Tuesday, March 1, 2016

In Like a Lion Barn Repairs and Projects

I knew the good times were over this morning when my alarm went off at 6AM and my little orange and white cat was up in my face already.

The cat in question is one who is widely accepted as being mine because most of the other cats around the place just watch me and rarely get close while this one seems to think I am his personal servant, climbing ladder, petting machine, warm sleeping lap,  whatever. The only other cat around the place that treats me so familiar is the Queen Sasha but she is not generally very demanding or overly affectionate while this little orange and white one my son named Pantheon is the most demanding little pain that ever roamed the barn lot.

The trouble is usually at 6AM that is what he is usually out doing... roaming. If he is up in my face at that time it either means the food bowl is empty, it's raining, the neighbor dog is visiting or the house is on fire.

It wasn't just raining it was sleeting. And cold. The wind was blowing at 50 MPH and had blown the walk in door on the barn open which was flopping in the breeze. Blown the gate to the main hay field open somehow and the sheep had escaped where they are not suppose to be right now and I could hear sheet metal roofing banging around as well.

Oh and ALL the cats (that I know of I am still not sure exactly how many we have around the place in total) were inside looking at the heat vent wondering why I hadn't started the wood furnace back up yet.

The sheet metal roofing banging was the most upsetting part of the whole morning to me anyway. The sheep came back easily with a little promise of grain, I already had a fire laid and ready to start, the barn door was irritating which I will get to later, but the sheet metal banging meant I was going back up on that damned roof this morning as soon as possible.

After finally figuring out which piece of sheet metal was loose and getting it tacked down after the sleet stopped I decided to get a few other little barn projects out of the way.

The old door that was flopping in the breeze has been sagging and falling apart for years but I just haven't had time to replace it yet. Someone originally just put a piece of board that swiveled around as the latch to hold it closed but it has worn out about a dozen latches of that type over the years. When the wind blows constantly like it will for the next couple of months now it makes the wood piece turn and eventually allows the door to come open. So I installed a proper latch as you can see from the top picture. I stripped a damned screw too while doing it.

Why do they make such cheap screws anymore?

Then of course the new latch has to work from the inside as well so I just drilled a hole and ran a bit of paracord through it to pull with. I am sure both my mother and Mrs. PP will complain it is too hard to pull or close properly or something.

Since I had all the tools out now I decided to install this cheap little solar light I had bought the other day. We have found that the hens, especially the rather stupid red sexlinks, will go into the coop at night better when there is a little light in there while the rest of the barn is dark. I had been hanging a little flashlight in the coop but as sure as the grass will grow some one ALWAYS leaves the light on all night so the batteries are always going dead.

While I was in picking up some more sand paper pads for my hand sander I saw one of these lights for sale and picked one up.

It's a rather cheap little flimsy thing once you get it out of the box but if it works it will be worth it. It even has a pull cord so no one can complain that I hung it too high or it's too hard to turn off. The only issue I can see with it is that it will not turn on while there is a charge coming through the little panel outside. I am hoping that with the cord pulled it will turn on when the sun stops hitting the panel otherwise I will have to unplug it to turn it on at night and then plug it back in of the morning because I assure you the plug will be too high for the women folk to reach it.

Even if I have to plug and unplug the thing daily it will still be less of a pain that replacing batteries ever stinkin day. I had thought about running a power line over there and putting in a regular light but honestly the cost of doing that would have been more than this cheap little solar light and wouldn't have worked when the power was out either. The hens don't require much light to get them into the roost stall anyway so this should work fine.

I hope.....

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!

Update: The little solar light worked just as I thought it would. When the sun went down  and stopped sending a current through the wire from the panel the light came on and stayed on until I went and turned it off. That's a bit annoying if you had it placed in a spot where you needed light during the day but works fine for the purpose I need it for.


  1. good on you with that solar light - i am SURE it will be an improvement!

    gotta love the wind eh? after a storm last winter i found a door to one of the sheds well, off .. sheared all the hinges...i had to hold it in place with boards and screws for a month and a half..

    i was REALLY lucky to find an exact replacement in large pickup ;-))

    man you sure have some days bro - and you man up every time - hat's off to you!

    1. Jamby - It's always something around here that's for sure. The wind here will be bad now until at least the end of April and then we will get thunderstorms until July more than likely.

  2. There is stuff laying around here that the wind has blown, it will take a few hours to pick all the debris up. At least we have hills to block a lot of it. I thought about solar lighting but it just doesn't seem like a long term solution as it is so dependent on someone around the world supply parts and batteries.

    1. Sf - No doubt when the collapse comes or the decline reaches a certain point the solar stuff's clock will begin ticking until it ends up useless. Still my little panels and such I use for charging the battery operated tools is still going strong after almost seven years. I figure the solar stuff will just be for the transition period.


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