Respirator. Tyvek suit. Shovel. and the destination over my left shoulder.
Some ranch jobs are fit only for “The Feller”. “A feller could put on a mask and coveralls, take a flat shovel and clear out all that mess in the grain bin,” says mind-Dad. “It needs that broken door covered with panel, and no sense in that ’til she’s cleared out.” Mind-Dad is a taskmaster, and besides he has to ghost swathe and bail the hay, leaving jobs like this to “The Feller”.
This is the kind of job that elicits a specific sort of face…aaand there it is.
I should have worn the other tyvek with booties, as it was just dumb luck that kept the swirling floor of mice from going up my pantlegs. A trade off to the slippery mess just under the dry surface.
Three feet thick in some parts; old feed bags, some still partly full; critter-hulled seed; critter stink piles; wet dank yuck; mice swarming for the hole in the floor that needs patching.
The stink drives off the photographer as the pile grows and grows. Even the ever-curious Paint Horse is moving off.
The pile gets much bigger, and gets old naily boards added as well. Dave will remove it in the fall when he is up with his bobcat to rework the corral fence.
The sunset came together quick and I shambled out into the yard with the camera still a bit funked by The Feller’s day.
Usually we try to keep an eye on the sunset potential and get ourselves up on a high ridge with the camera before the colors come on; sometimes the yard is the optimal spot.
Looking down the valley.
Up the hill over the corral.
The road down the valley.
The sun has set but the colors keep going.
Ultraviolets begin to burn out of the night-blue clouds.
The days mousecapades are melting from my mind.
It is so much bigger than you would think…
A Big Sky even from the deep valley.
The roof needs some new tin and tightening up the old tin.
This is the remains of the old broken down swing-gate from the previous panel.
This gate was original to the corral, so probably more than 100 years old. It was hand hewn from raw timber brought down from our forest, fitted by draw-knife and chisels, then pinned with nails. The main vertical pole sat in the steel footing and a long run of pole travelled the weight from the nose to the rear support pole (this broke off decades ago). The entire thing tied into the corner of the grain bin. It was muscled in and out of position for nearly a decade, and replaced with a steel swing gate last fall. I salvaged its pull pin last fall for a gate elsewhere in the corral. A few of the poles were intact enough to be repurposed on a side fence of the yard.
Putting in new pine panel, and old cedar panel stored under the shed.
It has been a few days since emptying the grain bin, and the pure evil stink of the pile has calmed in pure evil stink- while the inside of the bin is nearly dry.
Panel cut and screwed in place to cover the hole of the old destroyed door. I salvaged all the hardware off the old rolling door in case I ever need to build a working door again.
Cutting dead panel and replacing with old still-viable cedar panel original to the building.
My helper-horse, the Paint, noses through my power tool bag and tries to lift the bag and make off with it; then he puts his nose into the back of the truck and nudges out the circular saw ’til it falls to the ground; he nibbles at cartons of screws while eyeing me just to get me to come over and take them away. He also likes to stand broadside to any area I’m about to need to get at. He gets an apple from E for being such a good helper.
Runs of new and old replacement panel.
I brought this door back to true and square with clamps and screws, then caulked all the topside runs.
I bought new cedar board for edging the building. Most corners are missing the edge panel, or have fragments up toward the roofline.
Pre-painting them white for easier installation, but they will be put in storage for next trip as the grain bin will take a few days to cure out its new paint.
The next morning E and Stanley follow the electrical cords to find what Danger is up to. He got started early, as this will be a long slog of ladder work in grinding out and painting the entire structure in a day.
Up to laddering the high back wall and grinding it all down.
The friendly Paint offers his encouragement as the grinding grinds on.
All sides are stripped of old paint and furred wood; time to blow it all off.
4pm. Now on to painting the entire thing.
The tall side faces the county road.
The view from the horse pasture.
The middle building is where the grain crib was heading without this upkeep. And my Helper-Horse.