Sunday, January 29, 2017

House Post: Attic Restoration

Previously, in the attic: we ripped up many of the floorboards to get at the second floor ceilings for electrical work. It was godawful work and it left the attic floor full of holes and looking awful.

It stayed like that for a long time. We rewired in July 2015, which means it stayed like that for about 18 months.

It made the attic a weird and dangerous place to be in.

On top of that, as attics do, it had become a sort of dumping ground for extra stuff.

When my parents came up last weekend, the attic was the project I wanted to tackle.

My dad and I re-matched the boards to their holes in a jigsaw puzzle that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed.

We got them back into their holes and nailed them down with a very fancy and more than slightly terrifying nail gun that my dad had brought. Some of them could just go right back down on their joists; some of them, like the ones directly above, needed reinforcement underneath.

While we were doing that, my mom organized the attic. We threw away or recycled quite a few things and got the rest of it in MUCH better shape.

I am really, really happy with this particular project. It was not complicated or exciting, but it has made a big difference in the usability of the attic, and it feels like we were finally resolving the tail end of the rewiring project.

The attic is not yet done: next up we need to cover the exposed spray foam with fire-resistant paint, and then over that we'll put up some really simple paneling. As part of that project, we'll probably also do a kick wall, or a short wall coming down from the eave to the flooring, to cover the vent pipe you can see from the upstairs bathroom fan. Probably that wall will be matched on the other side, which will give us both crawlspace storage and a wall against which to build some basic shelving so that all of the things that are currently (neatly!) stacked can go up on shelving.

the feverish part of my brain hopes it will look a little like this

Because we insulated the ceiling of the attic, and not the floor, it's fairly comfortable year-round. Once we get the paneling up, it's going to be a perfectly fine extra room. It'll be overflow space: maybe someone can sleep up there, maybe I can put a writing desk up by the quarter-round windows and pretend to be Jo from Little Women. Now that it's usable again, anything is possible!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

Let's Discuss: Your Equestrian Affiliations from House on a Hill
An interesting question & conversation that gets at the heart of how we all define community.

When is it okay to ignore your trainer's advice? from Saddle Seeks Horse
I would submit that if your trainer's advice is making you unhappy, not in a shallow momentary way, but in a deep sustained way, then you should ignore it and/or go trainer shopping. But it's not a black and white issue. We place an implicit trust in trainers, and have a deeper relationship with them than nearly any other professional in our lives.

DIY Jump Stick from Equestrian at Hart
These are amazingly useful tools to have around, and this is a nice tutorial for how to make one.

Sit on your hands to ride better, from Trafalgar Square Books
I've done this exercise in the past, and it definitely gives you interesting feedback.

Your non-horsey link of the week: How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind, a great essay on self-care in the time of activism against the dumpster fire that has overtaken the White House.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Justin Morgan, composer

You may know that Justin Morgan acquired a young colt named Figure and in doing so founded the Morgan horse breed.

You may not know that Justin Morgan's primary profession was actually singing teacher, one of those location- and era-specific professions that baffle us today.

He also composed a number of songs, one of which is still somewhat famous today, AND was named after me.

(obviously not really but I'm still going to claim it)

Here's a gorgeous symphonic interpretation of that same basic melody by composer Thomas Canning.

So, if you've read Marguerite Henry's Justin Morgan Had a Horse and like me hold dear the image of a lanky and laconic New Englander striding his way through the wilderness, followed by a scrubby colt: this is the music that was in his head.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clipping Update

Somehow, every year, I manage to make clipping my horse into some kind of saga. This year, I wavered about what kind of clip to do, and decided on Irish...sort of.

Then, when it came time to update the clip, well, this happened. I apologize in advance for the pain this video may cause.

A video posted by Amanda G. (@beljoeor) on

Yeah, that was a no-go. It left poor Tris looking like he'd been chewed on by moths, and I didn't even finish updating the whole clip. He had to live with that for a few weeks while I angsted about what to do: buy nice new clippers? get new blades for my current clippers? just get my current blades sharpened? figure out what else was wrong with the current clippers by sending them in for refurbishment? I am the queen of waffling, especially about things I was going to have to spend money on.

poor moth-eaten mustang

Then: Hannah came to the rescue! She had her old clippers still, and she brought them up to me this past weekend, and Tuesday night I tested them out AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

I swear, next I'll work on straight lines.

So glorious that I finally got around to doing the design I'd planned on! Mixed success, since I hadn't cut out a stencil and was sort of half-winging it. I'm still happy with it. I have some lessons learned that I can use to apply to his butt on the other side. Poor Tris was deeply wiggly by the time I got to his butt, and I decided to let him be done.

Fastest mustang alive! Like his inspiration, he also makes many bad decisions.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Blog Hop: Barn Bathrooms

Okay: first of all, I apologize for my weirdness but this is really truly something I've been thinking about for a while. Like, months. So I figured where else am I going to be weird except on my own blog?

(The answer to that is basically everywhere, those of you who have met me in person can safely confirm that, I'm sure.)

Um. Anyway.

Here's my blog hop: what is the bathroom at your barn like?

Here's my current barn.

It's basically a composting toilet aka a fancy outhouse. It gets drained from time to time. On the shelf above, anti-bacterial handwash, monkey butt powder, lysol spray, and toilet paper. To the right, a mirror.

Look to the left of the toilet: yup, that's daylight. So not heated. On the very coldest of days, it's pretty unpleasant.

It's not fancy, but it works. It rarely smells. It's kept clean and neat. I've used many an outhouse in my life (I was a Girl Scout for a looooooong time) and this is vastly superior to all of them.

Every barn I've ever been at in Vermont has not had running water in the bathroom. My first barn had a porta potty outside, and if you don't think the wind would come through that thing whoo boy. Never have I ever peed faster.

I have only experienced a flush toilet and running water at one barn, my one previous to this one. It was kind of glorious. After a 1.5 - 2 hour commute to get there, it was a lifesaver.

What about you?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

House Post: A republic, if you can keep it

My parents visited this weekend, and I will have some house updates to share next week. We didn't get as much work done as we might have: we had important things to do.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

LOADS of reading this week. It's a reading kind of week. Enjoy that freedom of expression while we still have it, folks.

Mass Review: Back on Track Stuff! from The Feral Red Horse
I've used a handful of Back on Track products on Tristan and I like the results I've seen. I'm getting closer and closer to purchasing more - just trying to shore up those spending holes and savings accounts first.

What has happened to bridles lately? from Clover Ledge Farm
I know you all like your PS of Sweden bridles but...yeah. They don't do anything for me.

Branding the Equestrian Business from House on the Hill
I've been thinking about branding a lot lately and this was a thoughtful appraisal.

Safety Features from WeanieEventer
The trailer widget highlighted here is SMART.

Intro to EquiVibe from The Jumping Percheron not convinced, but I think you could describe me as intrigued.

10 tools to blog more in less time from Blogging in Balance
Some of these are a little too specialized for me, but they're still useful to think about.

A Different Path from A Enter Spooking
Really, really wonderful examination of personal motivations and sacrifices.

Freaking Fantastic from Fly on Over
It's really important to think hard about what works best for your horse as an individual, and this is a great example of tailoring a management program with success.

Pet vs Partner from Dr. Mel Newton
Deeply thought-provoking way of looking at the horses in our lives.

Partner versus Pet from In Omnia Paratus
Liz's response to the above!

And the non-horsey read of the week: Every book Barack Obama has recommended during his presidency. This is a really extraordinary list, trending (obviously) toward the erudite and complicated, but with so many real gems. Everyone will find something to love on there, and I would urge us all to pick out something new to us to expand our worldview.