Thursday, May 20, 2010

Special Delivery

Lostine has been digging a hole to China in her stall, while Bombay has walked a mote around the edges of his stall along the walls. My daughter and I were just out hiking on Tuesday and I drove past the house of the lady who runs our stall shavings co-op. I said, "I haven't heard from her all year. How much do you want to bet that she'll email me today and tell me that a shipment of shavings is coming in this week?"

I got home and sure enough, there was an email from her. Based on the time of the email, she was composing it right when we drove past her house. I must have picked up on her thoughts due to my proximity to her. Anyway, they raised the price of the bags of wood shavings to $7.25 per bag. That's not any less than what they sell in the local feed stores, so I opted out of the co-op. I decided to just order a truck load of D.G. (decomposed granite).

I called a different company than I usually use, and told them I would probably need two truck loads. The guy on the phone was very intelligent and professional, and he wanted to actually do that math to figure out exactly how much D.G. I would need. I wanted enough to fill three 12x12 stalls and have enough left over to spread in the round pen and the back pen. He asked how deep I wanted it, so I exaggerated and said 2-feet deep, figuring the first layer will get compacted and I'll have to add some more. He did some calculations and said I would need just one truck load. I asked how much it would be, and nearly flipped when he quoted me for $482! I used to get six truck loads for around $750 when I wanted to cover the entire paddock. Oh well. You gotta pay what you gotta pay.

Then the guy said he'd send someone by within the next hour! Wow! I'm used to having to wait weeks for these kind of deliveries. I guess that says something about how depressed the construction business is at the moment. I raced outside to move the horse trailer, and was in such a hurry that I crashed my truck into it. Duh!

I was watching to make sure I cleared the electrical outlet in my side view mirror, but forgot to watch how close I was to the trailer in the rear view mirror. I put a dent in the bumper, but it's no big deal because my truck is nearly ten years old.

Anyway, the D.G. delivery arrived an hour later and the driver saved me from more property damage by pointing out that he can't drive his truck over my septic tank or he'll crush it. I totally forgot about that. So, he wasn't able to dump the D.G. out of the way in the back pen where I originally wanted it. He dumped it on the R.V. lane on top of all the fox-tails next to the haystack instead -- basically, where I normally park my horse trailer.

He dumped the load, I thanked him, and then he said he'd be right back. I didn't know why he'd be right back, but I waited for him while he drove off. A few minutes later, he was backing his truck down my RV lane with a second load. Hmmmmmm. I guess the guy on the phone decided I needed two loads after all? He dumped the second load and drove off. I went in the house, looked out the window and saw that he had brought three trailers filled with D.G. and he was hooking up the last one to deliver.

I realized that this company considers three trailers to be one truck load, while the old company I used just delivered in one dump truck. So, the price wasn't too bad considering how much D.G. I got. It's actually way too much. It'll take me months to shovel all of it into the wheelbarrow and wagon and spread it where I need it.

My motive to hurry up is so that I can park my horse trailer back in its old spot and so that I can make room for the next hay delivery. The timing of the delivery was good in that my daughter is home from college for a couple of weeks before she leaves for an internship in Beijing, so she can help spread it. I'm paying both kids an hourly wage for their efforts.

The horses got so excited when the truck arrived. Lostine hid behind the barn, Bombay quivered in the corner, and Gabbrielle kept running up to the fence with her hackles raised, and then running away each time the truck let off its air brakes. Eventually, I let them out to play on the mountain range. Lostine mainly just grazed around it, but Bombay and Gabbrielle had a good time playing king/queen of the mountain and pushing the D.G. around with their muzzles.

With the help of my son and daughter, we were able to fill one and a half stalls with D.G. in a little over an hour. We'll just have to do a little bit each day until the job is done. Who needs the treadmill and elliptical machine when we can shovel, lift the weight of a wheelbarrow filled with granite, and run back and forth? If I'm not in great physical shape after this project, I'll eat my hat. The trick is going to be to not overdo it and get so sore or injure myself, so that I can't finish the job.

I think it's time these horses learn how to pull a wagon.


fernvalley01 said...

Looks interesting , so you replace shavings totally with this?

Dreaming said...

Holy Cow! That's a lot of DG!
I had to laugh at your comment about not needing the exercise machines - my husband and I often say, 'Who needs to pay for a gym membership when you have horses to take care of?!'

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Wow, not so bad a price when you consider that there's three trailer loads! That's going to be some work now, getting it spread.

allhorsestuff said...

Those piles are a thing of beauty! So funny about the telepathy too.
You are sooo right...pulling wagons has to be int he descriptions of those fine steeds!
Well, you'll be able to beat the best of the arm wrestlers in town, after your work ahead!

Katharine Swan said...

I love that last picture, with them all lined up! LOL

lytha said...

awesome! shavings, who needs em: )

i think you got your money's worth!

Anonymous said...

Talk about moving mountains!

Be careful; I know it's so easy to get so enthused about those types of projects you hurt yourself.

Um, do you tamp it down in the stalls or what?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Of course, it's going to rain all weekend, so I won't be able to spread any D.G. when I have time off from work. I'm about ready to ask my company if it will consider letting everyone have Wednesdays and Thursdays off, in exchange for the working over the weekends. I just don't see any end in sight of this bad weekend weather. It's been going on since November. Six straight months of rain and snow on the weekends. Yuck.

Anyway, I don't always just use D.G. in place of shavings. I play it by ear. For instance, if their stalls get too dusty in the summer months, I might use wood shavings to help keep the dust out of their noses and their water, but usually if the evenings are warm enough in the summer, I just leave them outside. If the snow and rain come in at an angle and wet the D.G. in their stalls, I pour Dry Stall and mix it in. I don't have to tamp it down, because the horses do that. I just level it out with a shovel. Though D.G. normally does a good job of absorbing wetness, this pile arrived pretty wet because of all the moisture we've had this year, so at the moment it's not doing the greatest job of absorbing the horses' urine thanks to Mother Nature already saturating it.

I asked the trucking guy on the phone if he knows of any other material that horse people are using in their stalls. He said people use mortar sand in their riding arenas because it is soft and porous, but they don't use it for their stalls. D.G. does a better job of packing itself in as fill-dirt so you can level out your stall floors.

Crystal said...

Wow you sure are ambitious to shovel all that into stalls and round pens, We are lucky here we can back up to almost anywhere we want our stuff.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...


Yeah. In the past, they could get a small and short truck into my paddock with a 5-point turn, but since then we've installed an air conditioning unit and don't want to risk it. They couldn't dump it in the back pen because of the septic tank, and probably shouldn't drive the truck into the paddock anyway because of the leach field. It's all pretty tight. Years ago before I had a round pen and fence, they'd just drive along will dumping it and spread it for me. We just have too many obstacles now.

Maery Rose said...

I admire your ambition. That's a lot of mounds to move. But from what you've said about the DG, it sounds like it lasts a long time, making it worth the effort.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I would have loved seeing pics of the horses climbing your DG mountains. hee hee!

Just imagining all the work ismaking my poor sore arm ache terrible. Ouch!

Take it easy, ok?


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - This was one of those situations where every time I stopped working to take pictures, they came down off the mountain, and as soon as I'd turn my back to them and start shoveling after putting my camera away, they'd run back up.

Stephanie said...

you sure will be getting your exercise for a while!

Our stalls are DG with rubber matts over and then shavings. I think we in too uhmid of an area to have the DG work very well.

And the 'sand' in my pants actually is a sand mixture so it is very pourous and lite.