Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2015 - 2016 Off Season Farm Improvement Projects

My husband Dave always has projects going on around the farm and it's sometimes difficult to get him to work on a project that I would like done. Since it's the 'off season' and the weather has been fairly cooperative Dave was able to work on a couple of projects that will benefit the competitors who come to Stone Gate Farm.

The first project was building four stalls in the new addition off the garage barn next to the parking field right next to the wash rack.  Both horses and riders should be quite comfortable in this barn.

The next project actually morphed into three different projects and required Dave to pull out his 'big boy toys'.  This project was to enlarge the parking area around the barns.  There were two spots that we could clean up, remove trees and move dirt to make substantially more room.  The first spot was at he very end of the parking area next to the trail that goes to the pasture. This spot was relatively easy as we only had to relocate a bunch of telephone poles, remove a few trees and trim a couple of others.  The other location was quite a project as there were numerous rocks to move, some poles and lumber the removal of  a few rather large trees and some substantial grading.

Before clean up

Let the clean up begin

Phase 1 removing the rocks and timbers.  The timbers just go moved to the new 'stock pile'.  The rocks however were quite a different story which led to two different projects.  I have actually been thinking of doing this for years but was always afraid to ask as it really didn't serve any useful purpose and after all Dave was saving these rocks for something ... what that something was I'll never know!  Anyway I'm quite happy with my 'landscaping' rocks.

Rocks at the end of the dressage ring

With just a few cuts with the excavator at the Show Jumping entrance we had a perfect spot for a few big rocks.  We'll have to do a little planting in the spring.

Under Sadie's watchful eye; Dave sets some big rocks below the covered bleachers.  Again more planting to do ;)  Phase 1 was completed in November 2015.

We also added a few smaller rocks on the other side of the entrance near the lower bleachers.  The last few rocks went to the far end of the ring just east of the banks where we're going to build a small bank for the Starter Derby classes.

Phase 2: Trimming  treetops so they won't hit and damage the barn. As you can see from the pics this portion of the project took place during the winter.  Dave actually had to hire someone to do this job as there was no way he could have done that himself safely.  The clean up of the limbs took longer than cutting them.

Phase 3:  Removing the trees was next on the list.  A few of the trees were small enough that Dave could cut them down and dig out the stumps with the excavator.  However there were a few bigger ones that he couldn't do that way. There were certain steps that  Dave had to follow for everything to fall into place or for the tree to drop
  1. dig a trench around the trees to make it easier to uproot the trees root ball and all
  2. climb a ladder to attach a chain to the tree so the dozer could pull the tree in the desired direction
  3. add more chains so the dozer would be far enough away when the tree falls
  4. pull the tree over with the dozer
  5. bring the excavator over to back fill the huge hole that he root ball left so that the root ball doesn't fall back in the hole when he cuts to log off
  6. cut the log from the root ball
  7. remove chains
  8. cut limbs and move log
  9. push the root ball out of what is left of the hole with the dozer
  10. clean up the mess & REPEAT until all the desired trees have been removed

Most of these trees need to be removed.  You can see  stumps from trees already cut.

Smaller logs
Trench around the bigger trees

Pulling a tree over
Cutting log from 

Back filling the root hole

Pushing the stump out

Moving a tree top

Pushing branches 

A small portion of the firewood

This one may become a jump

Expanded parking area

Phase 4

Finish cleaning up, final grading and adding gravel.