Extreme Makeover

If you thought “horse”, you are wrong.  Thanks to one of our volunteers, we got the ramp we have been waiting over four years for!

Matt, who has his own business, K & D Homes, volunteers in the evenings.  When he learned that we needed a ramp, he jumped at the opportunity and within a week, completed the work necessary.  We even had enough lumber from last year’s barn building to build it!  We now have a very sturdy, quality ramp for our riders.

Thanks Matt!

Besides ramps, Matt tells me he can take care of any remodeling needs.  Check out his Website – K & D Homes – to find out more.

ramp in our arena

ramp in our arena

After months of running wire, putting up walls, and all the other work that goes into building a barn, I can say it’s just about done.

My son gave up most of his weekends to help with the framing, then the electrical.  The grandkids, even though they enjoyed riding the horses on their visits, wanted to do more than visit grandma and grandpa.

It was a long, project.  Much more than any of us imagined.

But then, it all came together.  About the time the doors were hung and the last of the lighting was installed, we could see the end was in sight.

My son’s friend came out to do the final touches of mudding the walls.  Thanks, Bill! 

The only thing left to do is paint.  Now how hard can that be?

My son told me that my Mother’s Day gift would be – he would try to get as many people as possible to help with the barn for our Not-so Xtreme Farm Makeover Day.  He sent out e-mails to all of his friends asking for their help.  One of his friends works for a local construction company, Kelly Construction in Rochester Hills.  Bill told my son he could come and help us.  Then, Bill asked his manager/owner of the company, if he would like to help also.  Couldn’t…was going out of town for the week-end.  But, he said, he could send six workers, Bill and five others, to our place on Thursday to help jump-start the work week-end!  Six workers…all construction people…I couldn’t believe it!  I wasn’t sure we could be ready two days early.  I still needed to get the cement poured and some plumbing done.  The excavator we were using knew everything would be in place for Saturday…but Thursday!  Everyone went into warp speed to be ready for the crew.

Getting a stall wall upThursday morning – 7:30 am – the trucks rolled in.  We met with the crew to go over the details of what needed to be done.  I couldn’t have hand picked a better skill group.  We had several trees that needed to come down before the fencing could go up.  If we left them up and they came down during a storm, the fence or barn could be damaged.  But, they had to be dropped just right, or they would land on the arena.  One of the crew used to work for a big tree company that removed trees for the electric company.  No problem!  He knew just what to do.  Another had fencing experience, so he helped set the posts.  Still another worked for a national barn company and showed Bill and my son how to install the stalls so that they were secure.

getting ready to frameBy the time they left, we had almost all the fencing up, the trees down, some stalls up, and the utility room framed!  The fencing was the top priority.  My son and I had figured that it would take two workers 24 hours to get it all up.  These guys only stopped working on the fencing because we were 20 poles short of completion.  My error, my estimate was a little short.

I can only give a heartfelt “thank you” to Terry Kelly, owner of Kelly Construction in Rochester Hills, Michigan.  If you are looking to build or remodel, give them a call.

I now understand why the “makeover” family goes away for a week while their place is renovated.



First, I must say that communication is not a skill that these workers have.  Building skills – yes, communication skills – no.

We were having some spotty rain showers on Friday.  Hubby and I went to the Post Office.  On the way home the construction truck blew past us, leaving our place.  My first thought was they were going to town for a coffee or something.  When we got home we went up to the work area and the place looked like a cyclone hit it.  But, after an hour and no sign of the workers, I was concerned and called the salesperson to see if someone might have gotten hurt.

He assured me that they would be back the next day, and would check if there was an injury.

Siding off - panels downWorkers?  Saturday?  I hold classes on Saturday and Sunday!  I’m looking at an arena with the siding off where the new barn would be attached.  No one told me that siding would be taken off!  No one told me they would be working on the week-end!

I spent Friday night calling all the riders and volunteers, canceling the classes for both days.

Oh, no one was hurt.  I guess their mother never taught them to clean up after themselves.



We got the auger put on the tractor, I bought our feed store out of poles – 80 to be exact.  They will order more because I estimate that we need about 200 poles to put up the perimeter fencing.  What a job!

We already had t-posts in for our pasture – those need to be removed, then mark off the lines for the fencing, put in the holes, poles, pack…repeat until completed.

Post lifting exercisesI thought I’d be smart and unload the posts – putting them on piles of five about every 50 feet.  The young man at the feed store asked if I had someone to unload the truck when I got home.  “Sure,” I said.  “Me,” I thought to myself.

Surprisingly, I did not find them heavy at all!



Removing t-postsWe have a neat little device to remove t-posts.  So that was my next task of the day.  I’m sure that by the time this project is completed, I’ll have the upper arm and shoulder muscles that a body-builder would envy.

Now for the next job – putting in the posts.

Apparently people who build barns do not have to interface with other people very often.  I know when we had our house built, the carpenters had to work with the plumbers who worked with the electricians, etc.

Before the builders showed up, I had a meeting with the salesperson, the excavator and our well person.  We needed to run a line from our well to the barn so we would have water.  The excavator explained what he needed to do and how long it would take.  I remember the salesperson said that would not be a problem, and, if necessary, the guys could take some time off while this work was being done, or they could work on a different part of the barn.

Apparently, no one got the word to the builders.  They had their equipment set up where the excavator needed to build.  For a while, I thought I was going to have to tell everyone to play nice.  Okay, the well person and the excavator are used to working with other construction people…

Half of the framing is doneAfter the dust settled, everyone got the work done that needed to be done.  Half of the framing is done.  The rest is left for tomorrow.

Somehow, I don’t think I’ll see the excavator and well person until the builders are gone.

The workers are gone for the day. 

They came in with their dozer and other equipment early this morning.  (Okay, I already fed the horses, but, anytime someone is here before 8:00 am, I consider it early.)  Went right to sorting out all the material that was neatly piled for them.

Next they sectioned off the area where the framing would be.  Pink string!  At least it’s visible.  It doesn’t look that big to me.  The barn is suppose to be 36×120.  I can tell that it’s 120 because that’s how long the arena is…but the width seems too narrow.  I think I can always measure it after they leave.

The horses watch them intently.  Their current paddocks are right next door and come almost up to the property line.  I wonder if they just think this is their entertainment or if they are trying to figure out why their pasture is slowly disappearing.

The poles are in place

Now that everyone is gone, I go back to the barn area.  All the support poles are in…in perfect alignment.  Yes, it is the right size.  I walk through the areas where the stalls will be, then check out the aisleway and storage areas.  I’m still not sure that the area I designated for tack will be big enough.  It’s hard to judge without the walls.

I’m satisfied.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

This has certainly been an exciting week! Because they weren’t sure about the frost laws, the builder decided to split the load for the barn materials into two loads. The first part came on Tuesday, the rest on Friday.

moving the barn materialsI am very impressed with how this is done. The truck part gets disengaged from the flat bed and turns into a fork lift. Everything is on skids, so all the driver has to do is remove the pieces from the flatbed and place them in the designated area near the building site.

All I could think about was how much trouble I have when I need to hook up my horse trailer to my truck. Not to mention trying to back it up. Here, the materials are all moved with the driver going backwards much of the time! Great work and great training.

Moving to the spot


Once everything was placed in the proper locations, the wood was covered with black plastic to protect it from the elements.

Everything is set. Now all we have to do is wait from Monday, or Tuesday, or at the very latest, Wednesday when the crew will show up and start building!
If this was exciting, I can’t wait to see what next week brings!

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