Monthly Archives: October 2011

More Tack Room Construction

In spite of being out of town three days this past week, I’ve continued to move forward on the tack room construction.  The drywall guys finished up Wednesday morning, and in the meantime I’ve finished staining and applying two coats of polyurethane to the wall paneling.

The drywall is finished, the insulation completely installed and we're ready to hang the wall paneling!

I did not get a chance to really dig into installing the wall paneling until Friday, and was disappointed to have to stop at the end of the day.  It always seems like I always have just a little too much planned to get done each day when reality rears its ugly head.  My mind is more ambitious than my skill or the time allowed, I think!

The trickiest part is making cuts in the paneling to accomodate things like electrical boxes, lightswitches and outlets. I figured out how to use my table saw and chop saw so I don't have to spend too much time sawing by hand with a keyhole saw.

Yesterday I made good progress all day long, but by the time it started to get dark and I had to stop to take care of the horse chores, I was zonked and starting to feel a little sore throat coming on.  By the middle of the night it was so sore it was waking me up.  Hopefully I’ll be off and running again tomorrow!

I spent a day and a half getting the paneling installed on these two walls up to the window. Once I hit the window there would some tricky installation to accomodate the cupboard I am going to cut down and install.

It might be a little hard to cut this cabinet down a little smaller ... with all these saddles on it!

The next step was to get the saddles off the top of the cupboard, and install a thin panel behind where the cupboard will go.  That meant taking time to properly install three saddle racks on the finished portion of the wall.  When it’s finished, three more racks will go on the other side of the window.

I chose black for all the hardware in the room. One of my favorite accent colors.

I chose thin 1/4″ paneling behind the cupboard to give us a small amount of wiggle room with the items we’ll be storing in here.  Some of the brush boxes and helmets are just a hair over 12″ deep and this way they’ll still fit, while allowing us to use this cupboard we already had instead of having to purchase something deeper.

The saddles and pads are up off the cupboard and living in their new spots, in spite of my not having installed any wood trim yet. I'll just move them out of the way when the time comes.

That’s it for this week!  I didn’t get include a photo of my daughter Cecily painting the drywall, but she’s started that.  I hope my next update will mean showing off all the paneling on the walls, all the painting finished, and maybe some of the wood trim installed, too.  Thanks for stopping by and sharing the progress with me!

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Well, the tack room is well under way!  We have framed in the entire room and the drywall guys have installed and done most of the initial mudding.  They’ll finish it up in another day or two and we’ll be ready for the paint.


In the meantime, v-plank has invaded my garage!  I borrowed two sets of sawhorses from friends and a neighbor, and our two and a half car garage is filled from end to end with beautiful pine v-plank, in various stages of staining and applying polyurethane.   It has turned out quite nicely, and I’ve installed the first batch already.  The dividing wall between the feed room and the enclosed tack room is insulated, and the fiberglass needed to be covered up.  So we needed to finish off that wall, too.



I apologize that this photo is a little fuzzy, but admittedly, I’m like a steamroller when I get going on a project, and I surely didn’t want to stop and take more photos, when really, I just wanted to get the planking installed!  Here you can see the insulation in the wall.  After I finished installing the 3/4″ v-plank on the wall, I decided it was too pretty to hang muck forks on!  LOL!  I’m going to have to get over that!

I’m currently on the last coat of polyurethane for the last batch of v-plank.  Then I will install it on the east and west walls, followed by the north and south walls while the kids paint the ceiling and the upper portion of the walls which are drywall.  The next step will be the window and door casing.  That will all take good time and I don’t expect to be done at least before next week.  After that we can talk about the details of the rest of the trim and the built-in blanket chest, which I am really excited about!

Other than that, we’ve looked at a pony as a possibility for Danny and took my friend Wendy out to look at Sophie, as she may want her for a driving pony.  But it’s a little hard to get my head into buying and selling horses when I am so intent on making progress on the tack room.  The construction is not hard, but it can be tricky, and surely requires patience at times!

The children have helped me a good deal with the work and I am quite proud of their contributions!  It will be a delight to say that, together, we did it!

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The Tactful Tackroom

We finished our barn during the late autumn of 2009, with the exception of the tack room, and one wall of the feed room.  While the interim “design” has been functional, it has certainly not been optimal.  There are nothing but stud framing between the tack and feed rooms or on the ceiling.  Dust, dirt and chaff blow in and coat all the tack, shelves, and equipment liberally.  And the open shelving I put up is useless for keeping out any debris.  I can see that closed cupboards will be an excellent thing.

I need to get some “before” pictures, as I never seem to remember to do that, and it’s harder to appreciate just how wonderful things are *after* any renovation or project is complete.

I need to install stud framing on the three exterior walls and install some sort of planking, beadboard, board-and-batten, or finish-grade plywood on the walls that is sturdy enough (3/4″ or more) to hold the heavy saddle and harness racks.  Then add trim around the doors, windows, ceiling, and floor.  I have seen in two different tack room applications now (one in the photo above) where the barn designer chose white drywall for the uppermost portion of the room instead of going all the way to the ceiling with the wood.  It helps lighten up the room, and expand it visually.  My own tack room is much smaller than the one shown above.  Mine is 10’x12′ with two 4′ wide doors, one leading from the feed room to the tack room, and the other leading out into the paddocks.  It also has a window on the east wall.  I believe I will install a transom above the tack-feed room door to let in a little additional light from the skylight above and the door and window in the feed room.


One of my biggest challenges has been to decide where to hang everything and how to store it.  Inevitably, a horse owner (like most people with any sort of hobby) acquires a variety of tack and gadgets that he rarely, if ever, uses, but feels he must have.  So, of course, weeding out my excess gear will be a necessary step.  But there is still a lot of stuff that I do use occasionally, or, perhaps, seasonally.  And the things we use most frequently need to be the most readily accessible.  But above all this, friends, is the need for beauty.

There is little that can suppress my spirits as quickly as looking at something ugly or unkempt or shottily done.  I don’t know if my appreciation of beauty is a blessing, or if my intolerance of ugliness is a curse.  Nevertheless, whatever may be, I insist that my tack room, like my barn, is a delight to use and a delight to see.  Don’t mistake my desire for beauty with a desire for extravagence.  I am as frugal as they come.  But I will not sacrifice beauty for frugality in the end.  I usually figure out a way to end up with beauty for relatively little cost.

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We got our first real crop of elderberries this year.  I went out and picked a big bowl last night, cutting the stems off the bush, then spent upwards of an hour and a half pulling the berries off the stems into a bowl.  I watched a movie.  I wonder what the old housewives did during such a time-consuming process?  Sat a visited, no doubt, or had someone read aloud to them.

Last year we got a handful of berries, but certainly not enough to do anything with.  I wouldn’t have guessed more than 1/2 a cup of elderberries total.  This year, however, my hour and a half worth of work netted me 2 cups of elderberries.  If you aren’t familiar with them, elderberries are small.  The largest ones on my bush were no larger than a BB.  Most were half that size.  So there were a lot of elderberries, they just didn’t amount to a lot once they were all put together!

I have intended to make elderberry jelly with them, but as I need a quart to do so, they are sitting in my refrigerator, waiting for me to decide whether I will be making elderberry syrup instead, for pancakes and waffles, or whether I’ll combine them with some blackberries for black- & elderberry jelly.

In the meantime, we have our last load of hay coming this morning, barring any rain, and will have the year’s supply well taken care of.

On a quite different note, I recorded the first podcast of “Small Home Farm Radio” yesterday afternoon.  If you have any suggestions for topics you would be interested in hearing about, or have a question, let me know.

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Filed under Garden and Orchard, The Country Kitchen