Sunday, June 18, 2017

House Post: Basement Insulation!

This is a project that has been looming pretty much since the day we bought the house. It's also a HUGE step forward in building out our garage. I'm super excited it finally is done, though it is far from the sexiest or most exciting project we've done.

Essentially, we got 6" of spray foam insulation in one garage & underneath the future man cave, and 1" of air-sealing insulation in one garage & the root cellar.

The 6" of insulation will serve as both an air barrier and as proper insulation. The 1" will be our vapor & air barrier to prevent moisture from migrating up to the sealed off house above as well as providing an extra level of air sealing to keep nasty things like carbon monoxide from the cars from getting into our living room.

I've agonized for months, maybe even years, over just how to structure this so that it meets our needs, gets us the best results for keeping the house warm in the winter, and doesn't bankrupt us. The original attic insulation project was $12,000, done with money leftover from the purchase. For this project, we got an extremely low-interest loan designed specifically for energy efficiency projects and our projected cost is $4,000.

I'm thrilled so far. We're one huge step closer to completing the garage, and we've made a huge dent in the overall comfort level of the house in winter.



The downside: remember all that basement organization I was so proud of? Well...we had to move everything out of the other rooms so they didn't get foam dripped on them, and...


I'm not too upset: a big part of the reorganization was making sure everything had its right place, and now the work will just be in putting things back. Time-consuming, but not nearly as onerous as organizing in the first place.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

Your links roundup for weekend reading! As a reminder, if you want these in your email inbox, sign up here.

Avoid This Dangerous Donut in Saddle from Saddle Seeks Horse
It never occurred to me that this could happen, and I'm going to be thinking about it going forward for sure. It's always amazing how horses find new ways to try and kill us or themselves.

Cavaletti Building from Equestrian at Hart
These look terrific, and the photographs were especially helpful! Cavaletti are so incredibly useful, and it's good to have at least a few pairs around.

Ponies Coming Home: The Realization of a Dream from Stampy and the Brain
I can't even put into words how jealous I am. I've loved watching the progress photos of this barn coming together; here's the happy ending!

Saddlebox Giveaway from The South Dakota Cowgirl

Blog Hop: Favorite Exercises from The $900 Facebook Pony
Great idea for a blog hop - I'll probably write something out soon.

Guess What Breed Our Mustangs Are & Mustang DNA Report from DIY Horse Ownership
I've always wanted to do this for Tristan - so cool!

Hula Hoop or Belly Dance from Not So Speedy Dressage
I had never thought of following the canter this way, but I love it!

Bitting Up from PONY'TUDE
I've done it, and written about it. But I'm always curious to see other philosophies.

Heart of Texas Working Equitation Series Show #3 - 5/20-5/21 from The Reeling
This is so freaking cool. I'd love to try this someday.

Economic Case Study: TB v WB v OTTB from 'Fraidy Cat Eventing
This is REALLY interesting, and a vector of analysis I'd never thought about before.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blog Hop: If your horse were a drink...

My life has been such that I have only put hands on my horse once in the last seven days, but when I arrived last night to pet him on the nose before getting back to work, my luck was in: the farrier was just pulling him out of his stall! It was really great to chat with him about how Tristan's feet are doing, and about life in general, because he's a really nice guy.

While we were finishing up, I remarked that Tristan's face was zoned out in way that made me remark that he was on a sunny beach somewhere, sipping a fruity drink with an umbrella in it - off in his happy place, basically, ignoring the idiots around him.

The barn manager happened to be walking by. "No way," she said. "He's not a fruity drink horse. But what would he be drinking?"

"Straight vodka," was my prompt (and not terribly kind) response.

"Something a little bit classier, but also sassy," the barn manager suggested. "Whisky, or scotch?"

"Whiskey sour!" I hit on immediately.

That was an instant success. Barn manager said that when he's behaving in a lesson, using his hind end and all packaged together, he's a whiskey sour in a nice tumbler etched with his monogram. When he's bolting hell bent for leather and running into the curb chain on his kimberwicke, he's poured out the kind of whiskey you need the sour mix to disguise, and bolting it down out of a red solo cup.

We've decided that naming drinks for all the horses in the barn will make an excellent future game for long winter days.

So now I put it to you all.

If your horse were an alcoholic drink, what would it be?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

House Post: Garage Cleanout

This is not going to seem nearly as exciting via blog post as it actually is in person.

When we gutted the man cave room, it created a LOT of trash. On top of other trash that had accumulated from various projects around the house, and we hadn't exactly kept on top of major dump runs.

Through the winter (while the truck is parked, because it's 2WD), we stashed it in the extra garage.

It took four truckloads to finally get it all to the dump; keep in mind, my truck is a 3/4 ton with an 8' bed. There was A LOT of trash.

This photo was taken halfway through: so two loads down, two to go.

And here it is, finished. The trash bags in the front contain asbestos tiles that we pulled out of another part of the house and carefully bagged up. They'll go to hazardous waste disposal ASAP. In the meantime, they are double-bagged and sealed and we do not touch them.

Tomorrow, we have a contractor coming to start what is probably the biggest of our summer projects: insulating & finishing off the basement.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Weekly Blog Roundup

There was enough interest last week in having these roundups as an email that I've gone ahead and created a list. Sign up below if you're interested. Weekly roundup emails will include the blog posts linked in this post, as well as some additional content, and they'll be sent out at noon each Saturday. Next week will be the first one.

Subscribe here to receive weekly blog roundups in your email

* indicates required

Jolene and Her Trailer from In Omnia Paratus
I love a good love story, and the best love stories feature trucks.

Trail Riding at Horseshoe Bend from A Collection of Madcap Escapades
Dom always does a superb job of recapping her trail rides, with thoughtful commentary & great photos.

Wedding Photos from The Exquisite Equine
Gorgeous photos on a farm, with horses!

Buying a Baby from Pony Express
It's never been my ambition to raise a baby (human OR equine) so I found this fascinating & full of things I had never thought about before.

Custom Portable Drying Rack: Another SB Blog Non-Crafty DIY from Sprinkler Bandit
I laughed really, really hard.

Gear Post: 2017 Edition from 'Fraidy Cat Eventing
I could read gear posts all day, every day, especially when they're as good as this one.

Epic Blogger Meetup and Winery Ride from DIY Horse Ownership

Kaitlyn Karssen Photography: Houston B from Equestrian at Hart
Jaw-droppingly gorgeous photography.

Transformation...Wednesday: The Conformation and Color from A Enter Spooking
Count me in the camp that wishes grays would stay that way forever. This is a very cool photo progression.

Viva Carlos Book Review: The Natural Rider by Mary Wanless from Viva Carlos
This sounds fascinating.

Temperament vs Rideability from The $900 Facebook Pony
I'm torn on this. I do tend to think there's a link between a horse's basic way of presenting to the world and how easy they are to train, but I don't think it's a direct, straightforward connection. I'll have to think about this a lot more.

Fungus Leg from Poor Woman Showing
I know I'm not the only one who is fascinated by injury/illness progression posts.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

2017 Goals: May Recap

Previously, I set horse goals and life goals. April was an abysmal failure. Was May any better? A bit.

January Recap
February Recap
March Recap
April Recap

Horse Goals - original post here

1. Put hands on my horse 5x a week - Other than 8 days off when I was traveling, I did great at this. I'm starting to turn the screws and challenge him physically and mentally in some longer dressage schools, and I'm ramping up his fitness work.

2. Be less perfunctory - decent! not great.

3. Aim toward dressage schooling shows - I will almost certainly not make any dressage shows this year due to work schedule, so I am trying to re-orient my thinking. I may do a test during a lesson. We're definitely attacking pieces of First Level (!) and confirming Training stuff like keeping our damn head down in the canter.

4. Take more lessons - May, check! Scheduling June soon.

5. Horse-specific income stream / funding emergency fund - Still on the struggle bus, especially since after the truck's transmission went in April, my daily driver CRV went to get its summer tires on and came back with new brakes all around. So the emergency fund took another hit. But I've written out my path back to solvency, the credit card will be paid off soon, and I've started chipping back away at those savings accounts.

6. Do more thoughtful work - Slowly clawing my way back to this. I've been doing a lot of writing things out especially for the craft things I'm making, and trying out new ways of thinking related to those that's proving to be an interesting exercise for my brain.

7. Get more media - I took some pictures? Still none of me.

Life Goals - original post here

1. Pay off car - yup, still on track

2. Read 75 books - 39/75

A slower month because I read one big bit and only a few smaller ones.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
After Atlas by Emma Newman
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

3. Revive history blogs - lololololol nope x2

4. Do better about food - Other than the trip to Texas, I did great at this. And you know what? I also did pretty well in Texas. I ate a lot but I hit the gym a lot, walked a lot, and stuck to logging what I ate and generally making smart choices about portions and carbs. End result? I ate what I wanted and after 5 days of eating out and a wedding, I stayed the same weight. Now that I have my kitchen back, and control of my entire production this will go even better. I think at this point - knock wood - I can consider my habits well and truly changed.

5. Decorate the house - I reorganized the library, and it does look dramatically better, though it's not strictly speaking "decorated."