus I leave Sophie's leftover dinner in there to tempt her so I'm sure she's there long enough to clean up that, at least.)

B's current part time shelter accommodations under the front 'porch'. She's not large and prefers to be out in the rain most of the time anyway, so it's working until we build another stall. Unfortunately she can't share 24/7 with Sophie because I need to separate them at least part of the day to make sure Sophie gets enough hay (and B doesn't get too much!)

The one really excellent thing all this water is good for is getting the arena base to compact. I tried riding on it a while ago and it basically had zero traction at anything over a walk. It was a weird feeling. B probably felt like she was in one of these things:

I think we both quickly decided riding in it before it compacted wasn't a good idea (then I had to spend an hour harrowing and leveling to hide the evidence of my impatience). Hoping it firms up a bit this week and I can start sneaking a few quick after work rides in. I do have a line on an industrial compactor the road crews use, but I'd like to wait and see how it wants to settle before I do that.

We did go look at sand for the footing (and rocks for another project you'll be hearing more about - I feel like I am becoming a semi-expert on our local quarries) this past weekend. It turns out that only one of our local sand products is suited to riding arena footing, so that made the choice easy. I've ruled out adding wood fibre (dusty, decomposes) or rubber or manufactured fibre (responsibly containing it to the arena, then properly disposing of it after it's life span makes me nervous). I'm leaning towards using the very minimum amount of sand for now and then going from there as far as adding other (likely sand or pea gravel like) things.



  1. wow even with rain you are keeping busy. I am happy to report after a gushing few hours of rain yesterday my barn was STILL DRY! YAY. Nothing is better when you don't see water flowing through your barn so I get it :) Poor Bridge being stuck out of the barn (I joke I joke) I think she is living her best life. Hope your ring compacts up soon and the rain stops as well. Also we got something new at barn for arena lights i will get the info for you but they are working (not thinking they are electric think they are solar) and they are BRIGHT! And not in hugely sunny area. Soooo there are things out there. Did you share that nifty gadget for your lights? If so I missed it, what is it and where did you get it??

    1. Oh yes, I'd love the light info! I keep seeing ones that look good, but then there are enough scary reviews mixed in that I get nervous to buy. The gadget is an Ecoflow River Mini. I could have sized up but this one was on sale and I've been pleasantly surprised with how much power it provides per charge and it's portable, about the size of a small shoebox and weighs maybe 5 lbs.

  2. How difficult would it be to run electric lights there? Even a couple posts with lights would help.

    1. Not possible at the moment, the 'source' would have to be the house and it currently has less than ideal tenants. Hopefully that will be remedied by the new year and I'll have more options.

  3. Sounds like you have made great progress! B looks very happy on her covered porch! I hear you about only being able to use what is at your local quarry. I think compacting and starting light with the sand is a very good plan.

    1. Thanks, appreciate the feedback - yours turned out so nice!

  4. Ecoflow River Mini? Wow, that sounds neat. Might have to look into that myself. My horses are desensitized to the flashlights I carry around with me at this point but having an actual light source when I go out to feed would be nice! Thanks for mentioning this.