Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Saga of the Miraculous, Amazing, Ingenious Four-horse Hay Feeder.

Excerpts from e-mail to a fellow sufferer during the recent design and construction of a new hay feeder for my beloved, shy and retiring wife of nearly 48 years...

Well, the good times are over. Attila the Hen is back from the 3 day horse ride that didn't go all that well. She returned with a trailer tire that looked like someone had fired a 10 gage shotgun from inside. Luckily she had a spare. Equally lucky, she picked up a used one that had less than 500 miles on it for 30 bucks. A new one was $98.

The only bright spot (for her) in her 3-day excursion was that one of the saddlebags told her about a homemade horse feeder that eliminated hay wastage. Already I foresee problems with this. It's like a wild hair crawled up her butt and took root. It's all I hear. Time to stock up on liniment, Band-Aids and Neosporin. I am getting a sense of dread and foreboding.

I just went out on deck to think a minute (2 am) and it was absolutely sound at all, no cars, no bugs, no horses, no donkeys or cows, no nothing. As I stood there marveling at the moon and the surreal quiet I said aloud to myself, "How beautiful." That disturbed Herc who got up, stretched and ripped off a long, loud one that scared the horses which ran helter skelter through the pasture to evade the ear-splitting, gaseous predator. That lit off my neighbor's dogs, that lit up the ones across the woods. When I came in a minute or two later, dogs were barking over the next ridge. So much for quiet solitude enjoying the full moon. :-(


We spent the afternoon playing SEABEE (Buildin' and Fightin') designing and building a portable horse feeder that restricts how much hay they can pull out at once and waste...and redesigned it and cut 4X4s...and re-redesigned it (4X4s now too short)...and re-re-redesigned it and cut 4 plywood it (two pieces of plywood now have to be trimmed a quarter inch on two sides each; fat chance with a skill saw) it and quit. Grand Total For Today's Efforts = Usable Cut parts - 0, Usable Sawdust - just under 5 gallons.

Bo had an accident in the livingroom early this evening. Thank God for dog biscuits that dry them out and I feed them all plenty. I was able to use a 6 iron to get it through the sliding glass door onto the deck and two-putted it into the Four O'clocks which a *friend* gave us and which multiplies faster than kudzu.

I went out on the deck around 9 tonight to stretch my legs and heard a repetitive growling of some sort. All the dogs were accounted for so I ran back in, grabbed the shotgun and Miz Dee. She picked up the 12 inch reflector, bizillion candlepower light we have and we crept to the end of the deck nearest the barn. We waited and, sure enough, the sound was still there. I readied myself to do battle with a mountain lion or a bear and Miz Dee switched on the light. No mountain lion, no bear in sight. Two horses standing, two sitting down and one sprawled flat out on his side...snoring...the bastard!

Ah, but tomorrow is another day....


I had a good day today because I worked with Miz Dee and didn't bleed even has to be a miracle. :-) My day went about as expected when Miz Dee insisted I follow her construction method. Her way took a lot longer as we had to take it apart, recut pieces, rescrew them together, then saw off the excess that just couldn't be made to fit otherwise. Anyway, the center pyramid is done and attached to the base frame that will go on the 4x4s when I get them. We worked out the top support and a method to stabilize it where even our horses won't be able to move it. That will require four more 2x4s that will arrive with the two 4x4s if she goes and gets them. She admitted my way would have been quicker and I was kind and told her that the only way to learn is to make mistakes so she wouldn't feel bad about the extra two hours. Besides, she came up with the roof support solution and it was better than mine and I was hungry. :-)

I am too broke to finish Miz Dee's project. Miz Dee is going to have to foot the bill for the rest of the lumber. I have contributed greatly to the project from my vast storehouse of screws, nails, plywood and latticework anyway. :-) I did order the plans for a GEET reformer and a magnetic generator today. That will be my next two major projects provided I survive this one.


The sides, lattice and top frame are on the hay feeder and it is a marvel to see. Still no bloodshed. My astonishment grows! :-) Tomorrow we will get some lag bolts to fix the container part to the skids and some hinges and hasps to secure the plywood top (after we cut it). It will be officially finished when the top is painted. I ain't doing that. It looks like it will hold nearly 8 bales of hay so it won't have to be filled very often and the hay should slide down and keep it next to the lattice where they can get a little at a time and not waste it as we hope the design will do. I'll send pictures when I can...if we take any. :-)

Tonight, Miz Dee started us on a liver cleanse. I am patiently waiting to crap my brains out. :-) I hope my liver appreciates what I am doing for it. :-)


No construction today. I am confined to the toilet due to the liver cleanse initiated by Miz Dee. I think she used equal quantities of used motor oil, lye, broken glass, napalm and Epsom Salts mixed with grapefruit juice as the ingredients. It required SEVERAL doses. I have now crapped everything that has ever been eaten by anything that ever lived since the Pleistocene Period. I think I flushed my liver, spleen, pancreas and most of my intestines down the toilet. I presume I will be cleansed when my lungs and heart pass on out. The mere act of reaching for the roll of toilet paper brings extreme anguish to my backside and pleas of mercy. (If Balaam can have a talking ass then so can I) Hence forth, my liver will just have to remain uncleansed and tough it out on its own.


The rotten cold that won't go away is kicking my butt. I think I feel worse this evening than I did last Monday. This really sucks. Re: the liver cleanse...I can now fart with moderate safety.

I need to go to town to get some hinges and hasps to finish the hay feeder, but still feel uncomfortable being more than 25 steps from the john and even that is cutting it close. On top of that, the cold I thought was going away has returned to infest the right side of my head. I am now leaking the remainder of my brain fluid from that side. It is all Miz Dee's fault. She made me work when I was sick instead of coddling me with TLC, chicken soup and insisting I stay in bed. :-(


I was in error regarding the farting with moderate safety.

Still sick as a dog with that cold or flu, but I couldn't stand laying around anymore today and roused Miz Dee from her computer about 9 pm to cut the top for the hay feeder and get it put on and hinged. That took about half an hour with her doing most of the work and she even put a coat of paint on the top. I figure 3 coats of porch and deck paint ought to do the trick. She wants to paint the pyramid inside to make the hay slide easier. The only way to do that is to tip it over on its side and crawl in through the top doors. She is small and can do it. I will sit comfortably, play gofer and drink chicken soup while I watch. :-) Miz Dee says she is very happy with the way the feeder turned out. If she is happy, then I am tickled plumb to death.


This has been one of those "hang-your-glasses-in-the-neck-of-your-T-shirt-then-bend-over-to-flush-the-toilet-and-have-to-fish-your-glasses-out-of-the-toilet-bowl" kind of weeks. Even the smoke alarm criticized my cooking. I have had better days. The smoke alarm has too. It got on my last nerve and may not recover. I did get to Centre to pick up lag bolts for the new hay feeder we are building and some washers as well as both of our carry permits so today wasn't a total loss. The bottom skids are now permanently attached. :-)

Miz Dee talked to the saddlebag about the feeder who complained that the hay did not slide down as she had thought it would and she had to push it down by hand. WE CANNOT ABIDE THIS!!!!! WE (me) MUST FIND AN ANSWER!!! Speed run to Lowes to find an answer, preferably a cheap one. I found a sheet of something that was hard enamel on one side and who knows what on the other and it was only $11! Race home, cut the stuff, screw it to the pyramid and tape the corner edges with some decorative black duct tape. Disaster averted. Tilting that thing over on its side and back up is a chore as is turning it on a concrete floor, which we had to do for each side of the pyramid. My back had me served with separation papers.

With the exception of a screen door hook and eye, the hay feeder is done. It is an engineering marvel and the epitome of cutting-edge technology. Pictures at 11. (paint has to dry some) :-) It would have been easier to get another wife than to clean the paint off Dee.

New Hay Feeder...Revision 1.


Ho hum...another shitty day in paradise...

I installed big D-rings on the sides of the truck to keep hay bales in the truck bed and off the road where I have to pick them up and restack them. It was done purely in self defense and has been more than 10 years in the execution. I jigsawed out the sideboard holes in the bed liner and got the rings on by 12:30. I may put board sides up about 2 feet so I can take the big doggies for a ride. I felt good, you know, like I had accomplished something. It was about that time Miz Dee announced that the lattice was not working on the new hay feeder we had just rebuilt. The horses couldn't get enough hay to make it worth their while and weren't bothering with it. Well, just damn, damn, damn and a half a damn....

Speed run into Fort Payne to get a 4'X16' goat mesh panel (quarter inch steel rods welded 4 inches apart to provide 4 inch openings). Back home by 3 pm and dragged the hay feeder back into the basement for revision 3. Tore the damn thing down to the skids (over 250 screws from inch and a quarter all the way to three and a half inches, cut the panel into 4 pieces that fit with bolt cutters and started from scratch re-rebuilding the (%$&#@) thing. The re-rebuild was complete by 8:30. Put the hay back in and dragged it back out to the pasture with the tractor by 9 pm. Called the horses up and they seem satisfied with this version. Man, am I tired and aching just about everywhere. I discovered that, if I am going to continue to build, rebuild and re-rebuild things for Miz Dee, I need an opposing thumb on my winkie to provide the necessary third hand so I can do it without help/supervision. I am not looking forward to trying to get out of bed tomorrow.


SHA-HA-HA-HIT! Fookin' pain and agony!

I fell asleep at the computer around 2 am and stumbled out at 6 am and fed the big doggies then crashed in the bed. I was up at 11:30 begging for heavy meds. I guess that 5 1/2 hours plus the 4 in the computer chair gives me enough to get by on. :-) I ain't doing diddly today. Things hurt that I only had as a teenager. Even my foreskin hurts and I have been circumcised. :-( The hydrogen jug will have to wait until Monday. I don't think I am going to want to tackle it Sunday afternoon. My recovery may not be that rapid. No stretching or bending here. Muscle movement at an absolute minimum, shallow breathing only. I am planning my shuffle into the livingroom with great care to avoid excess effort. :-)

THIS JUST IN!!! The feeder works perfectly. The third rebuild was a charm... The glazed material allows the hay to slide down as desired and the holes are big enough for them to pick at the hay instead of grab big mouthfuls and waste it on the ground. Actually, there is very little on the ground and they are so lazy they will eat what little they do drop before getting more. As soon as I get out of traction I will appreciate it more I think.

The Miraculous, Amazing, Ingenious Four-horse Hay Feeder...Revision 3.

Bill Fortner

1 comment:

Cathy said...

OH MY GOSH Dee !! thats ingenious.
I knew you were brilliant, and I call you the "horse expert".
Oh, and thanks Bill for helping out, good job :)))))

P.S. Love you both